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1 Dealing with Debt
12. Other legal protection if you are in debt
There are several laws and regulations designed to make sure that any credit deals you sign up to are fair, and any organisations you owe money to behave reasonably.
Unfair credit agreements
This means that it:
Courts have used this law to reduce very high interest loans, especially in cases where the person signing the agreement was pressured into signing. But this is not easy to prove, and if you think you have a case, you should get expert advice from an adviser or the trading standards department at your local council.
Unfair contract terms
These regulations prevent lenders from:
If you think that there was a term in a credit agreement which you weren't aware of when you took it out, contact an adviser or the trading standards department at your local council.
Most credit agreements that consumers sign are 'regulated agreements' under the Consumer Credit Act. This means that they must be in writing and also explain, among other things:
Creditors who arrange credit using regulated agreements can take court action against you only if you have signed such an agreement. Creditors cannot enforce payment if they haven't given you an agreement to sign. You can get advice on other details of the Consumer Credit Act from:
Pressure to sign
The most likely situation is if your husband or wife or partner persuaded you to sign a secured loan agreement (a mortgage, for example) which was entirely for their business. But you must also show that the lender didn't explain to you how the loan worked, and that you should have got independent advice before signing.
This law is complicated, so if you are in this situation, you will need to get specialist legal advice.
Harassment to repay
If you are being harassed, keep a record of exactly what has happened and when, and report it to your local trading standards department at your local council. A creditor or debt collection agency could have its credit licence taken away if it is found guilty of harassing you (see 'Credit Licence' ).
If a creditor take court action against you without taking resonable steps to come to a realistic payment arrangement with you, you could defend (argue that you should not have to pay) the part of the creditor's claim that is for the court fee and costs.
This leaflet is published by the Legal Services Commission (LSC). It was written in association with Birmingham Settlement.
The leaflets are regularly updated but the law may have changed since they were printed so the information in them may be incorrect or out of date.
Leaflet Version: April 2019
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