Debt Collection And Debt Collectors


Staying financially durable has never been a harder juggling act. The increase of families and working professionals alike coming into financial hardship has been exponential.

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When people are in serious debt, many choose to ignore it.

If they do, they risk the situation shifting to arrears. Is this montage sounding alike? The next obstacle in this possible neverending chain of events could be the worst nightmare never dreamt turned real: Debt collection.

Debt collection is a crushing situation. Not just for you personally but the people close to you. It concerns continual harassment methods: Regular door knocks. Continued phone calls from premium numbers. County Court Judgment letters (CCJs). Unwanted emails from strange companies you don’t recognise. This may or may not be from a debt collector or agency they work for, but they add up. Over time they will keep you up at night worried about what lies ahead.

Disguising yourself, playing innocent, or running away from debt recovery the situation can seem attractive. You may think of them as the only options at hand to end your heavy debts. In the long term, they never work and don’t discourage debt collection firms or the agents designated for your case trying to track you down and then squeezing harder. Law enforcement, court action, and conduct authority legislation are just a few methods at their disposal if it comes to it.

If this appears to mirror your current crisis, be honest with yourself. Don’t blank it out. Own up to how your situation really is. There’s no need to suffer in silence, either. Plenty of help and advice is available.

There’s no getting around it. A debt collection agency works on a fee basis. Their prerogative is debt collection and making a payment so they can meet their clients’ demands. Assured this may involve tricksters practising dishonest acts, sometimes illegal methods, to obtain the outstanding debts you owe, and extra for themselves.

Happily, if you’re willing to play ball, the registered firms and collectors can become your new best friend in finding a workable debt recovery solution that benefits everybody.

This pae is full of debt advice, effective tips, and practical examples from the real world to help you ease through your financial woes and eventually leave them behind.

What is a debt collection, or a collector?

If your outlining payment continues to extend into arrears, the creditor or company you are yet to make a payment to will send the case over to a debt collection agency, firm or company. Working on behalf of the creditor or company you’re indebted to, the debt collection agency will take action to initiate the debt recovery process. Using a credit file, the uncompensated creditor or company prepared, the chosen collection agency will use select methods to collect the debt from you.

The business of Debt collection is highly productive and lucrative in the UK, with many established and fraudulent debt collection firms, agencies and individual debt collectors all bidding against one another for the more significant fee basis contract. Current 2024 statistics on UK personal debt by The Money Charity make for depressing reading.

The financial organisation discovered:

  • Borrowers Paid £140 Million A Day In Interest In January 2024.
  • 277 Landlord Possession Claims And 223 Landlord Possession Orders Were Made Every Day.
  • Net Lending To Individuals And Housing Associations In The UK grew By £135 Million A Day In January 2024.

A variety of debt recovery agencies, firms, and collectors vary in size and scale in the UK for creditors to choose from. Smaller agencies usually manage specific debt collection cases appropriate to their financial conduct rules. Larger agencies may comprise increased sectors, varying debt collection specialisms, and office space serving multiple countries. Subsequently, different agencies exercise their own debt collection process.

What debt collection methods do debt collectors use?

Methods and tactics chosen by debt collection agencies, firms, and individual debt collectors depending on the debtors’ case file. Each agency, firm or individual collector will utilise tested methods adopted from previous cases similar to yours so they can bank on a higher success rate.

The majority follow a debt recovery system similar to the UK firm, Lowell Solicitors. Their research suggests:

86% of cases result in payment at the letter before the action stage, with no further action being required. 

Unfortunately, when the polite notice stage proves ineffective, the need to progress matters comprises of 4 UK Debt Recovery Stages entitled: 

The Stages of Debt Recovery:

Step One

A Letter Before Action (LBA) involves a formal letter requesting the payment from the debtor to the creditor, company, or business. It provides the debtor reasonable time to take action and supports the creditor cases should a county court hearing be necessary.

Step Two

A Legal Claim is taken when the creditor does not obtain an adequate response to their formal letter. This following stage notifies the debtor of the legal consequences enforced by the nearest county court. A court form is then sent requesting a 14-day period in which to make the payment comprising the debt, interest, and extra fees.

