If you’re being contacted by a company called Arvato about debt, you’re not alone and there are lots of ways to deal with it.

Arvato Financial Solutions are a debt collection company. As well as collecting debts on behalf of their clients, they also buy “bad debts” from other companies (these include everything from bank debts to credit card debts) at a fraction of their cost, and then chase the debtor for the full amount. If you’re hearing from Arvato, it might be because you owed money to another company, and Arvato has bought the debt off them.

Arvato have a lot of ways of chasing debtors to make payments, and this can be a stressful experience. Don’t worry – we’ve put together a list of things that debt collectors like Arvato are legally unable to do, so that you know your rights.

Most importantly, you have lots of ways to deal with Arvato and other debt collectors for good. You can stop anxiety-provoking communications and put an end to your debt in a way that protects the wellbeing of yourself and your family. We’ll look at a few of these options in detail.

How do I deal with Arvato Debt Collectors?

You can deal with Arvato Debt Collectors by agreeing to a debt repayment plan that works with your finances, or getting your debt wholly or partly written off with an Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) or Debt Relief Order (DRO).

If you are in severe debt, you may choose to declare bankruptcy to get your debts written off, although this is not a decision to be taken lightly, as it will seriously affect your credit score and assets.

Let’s dive into each of these options, so that you can explore the one that is right for you.

Check if you actually owe the money

If you’re contacted by Arvato Debt Collectors about debt, the first thing to do is to establish:

  1. Whether you actually owe the money
  2. Where the debt has come from, and the original amount that was owed

Check whether the debt belongs to you, and that you recognise it. Arvato could be chasing a former tenant or roommate for the debt, rather than you. Debt collectors will sometimes just send out letters to several people with the same name, hoping that somebody will fall for it and pay the debt. This is unethical and against official regulations. If you have reason to believe that this has happened to you, report it straight away to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Write to Arvato and ask them to send you a copy of your original credit contract. If they can’t give you this information, you have no obligation to make any payments to them.

If they send you your original credit contract, use it to find out the original amount you owed. Debt collection companies like Arvato are likely to add on extra charges, as well as interest to your debt. It is unlawful for any debt collection service to demand more than 8% interest on a debt that is owed, so if any debt collector demands more than this, refuse to pay it.

Your options for help

So, you’ve looked at all the necessary information, and found that you do owe the debt. The good news is that you have plenty of options to deal with your debt, and even get it written off.

Getting Arvato to stop contacting you

The experience of being hounded by creditors for money you don’t have is really stressful and debilitating. The first thing people often ask is: how can I get Arvato to stop contacting me? You can ask Arvato to contact you via letter rather than making phone calls, which may reduce the intensity of the stressful communications. Sometimes, you can demand a 30 day grace period to work out how to manage your finances, where your creditors will not be allowed to contact you. However, the only way to stop Arvato bothering you for good (and potentially taking you to court if you continue to ignore payments), is to take action against your debt with any of the following options.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

An Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) is a government approved debt help scheme, which helps you if you’re struggling to repay your debts to Arvato or any other creditor. An IVA is a formal agreement made between you and the people who you owe money to, and it is managed by an Insolvency Practitioner.

An IVA allows you to pay back a small percentage of your total debt, and get the rest of it written off. At the end of the IVA (which runs for 5-6 years), no matter how much money you have left to pay back, the debt gets cleared. You will make small, monthly payments towards your debt, based on what you can afford. Don’t worry: you will always be able to meet your essential household needs, as your Insolvency Practitioner will look at your expenses and decide a reasonable amount for the monthly repayment, based on what you can afford. IVA Advice offers free, qualified advice on whether you are eligible for an IVA, and how to arrange one.

Debt Management Plan (DMP)

DMP either through a charity or a debt management company, allows you make reduced payments to Arvato based on what you can afford, and freezes the interest on your debts. This means that you can focus on repaying your debts and seeing the figure go down, rather than the stress of constant added interest.

You’ll get a debt adviser who will look at your essential expenses, and calculate what you can actually afford to repay to your creditors. Your adviser will deal with your creditors on your behalf, meaning that Arvato is no longer allowed to contact you directly. You can also protect your valuable assets, such as your home or car, which protects you financially for the future.

As well as helping you pay your debt at a manageable rate, Debt Management Plans prove that you have taken action on your debt. This is far better than continuing to ignore debt and Arvato, which may eventually lead to court action (don’t worry, you won’t go to prison for being unable to pay debts in the UK, but you may have some of your assets seized by bailiffs). Debt Management Plans allow you to protect your valuable assets, and at the end of them, your credit rating will look much healthier than if you had continued to miss payments, or had to file for bankruptcy.

Charities like StepChange and Christians Against Poverty offer free debt management plans.

Asking your creditors to write off your debt

You may have extenuating circumstances that make it impossible for you to work or contribute any money at all towards your debt. This may be because of a terminal illness, for example. In situations like this, you could consider asking Arvato to write off your debts.

If Arvato sees that they are unlikely to get repayments from you, you have no valuable assets that can be sold and you can prove that you’re in a situation where it is unfair for them to continue to pursue the debt, they may agree to write off some of all of the debt. If your debt is written off in whole, it won’t hurt your credit rating, as it will show up as ‘paid in full’. However, if your creditor only writes off your debt in part, this will show up as a ‘partial payment’ and affect your credit rating.

