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Home visits from debt collectors

Your creditors can contact you in several ways to ask you to pay debts. One way is to send a debt collector to visit your home in person.

If you've missed payments your creditors may tell you they'll send a debt collector to your house. Although they can do this, it's not common. Most creditors will stick to contacting you by phone or letter.

A debt collector is not the same as an enforcement agent or bailiff. Debt collectors have no special legal powers.

Debt collectors may work for your creditor, or they may work for a separate debt collection agency. They're sometimes known as doorstep collectors or field agents. Larger debt collection agencies have debt collectors working all across the country.

Worried about home visits?

Take our 60-second debt test

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Or call our expert debt advisors

0800 138 1111

8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 8am to 4pm Saturday. Freephone inc. mobiles.

What can a debt collector do?

A debt collector can:


  • Visit you at home
  • Speak to you discreetly about your debt and try to set up a payment arrangement
  • Ask you to make payment to them

But they can’t do any of the following:


  • Visit you at your workplace
  • Act in a threatening or intimidating way, or cause a disturbance
  • Force their way into your house or refuse to leave when you tell them to
  • Take any of your belongings or clamp your car
  • Pretend they're a bailiff or enforcement agent - this is a criminal offence
  • Speak to neighbours, family or flatmates about your debt

If you feel you've been treated unfairly by a debt collector you can make a complaint. Most debt collectors are members of a trade body like the Credit Services Association, which has a code of conduct setting out standards they expect their members to meet.

What should I do if a debt collector visits?

First, ask to see proof of ID and make a note of their name. All debt collectors should carry this.

Explain to the debt collector what you can afford to pay them, and give them a copy of your budget if you have one.

We recommend paying creditors directly rather than paying debt collectors on the doorstep. If you do pay the debt collector, make sure you get a receipt. You may find if you pay them once they're likely to come back for further payments.

You don't have to open your door to them if you feel uncomfortable. If you don't want to speak to the debt collector ask them to leave. You can deal with the debt over the phone or in writing after the debt collector has left.

A visit from a debt collector is a sign that you need debt help. If you've not contacted us before, call our Helpline (Free from all landlines and mobiles) for expert debt help, or complete our online debt advice tool.