Hatwel Services get in touch with a high number of people each day to try and get them to pay their debt. No one enjoys receiving a letter saying they owe money and there are many people who seriously struggle with debt problems. There are many cases where, if you have ran up debts or unpaid bills, you may end up being contacted by companies like Hatwel Services bailiffs. Ultimately, they want you to pay the debt, and they’ll go to extreme measures to achieve this in some cases.

Any contact from baillifs is bound to be upsetting, but it is important that you take steps to deal with your debt. If you deal with your debt head on, and try to manage the situation, you can stop the worst from happening. Any debt situations are solvable, regardless of how bad they may seem. In this article, we will look at more detail on who Hatwel Services are, how to deal with their contact, and how to better manage your debt.

Who are Hatwel Services?

Hatwel Services were established in 2000. They are based in the South East of England although they operate throughout England and Wales. They have offices in Hertfordshire, Essex, Suffolk and Surrey. Their clients include local authorities, landlords and blue chip companies.

The company specialise in dealing with unlawful encampments. Their Eviction Response Team is available around the clock, seven days a week, and they claim that they can remove gypsy and traveller encampments legally within 24 hours. Their eviction service includes post-eviction site clear-up.

Although their main focus is unlawful encampments, Hatwel Services also deal with commercial rent arrears, particularly in the agricultural sector. They also perform process serving and Road Traffic Act enforcement.

Hatwel Services sister company, BESTCO, provide consultancy services. This includes short, one-day introductory training courses for people who are considering becoming Certificated Enforcement Agents as well as longer, three-day training courses that can lead to an NVQ Level 3 qualification. Tailored training courses at their clients’ premises is also available.

What is the reason for the contact?

If you have not heard of Hatwel Services, you are probably wondering if they have the right to chase you about outstanding debt. They are a legitimate company, and if they are contacting you about debt, you should not ignore them. It is always best to deal with your debt, and not bury your head in the sand. These are some of the main reasons why the company may be trying to contact you:

  • You have outstanding debt which you owed to individuals, or you may owe other businesses or organisations
  • You have failed to pay tax or you have tax credit overpayments from HMRC which you need to pay back
  • You have debt on credit cards or payday loans
  • You have defaulted on your court fines

The company or individual you owe the original debt to, will pass the unpaid account over to Hatwel Services as they have either exhausted all other possibilities to get the repayment or they have just been unable to get in touch with you. This is why your debt may be be with someone else but Hatwel Services are collecting it. You may not recognise Hatwel Services at all, and this is the reason why. They collect the money for a range of other companies, but these are just some of them:

  • Utility companies including Npower, United Utilities and a range of other suppliers
  • Mobile and broadband companies which may include O2, Virgin Media, EE and many others
  • Local council debt such as parking tickets

Instead of buying individual debt, Hatwel Services often purchase bundles of debt, which makes it more profitable for them. They buy the debt at a fraction of the face value, so they are not really buying for the purposes of helping the original creditor, they are doing it to make a profit.

Is it Possible to Stop Hatwel Services From Getting in Touch With You?

It is often the case that the agents from Hatwel Services and similar organisations, will be persistent in their efforts to obtain the payment from you. The contact from them may include, calls, letters and in some cases, they may even track down your email address! If all else fails, they may even chap on your door to try and get the payment from you. I can be tempting just to ignore them, after all, they’ll eventually go away. Or will they? The answer is no, they won’t, which is why you need to deal with the problem head-on.

Bailiffs like Hatwel Services will sometimes even be used to serve court documents or to hand out notices and summons. If they do plan to visit your home, they are required to give you 7 days’ notice of their first visit. The only real way to prevent this from happening is to speak to them, and discuss how to move forward and clear the debt.

These are some of the action they are not permitted to take:

  • Sending letters that look like court forms
  • Attempting to call you at unsocial hours
  • Contacting you at work
  • Use jargon or technical language which you are likely to be unfamiliar with

If you wish to contact Hatwel Services, check the details on the letters or their website, as you may find contact details there. If you contact them quickly, you will reduce the chances of ending up with additional costs or worse still – a visit to your home.

