There are many differences between a bailiff and a debt collector, and if either of them come to your door it is important that you understand the differences so you know how to handle the situation.

What is a Bailiff?

A Bailiff can only get involved when you have been taken to court about your debts and you could not come to an agreement with your creditors or you have failed to keep to the terms of a court order. Although, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) do not need a court order to send bailiffs about income tax or VAT debts.

Bailiffs can either be employed by the court or from a private firm. If they are from the court because you owe money for court fines, then they will have the power to force their way into your home to take away your possessions to repay the debt. HMRC bailiffs can also force entry in this way as long as they have a warrant from the magistrate.

County Court bailiffs cannot take anything from behind a locked door, unless you let them in. However once they have been allowed in, they will be able to force entry on further visits.

What is a Debt Collector?

It is illegal for a debt collector to pretend they are bailiffs and they do not have the right to force entry into your home.

Debt collectors are employed by creditors in order to reach an agreement about paying back a debt so it doesn’t go to court. Once the debt has been sold to the collectors they will be responsible for getting the money back.