Step Three

Obtaining a County Court Judgment (CCJ). Ordered by the court, the CCJ verifies the debtors’ failure to deliver the payment or credit agreement to the creditor. The CCJ is the closing action taken by the county court giving power of enforcement to the creditors’ designated debt recovery agency or collector. **The county court closing action has an additional domino effect on the debtors’ capability to secure credit**

Step Four

Enforcement. After the closing County Court Judgment action, the representative debt recovery agency or individual collector may proceed to directly enforce the CCJ without restraint. Many tactics are at the designated agent or collector’s disposal to obtain the outstanding debt for their clients:

Known as the HCEO, High Court Enforcement Officers are the preferred means of enforcement for the majority of CCJs. HCEOs are employed by a separate company authorised by the UK High Court to recover debts valued over £600. Similar to debt collectors, HCEOs work on a fee basis which incentivises them and their process to produce results. They also have extra powers over an appointed bailiff to progress their debt collection case further. For example, they have the authority to break entry into the debtors’ premises if they have reasonable evidence that proves the debtors’ property is at the given location.

Inversed to HCEOs, County Court Bailiffs can only recover debts under £600 or debts regulated by the Customer Credit Act and under £25,000. Since Bailiffs are directly placed by the court, they receive a salary and typically operate within recorded work hours. This could give the debtor an opportunity to dismiss the debt collection entirely.

Formerly known as a Garnishee Order, A Third Party Debt Order is a way of legally enforcing County Court Judgments by receiving payment from a third party. Creditors use this debt collection strategy when they have access to the debtors’ bank account details or large debt recovery contracts. The Third-Party Debt Orders advantage is producing an element of surprise during the debt recovery process. Therefore, timing is critical. The debtor is oblivious to the implementation and is not disclosed until after the Court Order is served. When the debtor is finally aware, their bank account or funds entrusted to the Third Party will be frozen.

A portion of the debtors’ salary will be taken each week or month to cover the debt recovery, depending on when they are paid. Attachment of Earnings can be made if the debtor is an employed individual and the debt collection agent is in possession of the debtor’s employer’s address.

Charging Orders

Are judgment orders secured on any land or property the debtor owns registered with the Land Registry. If the land or property is jointly owned, the charge is taken from their share of the property in question. Not the property itself. Charging Orders are not a regular debt collection practice. Individual debt recovery collectors avoid it because they do not provide speedy reimbursement for the creditor.

Information Orders 

are court orders requiring the debtor to attend a court hearing before a judge. Payment is not required by the debtor though it may be called upon by the debt recovery firm or collector in making final adjustments to their strategy. Information Orders give the debtor an official court date and time, which they must attend. Failure to attend will be construed as Contempt of Court by law authorities – resulting in a short prison sentence. During the court hearing, the debtor is given the opportunity to propose a debt recovery plan. If accepted, the Court will construct a Variation Order. It is executed in a similar mode to Charging Orders if the debtor fails to maintain the plan.

Issued against a company if a debtor’s County Court Judgment is in excess of £750. Winding-up proceedings involve harsh petitions drafted against the debtor and sent to court, who then seal the petition and offers a court hearing date. The petition is then placed on the company and can be advertised 7 days after service. This will freeze the debtor’s bank account, motivating said debtor to commence the debt recovery process sooner.

£5,000 or more accumulated debts are needed to set Bankruptcy Proceedings in motion. Statutory Demand is the first step, which clarifies the debt recovery plan with 21 days for the debtor to make the payment. If the debts are not settled, given no other option, the debt collection agency or debt collectors will dispense a bankruptcy petition to the Court. They will give a court hearing date. Petition and Bankruptcy proceedings should be served personally with proof of service for the Court to verify. Formalities must be followed to the final article to gain fervour during the petition hearing.

Don’t forget that illegitimate agencies, firms, and debt collectors will use unorthodox methods and tactics not approved by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). One famous approach incorporates false examples and legal terminology, pushing you for extra funds not covered in their ‘fee basis’ contract. Always check and verify the FCA registration status of the debt collection agency, firm, or individual debt collector.

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Legitimate UK Debt collection agencies

Just to make it a little easier for you to separate legitimate debt collection agencies from the fake fraudsters, most follow corresponding debt recovery practices that comply with the financial conduct set by the UK organisation, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A financial regulatory body founded recently in 2013, the Financial Conduct Authority governs the UK financial services industry and is funded solely by the firms it regulates.

Its purpose entails preserving industry balance, maintaining wholesome competition between financial service providers—i.e. debt collection firms—and protecting customers. The FCA administers separately from the UK parliament but is accountable to the Treasury, which is responsible for the UK’s financial system.

