Consumer Debt Collectors and Bailiffs

Debt Collectors and Bailiffs are not as scary as you think! So, if you’re panicking, it should end here.

There’s a real stigma surrounding Debt Collectors and Bailiffs. Someone turning up looking like Bullet Tooth Tony in the movie Snatch, to help himself to your possessions.

If you’re a Debt Collector or a Bailiff and you want payment, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for the people to believe this sort of person will be knocking at your door if you don’t pay up.

You will learn today that the behaviour of Debt Collectors and Bailiffs (Enforcement Agents) must be a different from the stereotype you have in your mind, and it’s based on regulation.

Debt Collectors and Bailiffs must follow rules

Both Debt Collectors and Bailiffs (now known as Enforcement Agents) have set rules they have to follow. If they do not follow these rules they may end up in serious trouble. One things for sure, they are certainly not allowed to try and intimidate or make threats should you not be able to pay any money owed. So, no head down the toilet or anything similar. You should expect more of a “sir” or “madam” treatment should you ever have to deal with either of the two.

Who regulates Debt Collectors

Consumer Debt Collectors are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and are subject to their guidance. This means that if your debt is an unsecured Consumer Credit Act debt (such as credit cards, personal loans, overdrafts, store cards etc), the debt collector must follow section 7.3 of the Financial Conduct Authority Handbook.

What does this mean for you? Better protection. You will be able to do things like make Token Payments towards your debts. We have an article about this in the purple box below.

How should you handle a Debt Collector?

Debt Collectors can be straight-forward to deal with as they are well governed. We have a few key tips that you should take note of:

  • Always correspond in writing only
  • Never throw away the letters you receive
  • Don’t ignore the letters
  • Always check if your debt is Statute Barred before engaging in any conversation or making any payments.
  • Never feel pressured to make payments that you cannot afford
  • Remember, Debt Collectors are not allowed to suggest amounts for you to pay to them

These are some of the key points. we’re not just going to leave you with this though, you need more detail to understand these points. Just like magic, we’ve got articles in the purple box below to help you understand why these points are important.

Do not handle a Debt Collector like this

Ok, so we’re going to be really clear on this. There are certain practises that circulate on the internet that we never recommend you use. They may seem correct as a way to handle debt collectors but may not work practically. Not only that, your situation may end up far worse than it needed to be.

If you don’t know the methods we are talking about, have a read of the article 4 methods used to tackle debt you should avoid in the purple box below. It will give an idea of why we say this and what the consequences may be.

You should always handle Debt Collectors using the rules already in place for them to follow, they are there to protect you from bad practises.

The Real Debt Guy

You should always handle Debt Collectors using the rules already in place for them to follow, they are there to protect you from bad practises. Any information we provide you with to tackle your debt with a Debt Collector will be from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) or the UK government. So, you can be sure if you follow their guidance, you will be fine.

Who regulates Bailiffs (Enforcement Agents)?

There isn’t one set body that regulates Bailiffs, it depends on the debt, who the creditor is and who the bailiff is. The rules are clearly set by the UK Government in terms of how a Bailiff should behave while trying to collect on a debt.

We have a full article on what Bailiffs cannot do, what they can’t take and more in the purple box below.

What should I do if I have a Bailiff (Enforcement Agent) at my door?

First things first, don’t just do what the bailiff says, know the rules before acting. They are not sent out to intimidate you, they must act professionally at all times.

As mentioned before, we have an article that will give you signs to look out for to see if a bailiff is acting inappropriately in the purple box below. Here’s a few tips to note when confronted with a Bailiff :

  • Don’t automatically open the door as it is not a legal requirement that you let a Bailiff into your home
  • Never engage with a Bailiff without checking that they are who they say they are (more about this is in the article in the purple box below
  • Don’t act criminally towards the Bailiff (e.g., physically assault the bailiff or similar)
  • Don’t panic! Be calm at all times, remember the Bailiff cannot legally try and intimidate you.

It doesn’t have to get to this stage

It really takes a lot to get to the stage of a Bailiff knocking at your door, try and nip the situation in the bud long before you get to this stage.

We know sometimes things happen in life and you may not have been able to avoid this outcome. Make sure you read the articles on this page so at least you will know that Bailiffs are not something to panic about.

As for Debt Collectors, they are not something to lose sleep over. Your key take away should be that you are protected by section 7.3 of Financial Conduct Authority Handbook (so go and read all about that).

If you’re struggling to the extent that you can only afford to pay £1 per month, the Debt Collectors are expected to accept what you can afford. Visit our I need help with debt section to learn more about how to deal with your financial struggles.

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