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Debt recovery is a complex process that involves navigating a labyrinth of legal and ethical rules. Both debtors and creditors often find themselves entangled in misconceptions about what can and can't be done during this process. This article aims to debunk some of the most common myths surrounding debt recovery.

Common Misconceptions

Before diving into the specifics, it's important to acknowledge that the realm of debt recovery is rife with myths. These misconceptions can make an already complicated process even more challenging.

Myth 1: Refusing Entry to a Bailiff

It's a common belief that one can simply refuse entry to a bailiff. In reality, the bailiff's right to enter your property depends on several factors, such as the type of debt and whether they have certain legal documents. While they generally can't force their way in, they can enter through an unlocked door or garage.

Myth 2: Personal Service for Claim Forms

Contrary to popular belief, a claim form doesn't have to be personally served. Companies can be served by post at their registered or head offices, and individuals can be served at their last known address.

Myth 3: Liability in Joint Debts

Many assume that in a joint debt, each party is only responsible for their "share" of the debt. This is not true; all parties are liable for the entire debt until it is fully paid off.

Myth 4: Creditor Must Accept Any Repayment Offer

Some debtors believe that creditors are obliged to accept any offer of repayment. However, creditors have the right to challenge derisory offers and seek a court judgment for a quicker repayment if they have supporting information.

Myth 5: Contracts Must Be in Writing

It's a misconception that all contracts or agreements related to debt must be in writing. While a written agreement does simplify the debt collection process, there are only limited legal scenarios where a written contract is mandatory.

The Real Process of Debt Recovery

Understanding the myths surrounding debt recovery is the first step, but knowing the actual process can be equally enlightening. Here's a simplified guide to what really happens in debt recovery:


Conduct a review of the merits of the case before issuing a 'Letter Before Action.'

Initial Outcomes

No Response: Proceed to the next steps in legal action.

Claim Denied: Evaluate the claim and decide whether to pursue or drop the case.

Response Received: Engage in negotiations to settle the debt.

Payment Received: Close the case.

Issue Claim

File a legal claim in the appropriate jurisdiction if no payment is received or the claim is disputed.

Negotiations and Admissions

Engage in negotiations with the debtor.

In case of admission from the debtor, a judgment is passed accordingly.

Paid/Not Paid

If paid, the case is closed.

If not paid, the case moves to the enforcement stage.


If the debtor raises a defence, the case is allocated a track and moves to the disclosure and hearing stages.


Various enforcement methods like High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEO), Bailiffs, Charging Orders, etc., are employed.

Final Payment

Once the debt is paid, the case is closed. Otherwise, further actions like third-party debt orders may be considered.

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