Debt & Money Blog
UK Wide Debt Advice Charity
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My Friend/ Family Member is in Debt


We regularly hear from people who have recently found out their friend or family member is in debt. At Debt Support Trust, we don't only assist people with money issues, but friends and family who are worried about their loved ones. For most people, being in debt or knowing someone in debt is a difficult process; you have limited knowledge of the options available, it can be frightening and you may be unsure of the solutions which can help.

It's important to remember that there are debt solutions available and options which can help alleviate money worries. Whether the debt is an unexpected bill or multiple debts accrued over a longer period of time, there are solutions which can be explored. Together, we'll help you understand the pros and cons of each solution so that you or a friend/ family member can receive the information you need.

While many people still believe debt problems only occur because of frivolous spending, it's not the case and in many instances the debt has arisen because of a change in circumstances. For instance, a reduction of income because of a new job/ loss of hours at work, separation / divorce or the cost of living increasing resulting in an over-reliance on credit.

If you would like to speak to a debt advisor from Debt Support Trust, please call 0800 085 0226. Any conversation is confidential and we will not contact your friend or family member without their permission. We can offer you guidance and support to be able to best help a person struggling with debt.


Top Tips to Help People In Debt

There are a number of things you can do to help a person in debt. We've listed our top tips below:

  • Supportive - The first tip we can offer is to offer support. It may have come as a shock to you and you may initially panic and worry, however by being supportive you're encouraging a person in debt to take the necessary action to become debt free. Remember, your friend or family member will have been dealing with this debt for some time before you found out, so they may simply just need somebody to listen and reassure them. Support them in taking steps to regain control of their finances.


  • Positive - Reassurance is important for anyone in debt. Positivity breeds positivity so by saying "It's OK, there will be options" or "don't worry, we can get this sorted" you're offering positive reassurance that things will improve. That often gives a person the courage to speak to a debt advice charity and seek help.


  • Be Helpful - Offering emotional support is important but factual information can be useful too. Why not sit down and help complete a statement of affairs? We can help you with this. You want to list the monthly income, expenditure, amount of debt and monthly contractual repayments as well as finding out if there are any assets. This will help clarify the financial position for the person in debt and help them to see ways they could save money or whether they need debt advice from a registered charity.


  • A Problem Shared - Many people struggle to tell anyone about their debt problem, never mind their family or friends. Often when people call the Debt Support Trust charity helpline the feelings of guilt, anxiety and overwhelming pressure are evident. Through years of experience we know that anybody could find themselves in debt and that what's most important is supporting and empowering a person with money worries to be able to take back financial control. Understanding the journey a person in debt has taken to tell you about their financial situation is vital to being able to support them.


  • Guidance - Offering guidance can be invaluable to a person worrying about debt. For instance, you could agree to meet them to open their mail and collate creditor statements, gather necessary information about the debts and even be there to help them whilst speaking to a debt advice charity. People in debt can sometimes feel alone - by offering guidance and clarity you're helping them take positive steps to resolve the debt.


Try To Avoid

We've created a list of things you should try and avoid. These are often difficult because a debt problem can come as a shock, which you may be trying to process yourself. However, if possible, it's best not to:

  • Criticise - we often hear from parents, siblings and friends who are worried about someone in debt, where they'll say a phrase such as "I don't know how they could be so stupid". While it's not uncommon to think debt arises from overspending, it's not always the case and it's typically a problem which will have occurred over a number of years.
  • Ignore the problem - encouraging someone to deal with their debt will ensure they're taking steps to be debt free. By continuing to ignore the problem, it will make the issue harder for your friend or family member to take the steps they need to make to get the debt under control.
  • Take too much control - from time to time we speak to people who want to over-manage a person who has debt problems. This can include taking control of their bank account and liaising with creditors on their behalf. While this can be helpful at the initial stage, it's important to empower a person with debt worries to take control themselves. Try to act as a support but not take overall control to resolve the problem.


A Little Extra Support

Debt and money problems can occur for anybody - whether it's a celebrity worth £20 million or a retired pensioner who is struggling to pay an energy debt. The reason for debt is always the same; there isn't enough money to pay the necessary expenditure and cover the repayments to debts from the income available.

