How do debt collectors find you?

24 May2012

If you're being chased by a debt collector it can be an unpleasant and worrying experience, particularly if it's a debt that you incurred several years ago and have forgotten about until the debt collector called. Many people wonder how debt collectors can track them down after years of changing address or even working abroad, especially if they now have no connection with the creditor they originally borrowed from.

Are you on somebody's file?

No matter how many times you've changed address a debt collector could still find you, simply by searching your credit file, which is held by the credit reference agencies (Equifax, Experian and CallCredit). If you have a bank account with an overdraft facility, any store/credit cards or a mortgage (even a joint one) that's in your name at your new address, this would link your information to any previous addresses and enable the debt collectors to locate you.

What can debt collectors do?

Because there are certain constraints on the way a debt collector recovers a debt and how long he's legally permitted to take steps to pursue what's outstanding, it's best to know where you stand and what you can do to prevent further action.

Debt collectors may be part of the company you owe money to or they may have bought the debt from your lender, meaning you'll owe the money to them. They have a legal right to pursue the outstanding debt but, unlike bailiffs, they don't have special powers and cannot confiscate your possessions.

Find further details on what a debt collector can do here.

Can I avoid debt collectors?

The simplest way to avoid a confrontation is to take steps to get your debt repayments under control before your situation reaches crisis point. Remember, debt collector demands are a precursor to legal action, but there should be plenty of time to reach an agreement.

Debt collectors have to follow the same guidelines as creditors and are obliged to consider a repayment plan, providing it is realistic and enables them to recoup the debt in a reasonable amount of time.

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Tags: debt, debt advice, debt collectors, bailiffs, credit record, Statute Barred

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