You’re in debt but what can your creditors actually do?

posted by in Bailiffs, Client info, Collection Process, Debt, Debt Law

Last updated: 20th February 2015

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Received a CCJ? Click to find out more

There can be lots of misconceptions about what creditors (your lenders) can and cannot do. We hear from clients that are scared stiff of bailiffs (enforcement agents) or being sent to prison when they’ve only missed one or two payments or just received a default notice or a CCJ (County Court Judgment) through the post.

A lot of action by creditors will be tactics to encourage you to make extra payments, so it’s useful to know what your rights are to help to put your mind at ease.

Knowing what creditors can and cannot do and understanding the debt collection process can help to remove a lot of worry and uncertainty around unsecured debts.

What can creditors do?

  1. They can chase you for the debt by phone or letters; see our article about what to do if creditors keep phoning you.
  2. They can send doorstep collectors; it’s really important to realise that these are not bailiffs and have no more power than someone ringing you. It’s unusual for a high street lender to use doorstep collectors as it’s cheaper and more effective for them to call you.
  3. They can continue to add interest and charges to your account in line with the original agreement.
  4. They can take money from connected accounts. For example if you have a credit card and a current account with the same bank they can dip into the current account and take what is owed on the credit card; they don’t need permission from you. This is called the right of offset.
  5. They can issue a default notice, usually sent after 3-6 missed payments. This is something your creditors are legally required to send once you’ve defaulted on the original agreement.
  6. They can pass the debt on to an internal or external debt collection agency. These don’t have any more legal powers than the creditor.
  7. They can apply for a County Court Judgment (CCJ). If you receive one of these you must fill in the paperwork and make an offer of repayment for the court to consider. The court will set a repayment and it’s important that you stick to this.
  8. Some collection agencies issue a statutory demand, a way of enforcing bankruptcy. However in most cases these are used as scare tactics and it’s very unusual for creditors to actually enforce these.

What can’t creditors do?

  1. They cannot harass you; you have a duty to keep your creditors informed of your situation but that doesn’t mean they can ring you every hour, day after day. Request that they only contact you in writing and make sure you open your mail. You can read more about debt collection guidelines on the Financial Conduct Authority website.
  2. They cannot break data protection laws, so they cannot speak to your family, friends, neighbours or an employer.
  3. They cannot stalk you on social media – see our blogpost 10 ways to stop debt collectors finding you on social media.
  4. They may threaten bailiffs but unless you have defaulted on a CCJ then what they actually mean is a doorstep collection agent. This is often used as a scare tactic and anyone who calls at your property has no more power than someone calling you on the phone. You don’t need to talk to them if you’d prefer to talk over the phone or by letter (unless they are from the courts or the debt is for Council Tax).
  5. If you do get County Court paperwork through the post and you make an offer to the courts that the judge accepts, the creditors have to abide by it as well.

What experiences do you have with creditors? Post a comment and let us know. And if you’re going through the mill with your creditors at the moment, get free debt advice from StepChange Debt Charity.

Pavan Gata-Aura is a qualified debt advisor with 6 years of experience. She enjoys spending time with her two children, fundraising for charities, has spent time volunteering in Africa and takes part in organised races.

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Tags Bailiffs Client info Collection Process Debt Debt Law
  • Jo

    Today I received a letter from a debt collector stating that they had sold my debt on to another collector so I checked my credit report and discovered that I have a CCJ. This was filed in February 2014 to an address that I hadn’t lived at since mid 2010 and even that was only a temp address for around 3 months. My credit report shows that this relates to a debt that I defaulted on in mid 2009. The debt was already with collectors and I was paying but the reason I then defaulted is because I fled from an abusive partner and took minimal belongings which meant I had no way of contacting the debt collectors.

    I then moved into a new place in 2010 which I stayed at until 2014 and registered everything to that address and was also on the electoral roll there so why would the debt collectors not be able to find me?? The letter I have received today is the first correspondence since I left the abusive partner years ago.

    My question is really, is there anything I can do about applying to the court and explaining my situation to get the CCJ removed or something as I feel it is a little unfair.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Jo,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m sorry to hear about this situation, it sounds like you’ve been through a lot.