However, you can be a positive support to a person in debt. If they've trusted you to tell you about their money worries, we're here to help too. You can call us on 0800 085 0226 if you would like some advice or email us at

Thursday, September 13, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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5 Things To Do When Worrying About Debt

Often we speak to people who have been worrying about debt for a long time before they took the decision to get in touch with our debt advice charity. The typical person worries about their debt for a year before taking action and seeking advice.

It's normal and understandable for people in debt to choose to hide letters away in a drawer, stop answering phone calls, avoid friends and family and feel isolated, but there are things you can do to help alleviate the stress from debt.

What To Do When Worrying About Debt

We frequently hear from people who tell us the fear of being in debt and being unable to manage debts are left them feeling powerless, afraid and worried for the future. It may seem like the only answer is to ignore the problem, but that in turn only heightens the anxiety and worry. This can lead to people being unable to sleep or function efficiently in daily life.

If debt is the first thing you think about in the morning and the last thing you think about before you go to sleep, then you're not alone.

As frightening as it can be dealing with debt, it's the best solution to resolve the worry and anxiety. Our top tips if you're worried about debt, are to:

  1. Take a moment to just realise that debt impacts on a lot more people than you may realise. Debt is a problem, but that doesn't mean there aren't solutions to the problem. Often people have two or three different solutions which can help them become debt free again.
  2. Gather together your paperwork, find out how much debt you have and face it head on. This can often sound very easy, which it isn't, but doing this means you're in control again. This empowers you to know that you're taking the necessary steps to get your debt problem rectified. You may find that you owe less than you thought or it may be that you owe more, but either way you will be in a far better position to find a solution to your debt problem.
  3. Don't be afraid to talk to friends and family about your debt, it might just surprise you how many people you know who have been in the same position and you could gain strength in listening to how they dealt with it. Even if they haven't been in debt, a problem shared is a problem halved.
  4. Complete an income and expenditure, this will tell you how much money you have left each month to pay towards the debt or it may highlight areas of spend which could be reduced.
  5. Call a debt advice organisation and let an adviser go through the various options and debt solutions that are available to you. In some cases a debt solution may not be require but it's always best to find out the opinion of a debt advice expert. Again, just speaking to someone confidentially can unburden you. The people we help often comment the next day after speaking to an adviser that they "had the best sleep of their life" after speaking to our charity advice team for support.

You Can Be Debt Free

It may seem like your situation is unique and difficult, that no one will have an answer, but the truth is, you can be debt free.

By taking the brave step to face your debt problems head on, you can start to plan for your future again, one which isn't dominated by fear of bills or creditor statements coming through your letter box.

If you would like to speak with someone about debt worries then please don't hesitate to contact one of our friendly advisors on 0800 085 0226 or even complete our online debt test to check which options may be suitable for you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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That Debt Feeling

The feeling of being in debt is horrible. It's all consuming, often frightening and can leave you feeling isolated and vulnerable. The truth is that resolving debts and seeking debt advice can empower you to take a positive step financially and regain control, but how do you go about taking that first important step in the right direction?

We're often told in confidence about a debt problem - an issue family, friends or work colleagues may not even know about. This is because typically it's easier to speak to a friendly stranger than to discuss debt problems with your nearest family and friends. The feeling of debt can become so overwhelming that just talking about the debt can make the problem seem more manageable, particularly when speaking to experienced advisors who are friendly and understanding.

Life in debt can seem lonely, but by speaking to a debt advisor about your personal and financial situation, you're actually taking the first step. You're sharing the problem and allowing a trained and experienced advisor to identify options you may have to become debt free again.

Often there are multiple options to resolve your debts and in those situations, our role is to give you all of the positives and negatives to each debt solution so you're empowered to make a decision about your financial future. For instance, you could be suitable for an IVA and also a debt management plan so it would be your decision over which one you felt was right for you.

You can speak to a friendly debt advisor from our debt advice charity on 0800 085 0226 between 8am - 7pm Monday to Friday.

Debt Quote - What People Say

To help reduce the stigma of debt and open up the conversation, we're sharing some of the most common phrases we hear at our debt advice charity onto social media. These are phrases regularly said and reflect how people feel when seeking money advice.

