The role of a debt collector can often be misunderstood, and many people believe they are the intimidating people that turn up at front doors threatening and forcing their way into houses to repossess possessions.
However, this is not the case, debt recovery agents have restrictions when it comes to pursuing for payments and all defaults and arrears payments will be recovered according to UK Laws, the Consumer Credit Act and Financial Conduct Authority. Therefore, the way they go about their job is a lot less menacing than what most people think but this doesn’t mean they can’t take action.
Here the role of a debt collector is outlined by what they can and can’t do:
To start with, a debt collector CAN’T:
1. They Can’t Threaten or Harass
Debt collection agents cannot threaten a debtor in writing, over the phone or in person. They must always remain professional and use businesslike language. They are not allowed to act in an intimidating way and cannot repeatedly call or contact the debtor or force their way into a property.
2. They Can’t Make an Arrest
A debt collector cannot arrest anyone for debt they owe to them. The only time that an arrest may occur is if a debt collector sues over debt and the debtor fails to turn up to court and then defies the court order.
3. They Can’t Be Deceptive
A collector cannot pretend to be something they are not just to scare or panic the debtor. They must be clear about who they are and their purpose for contacting the defaulter. Further to that they cannot lie about the consequences that may occur or threaten with illegal actions.
4. They Can’t Turn up at a Workplace
It is illegal for a debt collection agent to turn up at a debtor’s workplace. Debt collectors are prohibited from publicising a person’s debt or broadcasting the reason for their deployment, this includes turning up at someone’s workplace.
5. They Can’t Repossess Goods
Debt collectors are not the same as bailiffs or enforcement agents they cannot force their way into anyone’s property to repossess belongings. They are simply there to work out a payment agreement for the money that is owed to the creditor.
6. They Can’t Discuss Debt With Anyone Else
Under no circumstances can a debt collector discuss a person’s debt with anyone else apart from them, unless they are given permission by the debtor themselves to do so. Conferring with family, friends or employers without permission counts as a breach of data protection laws.
Despite that a debt collector CAN:
1. They Can Contact by Phone and Mail
A collector can contact you by phone between the hours of 8am and 9pm unless agreed otherwise with the debtor. They can also call a workplace unless they are instructed that the employer forbids such contact. A collector is also allowed to contact a person by mail but must not reveal any information on the outside of the envelope. They can visit you at home but only to speak to you privately about why they are contacting you.
2. They Can Contact Others to Get Information
A debt collector is permitted to contact other relations to the debtor for information about where they live or work, however, they must not disclose why they are calling. The only information they can divulge is their name and the name of their employer if asked.
3. They Can Seek Payments
A debt collection agents’ purpose is to visit a debtor to establish contact with them if they have failed to complete a payment. Their primary goal is to speak to the debtor discreetly about their debt and determine whether the debtor can set up a payment arrangement. They are only a representative of a creditor or entity that is attempting to recover outstanding payment.
4. They Can Sue for Payments in Court
If the debtor is not cooperative a debt collector can sue them for payment on a debt as a last resort. If a debtor loses by default (because they don’t turn up) this usually results in legal action that allows the creditor to take the money directly from the debtor’s bank account, otherwise known as a bank levy.
5. They Can Apply Pressure
Although a collector cannot threaten or intimidate a person in anyway, they can bestow a certain amount of pressure to the debtor in order to collect the payment. If they abide by the restrictions set, they can send the debtor frequent letters, call daily and mention a lawsuit if they intend to sue.
If you need to recover debts from someone that has failed to complete payments or become unresponsive a professional debt collection agency is the pragmatic way to recover your money. They will work on your behalf to quickly and efficiently reclaim the money you are owed whilst keeping you up to date on their progress.