Dealing with your priority debts

Returning hire-purchase goods voluntarily

You may be able to return the goods by writing to your lender to end your agreement. This is only possible if your lender has not already ended your agreement. You will owe up to half the agreement, any arrears and reasonable charges if the goods are damaged. If you have already paid half of the contractual payments, you will not usually be asked to pay anything more. Once you have returned the goods, you can treat any debt you still owe as a non-priority debt.

Dealing with your non-priority debts

Keeping the goods

If it is important to you to keep the goods, you may want to include the payments in the Your outgoings section of Your budget and treat this as a priority and not a non-priority debt. If you do this, be prepared to explain to creditors why you need the goods (for example, you need the car for work or you live in a rural area with very limited transport).

Working out your outgoings

If your lender will not agree to this, you may be able to apply to the sheriff court for a 'time order'. If this is granted, you may be able to keep your goods and make smaller reduced payments to your lender. Contact us for advice.

See our fact sheet:

Time orders.


What if my lender takes court action?

If your lender has taken court action, you may not have to return the goods as long as you agree to make the payments that the court decides. You can ask the court to pay less than your normal payments on the agreement if you can show that this is all you can afford to pay.

Extra advice:

get help

The law about hire-purchase and conditional-sale agreements is fairly complicated. If you are behind with payments on this type of agreement, contact us for advice.

See our fact sheet: 

Hire purchase and conditional sale.