When can diligence be used?
Your creditor can start diligence when one of the following happens:
- The sheriff court issues a decision/decree which orders you to pay the full debt straight away
- A ‘time to pay direction’ was agreed, allowing you to pay the debt in instalments, but you’ve not kept up with the payment
- The sheriff court issues a summary warrant for debts such as council tax or tax debts owed to HM Revenue & Customs
Prior to any diligence starting you should have received a ‘Charge to Pay’ or a ‘Charge for Payment’.
What is a charge to pay or charge for payment?
The Charge to Pay or the Charge for Payment is the final formal action which creditors need to take to enable them to commence diligence (enforcement) for the recovery of debt.
- Charge to Pay is normally for debts up to £5,000
- Charge for Payment is normally for debts of £5,000 or more
If a creditor wants to start diligence, in most cases they have to send you a document called a ‘charge to pay’ or a ‘charge for payment’ first. This is normally delivered in person by a sheriff officer and it gives you 14 days to pay the debt before further action can be taken. If you’ve not paid the debt before the end of this period, the creditor can begin diligence.
Following a charge to pay/charge for payment, a creditor could also begin bankruptcy proceedings if your debt is more than £3,000.
As well as a charge to pay/charge for payment, in some cases your creditor will have to send you a copy of the Accountant in Bankruptcy Debt Advice and Information Package booklet. This explains in straightforward terms what action can be taken to collect a debt, and which organisations can help you, including us.
Worried about diligence?