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Unenforceable credit agreements

Borrowers and hirers are able to ask creditors to send them information about their credit agreements. If information is not provided within 12 working days, the debt becomes unenforceable until they get the information they asked for.

Sections 77, 78 and 79 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 outline the information creditors must provide to debtors under fixed-term, running account and hire agreements.

Under these sections a debtor can pay £1 to get:

  • a copy of their agreement
  • copies of some of the other documents mentioned in their agreement
  • a statement of account.

If this information is not provided within 12 working days the debt becomes unenforceable. This means a creditor:

  • cannot:
    - make the debtor pay the debt before they're supposed to
    - get a court judgment against the debtor
    - take back anything hired or bought on credit, or take anything used as security in the agreement.
  • can:
    - ask debtors to pay what they owe
    - send a default notice
    - pass information on to a credit reference agency
    - pass information on to a debt collector
    - sell the debt to someone else
    - take the case to court.

If you are a business and would like more detailed guidance, download OFT1272 - Guidance on section 77, 78 and 79 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 -  the duty to give information to debtors and the consequences of non-compliance on the enforceability of the agreement (pdf 330kb).

If you are a consumer and would like more information or you are a business that would like to send information to your customers view OFT1266 - Need information about your credit or hire agreement? (pdf 83kb)

Back to: Consumer Credit Act

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