      It’s usually seen as your responsibility to keep your creditors updated with your current address information. This is so they can keep in touch with you about repayments.

      When creditors send out paperwork they’ll normally work on the assumption that you’ve received them even if they go to an old address. Although it might seem unfair at times, the court usually wouldn’t set aside (remove) a CCJ on grounds of unfairness. There usually has to be a specific factual or legal reason why a CCJ would be removed.

      Often the best thing to do now is to look at what options you have, as leaving the CCJ unpaid could cause further action, and by putting a payment arrangement in place you can take steps to move forward and deal with the debt. The CCJ won’t show on your credit report forever, so although it might impact you in the short-term, it’s not something that will be there forever.

      If you are worried about the impact paying back the debt will have on your finances, I’d suggest getting in touch with our Helpline for some free advice. You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      If you have any more questions please let us know.

      Kind regards,

      Jen

  • Alex

    Hi,
    Wondering if you can help

    I had an account with Littlewoods back in 2009. I didn;t pay this and since moved numerous times and lived out of the country. This went off my radar. I recently tried to buy a sofa from very.co.uk and they took my money off my card and then declined my order

    My question is, are they allowed to keep my payment I made to Very to offset against my debt with littlewoods? I woudl have hoped they woudl have contacted me to inform me of my debt to allow my to pay this at a sutiable time to both of us

    Thanks
    Alex

    • moneyaware

      Hi there Alex, thanks for getting in touch with us.

      If you feel that you’ve been treated unfairly because you weren’t warned in advance that money might be kept to cover the outstanding debt, or it wasn’t made sufficiently clear that Very and Littlewoods are the same company, it may be worth making a complaint to this effect in writing.

      If the complaint goes unresolved or you’re not happy with the outcome, you can then escalate the complaint to the Financial Ombudsman. We can’t guarantee how the Financial Ombudsman may treat your complaint, but it’s worth looking into if you feel you’ve been treated unfairly.

      Kind regards

      Rachel

  • Rosemary

    I had my house repossessed several years ago and ended up with a shortfall of over £94,000. They took out a CCJ for this shortfall and I have been paying the agreed amount of £20 per month since. Recently they took the debt back “in-house” and starting chasing for an income and expenditure update which I have now provided. I have increased my payment to £50 per month as I just want them to go away. I also offered a lump sum of £8500 as full and final payment as I am 6 years away from retirement and probably won’t be able to afford £50 per month then. I am waiting to hear if this is acceptable.

    I now own another house with no mortgage but would not be able to get a mortgage.

    If they won’t accept this offer what are my options as I don’t want this hanging over me or to have to update my financial information regularly.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Rosemary,

      Thanks for your message.

      It’s common for a debt collection company or a creditor to be updated with your latest budget, so they can see if what you’re paying is affordable.

      When the CCJ was first taken out, the court will have decided the minimum amount that you’d need to pay, based on your circumstances at the time. The creditor can ask you to pay more, which in some cases is affordable if your situation has improved, but they can’t force you to pay more than the court agreed originally without having to submit this back to the court.

      Similarly if your situation changes, you can formally request the court to look over your budget and make decisions on what you can afford but this involves a fee, which is why in practice it’s usually easier just to arrange this with the creditor directly.

      Creditors don’t have to accept full and final settlements for a debt, but some might. There’s really no set rules on this though, and usually it’s up to you to make fair offers to see if they’ll be accepted. If there’s really no prospect of you ever repaying the debt back in full, it might be time to look and see if there are any other solutions and advice we can offer to help you deal with the debt.

      We’d be happy to discuss your options with you. As a charity we offer free, impartial, confidential advice and solutions to anyone struggling with debts.

      You can visit our website at http://www.stepchange.org/contactus for more information on how to get in touch.

      I hope this helps,

      Rory

  • Lynne Poole

    I have had a text message saying that an agent will call this weekend unless I call Dukes Bailiffs. I’ve had no letters or contact and to my knowledge I’m not being chased for any debt. Is this a scam? I called the number but they wouldn’t give me any info unless I confirmed my address but I wouldn’t in case it’s a scam.
    Can they visit if it’s the first I’ve heard of it?
    Thanks

    • moneyaware

      Hi Lynne,

      Thanks for your email.

