What’s the Difference Between Bailiffs and Debt Collectors? - Cobra Financial Solutions Ltd

No-nonsense, straight-talking debt collection service

When it comes to repaying money that’s owed, people often think of bailiffs and debt collectors as being the same. However, there are some key differences. Though bailiffs and debt collectors both recover debts and money that is owed to another party, they have different legal powers and they work on behalf of different people. Below, we have taken a look at the key differences, highlighting what makes our debt collection agency different to a team of bailiffs.


What is a Bailiff?

Bailiffs, often referred to as enforcement agents, have legal powers to collect a debt. They usually work on behalf of private companies or the council, though some are self-employed. Unless debt collectors, bailiffs have the legal right to visit your property and take away your goods, in order to sell them on to pay off a debt. This means that the debts that bailiffs can collect should always be a priority payment, such as CCJs, council tax arrears and child maintenance arrears.

More often than not, a bailiff will only be sent to your property after you have been taken to court. If you have ignored communications from the court or you have failed to set up a payment plan, sending a bailiff is usually the next course of action. The only exception to this rule is HMRC, who can send bailiffs to recover a debt without having to go through the court process beforehand.

When they think about bailiffs, a lot of people think of people barging into homes and businesses, forcefully taking belongings, but this isn’t the case. In fact, bailiffs have to let you know that they are coming seven days in advance, giving you time to pay the debt or reach an agreement. They also can’t enter your property with force, such as breaking down doors, and they must let you know who they are and why they are there.


What is a Debt Collector?

A debt collector is different to a bailiff, as they work on behalf of a debt collection agency or a creditor. Unlike a bailiff, a debt collector cannot take goods from your property, but they can ask you to make a payment and set up a payment plan with you to repay the debt. Usually, debt collectors work on behalf of debt collection agencies, collecting debts on behalf of creditors. A debt collector is called if you have missed payments or defaulted on a debt, as a way for the creditor to reclaim their money.

Debt collectors tend to only collect commercial debts, such as loans, overdrafts, credit card debt and money owed to utility companies. They can also collect other types of debt, such as money owed to an individual. For example, if a friend or family member loaned you money, and you have failed to pay. Whereas bailiffs can enter your home, debt collectors cannot, unless you invite them in. If you ask them to go, they have to leave. They are also not allowed to take any of your belongings in the same way that bailiffs can.


As you can see, there are clear differences between bailiffs and debt collectors. At Cobra Financial, we provide a variety of debt collection services and professionalism is at the heart of everything that we do. To find out more, get in touch with our talented team.

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