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How to Find out What Debt Collectors You Owe? Quick Guide

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Scott
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Scott Nelson

Managing Director

MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.

Learn more about Scott
&
Janine
Janine Marsh Profile Picture

Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.

Learn more about Janine
· Feb 6th, 2024
Could you legally write off some debt? Answer below to get started.

Total amount of debt?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

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Find Out What Debt Collectors You Owe

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

If you’ve had a surprise letter from a debt collector, you’re likely worried about it. The good news is that you’re not alone. Every month, more than 170,000 people visit our website for information on debt matters.

In this guide, we will help you:

  • Figure out what debt collectors you owe money to.
  • Understand how to check if the debt is really yours.
  • Learn what to do if you can’t afford to pay.
  • Know how to get a copy of your credit file.
  • And find out what help is available to you.

We know it’s hard when you’re not sure about your debts. But we’re here to help. We’ve got lots of experience, as some of our team members have also had to deal with debt collectors.

Let’s figure out what your options are and how you can move forward.

Could you legally write off some debt?

There are several debt solutions in the UK, choosing the right one for you could write off some of your unaffordable debt, but the wrong one may be expensive and drawn out.

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find. MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

How to find out what debt you owe

I also suggest that you inquire about any interest or other additional charges that may have been added on since you were last in contact with your creditor. 

It’s also worth noting that if you have recently moved to a different house and have not let your creditors know, they may still be sending letters to your old address

You could contact the new owner or occupant of your old residence to ask them whether they’ve received any letters addressed to you. 

How does joint debt work?

If you have joint debt with a partner, you are both liable for the whole amount.

In short, you’re not responsible for half the debt. To clarify, financial responsibility for the debt falls to both parties.

When one person can’t pay their share for whatever reason, you’re liable for the debt.

It’s known asjoint and several liability’.

Get a Copy of Your Credit File

Collecting all correspondence between you and your creditor could help you get an idea of the situation you’re in.

After that, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report.

Credit report analysis contains useful financial information that can help you analyse how much debt you’re in. 

A credit report includes information about your debts as well as other information about you that is provided by people who lent you money.

It also contains information about your bank accounts, loans, and any credit card as well as any credit products that you have.

In addition to that, your report has information about who provided the credit products as well as how much you owe on them. 

The main purpose of credit reporting is to calculate your credit score. But it’s also a way to look up your financial history

What Information is Listed on My Credit Report? 

Your personal information in your credit report is kept up to date.

This includes your financial dealings and your conduct with lenders and creditors.

Here’s what you will find in your credit report: 

  • Your name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Current address
  • Your address history for the last six years 
  • Electoral roll details 
  • Information about whether or not you are financially linked to anyone. An example of this would be your spouse with whom you share a mortgage or a friend or relative with whom you share a bank loan
  • Information about any debts that you have. It contains information about all types of debt such as payday loans, personal loans, credit card debt, utility bills, mortgages and secured loans, some water and catalogues, overdrafts, mobile phone contracts and hire-purchase agreements.
  • If you have taken on any debt solutions in the past, they will show up on your credit report as well. These include procedures such as IVAs, DROs, etc. They typically stay on your credit report for six years after the day they were initiated. 
  • If you have failed to make scheduled payments in the past or have a default notice or a CCJ against your debts, these will also show up on your credit report. These severely negatively impact your credit score. These are normally marked in your credit report by your original creditor. Different creditors have different ways of flagging when you missed a payment or were late in paying. 

Your credit file is a resource to find out how much money you owe and to who you owe that money.

If it contains information about debts that you don’t owe such as a debt related to your credit cards, you can dispute that debt.

Your credit report also has information about any issues regarding your debts such as a CCJ or a default notice

How a debt solution could help

Some debt solutions can:

  1. Stop nasty calls from creditors
  2. Freeze interest and charges
  3. Reduce your monthly payments

A few debt solutions can even result in writing off some of your debt.

