Step 7 - know when to get help
If you’re not getting anywhere or you feel like you are out of your depth, get help from an expert. You can get help from your local advice or law centre, a solicitor, many charities, and organisations like Consumer Direct. See useful contacts for more details.
Depending on your problem, they may step in and do some of the work for you, or they may just clarify what you should be doing and advise you on tactics. Help from a professional, even if it just confirms you've been doing the right thing, will help keep your stress levels down and help make sure you get a good result.
If you have an important deadline approaching fast, perhaps a court date, don't delay getting help.
"I got into debt when I lost my job. My credit card company started sending me letters saying that if I didn't pay it all off immediately, they'd send the bailiffs round. But I didn't have the money. When I phoned the 'helpline' they said they'd take me to court, add £300 court fees to my debt, and a bailiff would come into my flat and take all my things. I offered to pay what I could each week, but he wouldn't have any of it. I was so desperate I thought about taking out another loan.
But then I went to see an adviser. She said that they couldn't take my things, and that he had broken the law by saying they could. She said that if they took me to court, the court would only make me pay off what I could afford each week - exactly the same as I had already offered! We wrote out my income and all my expenses and worked out I could only afford to pay £3.50 a week.
When I phoned him back, it was so much easier because I knew the law was on my side. They backed down eventually and accepted £3.50 a week. They had no choice."
Do I need a lawyer?
If you’ve got a problem and you don’t know what to do next, don’t panic or bury your head in the sand: there are lots of different organisations there to help. Our leaflet will help you work out who can best give the help you need. Do I need a lawyer?