Are Debt Collectors Allowed to Harass You?

by from, Last Updated: 12 January 2015

We explain exactly how and when debt collectors are allowed to contact you so that you can prepare yourself for when they call, and complain when they've overstepped the mark.

stressed couple looking at bills

Under the Administration of Justice Act, debt collectors cannot harass you into paying your debts.

This means they're not allowed to continually phone you, repeatedly visit you at home or hassle you in public.

They're meant to keep their attempts to contact you within reasonable hours too -so they don't have the green light to visit or call you at any time of the day or night.

What's more, if you ask to be contacted by email or post only then they must respect this request and can't get in touch through any other means.

So to stop unwanted phone calls or visits you should inform debt collectors that you only want to be contacted in writing (specifying whether by email or post).

Make sure you ask for written acknowledgement of your request and keep a record of all your correspondence with them just in case.

Can debt collectors tell your family you're struggling?

No, discussing your debt with a family member, friend or neighbour without your permission is in breach of data protection laws.

Debt collectors or creditors are not allowed to disclose your financial situation to anyone else, unless you give express permission for them to do so.

Can debt collectors contact your employer?

Again, speaking to your employer about your borrowing without your permission is against data protection laws.

What's more, unless your debt is a business loan, the company or collection agency cannot call or visit your place of work to collect payment unless you've given them permission.

If you have already been contacted at work you should tell the company not to call or visit you there again - if they do they will be in violation of the fair debt collection rules (set out by the OFT).


what is considered "reasonable times" for debt companies to phone you?

by Scooby69, 27 Mar 2013

weekdays from 8am to 9pm; Saturdays from 8am to 4pm; and Sundays from 9am to 4pm.

by shortypaul, 14 Apr 2013

I have had one call my work today and ask to speak to HR!!! I have asked them not to contact me at work, the whole office know someone is chasing me now.

by mandie5, 6 Jun 2013

Write to the bank in concern about your complaint and report them to the CSA who will contact them.

by wellies, 19 Jul 2013

The Shop Direct Group are calling me between 8.15am and 9pm every single day. They will call early morning, then again mid-morning, mid-afternoon, tea time, early evening and then as late as 8.45pm. I know we owe them, we've a payment plan in place which we're keeping to, so why are they ringing me? It's getting so that I have my phone on silent all the time! How many times are they allowed to ring?

by justjayne01, 18 Sep 2013

Hi Jayne,

This does sound a bit excessive, your best bet is to write them a letter informing them that you only want to be contacted by email/post (whichever you prefer) and ask for written confirmation that they have received it.

If they carry on calling after you've sent the letter you should have grounds for a formal complaint.

by Martin from, 18 Sep 2013

can debt collectors call at your house on Sundays??

I.E Brighthouse???

by derek76, 9 Jan 2014

I would like to bring the company down! My boss (director) is bullying me into quitting.He knows that I am a very competent and hard worker and thus can't just fire me. He doesn't want to hear about harassment laws or data protection act when it comes to calling debtors. He will bully you and call you incompetent when you advise him that calling a person 8 times a day is wrong. I can't just quit either as I am getting married later this year and need the money. What can I do?

by Joe28, 6 Feb 2014

Hi Joe. This sounds like an attempt at 'constructive dismissal'. I have had this happen to me. keep a record of every time you get told to do things like this. Have a diary on your desk and write everything down that he says to you. This is your evidence trail. If you continue to receive this kind of action request a meeting with a senior manager and HR. Take a witness with you. They do not have to work for the company but they can't ask any questions. If it is someone from the same company as you, make sure they have a backbone. Advise the company that you believe you are being subjected to an attempt of 'constructive dismissal', have your diary for evidence. Inform them that if it continues and you are dismissed you will be taking it up with an attorney.


by Speedwave, 12 May 2014

Thats just the way of call centers im afraid. They all do it. Argos will let you get a late payment and not tell you that you need to double up next time to avoid more. Ive seen people with a five pound balance end up with 100's on their account just because they missed one payment and didnt double up the next time. So although they only missed 1 payment 12 late paymebt fees where charged.
At bt they have a save incentive, where if 90% of the customers you speak too stay with bt your bonus is increased. This just meant that if you want to cancel thry will hang up on you instead of ceasing the service to save the bonus incrament. Also the amount of times i saw someone put on a completely inapropriate package and ask for help only to be told tough is untrue. If when cancelling bt you say the service had problems garunteed you will be transfered instead of being dealt with.
In fact the only call center i have worked at where i didnt believe we were breaking every rule set out was united utilities.

by whatwentwrong, 11 Feb 2014

I'm constantly being hassled by a debt collecting agency called Motormile Finance UK Ltd for a debt they claim I owe to a Pay Day Loan firm called Wage Day Advance which I don't. I did have a pay day loan with Wage Day Advance in 2012 but I settled it through Motormile Finance in 2012. Wage Day Advance then sold a debt for alleged interest on this debt to MMF in January 2014. Anyone who knows how Pay Day Lenders operate knows, they don't wait eighteen months to collect
on their debts. But I am unable to get either the Pay Day Lender or the Collection agency to talk to me. Motormile Finance just say they've "investigated" my complaint and I still owe them and I know I don't. I've reported them to the Financial Ombudsman but MMF don't care. Where do I go next?

