March 12, 2015 The debt of Poles is constantly growing. Although, according to the National Debt Register, the number of debtors increased by only 2%, the amount of outstanding liabilities has clearly increased. Compared to the end of 2016, the difference is 27 percent. Why don’t we pay you back? We incorrectly estimate our financial capabilities. With the simultaneous coincidence of adverse events, we are unable to pay the loan installments, pay bills or payday loans. When the unfavorable financial situation continues, specialists will deal with debt enforcement. Who will step in first – debt collector or bailiff?
Debt collection company and bailiff
Identifying the debt collector with the bailiff and vice versa often occurs. Unfortunately, the erroneous perception of both people engaged in collecting debts is tantamount to a lack of knowledge about what actions the debt collection company can take and what the bailiff’s activity should look like. Such unconsciousness can work to our disadvantage, especially when dishonest representatives of these industries take care of us.
Considering the fact that only young people have non-credit debts of PLN 4.6 billion1, we should ensure our financial awareness. Otherwise, we will quickly join the group of people having budget problems due to inability to estimate it, which is one of the main causes of debt. Later, we will have to face the consequences of unpaid debts, facing the debt collector and then the bailiff. What are their rights?
What can a debt collector do?
The debt collector or debt collection company are external entities to which the creditor sold the debt or ordered its recovery. Why did he do that? Despite the admonitions of the unreliable customer, he did not receive a positive response to the calls. For this reason, he had to take steps to give him the hope of recovering the outstanding balance.
The essence of the debt collection process is to seek agreement with an unreliable payer and to amicably end the debt recovery case. The powers of the debt collector allow him to negotiate a solution satisfactory for both parties. Under no circumstances may he use any form intended to force the debtor (physically or mentally) to repay the amount due.
The debt collector is not allowed to:
- threaten the debtor with access to the apartment, seizure of property, arrest or police;
- force his apartment to enter;
- use offensive words;
- apply physical force to an unreliable payer;
- to frighten that he will inform about neighbors’ debts;
- persistently overlap the debtor at the workplace or in his apartment;
- demand disclosure of property;
- misleading as to the consequences of non-payment of debts and your entitlements or identity.
If he commits one or more of the prohibited acts, he commits a crime in accordance with art. 190a of the Penal Code².
It is worth talking to the debt collector
We consider debt collection a moral obligation. As many as 97 percent of Poles surveyed declare that they should responsibly pay their outstanding obligations.3 Unfortunately, declarations do not go hand in hand with specific actions. We find plenty of excuses to take repayment aside. We only harm ourselves in this way. We feel more and more stress and are reluctant to check who is knocking on our door, fearing the worst – taking over the property. We are in the debtors database, losing the chance to obtain additional support for other unforeseen expenses. We see no way to get out of financial trouble.
By undertaking talks with a debt collector at the amicable debt collection stage, we can avoid the unpleasant consequences of non-payment of the loan in accordance with the dates provided for in the contract. When we receive the first prompt, we should respond immediately. Then we will negotiate the conditions that will allow us to settle the debt without worrying about being entered in the register or commencing bailiff’s execution. If we continue to evade the obligation to satisfy the creditor’s claim, we will soon be affected by the bailiff’s actions.
When does the bailiff enter?
A debt collection company is not always able to collect the debt, then the case goes to court. In the course of court proceedings, the so-called executive title. It is a document that states the existence of an obligation to pay and contains an order to settle a certain amount. The court verifies the correctness of the contract and the calculation of interest and other costs. The debtor may actively participate in such proceedings, raising arguments in his favor. After completing it, he will no longer have such opportunities.
When the court issues an enforceable title, the creditor decides whether to refer the case to a bailiff for enforcement. He then submits an application for enforcement, providing the debtor’s details, including the amount he is in arrears. The application also indicates the methods of execution and the goods from which it is to be carried out. Importantly, the bailiff may enter an apartment that does not belong to the debtor, in accordance with Article 814 of the Code of Civil Procedure4.
What can a bailiff carry out bailiff enforcement?
The scope of competences and powers of a bailiff is much wider than in the case of a debt collector (check what the bailiff can take). The bailiff does not negotiate the repayment, he enforces the debt in accordance with the enforceable title given by the court.
The bailiff may take over the debt:
- remuneration for work and pension benefits,
- bank account,
- other claims,
- property rights,
The bailiff has the task of enforcing a debt and does not assess its legitimacy. This was done by the court. That is why it is completely pointless to undermine his competence. The bailiff collects liabilities in accordance with the creditor’s instructions. He cannot independently decide to withdraw from attachment of salary or to refrain from enforcement. He seizes the seized assets during a public auction. It is not allowed to take everything. The following are excluded from enforcement proceedings: everyday items, items of a religious nature, decorations and items for performing work. You cannot forget about the amount free of bailiffs, subject to legal changes at the beginning of 2017. The enforcement title expires after 10 years, and each referral to a bailiff means that the deadline starts counting again. That’s why you can’t really escape debt.
Bailiff enforcement – coercive measures allowed
The bailiff, unlike the debt collector, has powers enabling him to cause specific behavior at the debtor’s. In order to ensure the effectiveness of enforcement, he cannot use coercive measures alone. However, if he encounters resistance from the debtor, he has the right to call police officers.
In addition, the bailiff has the authority to admonish or expel a person who is behaving improperly or interfering with his activities. If such a person does not comply with his instructions, he will be fined up to PLN 10,000.
How to avoid a bailiff? Check loans for those in debt
If our debt is not high, we can help ourselves by using loans for those in debt, e.g. secured loans. It is an excellent choice when our creditworthiness raises reservations. A car can be a collateral for such an obligation, as Moneyvest practices. By pledging your car, we can get up to 65 percent of its value. Most importantly, the vehicle is not taken away from us, we still use it freely.
When looking for financial support, it is worth considering alternative options. Such solutions help normalize the situation of our budget and avoid confrontation with the bailiff.
“The powers of the debt collector and bailiff differ significantly. The level of financial knowledge of Poles is low, which is why you have to strive to obtain information on this subject yourself. Its lack can be revealed very quickly, e.g. by making wrong decisions. The wrong choices will sooner or later ruin our budget. Let’s try to be conscious participants of the financial market and constantly expand our competences in this area.