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How to Beat Credit Card Arrears Harassment

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 2 Mar 2013 | comments*Discuss
Credit Card Arrears Debt Collection

Credit card arrears harassment by credit companies or debt collectors is never pleasant; it can also be a criminal offence. Personal debt in the UK has now reached a record £1,485 billion, and certain creditors are resorting to harassment tactics to recover debts owed to them.

Avoiding Credit Card Arrears Harassment

The most obvious way to avoid harassment from credit companies and collection agencies is to pay back the debt. Even paying back the minimum payment each month will avoid any late payment phone call or letters from creditors. However, as the personal debt figures in the UK show there are thousands of people who have been unable to pay back their credit card debts.

Inability to pay back debts can occur for a number of reasons such as unemployment, recession and illness. Unfortunately, none of these reasons will make much of a difference to debt collectors. Certain disreputable collectors simply want their money and aren’t afraid to use harassment in order to collect it.

Competition and Debt Collection Agencies

The reason that certain debt collection agencies use harassment tactics is that most debtors have more than one debt. This means that various creditors will be chasing the individual debtor. Collection agents are under instructions to get in as quickly as possible to recover debts using any means possible. By doing this it means they are first in the queue; less money paid to other creditors means more money going to them.

Debt Harassment Points to Remember

When it comes to debt collectors looking to recover debts there are some vital points for debtors to remember. Anyone who is facing harassment from debt collectors should keep these points in mind when talking to a debt collector:

  • Collection agencies are private companies and have limited powers to recover debts
  • Collection agencies cannot repossess goods and cannot instruct bailiffs without a court order
  • Collection agencies cannot gain entry to a debtor’s property without permission
  • Repeatedly phoning debtors at work and home is considered harassment
  • Collection agencies do not represent the original credit companies; they will usually have bought the debt
  • Collection agencies do not buy debts for the full price; they usually pay between £0.06 and £0.16 per £1.00 debt
  • Debtors have the right to report harassment to the Office of Fair Trading
  • Collection agencies will use harassment in the hope that it will scare debtors into paying money

Stop Credit Card Arrears Harassment Early

Debt collectors bank on the debtor’s naivety when it comes to their consumer rights. They will use threats such as court action, doorstep visits, and continual phone calls to the debtor’s place of employment. All of these tactics are considered harassment and are designed to instil fear into the debtor. One threat that the debtor can use to turn the tables on collectors using harassment is to inform them that the Office of Fair Trading will be notified. Harassment is a criminal offence and collection agencies can lose their licence to trade and face severe fines if found guilty.

Calling the Collection Agency’s Bluff

Harassment tactics will include threatening court action and repossessing goods for non payment of debts. It is unlikely that creditors will use court action as the price they have paid for the debt will not be worth the trouble. In most cases the creditor will also not want to use court action as the likelihood is that a judge will set out a very low payment plan for the debtor. Collectors simply cannot turn up and repossess goods; they do not have the legal right to do so. A county court judgement will be issued first and even at this point the debtor has a chance to offer a minimum payment.

Make a Credit Card Arrears Payment Arrangement

One of the best ways to beat harassment from collection agencies is to work out a minimum payment plan with the original creditor. Most creditors will accept a realistic offer of payment over a long period of time. By dealing with the problem at an early stage debtors can avoid the collection agencies being called in. Once collection agencies are involved the harassment can step up a gear. Arranging an affordable payment plan with the original creditors can avoid unnecessary harassment from debt collection agencies.

Debtors should remember that they are not alone and thousands of people across the UK are facing similar debt problems. There are many offices designed to help those in debt such as the Citizens Advice Bureau and the Consumer Credit Counselling Service. Debtors who are facing harassment and threats from collection agencies should seek help from either of these official debt agencies.

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