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From the UK: The 2 Main Reasons Why People Don’t Pay Their Bills

By on March 10, 2016

Years ago in a galaxy far, far away, I worked for one of the world’s largest auto finance banks, Ford Credit. I started there as a customer service representative, basically a collector, I collected delinquent car payments, but I eventually moved on up to become a Credit Analyst, and be the person that granted the loans.

Going from one side of the fence, collecting past due accounts, to the other side of the fence, granting loans, is a quantum leap, and requires a different mindset.

You go from hearing excuse after excuse as to why someone has not paid their car payment, and having to repossess cars, to reviewing credit applications, underwriting them, and then making the decision to grant the loan. Everyone seems suspicious to you.

Ford’s philosophy at the time was they believed that everyone wanted to repay their loans. It was that positive approach that helped in trying to not just understand why someone did not pay their car payment(s), but also aid you in wanting to help them, and find a solution for them.

There are two (2) main reasons why someone does not pay a bill or payment, from there we have a few sub-categories:


shutterstock_1610514771) They Cannot Pay Their Bills.

For some reason, usually outside of someone’s control, they cannot afford to pay an account or their bills.

Loss of a job/redundancy: Losing one’s job or being made redundant, is one major reason people find themselves suddenly unable to afford to repay their debts and monthly bills.

Unless you have an emergency savings fund just for such an occasion, you are not going to get by on benefits if you have debts and high bills

There are eight (8) million people in Great Britain living pay cheque to pay cheque, or month-to-month. 

According to a Shelter, a housing charity, one in three people “are potentially one pay cheque away from being homeless”. 

The Chief Executive for Shelter, Cambell Robb commenting on the figures and what they showed, “an alarming picture of a nation where the buffer between having a home and potentially becoming homeless is a single paycheque”.

He added, “Millions are living on the edge of a crisis, only secure in their homes for a matter of weeks. At the same time, support for people who have lost their homes is being stripped away – it’s easy to see why every fifteen minutes, another family in England finds themselves homeless.”

No one wants to be homeless, and if they could afford to continue paying the rent or mortgage, they would. However, they may not have the money to do so.

Medical Issues: This could be a sub-sub-category of losing one’s job. Not being able to work due to illness is once again out of your control. You may receive sick pay, and if it is a long-term illness, you may receive disability benefit, however if you have high bills or debts, you may not be able to afford to continue to service them.

When you want to pay your bills and you cannot due to not having the money, it creates a double stressful situation.

Not only do you have to deal with not being able to pay your accounts and bills, you also have the address stress of why you cannot pay them; either due to a loss of a job, medical issues, or other reasons outside your control.


shutterstock_1719398542) They Do Not Want To Pay Their Bills.

I realise this sounds a bit harsh, and seems to go against the Ford philosophy I have previously mentioned. However, there are times when people just don’t want to pay their bills, and while it can fall under not being able to pay the bills, there is a conscious decision being made not to pay them.

Substance Abuse: If someone has an alcohol or drug addiction, paying their bills is one of the last things on their minds. They are thinking more about their next drink or getting their drug of choice than worrying about making payments.

Fortunately, if there is an upside to this, once a person in this situation stops paying their bills, their credit gets trashed and they are not going to be able to take out any more loans or accounts.

The downside is that some people live a perfectly good and normal life, and then go off the rails, and choose to stop making payments.

Sociopaths: Oddly enough, there are those people that feel society’s conventions are not meant for them. They are sociopathic in how they live their lives. 

I have met and tried to assist those that fall into this category and it difficult at best to get them to realise their situation.

As I mentioned I worked in the auto finance industry for a few years. In all that time I met two individuals that took out a loan to buy a car, and had no intention whatsoever of repaying it. They never even made the first payment. They bought the car, drove off, and never made a single payment. One person drove the car off the lot never to be heard from again. Their family and friends knew where they were, and had contact, but they never contacted us or made a payment.

The second individual I had constant and ongoing contact with. They would phone me once a week, just to chat. This person had no intention of making a payment, and even told me so.

Both these people were never found and in essence got a car for free. 


shutterstock_314616629Some Interesting Reasons People Give For Not Paying a Bill

Collecting car loans was a challenging and interesting job, and so were some of the many reasons why people stated they had not made the payment.

Some of these reasons are like the “dog ate my homework” excuse a child may give.

Fear of a low balance: Not paying a bill as you don’t want to see your bank account balance drop.

New bank account: I have opened a new bank account and have not transferred my direct debits over yet. 

Issues with prioritising: There are those people that struggle in deciding what bill is to be paid first and what is further down the bill-chain. 

December – January: This excuse is a beauty. Some people do not pay their bills in December so they can have a good Christmas, before tackling the bills in January. Not a good excuse.

So unless someone falls into category 2, and just don’t want to pay their bills, if you find yourself struggling to make ends meet, there are always options, and just like Ford Credit, the majority of lenders and creditors are willing to help you, and believe you want to repay your debts and bills. 

,Years ago in a galaxy far, far away, I worked for one of the world’s largest auto finance banks, Ford Credit. I started there as a customer service representative, basically a collector, I collected d

This article by Jon Emge was syndicated by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.

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