      It’d be hard to advise on this situation without more information.

      If you have a debt that you haven’t made payments to, it could have been passed onto a debt collection agency to deal with.

      If you have an existing debt and aren’t sure if this has happened, you could get in touch with the original company you owed money to
      to see if they’ve passed the debt onto a debt collection agency. They should be able to let you know who’s dealing with the debt.

      A bailiff can’t be used to collect a debt unless your creditor has taken court action to retrieve the money first, and the agreement made in court for you to repay the debt has been ignored. Before a bailiff can visit your house, they must send you a notice of enforcement.

      You can find out more about bailiffs and what they can and can’t do here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Debtinformationandadvice/Whatyourcreditorscando/Courtaction/EnglandWalescourtaction/Bailiffs/Bailiffrightsandpowers.aspx

      If you haven’t received a notice of enforcement, then it could be that the collection agency are referring to a doorstep debt collector or field agent.

      Doorstep debt collectors or field agents have no special rights or powers to collect debt and you don’t need to answer the door to them. You can find out more about home visits from debt collectors here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Debtinformationandadvice/Whatyourcreditorscando/Homevisits.aspx

      If you’re concerned about paying back debt, I’d suggest you get in touch with our Helpline for some free advice. You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      I hope this helps,

      Jen

  • tracy

    just had phone call with Jacobs debt collector he said he will be attending my home(rented) with lock smith to gain entry as im talking rubbish saying they are not allowed into my home he wants copy of tenency agreement to speak to my landlady about contents etc please tell me he cannot do either of these things my matters are being delt with via citazens advice

    • moneyaware

      Hi Tracy,

      Thanks for posting.

      I’m sorry to hear about this.

      Without knowing more about this situation, it’s hard to know whether this is a bailiff or a debt collector.

      I’d suggest you get in touch with our free Helpline for advice. Our advisors will be able to chat through the situation with you
      and determine whether this is a bailiff or not. If it is a bailiff, they’ll also be able to let you know what the bailiff can and can’t do
      when they visit your home, as often this can vary depending on the type of debt they’re collecting.

      You can find out to get in touch with us here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      I hope this has helped,

      Jen

  • Sam

    Hi,

    I recently bought a new 15 plate car in June, I bought it as I had just started a new job and on my new salary I could more than afford it. However, I’ve been made redundant this month (without redundancy pay as I wasn’t with them long enough) and I know that in a few months I will be unable to keep up the payments as my monthly outgoings are now in the £700-£800 range and I am struggling to find work again. I have acquired a PT job until February but am only earning around £300 a month. My partner can cover the bulk of the rest, but the car payment (£250) is just too much currently. I’m only 23 and don’t want to affect my credit score as I rent and move quite often. I have the car on a five year deal to purchase it and I bought it from the dealer via a bank loan with Barclays. Am I correct in presuming that because the car was bought with a loan and wasn’t direct finance from the car company that I can sell the car and use the sale to pay off X amount on the loan? Would it be worth asking if they could freeze payments or interest for a short period? How likely is this? Would it be likely that they would accept a reduced payment offer? Obviously with my current monthly income I literally cannot afford to pay anything at all on the vehicle as my home, bills and feeding myself come before the car. I already pay around £100 a month in interest between my overdraft and my credit card. If i explain the current situation to my banks would they work with me?

    • moneyaware

      Hi Sam,

      Thanks for posting.

      First of all, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been made redundant, dealing with debts is hard at the best of times and income shocks like this can often make the situation feel much worse.

      If you took an unsecured loan to pay for the vehicle, it usually means that you could sell the car to pay back some of the loan, either as a lump sum or using the money to keep on top of the car loan repayments, until your situation hopefully improves.

      However it’s also important to understand that if you do use the money from the sale of the car to pay the loan repayments, you shouldn’t prioritise this over your main household bills, living costs or any other debts you may have. We would always suggest dealing with all creditors fairly and making sure you can cover
      your other outgoings (rent or mortgage, council tax and utility bills) first.

      When looking at reduced payment offers, it’s often difficult to agree to this without you defaulting on the debt which would show on your credit report, but importantly it won’t show forever.

