Self-negotiators - the experiences of people in debt who negotiate with their creditors
Authors: Sharon Collard and Sara Davies
Funded by: Money Advice Trust
Published by: Money Advice Trust / Money Advice Service
Publication date: March 2018
Every year hundreds of thousands of people in financial difficulty engage with their creditors directly, a process sometimes referred to as self-negotiation. Some do this alone, using tools and information publicly available while others use the assistance of a debt adviser, for example to help them produce an income and expenditure statement to share with creditors.
This research provides insight into the factors affecting successful self-negotiation. It also looks at the roles played by the advice and creditor sectors in supporting people to deal with their debts.
The research outlines a number of factors that influence successful self-negotiation, including:
- the types of debt people have,
- the amount owed relative to available income, and importantly,
- peoples’ motivation and capacity to deal with their situation.
Communication is highlighted as crucial. In the study, when communication was good, people stood a much better chance of reaching agreement with their creditors. When communication was not quite right or the wrong channel was used, the process became lengthy and far more challenging.
The research also shows there are opportunities for greater partnership working between advice services and creditors to make the journey easier for people who choose to deal with their debts in this way.
The study drew upon the experiences of self-negotiators who received support from National Debtline and looked at the outcomes they achieved.