Personal Debt Collection in Leeds
If you have a debt that was not invoiced to a limited company, PLC or LLP then it will be classed as personal. This includes sole traders. It means that you will need to go through a different process for collection. We can conduct this process for you, right through to issue of claim.
Pre-Action Debt Protocol
The first step is to go through the pre-action debt protocol process. This explains the way creditors need to act when considering court action to recover a personal debt. Where it is possible to avoid court action this is always the best approach and this protocol is designed to reduce the number of debt claims reaching this stage.
Before Starting Any Court Action
The court will expect both creditors and debtors to have acted in a way which tries to avoid court action where possible. You both need to provide an appropriate amount of information to enable you to understand the other’s position on the case. If an agreement can be reached out of court this is always preferred.
A letter of claim has to be sent to the debtor first. This needs to include certain information:
- The amount of the debt and whether interest has been added.
- Who made the agreement, if there is no written agreement, what exactly was agreed and where and when it was agreed.
- Where a signed written agreement is in place, it needs to state the date, who signed it and inform the debtor that they can ask for a copy.
- Where the debt has been sold to a debt collection agency it needs to detail who the original creditor was, the amount of the original debt, when the debt was sold and the company it has been sold to.
- Where a debtor has already made an offer to pay in instalments there needs to be an explanation of why court action is being considered.
- The letter needs to give details of how the debtor can pay and contact information so that they can discuss payment.
- There needs to be an address where the debtor can send the completed form.
Along with the letter you should also send:
- An information sheet explaining the debtor’s rights and what they should do next.
- A reply form that they have to send back to you within 30 days.
- A statement of means form.
The debtor then has 30 days from the date at the top of the letter to reply. This can be to make an offer of payment, to inform you that they are seeking debt advice or to ask for more evidence of the debt. Where they ask for any documents or information you need to provide this, or explain why you can’t, within 30 days.
The Limitation Act 1980 outlines how long you have to take action to recover a debt. The time limit starts from the ‘cause of action’, which is different for different types of debt.
The limitation period for unsecured credit debts is six years. If before this time you have not obtained a county court judgement against the debtor, they have not made a payment towards the debt and they’ve not written to admit owing the debt it will be statue-barred. This doesn’t mean that you can no longer try and recover the debt, but it may no longer be enforceable if the debtor chooses not to pay.