Debt collector worries? Don’t panic. Inform yourself.
No-one wants a debt collector at the door – but if it’s going to happen, there’s no point trying to ignore it. When you’re faced with debt problems of any kind, facing up to them is important.
To do that, of course, you will need to know where you stand. It’s also important to be aware of the difference between a debt collector and a bailiff as they both have different rights so will need to be dealt with in different ways. You might mistakenly feel that bailiff’s are the sort of measure that only serious debt companies or even loan sharks might employ but actually – according to this recent article from the BBC – local councils are using bailiff’s more and more (Somewhat excessively in the eyes of many) in the collection of unpaid council tax. So we can see that it’s even more important than ever to know your rights and be prepared for every possible outcome. We think the tips in the following infographic are extremely useful and I’m sure that you will find them useful too. They have been supplied by debt management company Gregory Pennington.
What can’t debt collectors do?
Like anyone else, debt collectors have to follow the rules when they’re doing their job. In fact, there are strict rules about debt collection: the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has published specific ‘debt collection’ guidance that applies to ‘all businesses engaged in the recovery of consumer credit debts’.
The guidance gives examples of the kind of methods that the OFT considers ‘unfair or improper’. The OFT has the power to revoke a company’s credit licence if it doesn’t think they’re fit to hold one, so debt collectors take this seriously.
For instance, they’re not allowed to:
- Send you documents designed to look like official court documents.
- Present information in a way that exploits your lack of knowledge.
- Use things like Latin phrases or technical / legal language in their communications.
- Ignore any reasonable requests you make – like asking them not to contact you at certain times if you’re a shift worker.
- Tell you that they can take action (like trying to make you bankrupt, for example) when they know that’s not actually an option.
- Pressure you into borrowing more money or selling your property.
- Pressure you into paying more than you can afford without ‘experiencing undue difficulty’.
- Send you postcards or leave you answerphone messages that could let someone else find out that you’re dealing with a debt recovery business.
So that’s the kind of thing they aren’t allowed to do. To find out what you should do, check out the ‘When the debt collector calls’ fact sheet from Gregory Pennington.