      If you’re already struggling with other debts, and need to look at reducing payments then I’d recommend seeking expert debt advice before making any decisions. You can find out how we can help and get in touch by visiting our website http://www.stepchange.org.

      Finally, if you’re in any doubt about whether the car loan is attached to the car (for example a hire purchase agreement) then be sure to check your agreement or speak to the creditor about this first.

      Rory

  • Brian

    Hi,
    Some years ago Black Horse forclosed on a loan when I was made redundant & my wife fell seriously ill.It forced the loss of our home.This never went to court as we reached a repayment agreement with them.However the debt has been sold to Marlin Europe ,whose agents are now trying to obtain financial & household expense info from me.Am I obliged to fill in their form?
    Not one payment has ever been missed.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Brian,

      You’re not under any obligation to provide information about yoru finances but it’s fairly common to provide companies with this sort of thing to show what you can afford.

      The idea is that by showing your income and outgoings you can prove that you can’t afford higher payments. It may be that they want to see if you’re in a position to increase (or potentially reduce) you payments based on your current circumstances.

      We can help you prepare an income and expenditure form and give free debt advice. Here’s our contact details: http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Brian

    Thanks for that reply James.If i don’t respond with their form but continue with uninterrupted payment can they apply to the court to increase amount.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for your message. As James mentioned, you’re under no
      obligation to give them this information, but it will give them a better understanding of your circumstances and let them know whether or not it’s worth pursuing a higher payment from you.

      There’s no way of saying for certain if your creditor will take
      court action if you don’t give them this information, but it is an option that would be open to them. Creditors tend to want to avoid court action so will try to come to an agreement with you outside of court. However if it does go to court then an affordable repayment arrangement would be agreed through the courts.

      I hope this answers your question.

      Kind regards,

      Laura

  • Helen

    I have had a letter hand delivered to my door from HM courts & tribunals service explaining that there is a warrant out for my arrest from a debt over six years ago it is a company where the debt has been passed onto and it is a bailiff number to phone. I did not know anything about this debt until now, what action can they take if I do not comply, please advise, many thanks helen.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Helen,

      I don’t know if the letter you’ve received is genuine but if it is then there’s a chance you could be arrested if you don’t take any action.

      I’d recommend giving our Helpline a call as soon as possible and we’ll be able to give you advice about dealing with this and any other debts you’ve got.

      Here are our contact details: http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Thinktank

    I have a debt that was paid down until it remained some few pennies. So I cancelled my Direct Debit and started sending in something just 75% of the agreed amount after calling the recovery company. But I was surprised that they imposed a heavy charge for cancelling the direct debit notwithstanding that I was paying in 75% of the originally agreed monthly payment.

    This has increased the outstanding balance and they called the charges bank arrestment charges. I am disputing this with the company. I have already
    paid up the original debt .only left with these charges. I am livid because I have been taken for a ride. I don’t pick my money on tree tops.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your message and I’m sorry to hear about this.
      Creditors are allowed to add fees and charges in line with their original agreement with you, and it sounds as though this might have been what happened here.

      If you’ll struggle to make payments to the debt, I’d suggest you
      get in touch with us for free debt advice. We can have a chat with you about your financial situation in more detail and recommend how we can best help you to deal with your debts. You can find out how to get in touch with us here: http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Laura

  • Bec

    Does a company have a responsibility to contact me using every contact detail they have before sending my debt to a collection agency? I was not aware of an outstanding debt. The company say they did not receive my letter of change of address. They did have my email contact, but refused to use this to contact me to try and clear the debt. They did however, pass my email address onto the debt collection agency.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Bec,

      It’s unusual for a creditor to not contact you about a debt despite you updating your contact details with them. In situations like this, it could be worthwhile making a formal complaint with the creditor and explaining what has happened.

      If you’re not happy with the outcome of the complaint, the Financial Ombudsman Service http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/ can help disputes between you and your creditor.

