How do I find out who I owe money to?

Published by on 09 July 2012.
Last updated on 09 July 2012

Q

Some years back I had my own business but I ran into financial difficulties and closed down.
I had to move house and find a new job to stay afloat and during this time all my debts got put to one side.
I have now paid off some of my debts and am trying to become solvent.
My problem is that I have lost track of who I owe money to.
Is there anyone who could find out and help me put a plan in place so I can get out of this mess?

From:
KM, Otham

A

The quickest way of determining who you owe would be to get a copy of your credit reference file. This is a factual record of how you have conducted yourself with credit, and information is stored for six years.

For a small fee you can request a copy of your credit reference file at any time, either by post, over the internet or by telephone.

There are three credit reference agencies: Experian, Equifax and Callcredit, and I recommend you request a copy of your file from all three, as the information they hold may differ.

This will also let you know if any of your creditors have taken any recovery action against you. If any of them have, it is important you seek specialist advice as soon as possible

Tax debts

As you ran a business, it may also be worth contacting HM Revenue & Customs to make sure you don’t have any outstanding tax debts.

Once you have established your situation there could be several different options for dealing with outstanding debt.

[Video:1]

The first step would be to complete a monthly budget sheet. This involves listing all household income and essential expenditure. Essential expenditure refers to the bills that keep the roof over your head, but notany credit debts.

The amount of money left over after covering the essentials will help identify what options are available to you.

You could use this excess income to informally negotiate affordable repayment rates with your creditors. If there is a minimal amount left over, you could even make token offers of £1 each month. The lenders could agree to freeze any interest and charges.

If you would like some more in-depth advice about any of the options mentioned, you can contact National Debtline on 0808 800 4000 or go to nationaldebtline.co.uk.

If you have any questions relating to business or trade debt, you could also contact Business Debtline on 0800 197 6026 or at bdl.org.uk. Both services are free of charge.

This article was written in response to a reader’s question. If you have a financial or work/career question that has left you scratching your head ask our panel of experts who will aim to shine some light on the matter.

Ask our experts