by steves2, 18 Feb 2014

After receiving numerous calls morning and evening I found The phone number were associated with a loan collectors agency. Motormile Finance UK protection House, 83 Bradford Road. Leeds LS 28 6 AT. They have a free phone number at this company 08009961103. Which they don't provide themselves! They were continually harassing me and when I finally contacted them on this free phone number they have me a lot of rubbish that they were trying to contact a fictitious person.they said I should have rung them back! I didn't as there is a scam charging lots of money to ring certain numbers back.
Don't let them bully you it is illegal.
The other number they ring on is 01132559686. 01133510050
If they were an honest business they should say who they are trying to contact. I don't know where they get my details , so this type of harassment should not be allowed.

by daisyja60, 20 Feb 2014

I'm getting nowhere with Motormile Finance. I've been in touch with the Citizens Advice Bureau who told me I've been doing everything right. They advised me to let Motormile Finance know I only wanted to be contacted by email or letter - which I did - but they're completely ignoring me. I've proven I don't owe them a penny but because they've bought an erroneous debt from their sister company, Wage Day Advance, they're refusing to negotiate or discuss anything. So I'm still being harassed by phone on a daily basis whilst they're refusing to acknowledge any of my correspondence, all of which has been sent by recorded delivery.

I'm convinced they believe that if they keep up the pressure long enough, I'll just give in and pay them, but in that case they've got another think coming.

I KNOW I don't owe them whilst they've refused to provide a shred of evidence I do, so when their heavy turns up, I'll simply call the police saying I'm being burgalled. What they're trying to do is steal money from me so I won't be telling lies.

by steves2, 26 Feb 2014

I have received 2 text messages from a company called Scotcall saying I must contact them to talk about my debt. I have no idea what this 'debt' is regarding. In the text they do not specify my name or what the 'debt' is in relation too. I have looked this company up online and the number of people that have stated men come round to their homes is frightening, I do not want a stranger on my doorstep. Are Scotcall legally allowed to text people without prior written confirmation of what the 'debt' is? Should I write to them and not give any details, including my name and address (surley they would have this information) and state that I will not speak with anyone regarding this 'debt' until I have received written confirmation of what the 'debt' and that indeed this 'debt' is anything to do with me.

by anya456, 26 Feb 2014

Scotcall are awful to deal with, they WILL turn up on your doorstep without warning. If you're not in, they leave a card saying to call them urgently.
They came to us after we left Virgin Media and ended up owing money for coming out of the contract early. If I were you I would write to them, just give your name and use the reference number on the text. (There should be one) ask them what the debt is and what date it was taken out.
Also it may be worth looking at your credit files. Experian do a free trial but remember to cancel it before the 30 days is up.

by justjayne01, 26 Feb 2014

Thank you for the advice. I have looked at my credit report and nothing is showing up, hence why I am so confused by this matter. I will write to them today to find out what this is in relation too. I don't know if you will know this but is there a piece of legislation to incorporate in my letter to deter them from turning up at my door without a pre-arranged appointment?

by anya456, 26 Feb 2014

You can ask them only to contact you by email or telephone or by whichever means you prefer but if my experience with Motormile Finance is anything to go by, they'll completely ignore you. Good luck. x

by steves2, 26 Feb 2014

Hi, I had a doorstep collector leave an opened letter selotaped to my door while I was at work. I live in a flat with a shared walk through and it was there for all to see!! Is there something in place to stop this kind of harassment? Btw I have sent a recorded letter as the account it refers to I'm disputing. Thanks

by Katkat, 1 Mar 2014

This one company keep asking me for more money, I have set up a payment plan for £40 per month. Is this acceptable of the company?

by hobbo2909, 24 Mar 2014

I have had a ccj order for money lent to me, which is fine, but despite the fact that I've told her that I'm not at living my parents house, she has sent numerous text messages to my mother over watsapp and Facebook. Is this allowed? If not, what course of action can I take? My mother and I are estranged and this is not only none of her business, it's embarrassing.

by 21jc93, 20 May 2014

add your response here

by mercin, 19 Jul 2014

Debt companies will track down places of work and harass staff there even when told the guy has left months ago.
THis can go on for months and then relapse after 6 months to see if he's back and "catch you out".

This info must come from personal info on bank statements or from the bank or any agant who has taken the employers name for whatever pretext - is that not an abuse of sensitive data under the data protection act?

Councils not use credit agencies to check if you are correctly claiming whatever benefit. Even the 25% discount single occupancy and I had to go to court on that point when I was meant to be living with a woman with my own name as theirs - and my name can not be used by the fairer sex. So is that a good use of this new power the government is dishing out to thousands and thousands of offices up and down the country?

by gryan1, 19 Jul 2014

So who do I complain to regarding being Harassed?

by pinky82, 6 Aug 2014

Hi Pinky,

In most cases you can complain to the financial ombudsman, you can find out more on their website:

by Martin from, 6 Aug 2014

Thank you

by pinky82, 6 Aug 2014
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