If you have or do find yourself receiving county court judgment orders, below is a legitimate debt collection agency list. These agencies can be found in the FCA’s Financial Services Register, featuring their trading name, address, phone number, and 6-digit FCA registration number.

Cabot Credit Management

  • 1 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent, ME19 4UA
  • Customer Enquiries: 0344 556 0263
  • Reference Number: 677910 

Lowell Financial Ltd

  • Ellington House, 9 Savanna Way, Leeds Valley Park West, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS10 1AB
  • Telephone: 0113 335 3334
  • Reference Number: 730175

Westcot Credit Services Limited

  • The Mash, Jarret Street, Hull, North Humberside, HU1 3HB
  • Telephone Number: 01482 380630
  • Reference Number: 688858

Credit Style Limited/CST Law

  • 161 Rutland Road, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S3 9PP 
  • Telephone Number: 01142901400
  • Reference Number: 682790

TM Legal Services Limited

  • Unit 10, Whitehills Business Park, Whitehills Drive, Blackpool, Lancashire, FY4 5LW
  • Telephone Enquiries: 01253 531 263
  • SRA Reference Number: 647970 

LINK Financial Outsourcing Limited/Asset Link Capital (No.7)

  • The Peak, 2nd Floor, 5 Wilton Road, London, SW1V 1AN
  • Customer Service Telephone: 02077932650
  • Reference Number: 606817

Moorcroft Debt Recovery Limited/MDR

  • Moorcroft House, 2 Spring Gardens, Stockport, Cheshire, SK1 4AA
  • Contact Number: 01614772222
  • Reference Number: 714738


  • Town Centre House, Merrion Centre, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8LY
  • Telephone: +44 (0)113 297 7571
  • Telephone: +44 (0)344 543 9000
  • Reference Number: 705145

Bluestone Mortgage Limited/Bluestone Group

  • Bluestone Mortgages Limited, 3rd Floor Chancery Lane, London, WC2A 1LS
  • General Enquiries: 0800 368 1834
  • Reference Number: 441255

Advantis Credit Ltd

  • Minton Hollins Building, Shelton Old Road, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, ST4 7RY
  • Customer Enquiries: 01782 971 346 and 01782400400 
  • Reference Number: 705478

PRA Group (UK) Limited

  • Wells House, 15-17 Elmfield Road, Bromley, Kent, BR1 1LT
  • Call: 0800 877 2772
  • Reference Number: 718645

Drydensfairfax Solicitors

  • Fairfax House, Merrion Street, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS2 8BX
  • By Phone: +44 (0) 113 823 3443
  • Reference Number: 677021

BPO Collections Limited/BPO

  • Marina Quay, Dock Road, Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, KA22 8DA
  • By Telephone: 0141 375 0958
  • Reference Number: 712058

Commercial Collection Services Limited/CCS Collect

  • 3rd Floor, Norfolk House, Wellesley Road, Croydon, CR0 1GR
  • Telephone: 020 8665 4929
  • Reference Number: 703390

What happens if I ignore a debt collection agency or debt collectors?

Ignoring the initial debt collection agency, firm, or debt collector’s polite attempts to make contact is not a wise choice. In the UK, first contact attempts are usually more polite than other law or authorised personnel elsewhere in the world. Taking action towards a debt recovery agreement sooner is better than delaying the process. Allowing your debts and extra fees to mount will make your ability to attain credit unavailable for longer.

Choosing to dismiss your climbing debts or a pre-arranged re-payment agreement could land you the insolvency mark – meaning you are incapable of settling your debt collection. After a debt collection agency or individual collector has undertaken enforcement procedures, their final call to action may be Insolvency Proceedings.

Insolvency proceedings applied to UK businesses (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) comprise four key elements:

  • Administration
  • Receivership
  • Liquidation
  • Company Voluntary arrangements and schemes.

Unlike the US, UK insolvency proceedings are handled out of court but are heavily regulated. Authorised ‘insolvency practitioners’ (IPs) are usually accountants appointed to conduct the ‘insolvency proceedings’ process on behalf of their superiors. Creditors, especially secured creditors, normally control affairs, either by commencing the process or directing which methods will be followed and the suitable IPs.

