Our friendly, client-orientated lawyers understand only too well how stressful having to instigate a debt collection procedure on a personal debt can be, especially if the person who owes you money is a member of your family or a close friend.
We will assist with collecting the money owed to you in a sensitive manner and we will always be guided by you as to the tone and structure of the communications sent to the debtor.
How does the process of debt collection work?
Debt collection typically follows a standard procedure.
Letter Before Action
The first step in collecting an unpaid debt is sending a Letter Before Action. This is a formal letter stating that if the debt is not paid within a certain period of time then Court action will be taken. Often debts are settled after the receiving of a Letter Before Action.
If the person who owes you money does not pay within the allocated time-frame stated in the Letter Before Action we can, on your instruction, initiate Court proceedings to recover the debt. Once the Court serves a claim form, the debtor has two weeks to settle the debt, negotiate payment options with you or defend the action.
County Court Judgment
If the debtor offers no response to the claim form issued by the Court within fourteen days then, on your instruction, we can obtain a County Court Judgment against them. This means the Court has made the finding that the debtor owes you money. The judgment is kept on record for six years, making it very difficult for the debtor to obtain credit during that time. Depending on the circumstances the Court may appoint a bailiff to go to the debtor’s premises and demand payment. If the payment is not forthcoming they have the power to take some of the debtor’s property and sell it in order to settle the debt.
Cost of debt collection
One of the main concerns with chasing a debt is, “will it be financially worth it after paying legal fees?”. The answer to this depends on the amount of money owed, however, at Bennett Oakley Solicitors we operate on a fixed fee basis so you will know, in advance of any action being taken, exactly how much your lawyer’s fee will be.