Selling debt to collection agencies: your rights

Companies are increasingly selling debt on to collection agencies, who than have the authority to collect the debt on the company's behalf. However, it's not uncommon for a debt collection agency to act unprofessionally and aggressively try to collect debts when they don't have the authority to do so.

Debt collection agencies are private companies. By selling a debt to a collection agency, the company no longer holds responsibility - meaning you pay the debt back to the collection agency. However, debt collection agencies do not have the same rights as county court bailiffs. They cannot:

  • Harass you by making an excessive number of calls of visits.
  • Enter your home under any circumstances without your permission. They cannot force entry or break into your home.
  • Pretend they are bailiffs.
  • Threaten you with consequences that will not happen, for example stating you will go to prison if you do not repay the debt.
  • Take any possessions without a court order.
  • Call you at work or come to your work, wait for you outside your work, call at your neighbours house or park outside with vans or vehicles that suggest they are from a collection agency.


If you ever feel you have been harassed or improperly treated by a debt collection agency then you should contact advice agencies, such as CAB or the Office of Fair Trading, for additional help.

It's also likely that a company, upon selling your debt to collection agencies, will add fees and charges to the bill. Debt collection agencies often charge debtors for visits that were never made or add ridiculous amounts of interest. This is not allowed on the part of the debt collector and they miss issue a letter of advice for future charges in most circumstances, or justify any additional fees they have added to the debt.

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