An authorised code of conduct by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) declares debt collectors provide a seven-day warning given in writing. The written warning notifies you, the debtor, of their intention to visit your premises. Their written warning gives you the opportunity to arrange a debt recovery agreement with your creditor, company, or lender you owe the payment of the debts.

If you succeed before the seven-day warning, the debt collector’s visit is automatically cancelled. If you fail to a reasonable agreement or haven’t prepared your debts after the seven-day period, debt collectors will continue to appear regularly until you do after 6 am and before 9pm during the permitted time slot.

In the UK, if the debt collectors are not court-appointed and appear without proof of ID or a CCJ notice, a legal technicality means you can ignore them even if you’re at home watching TV or listening to music and turning the volume up when they arrive. After an unsuccessful attempt or many, they may decide to yield. Remember, most debt collectors are self-employed and work on a fee basis.

Continuing to work without securing a fee isn’t worth their hassle in the long term. As a proviso, your debt is still mounting. Simply ignoring the debt collectors may encourage them to add any extra fees or charges to your climbing debt collection, which may incur court fees.

The good news is if you choose to cooperate, they are not permitted to force entry on your premises. Especially if young children or vulnerable people are with you. On the downside, if you allow the debt collection agent to enter and haven’t settled the payment or agreed debt recovery plan, they are permitted to take items of value as payment.

Even if you refuse to open the front door, they are equally permitted to take items of value, such as garden furniture or belongings, from outside your garden shed. By any means, in a situation where the debt recovery agent bears a court-approved notice or document, they are authorised to force entry.

I’m in a debt collection situation. What options are available to me?

Thankfully, there exist many debt recovery options to keep the debt collection agencies, firms, subsidiaries and debt collectors at bay. Distinct independently-run UK-based financial organisations – CashFloat, Charity Financial, Turn2us, Citizens Advice, StepChange Debt Charity – are fully qualified with free advice to suit your financial situation, so you can settle your debts and become financially stable once more.

Before your situation reaches arrears, you could take a free debt test check online, which will analyse your current financial situation. When you finish the debt test, you will receive a credit score and final credit report detailing which areas – utility bills, rent/mortgage, food, clothes, provisions, home or car repairs, holidays, credit card or loan repayments – your money goes towards from the most to the least.

Remember! Answer honestly. The information you give is kept confidential and never passed on to secret spies or debt collectors. Also, the advice given could help you achieve debt recovery sooner than you thought by improving your decisions on what direction to take to solve the issue. The credit score could be used by the debt collection agency on how long a debt recovery payment plan they’re willing to agree on. Don’t shoot yourself in both feet!

The 5 Main Debt Solutions

Many books by bankers and financial advisers propose varied solutions for debt repayment. After researching debt collection, puzzling and stupefying are words often used to describe the numerous options available to debtors when considering debt payment action.

The facts of your own situation—the type of debts you possess, the total debt amount, and how much I could put towards debt payment from my salary per week or month—may seem contrary to what you’ve read. You will need to focus on a plan and feasible payment schedule that you can stick with over a given period.

The one solution that various people come back to and previous debtors swear by is this.

Snowball Method – 

If you feel you can stick with and continue contributing minimum payments per week or month toward your debt collection, then this approach is virtually your best prospect for becoming debt-free. Of all the five methods, the snowball method actually improves your credit rating, whereas the other options will damage it.

Debt Management Plan (DMP) – 

This produces the minimum monthly payment you’ll have to make and avoids paying interest fees to creditors. It is the best choice if you’ve lost your job and the intended debt recovery period is short.

Individual Voluntary Arrangement (IVA) – 

This alternative is best when your debt collection amounts to £6,000 or more and need to protect your house against repo men.

Debt Relief Order – 

Is a lawful UK settlement that lasts one year. You do not have to contribute any debt collection repayments during that year, so long as your financial position does not improve or significantly change. Debt Relief Orders are suitable for people less than £20,000 in debt with little income and no property.

Bankruptcy –

Is the speedier choice to become debtless but should always be thought of as a last resort as it remains the nuclear option. The two ways of claiming bankruptcy are as follows: during debt collection, you yourself can declare bankruptcy, or your creditors can petition for your bankruptcy. This option should not be considered in an instant. If you’re pronounced bankrupt your debts – a minimum of £5,000 in the UK – are written off usually after one year. The implications are severe if you take this route e.g. the strong chance of assets and your belongings forcibly taken from you and re-sold.