If the debt is not yours and they are trying to make you pay it, you have the right to request that they send proof, as well as give you evidence of the debt. The Financial Conduct Authority’s guidelines have more information on this (see section 7).

Do Hatwel Services Have any Powers?

As Hatwel Services are an enforcement agent/bailiff, they have plenty of legal powers when trying to collect the debt. You have rights to, so don’t let them away with treating you badly!

Bailiffs have the right to visit your home in order to collect the debts you owe. Depending on the debt and their rights, they may even have the power to enter your home and remove some of your belongings to sell. If you won’t let them enter your home, they may be able to take your possessions from outside, including your car.

If you are contacted by someone from Hatwel Services and you are not willing to pay them, they may send someone round to take away some of your luxury possessions, including your TV.

If you have more serious unpaid criminal fines, stamp duty or income tax, bailiffs may even force entry to your home, although they would only ever do this as a last resort. If it is normal debt, Bailiffs would probably not enter your home. These are some things they are not permitted to do:

  • Force their way past you to gain entry
  • Attempt entry if there are only vulnerable people at home or people aged under 16
  • Turn up after 9pm or before 6am
  • Try to gain entry through windows or anywhere else aside from your door.

How to Deal with visits from Hatwel Services

Unless there are extreme circumstances at play, you do not have to let bailiffs into your property. They are likely to say that you do, as this is pretty standard and they could even be quite forceful about it. However, the only way they can ever force entry to your property is if you have unpaid magistrates court fines or tax debts and they must also have the paperwork to prove it, and prove they are allowed entry. If you refuse entry to them, they may end up getting a locksmith in to try and gain entry, but they do not have the right to try and break down your door.

If you have someone from Hatwel Services (or any other bailiffs) at your door, you should always ask for identification. The identification they must provide includes:

  • Proof of who they are. This may include an ID card, badge, or certificate
  • Proof of the company they’re operating on behalf of (ie Hatwel Services)
  • A breakdown of what you owe, with proof
  • Warrant showing they can force entry

You can request that they pass these documents to you through the door, so that you can take a proper look at them. You should ensure these are in date, and have all the correct information.

If they have no right to force entry, you are permitted to tell them to leave and you can advise that you plan to contact Hatwel Services head office to arrange the payment. If they are contacting you about a debt which is not in your name, you should speak to the head office and advise them of this.

It is worth remembering that Hatwel Services will not give up in their pursuit for the debt, so it is advisable just to speak to them, and deal with the situation before it gets any worse.

Hatwel Services Have Taken my Goods – What Next?

If you already permitted access to Hatwel Services bailiff into your home, they may have already taken some of your goods, in order to cover your debt. All is not lost though, if you act quickly, you can recover the debt.

The most straightforward thing to do in this case is to clear off the debt and get your goods back. Alternatively, you may want to come to a suitable arrangement to pay off the debt, or buy the goods back and clear your debt this way.

If the Hatwel Services enforcement agent failed to adhere to the correct legal procedure, you may also be entitled to get your items back. You can contact Citizens Advice who will be able to provide more information.

Hatwel Services Have Been in Touch – What Do You Do Next?

If you have been contacted by Hatwel Services; these are some things to do – and not to do!

Don’t be tempted to ignore them

It is vital that you don’t just ignore the calls or letters you receive from Hatwel Services. You can be assured that the debt won’t just disappear because you have ignored them, they will continue to try and reach out to you about your debt. It is worth remembering that enforcement agents like Hatwel Services may charge an extra fee to deal with your debt. These fees include:

  • Compliance – £75. If they send an enforcement notice to you which demands payment
  • Enforcement – £235 (or 7.5% over £1500). If they have to visit your home or work to try and get the debt paid back
  • Sale of goods – £110 (or 7.5% over £1500). If they have to end up removing some of your possessions

Even if you don’t owe the debt, you need to get in touch with them to clear the situation up. Ignoring them will make the situation worse, and it is particularly important to rectify the details, if it is not your debt.

