Jan 16

Desperate & in debt? You may be surprised at what rights you have

Following the global financial crisis in 2008, many individuals and households experienced financial difficulties which escalated to a point of severity.

Many leading economists agree that the crash was the most significant economic disaster since the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Many who never had to worry about finances and their futures were suddenly affected by the harsh realities of debt and uncertainty. Dealing with unpaid bills, a lack of credit and the adverse effects of the poor economy rendered many feeling hopeless.

However, there are practices which must be adhered to when it comes to debt collection. Where you are located will determine what laws are in place to protect you. Debt collectors in the USA, sheriff officers Scotland, or bailiffs in England have varied codes to adhere to. However, when it comes to handing over money, or reading up on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), there are means to ensuring you are protected.

It is worth taking the time to read about the differences between what debts you have, and aiming to prioritize any payments according to the potential risk of losing personal property or being liable to prosecution.

While debt collectors can show up and demand access to your property, there are specific guidelines and protocols they must follow. For example, a debt collector cannot generally apply to take any property from your ownership for debts owing to unsecured loans. In cases where you have debts on a secured loan, creditors may be within their rights to seize property in line with the agreement you signed when taking the loan.

In common cases, a loan taken out to buy a car in which the customer fails to make agreed payments can result in lenders seizing the vehicle without your consent. Despite this, you still have rights. The same applies on home loans, or any other loan secured by collateral.


The Best Approach and Help with Sheriff Officers, Bailiffs or Debt Collectors

Ensure that the representative you are speaking with is in fact legitimate. The best way to do this is to contact the company they work for directly, and verify the institution via Google. When making an agreement to pay any amount, ensure that this is done and agreed to in writing. A written account of any agreement between you and your creditors will be easier to prove once you have it in writing and on company headed paper.

If a debt collection agent approaches you at your private property, you do not have any legal requirement to engage in conversation. Debt collectors are not permitted to contact you in any way inconvenient, or at unreasonable hours (prior to 8am or after 9pm). Should the agent persist, politely ask the individual to leave. If the debt collector, sheriff officer or bailiff still refuse to leave, inform them that you are calling the police, and if necessary, do so.

While you may be in debt to an institution, you still have rights protecting you. If you require help in finding out what rights you have, consulting a professional in the areas of debt and debt collection will be beneficial.

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