When a creditor has been trying to collect their debt for a while and has made several unsuccessful attempts, they may use the services of a debt collector or debt collection agency.
Having to deal with debt collectors can be daunting and frightening, but collectors are required to abide by specific regulations when going about their business. Knowing in advance what their tactics might be, and being aware of your own rights in the process, will help you stay in control of a potentially volatile situation.
The steps they can take by law are strictly controlled, but they could attempt to mislead you about your own rights in the process. If intimidating tactics are used, there are actions you can take to get assistance, or make an official complaint against them.
They may write to you, phone, email or call at your home, but once they have made contact it is important that you tell them how you want to be contacted in the future.
First and foremost, you should write to the debt collection agency and request a copy of the original credit agreement to make sure they are actually chasing the right debt, and that it is legitimate.
Also in this letter, state how they should contact you in the future. Contact via post keeps them at bay a little. Request written confirmation that they will do this, and keep a copy of everything sent to, and received from them.
The debt collection agency may threaten to send one of their ‘officers’ to your home to discuss the debt, but in reality this does not happen very often. It tends to be a tactic to intimidate you, but if a debt collector does arrive at your door:
One of the most important points above is that debt collectors and debt collection agencies have no rights of seizure over your property. They may attempt to mislead you, however, about what they can legally do.
Can you negotiate with the debt collection agency?
Some creditors pass on your debt to a collection agency. This works by ‘selling’ a portion of the amount owed to the agency, which makes a profit by recovering the total debt from you. If this has happened, you are now indebted to the agency collecting the money.
As with the creditor, however, the agency should be open to negotiations for repayment. You may be able to set up an instalment plan with them, or pay a proportion of the debt as a gesture of goodwill.
Scotland Debt Solutions provides professional advice on how to deal with debt collection agencies. Our aim is to help Scottish residents rid themselves of debt, and we operate from offices throughout Scotland.
The breathing space debt moratorium in Scotland enables people in debt to trigger a six-month period that’s free of creditor action, so they can take stock of their situation and formulate a plan.
The Debt Arrangement Scheme in Scotland, or DAS, enables people in serious debt to repay their creditors in full over a longer period of time.
Our Scottish based team can help advise you on your debt problems.