Do you receive Direct Debit failures due to ‘No Instruction’?

If you collect Direct Debits using your own Service User Number, you will receive feedback from Bacs about the transactions you send them. This will be in the form of Bacs Reports. You can access these via your Bacs Approved software, through your Bacs Approved Bureau, or directly from Payment Services website. They provide information about exceptions – i.e. transactions which have been sent to Bacs but cannot be successfully completed. They contain details of the transactions (to help you identify each one) and give a reason code, or ‘error’ code, to explain why the transaction cannot be completed.

A common error code received in Bacs reports is error code 6: ‘No Instruction’ – but what does it mean, why do you receive it and what action should you take in response?

Firstly, it’s important to understand which report might contain the error ‘No Instruction’. 

‘No Instruction’ on an AUDDIS Report

AUDDIS stands for Automated Direct Debit Instruction Service. It is the way in which Service Users can send information about new and cancelled Direct Debit Instructions to Bacs. The AUDDIS report provides information on rejected and/or returned Direct Debit Instructions (DDIs). It’s available after AUDDIS transactions are submitted to Bacs.

If you receive a failure due to error code 6: ‘No Instruction’, first you should confirm that it was in response to an attempt to cancel an existing DDI. (If you attempt to set-up a new DDI and submit a 0N transaction to Bacs to do this, you shouldn’t receive an error for ‘No Instruction’. It is because there is no instruction set-up that you are submitting the transaction).

If you have attempted to cancel an AUDDIS instruction and have sent a 0C to achieve this, then failures due to ‘No Instruction’ are possible. This typically happens if:

  • an incorrect reference is used for the 0C transaction. If the reference does not match the one used to set the Direct Debit up, it will not be identified on the account. The  cancellation won’t therefore be applied. You may wish to resend with the correct reference.
  • a payer / customer contacts you and ask you to cancel the DDI. They then also cancel it themselves e.g. directly with the bank or via their online banking app. When the payer cancels the DDI, it will be an immediate cancellation. When a Service User sends a cancellation, due to the Bacs cycle it will take 3 days to process. The transaction could therefore be returned as ‘No Instruction’ because it has already been cancelled by the payer. Ultimately, you sent the 0C because you didn’t want the DDI to be live. If Bacs tell you, they can’t cancel the DDI because it doesn’t exist – there is no further action required. 

‘No Instruction’ on an ARUDD Report

ARUDD stands for Advice of Returned Unpaid Direct Debits. The ARUDD report – available the day after your attempted collection date – provides information on Direct Debit collections that were unsuccessful. If an attempted Direct Debit fails due to ‘No Instruction’, this could be for a number of reasons. The appropriate next steps to take will depend on why the error code could have occurred, as indicated below.

Possible Reason

Next Steps

The AUDDIS instruction has not been sent to Bacs.

Send the AUDDIS file containing the transaction to ‘lodge’ the DDI.

The AUDDIS instruction was sent to Bacs but the collection request was sent too soon afterwards. The AUDDIS instruction did not have time to lodge.

Wait until there has been enough time for the DDI to lodge and attempt collection. Review software / processes to ensure there is time built-in to prevent this occurring again.

The AUDDIS transaction was sent but it failed and the DDI was not lodged.

Review AUDDIS Reports to ensure you haven’t missed any transactions that failed. Strengthen processes to ensure you don’t miss future advices.

The Instruction has been cancelled (or expired). Notification of this via an ADDACS report has not been actioned.

Review your ADDACS reports and processes to ensure you don’t miss future advices.

A different reference was used for the Direct Debit collection vs the reference that was lodged with the AUDDIS instruction.


If the AUDDIS transaction was sent with an initial error in the core reference consider cancelling and lodging with a correct reference. If the collection was sent with the incorrect reference, correct it and attempt collection again.

Volumes of ‘No Instruction’ failures

Whilst errors can be received for ‘No Instruction’, a consistent large volume of these would suggest the need to review processes. If Bacs reports are being actioned regularly; the correct submission sequence and timeline is being followed and the correct reference is used, the numbers of ‘No Instruction’ errors should be small – even with large volumes of transactions.

Still Got Questions?

See our related blog about Direct Debit failures due to error code 0: Refer to Payer or contact us with any questions. We are very happy to help!

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