Being in debt can be a difficult time. However, the stress can be compounded when someone comes to your door demanding payment. It is important when this happens to know what your rights are.
In simple terms someone pursuing a debt can contact you via letter, phone or by visiting your home. However, it is important to distinguish between a debt collector and a law enforcement officer or bailiff, with the former having no legal powers.
A collector is not allowed to go to your workplace, intimidate or threaten you, force their way into your home, take any items from you or clamp your vehicle. Again, it is important to emphasise this is different from a bailiff or someone who is an enforcement officer and a debt collector posing as such is committing an offence.
While a law enforcement officer can claim items from your home they should do so in a professional manner without the need for violence or threats. The debts they collect tend to be County Court Judgements (CCJs), non-payment of council tax, parking tickets or arrears in child maintenance payments.
However, this can be complicated by the fact that some agents are self employed and that some debts may be purchased and sold on to private companies.
What to do
Before letting anyone in or paying any money make sure you get ID. Where possible you should be contacting your creditors, and paying them directly as opposed to any third parties. This is why it is important to talk to them as promptly as possible and come up with an agreement.
Essentially the point is that it is better to stick with any agreements and payment plans. However, it is always possible to discuss debt advice with a helpline and talk to someone.
We can help
If you feel that a debt collector or bailiff has been acting in an inappropriate way then it is important to talk to us. We can look into the situation and decide whether or not you have a case.
Our philosophy has always been that we are ‘big enough to specialise, small enough to care’. This means that we have access to the depth of knowledge that our team can offer and find people who are best suited to represent you, as well as giving them the resources to present the best possible case.
However, in this instance sensitivity is important too and this is where being able to care is vital. Sadly, people often have the idea that lawyers are cold and only deal in facts. This is not true and as firm with a proud family history we want to look after our clients and make them feel they can trust us.
In the event of wishing to make a formal complaint or if you are trying to arrange a way to deal with a legal agreement with creditors please contact us today. With an initial consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals we can help you consider the options available to you and give you the best chance of getting out of a difficult situation.