Debt Collection Companies
Debt collection agencies are companies that specialise in buying and collecting debts. They can either buy the debt from the original creditor or are paid a percentage of the amount they collect. Once a debt passes to a collection agency you pay them direct and in many cases, the agency can stop interest and charges. However there is no guarantee that they will agree to suspend interest and charges. You can still arrange an affordable monthly payment at this stage and you must stick to any offer you make.
Collection agencies are not bailiffs and they do not have any more legal powers than the original creditor. They can contact you by letter or telephone and in rare cases may call at your home. Collection agencies still have to follow Office of Fair Trading (OFT) guidelines on fair debt collection.
There are reports of some companies sending out letters claiming that money is owed and sometimes obtaining money from terrified recipients of such letters uncertain as to what the debt actually refers to. It is important to establish what the debt does actually refer to, and from where the debt collection company has obtained the debt. However many companies are perfectly reasonable and very willing to set up a repayment plan for a genuine debt that is based on affordable payments.
Before you pay a bailiff, or let them in, ask to see proof of their identity - like a copy of their bailiff certificate. Also ask them for either a copy of the court order saying you owe the money or a copy of their 'authorization' (permission) to take your things.
You may want to pay the bailiff some or all the money you owe. You can pay them on the doorstep - you don't have to invite them into your home. Make sure you get a receipt, to prove you've paid. If you can't pay anything right away, speak to the bailiff about repayments, or tell the bailiff you'll pay the money back directly to the organization you owe it to and write to this organization, and offer to pay what you can afford. If you don't offer to pay, you could be taken back to court.