      I hope this helps,

      Rory

  • Laura

    I have defaulted with my car finance company – I was in hospital and missed a payment and then I made my next payment and then I missed one over Christmas…I take full responsibility. I came home yesterday to a letter from a collection company which had been hand delivered ( so they had obviously been to my doorstep) informing me that they had been regarding said debt and that I was to contact them asap. I contacted them on the telephone number provided (a mobile number) and they informed me that because I had defaulted they had permission from the finance company to repossess the car – can they do this? I have had no communication from the finance company informing me that they had passed this onto to an agency. I feel this is extreme. Any advice would be much appreciated!!!

    • moneyaware

      Hi Laura,

      It would depend on the kind of car finance agreement you have but it’s often the case that the company can take the car back if you get behind on payments.

      In practice it’s usually better all round to come to an agreement to catch up on missed payments. So it seems strange that they’ve not tried to resolve this some other way.

      It sounds like there’s still time to resolve this without losing the car though. I’d suggest calling the finance company first to see if they’re willing to come to an arrangement. They may say you’ve got to deal with the collections company, in which case you can try to come to an agreement.

      We can give you more in depth advice if you give us a call. It’s free and we’re a charity that can give you full debt advice. Here’s our contact details: http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx.

      Kind regards

      James

      • Laura

        Thank you for your advice. Much appreciated!!!

  • Pingback: What Can Debt Collectors Do Uk | consolidation - credit card debt()

  • Dionysis

    My flatmates were evicted and I was left to pay the entire rent on my own for several months, which completely broke me. I lost my job around this time as well. Eventually, I had to move out, owing one month’s rent of £1800. In the last month of my tenancy there was a fault with the electricity and so there was no power in the kitchen for three weeks. There was also no water in the bathroom for two weeks due to a plumbing fault. The landlord is denying this and is demanding the back rent in full. I have no way of repaying this amount as I am now unemployed. What are my options?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      As our expertise is in debt advice we wouldn’t be able to help you dispute your rent payments.
      If you’d like advice on how to do this, it might be worth getting in touch with your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau:

      https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/

      If you’d like advice about your options to help you pay back the rent, this is where we can help.
      If you get in touch with our Helpline our advisors can have a chat with you about your situation and what your options are.
      You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      I hope this helps,

      Jen

  • Sophie

    Hi, I am wondering if you could give me advice, I have a payment agreement with a well know company. I have never missed a payment and I am on schedule to have the full amount paid for the date agreed. They have given my information and details to a debt collectors for the amount is this illegal and breach confidentiality. After talking to the company they admit this is a mistake on their behalf. But will this affect my credit score.

    Thank you

    • moneyaware

      Hi Sophie,

      This sounds very strange.

      Generally speaking creditors are allowed to pass details of your accounts to debt collectors because you sign something to agree to this in the original agreement.

      In this case it sounds like your information has been sent to them in error. I’m not sure whether you can call this sort of thing a criminal offence but it’s certainly not ideal.

      You could make a complaint to the company and ask them to investigate what’s gone on. They’ll then get back to you with their findings and if you’re still unhappy you could ask the Financial Ombudsman to investigate.

      I doubt this would affect your credit history, as it shouldn’t have been reported there if it was just an error. Any negative information that has been mistakenly reported to your credit file should be removed by the company when they realise their mistake.

      Kind regards

      James

  • Sho Connell

    Hello

    Im wondering if you could offer some advice on the law around debts. I moved out of a property with Midland Heart on the 27/09/2015 and, although the local council agree that I informed them of this, they continued to pay support to my old property/landlord. They have now started chasing us for this payment. We contacted them as soon as we received the first letter (which was a final demand straight away) and told them all monies had been paid to Midland Heart directly as our landlord and so the over payment was made to them not us. We also contacted Midland Heart who agreed our old rent account is in credit due to this and said they were happy to be invoiced for the amount by the council. We immediately e-mailed the council and sent a copy of this e-mail to Midland Heart and we were contacted 48 hours later to let us know that the council had invoiced them but for the wrong amount and so they were in touch with the council to rectify this. This was the beginning of this week.

    Today, we woke up to a letter telling us that if we didn’t pay within 7 days we would be taken to court. Midland Heart have ensured us that they told them they were willing to pay, but the correct amount as the council have made a mistake and are trying to collect too much from them.

    What I want to know is, where do we stand? I have immediately printed out copies of letters we received, call logs to the council and the e-mail correspondence. Can they legally take us to court whilst we are a)disputing the amount of debt owed and b)are in regular contact with them and wiling to sort this matter out?

