Debt collection – or more specifically debt collectors – can be a frightening prospect.
Not least because you know that your debt is sufficient enough to warrant a collector arriving at your home address in order to recover items of value to make up your payments.
What is a little unclear is what debt collectors can and can’t do. In this most tense and daunting of situations, it’s important to recognise what exactly debt collectors are legally authorized to accomplish.
First of all, what are debt collectors allowed to do?
They can write letters to your home address, phone you on your personal number and make a physical visit to your home to talk over the debt.
So, what can’t debt collectors do?
Well, they can’t enter your home without your consent. If you want them to leave – and you’re well within your rights to do so – then they must exit the premises.
In addition, unless it’s their first visit to the property, the collectors must pre-warn you that they are making a visit.
The collectors must be clear in why exactly they have visited your home, detailing the debt they want to collect and the potential action they are proposing to take. The collectors are not legally allowed to deceive you by waving imaginary court orders at you.
While the collectors have the ability to phone you or visit your home, they can’t do this in an excessive fashion which could be considered as harassment.
Debt collectors must not contact family members or make it known to others that they are collecting debt from you. The debt is your own private issue and they have no legal right to tell others about your financial situation.
Some people confuse debt collectors with bailiffs. To differentiate, bailiffs are hired by the courts and have more power than debt collectors, such as entering your home peacefully to take possessions of value to cover your debt. Debt collectors don’t have this ability.