Client Newsletter Autumn 2019
Welcome to our Autumn newsletter. In this edition we focus on the High Court Enforcement Agents and their role in recovering your debts.
This month also sees us introduce three new staff members, Zoe Burton and Lauren Olson to the Debt Support Team, and Garry Duke to the Legal team as Litigation Assistant.
Read on for the recent report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants on the industry’s concerns over late payments.
We warmly welcome all new clients on board and hope that you find our newsletter of interest.
High Court Enforcement Agent (HCEA)
Following on from issuing a Claim Form and obtaining Judgment, it’s time to consider your enforcement options. Here we map out the HCEA process for you to hopefully give you a greater understanding of what they do.
When a judgment is transferred to the High Court, a Writ of Control is issued, this allows the HCEA to take control of (seize) goods from the debtor for sale to raise sufficient funds to recover the debt should payment not be forthcoming.
Other enforcement options available depending on the debtors circumstances and the debt value, are Attachment of Earnings, Charging Order, County Court Bailiff (on debts under £600.00), Statutory Demand/Winding up and Third Party Relief Order. For further information on these please ask the Client Services Team.
Please click here to read more about the HCEA stages of enforcement
To refer a case to HCEA, there is our fee to pay (please refer to your fee scale) and the Court fee of £66.00. The HCEA fees are passed on to the debtor. They also add on statutory fixed solicitors costs of £51.75 to the debt, and if the debtor pays in full, we charge this back to you. Interest is also claimed, which if paid, is passed straight onto you.
If obaining payments takes several visits, this is where costs and interest start to accrue and the customer is liable for these. Some of their payment is apportioned to the debt which is sent to us and we send on to you, the rest is apportioned towards the HCEA costs.
If the HCEA is unable to recover the debt they would seek to recover the compliance fee inclusive of VAT from the instructing client (previously known as the abortive fee)
It is important to point out if you decide you want to monitor payments direct with the customer and no longer with the HCEA, you will still be liable for the HCEA costs.
A few general points to note re HCEAs;
The HCEAs have the power to remove goods which can be used as leverage to gain payment, although removal is very rare
You can still instruct the HCEA if the debtor has a Charging Order, meaning you are able to recover funds owed quicker rather than waiting for the sale of the property.
HCEAs can’t be instructed for Consumer Credit Act (CCA) Regulated debt
The HCEA report to us on a monthly basis and you can view these reports on Debt Manager.
Cases under £600 have to be referred to County Court Bailiff not HCEA
A hot topic at the moment is attending the home address of the director where it’s a limited company debtor. The HCEA can attend but have to proceed with caution and can only take control of goods which belong to the company – which can be a challenge where it’s a residential address. A good practice point for limited company debtors is by serving the statutory notice at the Registered Office of the debtor, we can then attend any trading address of that company – so it covers all bases. If you only serve the trading address, you can only attend that address, so if another trading address comes to light, you have to serve another notice of enforcement.
It can take four to 6 weeks to receive your first update from the HCEA. Firstly they have to register the writ, then they send the compliance letter giving the debtor 14 days to get in touch, after this if there has not been a response they can then instruct their agent.
HCEA Body Cameras
Body worn cameras will soon be worn by all enforcement agents, with only County Court Bailiffs being exempt from wearing them. They will be worn when enforcement agents are collecting a range of debts including council tax, rent arrears and traffic penalties as well as business debt and any recovery under a writ. The wearing of body worn cameras helps protect everyone involved and they can be vital for when an investigation needs to be carried out, and when accusations are made by debtors, The HCEA will have solid evidence to show exactly what happened or what has been said.
For any further information on High Court Enforcement Agents, please ask the Client Services Team.
A recent report by the Institute of Chartered Accountants shows an increase in concern across the industries regarding late payments. Click here to read more.
We recommend that you act diligently when it comes to getting paid and adopt robust policies for the customers that don’t pay on time and seek advice early. For business debts we can claim Late Payment Interest and compensation on your behalf, ask the Client Services Team for further information.
A recap of a few recent reminders!
Please password protect any documents containing sensitive customer information that you send to us, for instructions on how to do this, please follow the link below How to password protect a word document
Debt Manager – Case Summary button
Don’t forget, if you want a breakdown of the figures of a specific case, you can run the case summary button in the case history. This is found on the left hand side of the screen just under Court details.
Confirming the correct entity of your customer Business debts
Is your customer a limited company or a sole trader? It is especially important we have the right details, if the case proceeds to legal action.
Provide supporting documents for overseas customers
If your overseas case needs to be referred to our external agents after our collections period, the agent will always need supporting documents at the point of referral.
Inform us if you have a staff change over using Debt Manager
For security reasons, please remember to tell us if you have a member of staff that leaves your organisation, (if they used Debt Manager) so that we can change the password for you.
Please provide us with your instructions in a timely manner, delays in providing them can cause detriment to our collections rate for you. It’s especially important when there has been a payment offer. Why not consider giving us automated authority to accept payment arrangements (as long as they are fair and reasonable based on the debtors circumstances)
To speed up the way we work your cases, why not consider giving us automated authority for standard procedures, please ask the client service team for some personal recommendations for your business.
If you or your team need any help or training with using debt manager or understanding the debt recovery process further, please get in contact with the client services team.
We always welcome feedback, so do get in touch with us if you have any.
We hope you find this newsletter informative and useful. As always, contact us if you need to know more!
If you require any further information, please do not hesitate to contact our Client Services Team:
Tel: 0844 858 8919
Andrea Nicholls (Client Services Manager) – firstname.lastname@example.org
Rachel Rowbotham (Director) – email@example.com
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