Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

With Millions[.]

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

With Millions[.]

Article excerpt

Byline: JAMES WALKER Complaints champion fights for your rights

With millions of Brits still struggling to control big debts in the aftermath of the credit boom and bust of the Noughties, James Walker looks into your rights if the bailiffs come knocking Bailiff or debt collector? THERE are two types of firms that could turn up at your door: a bailiff or a debt collector. If they are a debt collector, they have no powers to enforce the debt. If a bailiff turns up they will need to announce themselves as a bailiff.

There are three types of bailiffs: County Court, Certified and Private.

You do not have to open the door to a bailiff, but once the door is open, they may attempt to force their way past to gain "walking possession" of goods in your house, car or place of business. At this point they can take control of your goods, although they may still leave them in your property. The only bailiffs who can force entry are County Court bailiffs.

What is a debt collector? IF your debt is unsecured (e.g. a credit card, overdraft, or mobile phone bill) your creditors cannot send bailiffs, but can send a doorstep collector. Ask them to leave and request that they contact you by letter only.

If you have missed between three and six payments, you could be deemed to be in default on your original agreement. Interest can continue to be added to your account and the money debited from the related accounts.

Your debt can be passed to a debt collection agency, but they have no more powers than the firm to whom you owe money.

The company can apply for a county court judgement.

The court will set repayment terms for the debt. Once set, it is important that you adhere to these terms.

A warrant A bailiff must ensure a legal professional collects the debt, known as a warrant of execution, allowing the bailiff to recover goods to pay the judgement plus fees or court costs. The warrant can only be issued if a related county court judgement (CCJ) payment has been missed.

Notice IF a warrant has been issued, the court will give you seven days' notice in writing that bailiffs will be visiting. If you receive such a notice, contact the court immediately and request an N245 form which allows you to suspend the visit or renegotiate any repayments.

When can they force entry? IN most circumstances bailiffs cannot force entry to your home - including with eviction orders, persistent unpaid court fines or unpaid taxes. These can be issued by high courts, county courts or magistrates' courts.

Bailiffs have the right of peaceful entry, meaning they cannot break glass or doors, but can gain access through an open window, door or climb a fence.

If it is a peaceful entry you do not have to let the bailiff into your home. Once the firm has entered your home, they can come back at any time and collect the goods. …

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