From worrying  about being in debt forever, through to losing assets like a house, debt can make anyone feel like their options are limited, which isn't necessarily the reality. We hope our debt quotes can help you feel like you aren't alone, that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that there are solutions designed to help solve money worries.

We're trusted to listen and understand debt problems and then provide helpful, pro-active advice. We're there throughout the entire process and always in your corner. As such, our debt quotes deliberately don't feature people's names. These are phrases that explain just how debt makes many people feel.

If you would like to add your debt quote to explain how debt makes you feel, you can leave your quote in the comments section below.

Debt Help & Advice

If you're ready to take the first step and seek debt advice we're here to listen. We'll advise you on all of your options and discuss how you could resolve difficult debt problems. You don't have to follow any of our advice but it gives you the chance to talk through all of the options available.

If Debt Support Trust can help you today with debt and money worries, please call 0800 085 0226.

Monday, March 19, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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FCA Credit Card Changes

The FCA has announced credit card companies have until September 1st to implement new changes to the way they deal with people in debt, in a bid to protect consumers.

Following a study of 40,000 consumers by the Financial Conduct Authority, it is believed customers who are persistently in debt with credit card companies are paying an average of around £2.50 in charges & interest for every £1 they owe.

The new changes will mean credit card customers who are in persistent debt will have to be offered help to deal with their outstanding balance.

Credit Card Debt: When Is Help To Pay Offered?

The initial help should start when a customer has been in persistent debt for 18 months, with the credit card companies expected to offer the customer a warning about their financial situation and that they may have their card suspended.

Should a customer be in debt persistently for 36 months, the credit card companies will be required to offer an affordable repayment plan and possibly even reduce, waive or cancel any interest, fees or charges

Christopher Woolard, from the FCA, said

"Credit cards offer customers flexibility to manage their finances and repayments, but with this there is a risk customers can build up and hold debt over a long period of time, without making much headway on the outstanding balance,"

"Under these new rules firms will have to help customers to break the cycle of persistent debt and ensure customers who cannot afford to repay more quickly, are given help."

The FCA has estimated consumers will save "between £310 million and £1.3 billion a year in lower interest charges", thanks to the new changes being implemented.

Charity trustee of Debt Support Trust, Stuart Carmichael, welcomed the new changes and said:

"The problem with debt is that it's like being stuck in a hole. You want to be debt free and live a life without overbearing financial concerns, but the repayments to climb back out of debt are too steep - the problem has become too severe and it's almost impossible. Addressing the debt and helping consumers to repay what they owe in a manageable plan will mean fewer consumers are likely to turn to other forms of lending, which can often just make the situation worse.

If you have credit card debts and want advice on how to resolve them, you can speak to Debt Support Trust in confidence today on 0800 085 0226. A charity advisor can help you with all forms of lending and offer advice on which solutions may be best to get the debt back under control.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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Tips for paying off credit card debts

This week we helped someone at the charity with over £30,000 of credit card debt who was looking for tips to pay off her credit card debts fast. She recalled, "I can't remember spending the money, but I certainly know it's harder to repay the debt now I have it". It's always more difficult and time consuming to repay debt compared to spending the money at the time.

For some people the debt problem started, unknowingly, at a young age of between 18-21 and the debt issues continued from there. Regardless of how the debt was accrued there are always options to help become debt free once again and live a life without debt.

Credit Card Debt: The Debt Dilemma

When your unsecured debts, like credit cards, store cards and personal loans total more than your available disposable income, what options do you have available? You may not have enough money to pay your monthly bills and your contractual payments to debt, but there are debt solutions designed to help.

You can assess which debt solution could be right for you by completing the debt test and analysing your debt. You'll receive an idea of which debt solution could be the most applicable, but you could have two or three different options, so it's always best to speak to a debt advisor before proceeding with any debt solution.




Tips to Repay Credit Card Debt

There is some helpful advice we can offer to help you manage your credit card debt. Everybody's situation and circumstances are different and unique, so what will be suitable for one person may not for another.

