If you have ever been in debt, you will know that it is a particularly stressful time for you and those around you. However, if things do escalate into a bailiff knocking at your door – you should not panic. There are many legal regulations set in place to ensure both you and the enforcement agent can come to a conclusion as fairly and justly as possible.

One key difference may be in the job title of whoever shows up at your door. Let’s go through the difference of what it means to be a ‘debt collector’ in relation to an ‘enforcement agent’.

So, as a very stark difference, while debt collectors do have the right to come and visit you and your home, they do not have the right to enter your house or collect any goods. However, when we talk about the other type of person that may come and visit you in these circumstances (an enforcement agent) they can actually do both – and will if you refuse to respond to them.

So, let’s now look into how far both of these people are allowed to go when it comes to visiting your home and collecting your debt.

Debt collectors often tend to work for the people you owe money to, who are otherwise known as a creditor. They could also work for a debt collection agency. They may also address themselves as field agents. Debt collectors may also contact you to discuss your debt and discuss things such as your debt repayments.

KNOW YOUR RIGHTS: They are legally not allowed to tell anyone other than you about your debts! Debt collectors also can not call your phone repetitively, use obscene language, or threaten you.

Enforcement agents, on the other hand, do have legal power and are therefore able to do a lot more when it comes to collecting your debt. Depending on the legal case in regards to your debt, court enforcement agents can come into your home and collect goods. They can collect debts and goods in the name of the government. If you are able to, you will get the chance to pay your debt before they arrive as they will send you a letter to advise on when their arrival will be.

The following items high court enforcement agents are not allowed to take:

-Any items that are essential for the basic domestic needs of the defendant and their family

  • Any goods that constitute ‘tools of the trade’, which are for the personal use of the defendant in their profession and that have a maximum value of up to £1,350, e.g. tools, books, vehicles and other equipment
  • Goods which belong to someone other than yourself, known as ‘the Third Party’ Items that are on hire purchase agreements, or are leased or on rental agreements, such as cars Goods that have already been seized by any other high court enforcement officer, enforcement agent or county court bailiff
  • Perishable items

Source: Cathal McCabe

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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