What happens if you ignore debt collectors?

This guide aims to help you understand what can happen if you ignore Lowell, the potential consequences of ignoring debt collectors in the UK, and the legal action that might be taken. 

We know that being contacted about debt may at first seem intimidating, but at Lowell, we want to work together with our customers. That’s why we’re here to tell you more about what may happen if you ignore debt collectors such as Lowell and how we may proceed if we’re unable to get in touch with you.

This content is intended to be an impartial guide regarding what happens if you ignore debt collectors, specifically referring to how this works at Lowell. Lowell Financial Ltd does not offer financial advice. You can find out more about the organisations you can contact in our guide on debt help and support.

What happens if my debt has already been passed onto a debt collection agency?

Once your debt has been purchased by a company like Lowell, the firm will get in touch to let you know that the debt is now owned by them and not the original company you made a contract or agreement with.

If your debt has been bought by Lowell, you will receive a letter to let you know that the original company has sold the debt to Lowell.

This is called a ‘Notice of Assignment’, sometimes known as a ‘hello/goodbye’ letter, which says hello from Lowell and goodbye from the original company. It’s a legal obligation for Lowell to send this notice.

From this point on, we’ll work with you to explain the next steps and help establish an affordable and sustainable payment plan that you can control. For more on this, you can look at our guide on what to expect in the debt collection process.

What are the potential consequences of ignoring debt collectors?

At Lowell, we understand that it can be difficult to take the first steps towards resolving your outstanding debt. However, it’s important that you don’t just avoid the situation.

Below are some of the potential consequences of ignoring debt collectors in the UK:

  • Receiving further contact such as additional calls, letters, text messages, and emails asking you to make contact
  • An increase in the outstanding debt balance if any interest or charges are applied
  • Your credit score being negatively impacted
  •  A default notice sent to you or your agreement being terminated (you can read our default guide for more information on this)
  • A letter of claim sent to you
  • Legal action which could include your balance increasing, a County Court Judgment (CCJ), or bailiffs (enforcement officers) being instructed

Please note, this is a non-exhaustive list and just provides some examples of what may happen. For further information, refer to the communications that you have received or contact the firm directly.

Perhaps you don't recognise the debt as yours? Whilst we'd always rather speak to you directly you can write to us if you prefer. Our blog on Prove It letters has more information on what this might involve and how we can work together to figure out whether you are liable or not.

If you’re a Lowell customer, we’re genuinely here to help. No matter what your circumstances are, please get in touch with us. Our team are always there to listen and find the best way forward for you.

Alternatively, you can easily manage your Lowell account yourself through our handy mobile app. Our app allows you to look at your current balance and account history, and you can also use it to access your credit score for free.

What is a letter of claim?

You might have heard of communications from a debt collection company referred to as a ‘letter of claim’. This refers to a letter that may be sent if the firm has been repeatedly unable to get in touch with you, and have instructed a solicitor to issue a claim against you.

This letter will be sent in accordance with the relevant rules, which may vary depending on where in the United Kingdom you live.

In England and Wales, this letter is sent in accordance with the pre-action protocol. This is a letter sent to give you advance notice of legal action being taken against you, and to give you an opportunity to have your say or to request further information before any legal action is taken.

A pre-action protocol letter like this will contain lots of useful information, including:

  • Guidance on how you can respond to the letter.
  • Details about how long you have to respond.
  • Details about exactly how much debt is outstanding.
  • Information on how you can pay, including how you can set up a payment plan.
  • Contact information, so that you can speak to someone about your account, and find out what options you have available.
  • Information about independent and impartial organisations you can speak to for free advice.
  • Details about what happens if you ignore the letter.

If you ignore a ‘letter of claim’, or pre-action protocol letter, this could result in a County Court claim being issued against you.  

Can I ignore Lowell? What happens if I ignore Lowell?

We understand that if you start to receive letters from Lowell, you might feel concerned or overwhelmed.

However, at Lowell, we want to work together with you to set up a sustainable payment plan and to understand your circumstances. To do this, we may use our budget calculator tool to get a better understanding of your finances and what you can afford to pay.

If you’ve got any concerns or questions about your Lowell debt, we’ve got a team in place who are patient and mindful of your situation. They are there to listen to you and try to find the best next steps based on your circumstances.

It may feel easier to just ignore letters from Lowell, but this could end up causing serious consequences in the future, including us potentially taking legal action. Please see the below section for more information on what this could involve.  

