Need help with debt problems?
As almost anyone can find themselves in debt, DAWN Advice offers a free and confidential Debt Advice service for families and individuals. Whether you have one debt or many, small or large, we can help you deal with the situation so please get in touch for advice on any of the following:
- Rent arrears
- Council tax
- Mortgage arrears
- Court orders
- Debt relief orders
What can we do to help?
On phoning us, you will be greeted by one of our trained advisors who will need to ask a few questions about your financial situation. It is important to stress that all information will be confidential and will not be given to any party outside the bureau without your permission.
During the call you could decide that no further help is needed... that's fine. If you want us to continue to help we will ask for your name and address and then post out our information pack.
It is important to remember that we will not do anything without your agreement and we will always keep you informed of our actions.
Nearly half of the reasons given for debt problems are a result of changes in circumstances - including job loss, relationship breakdown and illness - so there's nothing to feel embarrassed about.
How does the Debt Advice service work?
- With your agreement we will send you some forms to complete which will then be returned to us. We may also need to see some of your papers such as copies of agreements you have signed, recent letters from your creditors, Court papers, etc.
- Once we have all the necessary information we will contact all your creditors on your behalf to try to negotiate payment arrangements based on what you may realistically be able to afford.
- Most creditors will be very reasonable once they have been told what the true financial situation is and the reasons for your present financial difficulties, and they may well accept lower repayments than you originally agreed to repay them. Normally all creditors will be treated equally in relation to the amount owed.
What we will do
- If you are dependent on benefits and don't feel able to pay your creditors anything we may be able to negotiate with your creditors to accept nothing for a short while or until your situation improves.
- Check whether you are getting all the money you are entitled to, e.g. tax allowances; benefits such as income support, housing benefit, working tax credit, child tax credit, council tax, benefits etc.
- Explain which debts are a priority and why these should be paid before other debts.
- Explain what actions your creditors can take and what actions you can take.
- Help you work out a realistic figure that you can offer to the people you owe money to, including a full financial statement.
- Advise on what to say to your creditors.
- Help you deal with urgent problems such as threat of eviction, fuel disconnection, bailiffs visit, etc.
- Help you with court forms and court hearings.
- We will deal with creditors on your behalf by letter.
- We will always keep you informed of our actions and we will pass on to you copies of correspondence from your creditors.
- We will always return your calls or reply to your letters as quickly as possible.
What you will need to do
- Negotiations with your creditors will be based entirely on the information you have supplied to us or authorised us to obtain. You will need to pass on to us all the relevant information that we need in order for us to be able to give you the best advice possible.
- If your situation changes in any way you must advise us straight away.
- Once we have negotiated payment arrangements you must keep to them or your creditors may withdraw their agreement to any special arrangements.
- If for any reason you cannot afford one or all of your payments to creditors at any time you must contact DAWN straight away.
- We may need to ask you to respond to our letters within a given timescale. This is necessary to enable us to offer you an efficient and effective service.
- If you are unhappy about any aspect of our service you should contact DAWN's Manager who will try to resolve the matter to your satisfaction. If this fails you will be given details of our official complaints procedure.
- If any creditors contact you after we have agreed to help, you should let DAWN know straight away.
- You should not borrow any more money without first discussing the problem with us.
- If you have credit cards you should not continue to use them. It may be necessary to cut them up and return them to the creditor.