If you have been receiving visits from an agent pursuing a debt it’s important that you know the difference between a bailiff and a debt collector. Although they are both ‘collection agents’, they each have very different methods and legal rights.
In this first of a two part article, we begin with debt collectors, explaining how to identify them, what authority they have and most importantly, how to get rid of them…
Debt Collectors and How to Identify Them
Although debt collectors can be working for either the creditors themselves or for a debt collection agency they commonly travel alone. They earn a commission for each debt they collect and as a result they tend to resort to manipulative salesman like tactics to get people to pay. For this reason they rarely take ‘no’ for an answer and can be persistent to the brink of harassment.
Unlike the general thuggish appearance of bailiffs, most debt collectors look like bland officer workers. Their uniform (if not a stuffed shirt and tie) will be a clipboard and pen, usually with an identity tag hung around their necks.
Many unwitting debtors confuse debt collectors with bailiffs however. This confusion is something that the collectors are keen to encourage, simply because it gives the misleading impression that they have the power to enter your home.
If you are ever in any doubt, ask your visitor if they are a debt collector or bailiff. They must tell you when asked.
Don’t Identify Yourself to A Debt Collector
No matter what official comes calling, it is their duty to identify themselves first. No matter if it’s TV licensing, electoral canvassers, Sky TV or the education authority. By law their identification must be shown on request and it must be made clear which agency they are working with. Always ask for this information as a matter of course.
If ANY doorstep official refuses to show you I.D. close the door and tell them to leave.
Debt collectors will commonly ask for your name the moment you open the door. Insist that they identify themselves first and tell you WHO they are looking for. It’s important to establish what creditor is on the prowl so you can take the necessary steps to get rid of them.
Once they have identified themselves it is entirely your choice if you wish to tell them who you are. You are under no obligation to identify yourself on your doorstep to anyone. Nor do you have to confirm or deny if you are the person they are seeking.
You are totally within your rights to evade or wilfully refuse to answer any question that is asked of you by a debt collector.
Never Show a Debt Collector Your I.D.
Even if you deny being the person sought, the debt collectors will not give up. They will more than likely demand proof of who you are by way of a passport, tenancy agreement or utility bill.
Again, you are under no obligation to provide a debt collection agent with identification. Furthermore allowing a debt collector to take down details or make copies of sensitive personal data would be a very bad move indeed, as this information is almost certain to be shared with the creditor or credit reference agencies.
Furthermore, if you have already denied being the person sought, having to hand over personal I.D. to prove who you are would be a breach of your Data Protection rights.
Never Talk to A Debt Collector
Don’t discuss any of your financial matters with debt collectors on your doorstep. Invariably they will ignore anything you say and will use your conversation as a tacit agreement that you owe the debt. In fact, wherever possible refrain from entering into any kind of conversation with debt collectors except to say ‘goodbye’.
If you must say something, ask them to leave the number of their office so that you can contact them by phone to discuss the matter. This will at least give you the option to find out more about the debt – if it is yours – as well as request account information and balance statements.
This way you can choose a time that is suitably convenient and private. Not discussed in full earshot of your neighbours on your own doorstep.
Debt Collectors Cannot ‘Ask Around’ About You
A debt collector can only discuss the details of a debt with the original account holder. They cannot go knocking door to door making enquiries about you with neighbours.
They cannot visit or call you at your workplace. They cannot contact your friends or relatives to make enquiries about you.
The Data Protection Act forbids debt collectors or bailiffs from disclosing or collecting personal information in this way. Any debt collector who abuses the Data Protection Act or threatens to do so should be reported to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).
Debt Collectors Are Powerless
Don’t have any reservations about telling a debt collector to get lost or slamming the door in their face. They are POWERLESS.
They cannot enter your home. Even if you left your door wide open with a bundle of cash on the stairs they cannot enter without your permission.
They cannot seize your vehicles or your property.
They cannot obtain warrants or force entry.
If the debt collector doesn’t own the debt they cannot even issue a court claim against you.
Simply put, debt collectors have no greater rights than you or I to go cold calling for cash!
Debt Collectors Must Leave When Told to Go
If you ever find yourself confronted with a debt collector who will not leave your property when instructed to do so, call the police. Tell them that somebody is at your door demanding you open it. Don’t tell the police it is a debt collector as they will most likely just ignore you and tell you it is a civil matter. Keep the information vague until the police arrive and discover who it is for themselves.
Let the debt collector hear or see you making the call as in all likelihood this will be enough to get rid of them.
Any debt collector that remains on your doorstep after you have told them to go is committing trespass. Although this in in itself is not a criminal offence, any continuation of demands and threats could constitute harassment. The same could be said of any repeated attempts they make to communicate with you by phone calls, letters, e-mails, texts or doorstep visits if they are persistent and oppressive to the point of causing you alarm and distress.
Having Trouble with Persistent Debt Collectors? Send them the Zapper Letter
If you want a quick and easy method to stop debt collectors coming to your door, phoning, writing, texting or e-mailing you then we recommend that you send them a copy of our ZAPPER LETTER! A carefully drafted legal letter designed to deter debt collectors from hounding and harassing you.
This letter has been used successfully by thousands of people wanting to rid themselves of unwanted debt collector attention. You don’t have to add anything to the letter except your address…
The letter nullifies the debt collectors by:-
- Removing all implied rights of access to your door.
- Explaining how the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003 protects people from nuisance calls, malicious communications and unwanted visits.
- Explaining how contacting neighbours, relatives and other householders in relation to a debt; posting unsealed documents; e-mailing and texting; or talking loudly on the doorstep about personal financial issues contravenes the General Data Protection Regulation.
- Explaining how debts over 6 years old are statute barred under the Limitation Act 1980 and are therefore unenforceable.
- Reminding the debt collectors of the varying governing bodies, officials and ombudsman whereby complaints can be submitted in regards to oppressive conduct, unwanted calls and written communications.
- Explaining how any debts owed, methods and terms of repayment will only be discussed with and paid to the original creditor and NEVER to any debt collector of whom the debtor (or householder) has no binding contract with.
- Adding a few other choice words of warning regarding the householder’s right to take legal proceedings against the debt collector should the contents of the ZAPPER letter be ignored.
In most cases where somebody has used this letter they have never been troubled by the debt collector again. Those agents dumb enough to ignore the warnings given within the letter then leave themselves wide open to civil action.
Most solicitors would charge about £250 for this document. All we ask is £5, which is a small price to pay for a hassle free life.
The document is supplied in Mac, Word and PDF formats. All you have to do is download the document, unzip it and open it.
Included with the letter is a short guide as well as further advice on defeating debt collectors.
Just print it off (you don’t have to sign it) and send it to the debt collector of your choice – preferably by recorded delivery so that you will have a signed receipt of it’s delivery.
If you would like to purchase a copy of the ZAPPER LETTER letter, then please use the Paypal button below. Once you complete checkout click on the “COMPLETE PURCHASE” button and you will automatically be taken to a page where you can download the file. You will also be e-mailed a receipt with the download link:-
NOTE: This letter will not get rid of bailiffs. Unlike debt collectors, bailiffs have certain statutory powers to enter your home. Nor can you remove their implied rights of access to your door. For irreparable credit history and insurmountable debt problems we would recommend you consider rebooting your credit identity from scratch via the exclusive methods listed within our Ebook EXTREME CREDIT FIXER.