How To Deal With Debt Collectors
Debt collectors have every right to collect on a debt you legitimately owe. But to ensure that you are not misled or intimidated you should know how to deal with a debt collection company whenever you are approached for money. Having the information will help you to avoid the traps to get you to pay up. There are several rules and guidelines that a debt collection company should observe. There are various instances when a collection agency uses dishonest and illegal tactics. Thus, we have put together the various ways to deal with debt collectors.
Find Out What You Owe And To Whom
The very first step to take when dealing with a debt collector is to find out exactly what they want, how much they believe you owe and from where they have come from. You should try to gather all these information ahead of acknowledging that you owe them any money. Write to debt collection agency asking for a copy of the original credit agreement. You have legal right to ask for it. You can also tell them if you do not wish to receive telephone calls or home visits. If you do not have any knowledge about the debt, inform the debt collector in writing about it.
But if the debt is legitimate and you can afford to clear a part or all of it, the best solution is to pay up. Delay in paying back the money you owe is only going to create further hassle and it could also lead you to court and appointment of bailiffs in the long run. Once you have settled your debt make sure the company get it updated on your credit file.
What If You Are Unable To Pay?
If you are unable to pay the debt, you can agree on a repayment plan with the debt collection agency. But do not forget to seek advice from independent organizations such as the Citizens Advice Bureau, StepChange or the National Debt Line before you contact the debt collector to negotiate a plan. When you contact such organizations, you will be provided a grace period of 30 days by the collection agency. This will give you time to sort your finances and find out how much you can afford to repay.
Limitations Of Debt Collectors
The debt collector cannot visit you at your home until you have invited them to. They have no right to force their way in. They should also leave your property as soon as you ask them to. So, if you do not answer the door or do not let them in, there is nothing they can do about it.
Limitations Of Bailiffs
Usually bailiffs cannot enter your home or property without your consent until and unless you have unpaid criminal fines, unpaid Income Tax or unpaid VAT. They will break into your house as a last resort only after all other reasonable measures has been pursued.
Can Debt Collectors Acquire Your Possessions?
When it comes to seizing possessions, different rules are applicable to bailiffs and debt collection companies. As for bailiffs they cannot take away the things that you need for day to day life and items that does not belong to you. But they have the right to take luxury items from outside your home such as your car and garden equipment. Unlike bailiffs, debt collection companies do not have the right to take your possessions. They do not have the power to visit your home and discuss about debts.
Can Debt Collectors Take Wages?
Yes a debt collector can take your wages directly from your employer, but for that they should have court approval. Besides, they can get it only if you have had a CCJ for a certain amount of time. The court will then decide how much money the debt collector can collect and for how long. The court will then make the arrangements with your employer and confirm the company about the agreed amount that you owe.
Debt collator and creditor do not have the right to apply for an attachment of earnings order if you are self employed, unemployed or in the armed forces or the merchant navy.