For instance, if you're currently unemployed and unable to make your monthly contractual payments to your debt then it may take longer to become debt free. However, you can take control of your financial future by proactively speaking to your creditors and asking for a period of grace until things improve. Your creditors will likely offer you to make token payments to your debts - this is where you pay a set amount each week / month towards the debt. It won't be the contractual payment, but a more affordable amount. Your creditors could freeze interest and charges in the meantime so the debts don't continue to grow.

Tip 1: Seek advice

There are multiple reasons we advise you to seek advice about debt problems, but the most important one is that it's good to talk to someone else about the financial issues. "A problem shared is a problem halved" is very true!

The other reason is that a debt advisor could guide you through all of your options and help set you on the right path. If nothing else, you'll receive all of your options - along with the positives and negatives - so you can make an informed decision.

Tip 2: Talk to your creditors

Your creditors may be able to offer you some financial assistance to make the process of repaying the debt easier. Your credit card company may be able to offer you a better rate or support you while you try to pay down your debts.

Tip 3: Budget

One of the best tools at our disposal is a budget. It helps demonstrate just how much money is available to pay towards debts each month. Your budget should include all incomes (earned income from employment, pensions, benefits etc) and expenditures (rent/ mortgage, food, gas/ electricity, council tax etc) for each month.

You will then be in a better position to understand how much you can afford to repay towards your debt each month. If your monthly contractual payments to debts are more than you can afford then a debt solution may be required.

If you fail to meet your monthly contractual payments to your debt then a default may be applied to your credit file, which can mean that future credit is more expensive or difficult to obtain.

Don't Struggle Alone

Dealing with debt can be a difficult and frightening experience, but it doesn't have to be. Support and advice is available from our debt charity. Our advisors are friendly and ready to help with confidential advice.

You can call us on 0800 085 0226 between Monday - Friday 8am to 7pm. Alternatively, you can try our online debt test.



Friday, January 19, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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Support When Debt Problems Occur

We know that debt problems occur for various reasons and that struggling to deal with complex debts can lead to increased levels of stress, issues at work and trouble maintaining relationships.

In a recent conversation with we discussed how our charity has been helping people with money worries and what options exist.

The number of British people living in poverty has reached a 20 year peak, with more people 14 million people struggling to make ends meet. Rising inflation and the cost of living certainly haven't helped, with only yesterday the cost of rail fares being increased by, on average, over 3%. Many Brits are also finding that their rate of pay hasn't increased in line with the cost of living, which has resulted in their essential expenditures rising faster than their earnings.

With less money available to pay creditors, it can often lead people to seek debt and money advice.

How Do We Help?

As discussed in our recent article with, from the very first phone call we offer a sympathetic, non-judgemental ear. Our primary focus is to understand your personal and financial situation and consider which debt solutions would help you to achieve your objectives of once again becoming debt free.

We've helped thousands of people out of debt and usually there are two or three options available. When this happens we'll explain the positives and negatives of each option so that you're informed and empowered to make a decision on your financial future.

If you would like debt advice, please contact us on 0800 085 0226 where a trained and friendly advisor will be able to help.

You can read more about our service and our interview with here.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Debt Support Trust
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Christmas 2017 Opening Hours

Our debt advice team will be taking a well earned break over the festive period and as such our advice centre will be closed.

We've listed our opening hours below should you wish to get in touch.

Festive opening hours

Our opening hours between Christmas and New Year will be

Friday 22nd December - 8am - 12pm

Saturday 23rd - Tuesday 26th December - Closed

Wedneday 27th, Thursday 28th and Friday 29th December - 10am - 4pm

Saturday 30th - Tuesday 2nd January - Closed

We will return to normal support hours from Wednesday 3rd January where we will be open 8am to 7pm.

You can still use our website for information on debt and try our debt analyser which will give you a guide to which debt solutions you may be suitable for.

We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Debt Support Trust
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Christmas Debts

With less than a month to go until Christmas, the festive season has commenced - we've had Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas songs are being played on a continuous loop on various radio stations. We all know at least one person that embodies the spirit of Christmas and has their decorations unpacked and their tree shining brightly in the corner of their living room.

In previous years we've discussed tips to help save money at this time of year. However, this doesn't help, unless we know the underlying reasons people get into debt for a festive holiday. It's become a time to overspend and deal with the debt in the New Year.