    Furthermore, if they do begin court proceedings, if we show all of this correspondence to the judge, including the invoice sent to Midland Heart and Midland Heart’s query over the amount, is the judge likely to decide in favour of us or the council?

    Thank you.

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for posting.

      It could be that you’ve received an automated letter from the council regarding the payment, so it might be worth getting in touch with them to see if they’re aware that you’re disputing the payment amount. There’s more information about what to do if you receive a CCJ here:

      http://moneyaware.co.uk/2012/01/received-a-county-court-judgement-ccj/

      If the case does end up in court, the judge will be there to make a decision based on what they think is fair.

      If they do want to proceed with court action, you could use the N9B form to defend the claim based on the grounds that you believe it’s for the wrong amount. As this can be complicated I’d suggest giving our Helpline a call and to have a chat with one of our advisors about what to do. You can find out how to get in touch with us here:

      http://www.stepchange.org/Contactus.aspx

      I hope this has helped,

      Jen

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  • Sue

    Hi. We own a house (just one) which we rent out. We are no longer in the country and acquired some debt. As our property is tenanted how can the debt collectors collect money ?? Surely they can’t harass our tenants ?? Thank you

  • MGM1972

    Hi, I have a CCJ for an old debt and have been religiously paying the agreed amount since the start of the CCJ.
    I have just received a letter from the company asking me to complete a new income and expenditure form to review my payments.
    Can anyone advise if I have to do this as the original agreement set by the court is in place?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      It’s normal for creditors to ask for income and expenditure information, this is usually to review your payments. If the creditor would like to make changes to how much you pay, they will need to ask the court to make the variation based on your circumstances.

      Kind regards

      Rory

  • Clair

    Hi, I’m looking for advice. I have Debt with a cc company which I was struggling to pay. They sent me out a financial form to fill out which I did with offer of repayment but they then sent debt the debt to a dca. I done the same with dca by filling out the financial form with offer of repayment. The dca then wrote to me in December saying that the debt has been returned to the cc company. I have not heard from anyone since. I’m now worried that the cc company may be trying to get some sort of court order? Does anyone have any advice? Thanks.

    • moneyaware

      Hi Clair,

      It can be difficult to keep track of debts, especially when they’re passed on to third parties and debt collection companies. You should always be informed of any changes to the debt, and it sounds like they’ve notified you about this so far.

      If you’ve not heard anything from the creditor, we’d suggest contacting them and letting them know you’re worried or unsure about what’s happening.

      By speaking to the creditor, you could be seen to be showing your willingness to deal with the debt, as often leaving debts can lead to increases in costs, interest or charges or court proceedings if the creditor decides to do this.

      If you’re finding it hard to pay the debt, and you’re not sure what to do then we can help. We can look at your situation, and offer practical advice and debt solutions to help you manage the debt, or any other debts you might have. Don’t feel like you need to struggle with this yourself.

      You can find out more by visiting our website at http://www.stepchange.org/contactus or use our free, online debt help tool Debt Remedy at http://www.stepchange.org/Debtremedy

      I hope this helps, please get in touch if you need our help.

      Rory

  • CoffeeSlurper

    Hi there. My wife and I recently relocated to the UK from South Africa. She left behind some debt. She has now had a company from SA calling her at her new job. She isn’t in the office today, but has been informed by reception that they’ve called 3 times, and even asked to speak to HR about her. What recourse does a South African debt collector have in the UK?

    • moneyaware

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your message. As a UK charity, our area of expertise debt and debt collection processes in the UK. If the company is calling your wife from South Africa, this is outside our area of expertise as they won’t be governed by UK law. I’d suggest you speak to a South African debt advice organisation for information about the actions South African creditors can take to recover debts.

      If they’re contacting her at work without her permission, I’d also suggest you get in touch with the Information Commissioner’s Office. They should be able to offer more guidance about data protection and your wife’s right to privacy. You can find out how to contact them here: https://ico.org.uk/global/contact-us/

      I hope this helps.

      Kind regards,

      Laura

      • CoffeeSlurper

        Thank you very much Laura. Much appreciated.