Collection by a bailiff
Have you received a letter from a bailiff? Should you be worried? Everything obviously depends on whether this is a court ruling or not, because bailiffs have 2 different roles. Find out the difference.
Collection by a bailiff with court ruling
Has a judge decreed that you must pay money owed? In that case, you are obliged to comply with this verdict, unless you lodged an appeal within the accepted time frame.
If you don’t pay voluntarily, the other party may ask a bailiff to enforce the verdict. In that case, the bailiff will send you an official request for payment including the amount owed and the costs relating to his intervention.
Collection by a bailiff without court ruling
Another possibility is that a company feels that you owe them a certain amount and calls upon the services of a bailiff or debt collector. The bailiff or debt collector will then ask you to settle the claim ‘amicably’: without intervention from the courts. No reason to panic!
Are you obliged to comply with the bailiff’s request? No, without a court ruling, he cannot enforce payment. But if you acknowledge the debt, it would be advisable to pay it. This will avoid a court case. Are you contesting the debt? Notify the bailiff and his client by registered letter. As soon as the bailiff receives your written, substantiated objection, he must cease any further action.
In the event of an amicable settlement, bailiffs must not use practices such as the following:
- issue inaccurate judicial threats,
- provide inaccurate information about the claimant,
- collect unforeseen and illegal amounts,
- create confusion concerning his status as a debt collector,
- harass debtors who have contested the debt purposely and with substantiation.