How Can You Tell a Difference Between a Bailiff And Debt Collector

How Can You Tell a Difference Between a Bailiff And Debt Collector

More often than bailiffs and debt collectors are confused for one another. It could be because they both can visit homes with a view to collect a debt. No matter how related their jobs are, they are still very different from each other.

However, despite the similarities, it is important to know that a debt collector does not have any special legal powers over you when seeking to collect a debt, whereas a bailiff does possess such powers.

Here’s a rundown of understanding what each one can do and how both the positions are used when it comes to collecting a debt.

Who’s a bailiff?

Officially bailiffs are called enforcement agents, but many still refer to them as bailiffs. They hold the legal powers when it comes to collecting the debt. Some Bailiffs work for the council; some are self-employed, while some work on behalf of private companies. They go to debtors who owe money to their employers; they even collect things like council tax arrears, parking fines, County court judgements and child maintenance arrears.

Bailiffs visit your home when you owe someone money. They visit you to see if you have anything of value to be sold so as to pay back your debt. They even carry the rights to sell your belongings and raise the money to pay off your debt. The raised money is also used to pay the added fees of the bailiff and extra charges that you owe on top of the debts. The amount you owe may not be easy to mount up, so it is always best to take action as early as you can.

Bailiffs can seem intimidating sometimes, but they are not a threat to anyone. However, people may get daunted and do not understand what to do when a bailiff comes knocking at their door; that is when one must seek bailiff help from agencies that are providing the service.

When the creditor has tried all other means to get what the debtors owe and failed, that is when they choose bailiffs as a last resort to getting their money back. Normally, you would receive a written warning from the creditors informing you about their intent to use a bailiff to get the money you owed back. Avoid ignoring such warnings from your creditor, talk to them and find a middle ground where you can negotiate or work around the deadlines. You can also seek help to stop bailiffs when they arrive with the help of such agencies that help you with the same. Seek financial advice; a trained advisor can help you strategise an arrangement with the creditor and help you with avoiding bailiff action entirely.

Here is a rundown of the types of debts bailiffs are allowed to collect

  • Maintenance
  • Parking fines
  • High court judgements
  • County Court Judgements (CCJs)
  • Business rent
  • Child Support
  • Magistrates’ court fines and compensation orders
  • Income tax, national insurance and VAT

The list of debts mentioned above are serious matters which should not be ignored. The struggle with paying the debt could be real, so you must not hesitate when it comes to seeking advice from reputable agencies like Bailiff Help Now.

debt collector

Who’s a debt collector?

Debt collectors work for creditors or agencies that work for debt collection. They also go by the names of doorstep collectors or a field agent.

Debt collectors are the collection agents that cannot really take anything from your property, whereas a bailiff can.

What is the difference between the two?

Creditors use debt collection services to get the money you owe them. Debt collectors are officers that do not have as many legal powers as a bailiff, and they are bound to get punished for even pretending to be one to get you into paying the debt.

Bailiffs have to go through some process to reach a level where they can act on a given authorisation to act.


You can differentiate between by asking yourself these simple questions:

  • What debt are they chasing?

The answer should be simple if it is one of the debts mentioned above, it’s a bailiff.

  • Has the officer shown up without any notice?

Bailiffs are required to send you a notice before coming to your door, so if the officer is visiting you without warning claiming to be a bailiff, be alert; it might not be a bailiff.

  • Did you receivean enforcement notice?

An official notice is usually sent if a creditor has asked a bailiff to take any action; the bailiffs must adhere to a strict format. If someone shows up at the doorstep without any notice, it might not be a bailiff.

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