Thank you Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS)
In response to the following question from CCCS, I have written a small post:
Q: “We’re running another #debtday social media event on Wednesday, this time focusing on our Counselling team and the stories they hear from clients. Throughout the day we’ll be tweeting about the situations people are in, and how they’re trying to cope. It would be great to have a story from the other side of the fence, so I was wondering if you could let me know how you found CCCS and our counselling when you were going through your problems, and any memories you have of the help you received.”
I know when I initially contacted the CCCS I was worried that they would be judgemental and I thought they would ask me what the money had been spent on. I expected to have to justify the reasons why we were in debt.
I remember sitting down with my husband and our massive debt file, a few days before I plucked up the courage to ring, and trying to jot down explanations for the debt and trying to tally up where the money had gone – and failing miserably.
It was therefore such a pleasant surprise when I got through to the CCCS to find the person I spoke to was calm, quiet and easy to talk to. He was overwhelmingly reassuring and did everything he could to make me feel at ease while talking to him.
I had already done an income/outgoings analysis so it didn’t take long for him to ascertain that we couldn’t afford to pay the full amounts to our creditors, he gave 2 options:
1. That I send the information to him and he would write to the creditors on our behalf.
2. That he would give me a CCCS reference number to quote and the wording for a letter that I could send to people myself.
I went for option 2 as I like to keep control of things. If you are a disorganised person or if you are finding the debt management stressful I can see that option 1 would be very appealing.
I quickly sent the letter out to our creditors offering them vastly reduced payments. The man from the CCCS advised me how to prioritse the debts so that we paid a higher percentage to the most important debts, leaving the non-essential creditors being offered a nominal £1 a month payment for the foreseeable future.
I remember a feeling of relief as I dropped those envelopes into the postbox. I think just knowing that we weren’t hiding from the situation any more was a huge weight off my mind.
Over the next few weeks I received letters back from some accepting the new payments. From others I received phone calls. For any of them who tried to demand more, I found that quoting the CCCS name and reference number made a real difference – they were much more accepting of the situation.
As detailed in my previous post, it did take me several years to repay my debt, but I couldn’t have done it without that first bit of support from CCCS. I know that if they’d been judgement or unkind when I’d rung them then I wouldn’t have had the courage or belief to tackle the debt problem. You make yourself feel bad enough when you are in debt, having someone else heap the shame on top really doesn’t help.
I offer a huge thank you to the CCCS for their kindness and support during that time.
If you are in any doubt – give them a call - 0800 138 1111.