A recent Freedom of Information request made by the Money Advice Trust has shown that local councils used bailiffs to collect debt over 1.8 million times in the last year. This figure is staggering enough, but when you realise that this is only for councils collecting council tax and parking fines for example, the figure when including collections for other types of personal debt must be enormous.
One of the most distressing aspects of being in debt is the thought of bailiffs knocking on your door asking you for money. Many companies use this tactic to collect credit card debt, mortgage debt, debt arising from store cards and hire purchase, and many other forms of personal debt. If you have recently had a letter from someone you owe money to telling you that you may be visited by a bailiff or debt collector, it is important to know where you stand and what your rights are.
Bailiffs – your rights
In the majority of cases, you will not find that a bailiff pays you a visit without previously being warned of this in writing. Most companies will even warn you a number of times before sending a debt collector, as they would rather have you pay through a more conventional means without the trouble of arranging personal debt collection. If you receive such a letter, certainly at on it immediately.
If a debt collector or bailiff arrives at your property, the first thing you should know is that you do not have to let them into your home, or even open the front door for that matter. In the vast majority of cases, bailiffs have no right to make forceful entry into your property. Depending on the situation, if you allow a bailiff to enter your home they may take some of your possessions in order to sell and pay your debt. They may even be allowed to take property from outside of your home e.g. your car.
If you do decide to talk to the bailiff, you should always ask for ID to prove who they are. If you make a payment, always receive a written receipt so that you can prove what you have paid.
Although bailiffs do sometimes have the right to take your property, in the majority of cases a bailiff will simply ask you for what is owed, and if you cannot or will not pay, will advise you of further action that may be taken in future. Don’t forget, with most companies, if they send a bailiff to your home they will add the cost of this callout to your debt.
Personal debt advice
If you have been visited by bailiffs, or if you have had letters advising you that this is a possibility, it is still not too late to receive personal debt advice from experts. By contacting us here at Dissolve Debt we will be able to advise you on the best course of action possible in order to get your finances back under control. Complete our free online consultation, or contact us via telephone or e-mail today.