An expert has expressed concern over methods used by lenders to collect money from debtors who cannot afford the repayments.
Judge Michael Tennant, president of the Association of District Judges, made his comments to BBC Radio 4’s Moneybox programme, saying debtors should not be "bullied" into agreeing to unrealistic repayments.
He urged people with problem debt not to take out further borrowing to pay off arrears, calling such a move "financial suicide".
"I see so many cases in which people come before the courts because they have obtained a loan to pay off arrears or carried out a remortgage without getting advice," commented the judge.
Borrowers who had been given advice could have found a better way to deal with their debt, he added.
Debt advisers can offer many solutions to people struggling with problem debt, including consolidation loans and individual voluntary arrangements (IVAs).
With an IVA, creditors are barred from approaching the debtor and must accept the court-approved monthly repayment amount.