Here’s an example:


Situation

Monthly income £2,504
Monthly expenses £2,345
Total debt £32,049

Monthly debt repayments

Before £587
After £158

£429 reduction in monthly payments

If you want to learn what debt solutions are available to you, click the button below to get started.

Get Started

Can you dispute debt on credit report?

You have the right to dispute the entry when you identify a mistake on your credit report.

Disputing credit report errors should be undertaken as soon as possible.

First, start your dispute with the credit agency whether it’s Experian, Equifax or Transunion.

Make sure you explain why you’re disputing things in writing and explain why the entry is wrong.

Also, include copies of agreements and other relevant documents which support your dispute.

A credit reference agency has 28 days to reply to your dispute which means an entry is flagged as ‘disputed information’ on your credit file.

Collect All Correspondence Between You, Your Creditors and Any Debt Collection Agencies They may have Hired 

The easiest way to recall what debts you owe is to go back and collect all the information you may have by going through letters, emails and other messages you received.

This includes from creditors and any debt collectors that they hired. 

This is why it’s a good idea to store the letters you get regarding your debt. It’s also a good idea to keep copies of letters that you sent to creditors and collection agencies. 

You can look up the latest exchange between you and your creditors to get an estimate of how much you initially owed. Plus, you can see how much you paid off.

You will likely find the account number regarding your debt as well. It will make things much easier for you to deal with a debt

You should then contact your creditors to confirm how much you owe them.

Check Your Bank Statements 

Your bank statements can tell you where your money goes each month.

You should go over it to ensure the organisations you are paying are indeed companies you owe money to. 

If you see an organisation you don’t recognize, I suggest you call them.

Your original creditor may have hired debt collection agencies to collect the money for them.

This could be why you don’t recognise the organisation. Also, you should ensure the money is being paid in accordance with the amount owed. 

Thousands have already tackled their debt

Every day our partners, The Debt Advice Service, help people find out whether they can lower their repayments and finally tackle or write off some of their debt.

Natasha

I’d recommend this firm to anyone struggling with debt – my mind has been put to rest, all is getting sorted.

Get started

Reviews shown are for The Debt Advice Service.

I Still Can’t Find Information About the Money I Owe, What Should I Do? 

If you can’t find information about your debts there’s a chance they are more than six years old.

When Outstanding debts are older than six years, they are removed from your credit file

Keep in mind that there are statute of limitations on debt in place that make many types of debt unenforceable after six years.

However, certain types of debt can be enforced, even after six years such as:

It’s worth noting statute barred debts only apply if your creditor or the debt collection agency has not contacted you in 6 years.

Other criteria include:

  • If you have acknowledged your debt in any form
  • Made any payments towards them during this time

You must also keep in mind that this does not mean that your debt has been written off.

It simply means that your creditor (or the debt collection agency) has run out of time to pursue you for that debt through the courts.

Plus, it is worth knowing about your consumer rights in debt collection and the best way to do this is to contact an expert debt adviser.

Other Debt Collectors to look for on your Credit Report

There are hundreds of debt collectors in the UK and they each collect for different companies.

It’s surprisingly easy to not notice that you’re in a debt collector’s crosshairs.


I’d suggest you spend time checking your credit report. If a debt collector purchases any of your debt, it will appear on your credit report.

Some of the biggest to look out for include Cabot, PRA Group, and Lowell.

So if you see anything relating to their names, then you’ll need to investigate further.

Could you legally write off some debt?

Answer below to get started.

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, MoneyNerd doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options.

The authors
Scott Nelson Profile Picture
Author
MoneyNerd’s founder, Scott Nelson, has a decade of financial industry experience, including 6 years in FCA regulated loan and credit card companies. Troubled by a lack of conscience in the industry, he founded MoneyNerd to give genuine advice to those in debt and struggling financially.
Janine Marsh Profile Picture
Debt Expert
Janine Marsh is an award-winning presenter and a valuable member of the MoneyNerd team. With a wealth of experience as a financial expert, she's been featured on BBC Radio 4, BBC Local Radio, and BBC Five Live, and is a regular on Co-op Radio.