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Debt Collection Agencies FAQs

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 19 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Debt Collection Agency Debts Collectors

The Office of Fair Trading has announced that complaints against debt collection agencies have rise by a third in the last year. With personal debt problems at an unprecedented level in the UK it is a good idea to know the realities of the powers of debt collection agencies.

I’m Being Contacted by a Collection Agency, Should I Pay?
In the first instance it is better to come to some arrangement with a debt collection agency. Make sure that the details they present regarding the debt are true; do not just take the collection agency’s word for it. Try to come to some form of realistic arrangement regarding payment terms and stick to the new payment plan.

I’ve Been Told I Don’t Need To Speak To Debt Collectors, Is This True?
You are under no obligation to speak to debt collectors; you could simply wait until the matter reaches the courts if this is an option for the agency. Debt collectors are not bailiffs and have no legal powers. Their job is to try to get unpaid money back to the company that has hired them.

What Can A Debt Collection Agency Do To Me If I Don’t Co-operate With Them?
There are really only two options open to a debt collection agency if a debtor does not co-operate. One is to recommend action such as taking the debtor to court for a judgement on payment. The other option can be to place a bad credit notice with a credit reference bureau, which will make it hard for the debtor to obtain future credit.

A Collection Agency Phones Me All The Time, What Can I Do?
If a debt collection agency phones repeatedly at any time of the day or in the evening or at work then this is harassment and the agency can be reported to the Office of Fair Trading. Making a collection agency aware that you know that they are using harassment tactics and that you will report them should be enough to stop telephone calls.

A Debt Collector Gave Me A Figure To Pay Each Month, Should I Pay This?
You should only pay if you can realistically afford the proposed amount. Reputable agencies will try to come to an agreed amount that a debtor can realistically afford. This should be worked out by taking into account financial expenditure and income. Do not just accept the first amount the collector proposes without actually working out if you can comfortably afford this.

A Debt Collector Says He Is Going To Come To My Home, Can He Do This?
Debt collectors cannot simply turn up at your home without your permission. This is harassment and the agency can be reported. They may tell you that an agent will call at your home on a give time and date. By agreeing to this you have given permission for them to call. If you do not want an agent appearing at your home do not give permission.

Can Debt Collectors Remove Assets From My Home?
Absolutely not, debt collectors have no legal powers to remove property or goods from your home. If any collector says they will do this then it is harassment and the agency can be reported to the proper authorities.

A Debt Collection Agency Says They Are Going To Arrest My Wages, Can They Do This?
A debt collection agency does not have the power to arrest a person’s wages. This can only be achieved if the matter is taken to the legal courts and a judgement is made in favour of the creditor. Some debt collection agencies will make threats such as arrestment of wages even if they know they do not have the power to do so.

A Debt Collection Agency Says I Am Responsible For My Ex-husband’s Debts, Is This True?
You would only be responsible for someone else debts if you have co-signed a loan. The other reason you can be held responsible is if you had acted as a guarantor for some form of credit for another person. If your ex-husband refuses to pay or cannot be found then you can be held liable for these debts.

Can I End Up In Prison For Not Paying My Debts?
The chances of anyone ending up in prison for non payment of debts are extremely slim. You cannot be sent to prison for not paying unsecured loans or credit card debts. You can be sent to prison for non payment of community charges, council tax and business rates. However, imprisonment is a last resort and courts will try to come to some form of payment arrangement before using this option.

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