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National Debtline

Advice you can trust


Debt topics

Finding the information you need

On this page we have created specific topic areas to help you find the information you need. There are links to further information about each topic.

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Business debts

Do you have debts from being self-employed?

  • Are you self-employed now?
  • Have you ceased trading?

Check out our business debt information to find out the best way of getting the advice you need.

Debt types

  • You may owe money to a number of different organisations. We refer to these organisations as 'creditors'.
  • Different types of creditors have different ways of getting their money back from you.
  • Think carefully about how to deal with each type of creditor. Use the information on this website to help you.

Court action

  • Creditors may take court action against you if you do not pay what you owe.
  • Different creditors may use different procedures and courts to try to recover their money.
  • Use this section to learn more about different types of court action and what you can do to try to prevent it from happening.


  • If you cannot pay what you owe, an insolvency option may help you.
  • Bankruptcy (sometimes called sequestration) and protected trust deeds are both types of insolvency.
  • Insolvency is a serious step. Use this information to find out if insolvency is a good way to help you deal with your debts.

Sheriff officers

A sheriff officer is an officer of the sheriff court. They act on behalf of creditors by:

  • delivering legal paperwork; and
  • taking steps to enforce a court order against you.

Ways to clear your debt

  • There are different ways to deal with your debts.
  • Whatever your situation, there is usually an option that is suitable for you.
  • Use this section to get more advice about the options that may be appropriate in your situation.

Credit reference agencies

  • Credit reference agencies hold information about your credit agreements, other debts and your payment history.
  • The information a credit reference agency holds about you is known as your credit report.

Dealing with creditors

  • Different creditors have different powers to get their money back from you. Some have stronger powers than others.
  • It is important to learn more about creditors' powers so you can choose the best option to deal with your debts.