Under the Administration of Justice Act, debt collectors cannot harass you into paying your debts.

This means they're not allowed to continually phone you, repeatedly visit you at home or hassle you in public.

They're meant to keep their attempts to contact you within reasonable hours too -so they don't have the green light to visit or call you at any time of the day or night.

What's more, if you ask to be contacted by email or post only then they must respect this request and can't get in touch through any other means.

So to stop unwanted phone calls or visits you should inform debt collectors that you only want to be contacted in writing (specifying whether by email or post).

Make sure you ask for written acknowledgement of your request and keep a record of all your correspondence with them just in case.

Can debt collectors tell your family you're struggling?

No, discussing your debt with a family member, friend or neighbour without your permission is in breach of data protection laws.

Debt collectors or creditors are not allowed to disclose your financial situation to anyone else, unless you give express permission for them to do so.

Can debt collectors contact your employer?

Again, speaking to your employer about your borrowing without your permission is against data protection laws.

What's more, unless your debt is a business loan, the company or collection agency cannot call or visit your place of work to collect payment unless you've given them permission.

If you have already been contacted at work you should tell the company not to call or visit you there again - if they do they will be in violation of the fair debt collection rules (set out by the OFT).