In a recent survey for the Parentdex report, it was identified that a third of parents still have debt from last year's Christmas spending. Parent's spend on average £259 on gifts for children and in total, parents expect to spend over £800 more between Christmas and New Year than they normally would. The survey found that mothers are better at saving money than fathers, however overall a third of parents will turn to credit cards to meet additional costs.

How does debt impact on your Christmas?

We asked people in debt to summarise their feelings about Christmas and the majority said they would cancel the holiday. Debt leaves people feeling unsure about their future, but most felt they were obligated to make a financial commitment for their family and children.

The obligations for families at Christmas can result in overspending to meet expectations and parents often don't want their children to experience a Christmas "going-without". It's a very natural feeling, but it can result in long term financial problems.

Debt is rarely, from our experience at Debt Support Trust, a short expensive spending spree. A debt problem occurs gradually - the average person seeks advice after accruing debt for seven years  - followed by a period of worrying about the debt, before contacting our charity.

Dealing with debt before Christmas

If you want to manage your debt before Christmas and understand which debt solutions you would be applicable for before the New Year then you can speak to a debt advisor in confidence at Debt Support Trust.

We'll assess your circumstances and explain which debt solutions you would be suitable for. We can also offer some budgeting advice if appropriate.

Speak to a friendly debt advisor on 0800 085 0226 between Monday to Friday 8am to 7pm. Alternatively, why not complete our online debt test and receive your result with recommendations for debt solutions?

Tuesday, November 28, 2017
Debt Support Trust
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Childcare Financial Pressures on Families

The shocking impact of the cost of childcare on a family's finances has been revealed by Admiral Loans, with childcare costs overtaking the cost of mortgage payments.

As part of a UK-wide investigation, the provider researched the cost of nursery fees around Britain, assessing average childcare bills against mortgage payments and salaries in 13 cities. The results show that parents are paying a significant portion of their earnings towards childcare - in some cases up to 55% of one person's salary.

Parents in Glasgow are paying the least for childcare, with a full-time place for a child under two coming in at an average of £799 a month. This is followed by Liverpool at an average of £860 per month and Plymouth at £884. London is the most expensive, with average fees an eye-watering £1,383 per month, almost £600 dearer than Glasgow. Meanwhile, average childcare fees in Bristol tot up to £1,142 and Southampton to £1,050 making them the second and third most expensive cities, the research found.

The investigation also found that a parent could be spending between 41% and 56% of their net wages covering childcare costs, leaving them an average of £1117 a month* to cover mortgage or rent, council tax and household bills, groceries, transport and other costs associated with raising a child.

It means that for couples who are both going out to work, more than a quarter of their joint income might need to be set aside each month for childcare. For single parents, more than half of their earnings could be lost before they've even begun to pay for necessities and other bills.

The breakdown: Where do parents pay the most childcare in relation to their salary?



Average monthly childcare cost

Childcare as a % of one average salary





















































In 6 of the 13 cities - Manchester, Birmingham, Plymouth, Liverpool, Nottingham and Glasgow - monthly childcare bills were found to be higher than average mortgage payments. The price of an average house in each city** was used to calculate monthly payments, based on a 25-year term, with 95% loan-to-value.***

And in London, Cambridge, Southampton, Bristol and Newcastle, an average worker would not earn enough to cover both full-time nursery costs for one child and average mortgage payments. This means families, particularly those with single parents, could be at risk of falling into debt if they want to continue with their careers past parenthood, or else be forced to stay at home because it is not financially viable.

Mortgage + childcare - how much is left?



Average monthly take home salary

Average monthly mortgage payment

Salary left after childcare and mortgage costs paid


































































And for those who want to expand their family, putting two children into full-time nursery would mean a parent on an average salary would have, at best, £400 a month after paying for childcare bills.

Two children in childcare - the costs



Monthly childcare for two children

Wages left after paying for childcare for two children





















































Scott Cargill, UK CEO of Admiral Loans, said: "Our research shows the cost of childcare can be a huge burden on new families. Parents who have taken maternity or paternity leave may already be under financial pressure after being on a lower income during their time out of the workplace and may be squeezed even more when the cost of childcare kicks in.