These are some actions you need to take regarding the outstanding debt:

Check if the debt is yours

If you have received a letter which states that you owe money, you should find out where it came from and when. This is particularly important if you don’t recognise the debt. Inaccuracies are usually down to debt by a previous person living at your address or someone with the same name. You may have already paid the debt, but it has not been updated on the system.

If the debt has been outstanding for a while and six years have passed since you made a payment or spoke to the original creditor, they may not be able to enforce the debt. Additionally, if you signed the agreement or the creditor failed to check whether you were able to afford the credit, you may not be liable for it.

Deal with the debt

If the debt does belong to you, it is within the six years, and Hatwel Services are able to provide evidence to reflect this, you will be liable to pay it. If you are able to, the best option would be to clear the debt. In doing this, the company will stop contacting you, and you will be able to carry on with a stress free life.

However, if you cannot afford to pay the full amount straight away, there may be the option of paying via a repayment plan, which suits your circumstances. In order to do this, you can contact Hatwel Services and let them know what your financial situation is They may be able to let you pay it up in installments, which will suit your situation.

Do You Need Help with Dealing With Hatwel Services

If you need help with dealing with Hatwel Services after they have contacted you, there are some actions you can take. You should always aim to speak to them, whether that is to arrange a payment or clear the debt. If the debt is yours, you have liability for it, and it is important to take that seriously. Communication is key and just speaking to them, will help your situation. These are some other things you can do:

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA)

In serious cases of debt, you can enter into an IVA. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, an IVA gets all your debts together into the one place. You make a monthly payment towards the debt, and the rest is usually written off in a set period.

Debt management

There are other debt management options, depending on your situation. Debt management plans and consolidating loans are just a couple of options. You may want to explore the range of options, and get professional advice on what would be best for you.

Citizens Advice

If you are unhappy with the treatment you have received from Hatwel Services or the correspondence they have sent you, you can contact Citizens Advice. They have a range of resources to help support you with your debt problems, and to handle contact like this.

Formal complaints

If you take a look through the Trustpilot reviews of Hatwel Services, you’ll be surprised at how negative the reviews are. There are some extremely harsh terms used, including ‘bullies,’ ‘threatening,’ and ‘mistreated.’ It doesn’t make for very comfortable reading! If you feel that Hatwel Services have treated you in an improper manner, you have the right to make a formal complaint.

If you want to complain to the bailiff company you can use our free letter template which outlines exactly what you should say.

If Hatwel Services fail to respond to this, you can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service and take the matter further. 

Hatwel Services – To Conclude

No one particularly enjoys dealing with debt enforcement agents such as Hatwel Services. However, if you understand your legal rights and their boundaries, you will know what you can expect. It is not a good idea to ignore letters or calls from companies such as Hatwel Services, even if the debt is not yours. If Hatwel Services end up visiting your home, you have the right to refuse entry to the bailiff, unless they have a court-certified warrant or writ. You should still deal with it by contacting the creditor and making arrangements to pay it.

FAQs

Do I have rights if a bailiff comes?

Bailiffs are only permitted to come to your property between 6am and 9pm and they must give you 7 days notice. They are not permitted to force entry in any way.

Is there a cap on bailiff visits?

A bailiff can visit as many times as they wish, however, they must stick to the hours of 6am and 9pm.

What happens if I refuse entry to bailiffs?

If you refuse entry to bailiffs, they may come back with a locksmith and gain entry to your property while you are out.

Is a bailiff permitted to break down my door?

Bailiffs do not have the right to break down your door. They must always use a locksmith. They must also only ever enter by the door, not windows or any other method.

Are bailiffs allowed to take my car if I need it for work?

Bailiffs are permitted to take your car, even if you need to use it for work. They cannot take your car if it is on private property, but they can take it if is on the street.

About the author

Scott Nelson

Scott Nelson is a financial services expert, with over 10 years’ experience in the industry, including 6 years in FCA regulated companies. Read more
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