Are you living with the curtains closed?
There are over 9 million people throughout the UK that are thought to be in what is considered serious debt. The average level of debt is projected to reach £10,000 per household by the end of 2016 and figures also suggest that those in need of assistance are not seeking professional advice in order to improve their situation and are regularly being visited by bailiffs and debt collection agents.
What is a bailiff?
A bailiff is appointed by the Sherriff’s office and has the legal power to collect certain debts, they are either court officials or privately employed. Bailiffs will recover funds owed to creditors by either asking you to pay what you owe or by seizing goods amounting to the value of your outstanding balance and cover the cost of their services from your address. The use of a bailiff is generally not the first option creditors will choose in order to recover debts, they will usually try alternative methods such as warning letters beforehand. Receiving one of these letters is a perfect opportunity to contact your creditors to come to an arrangement in order to avoid bailiff action altogether.
In some cases, external creditors may send debt collection agents, who do not have the same legal powers as bailiffs. Debt collection agents are allowed to chase you for your debts but are not permitted to seize goods from you. If somebody arrives on your doorstep to chase you for debts without prior warning or an attendance notice they are unlikely to be a bailiff as they are constrained by set procedures which must be followed before they visit your address.
When visiting your home, there are certain guidelines that must be adhered to when attempting to recover debts or collateral, bailiffs must:
- Only visit your home between 6AM and 9PM
- Not attempt to enter your home if there is a child under the age of 16 present
- Not use force unless they have prior consent from the sheriff
- Only remove items up to the value of the amount owed
- Fully inform any joint owners of property removed and pay them their share of proceeds
- Not harass you in any way
If you are experiencing or being threatened with bailiff action, Focus Insolvency are here to help. We specialise in recovery solutions and are keen to help individuals and businesses get back on their feet, helping with debt consolidation, preventing bailiff and debt collection agent action and allow individuals to get on with their lives without worry and companies to continue trading.