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Coronavirus - if you can’t repay a loan or something you bought on finance

This advice applies to Scotland

You can get help if coronavirus has made it difficult for you to:

  • repay a loan
  • pay for something you bought on finance - for example, a car or something for your home like a washing machine or furniture

You might be able to get your payments reduced or paused. You might also be able to stop something you bought on finance from being repossessed.

Getting your payments reduced or paused

At the moment, lenders and finance companies are expected to reduce or pause your payments if you can’t pay because of coronavirus. This is called a ‘payment deferral’.

Ask your lender or finance company to give you a payment deferral. 

Check the website of your lender or finance company to find out how to ask for a deferral. If they agree, it won’t affect your credit score.

If you can, keep making your payments until they agree to reduce or pause them.

A payment deferral can last up to:

  • 1 month for payday loans
  • 3 months for something you’ve bought on finance 
  • 3 months for a loan from a pawnbroker - this mean they’ll wait 3 months before they sell your things
  • 3 months for most other types of loan

You’ll need to make up the payments you miss – they might also charge you interest during the payment deferral. This means after the payment deferral you’ll have to either:

  • pay more each month
  • keep making payments for longer

After the payment deferral, the lender or finance company should help you work out a plan to pay what you owe. This includes if you have to pay a final large payment to own a car.

If you’re refused a deferral from your lender or finance company

You can get help from your nearest Citizens Advice.

If you get a letter saying you’re in arrears

If you get a payment deferral, your lender or finance company might still send you letters saying you’re in arrears.

If this is the first time you’ve had a letter about arrears, you shouldn’t have to do anything about it - but it’s a good idea to contact the company to make sure.

If you were already getting letters about arrears before the payment deferral, you’ll still need to deal with these. Make sure you’ve read what the letter says you should do. You can also check our advice on dealing with your debts.

If you get a payment deferral for a car

You might have to pay for other things - for example, if you need to extend or renew your:

  • MOT
  • road tax
  • insurance
  • breakdown cover

If the finance company wants to repossess your car or goods

Tell the finance company why you need your car or goods - at the moment, they shouldn’t repossess anything you need. For example, you might need a car so you can get to work.

You can also check when finance companies can repossess vehicles and goods.

If the finance company wants to change your agreement

They need to get your permission before they make any changes. 

They might try to give you a worse deal. For example, they might say the car you bought on finance has gone down in value and you need to pay more to make up for it.

Check if you’ll be worse off before you agree to any changes.

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