"New parents have a lot of additional costs to consider. For families already on a tight budget, anything that pushes their spending further, such as holidays, Christmas or birthdays, can tempt people into looking for ways to ease the strain.

"Payday and short-term loans that alleviate immediate financial stress can seem like a quick fix, but can make life more difficult in the long term. Parents considering taking out a loan should think carefully about all the options available to them and even whether a loan is right for their financial circumstances. Being clear on the interest rates and ensuring loan repayments are sustainable, is key to ensuring hard-working families don't fall into a financial trap they can't escape from."

Stuart Carmichael, of the Debt Support Trust said: "Many families face a financial dilemma after a child is born and it's a problem which needs to be addressed. While efforts have been made to make it more affordable for parents to return to work after the birth of a child, for low income families, the financial benefit can be very limited.

"We are concerned that more people could be turning to high interest, short-term loans to bridge financial gaps, which are a temporary solution at best and could lead to additional stress and worry further down the line.

"For those struggling with the costs of raising a family, there is help out there and we would urge people to get in touch with us for advice before they feel they have to turn to desperate measures, which may make the situation worse in the long term."

Admiral Loans have developed a cost of childcare tool to help families plan ahead:

Tips to help ease the stress of the cost of childcare:

  • ·      Consider childcare voucher schemes - many employers offer this and it can reduce the cost of childcare, with the bill coming directly out of your salary. The government has also launched tax-free childcare for children under 4.
  • ·      Ask family to help with childcare - an increasing number of grandparents are looking after their grandchildren to help ease the burden of childcare costs. They may also be able to get contributions towards their National Insurance.
  • ·      Do your research - looking into other childcare options, such as a nanny shared between a group of you, or a childminder, might provide cheaper options. Ultimately it needs to be a place you are comfortable leaving your child, but make sure you factor in all costs so you can make an informed choice.
  • ·      If you are concerned about getting charged late pick-up fees from nursery, speak to your employer before returning to work to see if flexible hours would be an option. You have the right, by law, to ask for this.
  • ·      Discuss budgets before planning a family so there are no unexpected surprises that you haven't planned for.
  • ·      Avoid taking on extra debt that you can't keep up repayments on. It can be easy to go for quick fixes, but ultimately, they could put you under more pressure further down the line. Think about whether you can afford the repayments and whether it is the most cost-effective solution.
  • ·      Seek advice. Charities such as the Debt Support Trust offer practical solutions to people who are feeling the pinch.
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
Debt Support Trust
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We Aim To Please

Debt Support Trust is nearing its 7th birthday and it's left us in a reflective mood. From our research we found out that people often spend seven years accruing debt before realising they have a problem and need some advice. In our last seven years we've helped advise on millions of pounds worth of debt and supported tens of thousands of people to become debt free.

The advice we provide at the charity is intended to be holistic - we look at every option and provide the positives and negatives of each solution based on your unique personal and financial situation.

We aim to please

At the charity we feel privileged to help people at a difficult period in their life. Nobody ever wants to be in debt as it's not a pleasant feeling. Consequently, we take our responsibility seriously to ensure that every debt solution is explained in detail and help you with advice to become debt free once again.

We received a lovely email today which reminds us that the advice and support we offer is valuable and that while we may never speak to the people we've assisted ever again, that at that moment in their life we were able to offer guidance and comfort. You can read the email below:


I am now only a couple of steps away from the end now.

I've been up late cleaning up my affairs (on a Friday night, party on!) and thought I'd best write to you to express my most sincere gratitude to yourself.

I've been ignoring my debt for years, but when I finally decided to bite the bullet, I could not have hoped for somebody like you to answer the call. I knew that I would have to pay the debt back somehow - that I could not ignore as it wasn't technically my money to spend, but I feared that the pay-back was going to be dreadful.

What you've done was above and beyond the call of duty. I cannot sing your praises enough. You took an almighty weight off my shoulder and got me on the right track.

I have spent many, many years answering telephone calls in my line of work, and the service you provided was exemplary.

I do hope that management get sight of this email, it really is individuals like you that make all the difference in today's day and age.



Monday, September 18, 2017
Debt Support Trust
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