If you choose not to get in touch and instead ignore Lowell letters, we’ll continue to try and reach out to you through methods like calls, texts, and emails. In some situations, we might work with third parties (i.e., debt collection agencies) to help us get in touch with you.

Lowell and legal action

If we reach out to you repeatedly and you choose to ignore Lowell letters and other contact methods, we may instruct Solicitors to take legal action on our behalf.

However, we would always prefer to work with you and start helping you to repay your debt through a sustainable payment plan. If your debt is with Lowell, you can get in touch with us and discuss starting a payment plan.

If your debt has been passed on to one of our third-party partners, such as a solicitor, you will need to contact them directly. Please refer to any direct communications from them for contact details.

If you’re concerned about legal action, you should seek your own independent legal advice. For additional guidance, you can read Citizens Advice’s guide on finding free or affordable legal advice.

Can Lowell take me to court? What powers do Lowell have?

If you don’t get in touch or engage with our instructed Solicitors, and a pre-action protocol letter or letter of claim has been sent, a claim will be issued against you, which could result in a Judgment.

This could mean that the amount you need to pay to settle your debt increases with interest, fees, and court costs. For more information about County Court Judgments in England, check out our guide to CCJs and how they can impact you.

Having a Judgment against you can impact your finances, but it is never too late to engage and set up an affordable payment plan, whether a CCJ has been obtained or not. If Lowell has been in touch, you can start getting your debt under control by responding to Lowell or the instructed Solicitors.

Will Lowell take me to court?

It is a misconception that having a County Court claim against you always means that you will have to attend court, or that you will be able to defend your case in a courtroom.

Many defended cases are dealt with digitally or by telephone, and there’s no need to physically attend a court. Where a physical hearing is scheduled, the instructed Solicitors will determine whether attendance at the hearing is required or not.

If you decide to deal with the matter by raising a defence to a claim, our Solicitors are instructed to attempt to resolve the matter before a hearing is needed. This can be done through court-led mediation, or through more traditional methods such as written correspondence or speaking to you over the telephone.

If you want to know more about how Lowell will work with you, check out our Next Steps page for more information.

Can Lowell take me to court in Scotland?

Scotland has a different legal procedure than England and Wales. This means that some of the steps and processes we take will be different.

In Scotland, decisions or decrees are the court processes used to collect debts. Whether you get a decision or a decree, this will remain on a public register for six years.

A decree is a money judgment and the Scottish equivalent of a County Court Judgment (CCJ) which we touched on in the previous section. This can occur in either the Sheriff Court or the Court of Session.

If you’re in Scotland and you have questions about the legal procedure, we’d recommend getting in touch with the Solicitors who have contacted you on our behalf.

For more information, you can read National Debtline’s guide on Sheriff Court action or visit the official Scottish Court website.

What happens if you’re unable to work with Lowell?

If you’re unable to work with Lowell, or don’t want to contact us and set up a payment plan, it could result in legal action being taken by Solicitors acting on our behalf.

Lowell would always rather work with you and help you create a sensible payment plan that works with your circumstances. We know that sometimes you might not feel like you’re in the financial position to be paying off Lowell, but we’re always here to listen.

If you’re struggling with your finances, there are always other options. You can read our guide on the different types of debt solutions for more information on the alternative ways you can resolve debt problems.  

Do I have to pay Lowell? What happens if I don’t pay Lowell?

If you ignore Lowell, or ignore a pre-action protocol letter from our Solicitors, a claim may be issued against you, which could subsequently result in a Judgment being made against you.

This would mean that a court has ordered you to pay back the money owed to Lowell. A Judgment can have a negative impact on your finances, and ignoring a Judgment can lead to further legal action being taken.

In some circumstances, if you ignore a Judgment, it could mean that enforcement action is taken, such as court bailiffs becoming involved. If you have questions about bailiffs, it might help to check out our complete guide on dealing with bailiffs.

It’s important to remember that at every stage, Lowell will be happy to work with you and support you in clearing your debt, using a sustainable payment plan. We’re here to help, listen to your situation, and understand how we can support you during the debt collection process. Where you have been contacted by our Solicitors, please get in touch with them directly.

For more information about how Lowell works with our customers and other debt-related topics, check out our Debt Hub guides.

First published: 10th September, 2021
Updated: 30th April, 2024