Arvato and other creditors are highly unlikely to agree to write off debts themselves, except in the most serious of situations, and they will require medical evidence and proof. It may be better to choose a DRO or IVA, as these will legally enforce your agreement with Arvato, and stop them from changing their minds about anything. As well as this, after the duration of the DRO or IVA, the remainder of your debt will be written off.

If you have a mental health issue that might affect your ability to make repayments, you can let your creditors know through a debt and mental health evidence form (DMHEF). This encourages creditors to be more considerate with you. When your creditor receives your form, they make appropriate adjustments to their debt collections process. Most creditors are likely to show more understanding if they receive a detailed DMHEF, which can ease the pressure on you.

Declaring Bankruptcy

In cases of extreme debt to Arvato or anywhere else, you may wish to declare bankruptcy. This is a very serious decision which, although it will wipe out your debt and allow you to make a fresh start in some ways, also damages your credit rating and will take any valuable assets. Please always consult a free debt adviser before deciding to go bankrupt.

When you are made bankrupt, your assets will be taken from you, except for household necessities and tools you need for work. If you own your own home, you could lose it. It is important to consider all options for dealing with debt and debt collectors, to discover which works best for your situation.

If they haven’t received any communication from you or your debt manager, Arvato could possibly try and make you bankrupt. However, they are much more likely to pursue other methods to encourage you to pay your debt. The methods above, for example, arranging a debt management plan or securing an IVA will ensure that Arvato can take no legal action against you, including trying to make you bankrupt.

Who to reach out to

We understand that dealing with Arvato debt collectors can be a very stressful and isolating experience. There are a number of debt advice charities which offer free advice and support around dealing with debt collectors like Arvato.

Christians Against Poverty (CAP)

CAP works with churches across the UK and offers free help, advice and debt management support. If you’re in debt to debt collectors like PRA Group, CAP will take all communications off your hands, and help you work out a budget so that you can pay off your debt while also meeting your necessary expenses. Anyone of any faith or no faith at all can get in contact with a CAP worker and receive support.

StepChange

Step Change UK is a debt charity that is funded through the government, UK banks and other donations. They offer a truly comprehensive, three-step process to evaluate your financial situation and will help you set up a debt solution with PRA Group and any of your other creditors.

Business Debt Line

If you’re self-employed and in debt to PRA Group, it might feel almost impossible to work out a repayment plan when your income may be inconsistent. Business Debt Line offers free debt advice to help you work out a budget where you can start to pay some of your debt off, while also meeting your reasonable expenses.

Your rights against Arvato Debt Collectors

Like any other debt collection agency, Arvato wants to make a profit from you. Debt collectors are less likely to care about your personal circumstances and potential financial difficulties, than they are about getting you to pay them. It’s OK, though, because you now have information on all the options you can choose to tackle debt, get it written off and stop creditors contacting you. If debt collectors ever use tactics such as pressuring, bullying or threats, these are against the law, and Citzens Advice Bureau has useful information on how to deal with abusive behaviour from creditors. Here is a list of things that Arvato debt collectors are not allowed to do.

Arvato group is not allowed to:

  1. Call you at work

Calling you at your place of employment, or letting anyone at your workplace know that you have a debt, is strictly against Office for Fair Trading (OFT) laws. The debt collectors who use this tactic want to embarrass you into paying up, and you should report them immediately.

  1. Contact you on any social media platform

If Arvato ebt collectors contact you via any of your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc.), keep a copy of the communication and report them.

  1. Contact you outside of 8am-9pm on working days, or at all on weekends and holidays

Arvato debt collectors can only contact you within these specific hours. If any of them contact you outside of these hours, mark it down and report them.

  1. Reveal the details of your debt to family members or friends

Similarly to calling you at your place of employment, debt collectors may try and put psychological pressure on you to pay them by revealing details of your debts to your family or friends. This is illegal and any debt collector who does this is in breach of both the laws established by the OFT, and privacy laws too. You should report them immediately.

  1. Add additional costs onto the debt that were not specified on the debt repayment contract.

Under UK debt collection regulations, the maximum interest that a debt collection agency can add to an account is 8%. If Arvato try to add more, refuse to pay it – you know your rights.

  1. Give false allegations or misleading information of any kind, for example, pretending that they have legal powers which they do not possess.

In the past, debt collection agencies have created documents which look like official court documents, or have lied to debtors and told them that the debt has already been through court, and that they are sending bailiffs to seize the person’s property. In fact, only the court themselves can send bailiffs, not a debt collection agency, so any debt collector who threatens this is breaking the law.

  1. Operate in a way that is considered threatening or abusive

If you feel physically or psychologically threatened or harassed by a debt collector of bailiff, you have the right to call the police. Any of the behaviours above come under the description of harassment by creditors, according to Citizens Advice Bureau.

Debt truly has a way of making us feel hopeless and alone. 13% of adults who face problem debt consider suicide, and it is a disgrace that aggressive debt collectors worsen depression and the risk of suicide among those in debt. Yet, the most important thing to know is that you are not alone, and that there are several actions you can take to stop creditors harassing you, pay your debt back at a rate that works with your finances, and possibly write it off altogether.