Creditors 'hound' people going bankrupt

Nearly a third of people who are in the process of going insolvent claim they are still being harassed by creditors, research showed today.

Around 31 per cent of people who are in an insolvency procedure, such as going bankrupt or taking out an Individual Voluntary Arrangement or Debt Relief Order, said they were still being contacted by people and companies to whom they owed money.

People who had filed for bankruptcy were the most likely to continue to face harassment by their creditors at 44%, according to insolvency trade body R3.

Steven Law, R3 president, said: "It is astounding that individuals continue to be hounded by creditors despite coming under the protection of statutory insolvency procedures.

"The decision to file for bankruptcy is a difficult one that, once taken, is meant to stop the endless contact from creditors.

"That such a large proportion of bankrupts are not afforded the peace of mind they are entitled to is of grave concern."

The group also found that around 44% of people who took out a debt management plan also continued to be pursued by creditors.

A debt management plan is an informal procedure under which people come to an agreement with their creditors that they will repay a set amount each month.

R3 is calling for there to be a "single gateway" into personal insolvency as it found that many people started off looking at one procedure, only to find that another one was more appropriate.

The group said nearly a third of people who were currently in the process of going bankrupt, had previously been on a debt management plan.

Mr Law said: "We believe an assured moratorium from the court for up to 28 days would provide a breathing space for debtors to consider every option, and enjoy a respite from creditor pressure.

"During that period they would be obliged to seek professional advice before making a decision."

ComRes questioned 1,961 people who said they were struggling with debt during December and January.