When can diligence be used?
Your creditor can start diligence when one of the following happens:
- The sheriff court issues an open decree which orders you to pay the full debt straight away
- A ‘time to pay direction’ was agreed, allowing you to pay the decree 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
What is a charge for payment?
If a creditor wants to start diligence, in most cases they have to send you a document called 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 for payment, a creditor could also begin bankruptcy proceedings if your debt is more than £3,000.
As well as a charge for payment, in some cases your creditor will have to send you a copy of the Accountant in Bankruptcy Debt Information and Advice Package booklet. This explains in straightforward terms what action can be taken to collect a debt, and which organisations can help you, including us. You can also use this document to apply for your own bankruptcy.
Worried about diligence?