What Happens If I Don’t Pay Scott and Co?

Can you write off any Scott & Co debt?

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How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, Thrifty Family doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provides information about your options. 

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

How to get out of debt
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Janine Marsh
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Janine Marsh

Financial Expert

My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.

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- Financial Expert
Updated 12 November 2023
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Scott and Co Debt Collectors

For free & impartial money advice you can visit MoneyHelper. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provide information about your options. This isn’t a full fact-find, some debt solutions may not be suitable in all circumstances, ongoing fees might apply & your credit rating may be affected.

Are you asking, ‘what happens if I don’t pay Scott and Co’ when they get in touch? You’re probably stressed out just by the fact you got a debt letter and you can’t afford to pay!

If so, this post will explain how to deal with collection agencies so the situation is less stressful all around.

Want to find out more? Then please read on!

Do you have to pay Scott & Co?

You might not have to pay Scott & Co.

If you genuinely can’t afford your debt repayments then looking into whether you could have your written off might be just what you need. 

If you want to find out whether you qualify for having debt written off or payments lowered then fill out the short form below.

Can you write off any Scott & Co debt?

1 of 5

How much debt do you have?

This isn’t a full fact find, Thrifty Family doesn’t give advice. We work with The Debt Advice Service who provides information about your options. 

Who is Scott & Co?

Scott & Co is a debt collection and enforcement business that’s based in Edinburgh, Scotland. They are one of the largest in the land and serve both the private and public sectors.

The company was founded in 1992 to provide debt recovery, citation services and enforcement (summary diligence). Today, the company has around 13 offices dotted around Scotland.

Scott & Co are recognised members of:

  • Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers
  • Institute of Directors
  • Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation

Are Scott & Co a legitimate company?

Yes. Scott & Co are a legitimate debt collection agency with various accreditations. The company is a recognised member of the Credit Services Association (CSA) and the Institute of Revenues.

Can you lower your repayments?

If you’re struggling to pay back your debt, then you might qualify for a debt solution.

Some solutions lower your monthly payments while others write off a portion of your debt

To find out whether they could work in your situation, hit the button below.

Get Started

Does Scott & Co employ sheriff officers?

Yes. Scott & Co provides their clients with Sheriff Officers and Messenger-at-Arms services. In short, these services are provided to local authorities in Scotland when they chase people for overdue payments.

Moreover, their Officers are authorised to operate within every Sheriffdom and Sheriff Court District.

So, when you get a letter from a Sheriff Officer, you should take it seriously and respond as soon as possible. Otherwise, things will escalate and you could face all sorts of difficulties which include having an arrestment on your earnings and bank account!

Why did Scott & Co contact you?

Scott & Co will contact you when one of their clients instructs them to retrieve the money you owe. The debt collector could be chasing you for money owed to a private company.

Or they could be acting on behalf of a local authority!

In short, when you owe money to the council, Scott & Co will chase you for payment under the instructions of the council.

That said, Scott & Co could be acting on behalf of another one of their clients!

What powers do Scott & Co Sheriff Officers have?

Sheriff Officers have specific powers because, in Scotland, they are officers of the court. They enforce court orders which means an officer has the power to do the following:

  • Evict someone
  • Enforce a debt
  • If a dispute exists on a property, they can force someone to change it
  • Make certain important legal documents are received
  • Detain or remove someone from a property in specific circumstances

That said, Sheriff Officers are not the police and therefore, they don’t have the same powers as police officers.

What happens when you don’t pay your council tax?

You’d get a letter from the council asking you to pay within seven days. But they also offer an option to pay what’s owed in instalments at this stage of the process.

The next letter you receive from the council is a second demand for payment. However, this time you have fourteen days to pay and you don’t get offered the option to pay in instalments!

After this, if you still don’t pay what you owe, the council passes your details on to Scott & Co. It means you can no longer deal with the local authority!

It’s also worth noting that each person registered to live in a property will receive payment reminders from the council!

For example, if four people live in the property and all of them are registered with the council, each one of them will get a payment reminder!

What is a Summary Warrant?

When you fail to pay your council tax, a local authority can apply to the Sheriff’s court to have a ‘summary warrant’ issued against you. As soon as the court grants the summary, all your details are forwarded to Scott & Co.

You’d have to deal with Scott & Co directly because it’s too late to discuss things with the local authority!

Moreover, there’s an additional charge added to your bill once the summary warrant is granted. So, for example, if you owe £1,000, an extra £100 is added to an unpaid council tax bill which could make it even harder to settle.

Can you stop further action from being taken against you?

The only real way to prevent any further legal action from being filed against you is to settle the debt with Scott & Co as soon as you can.

You should stay in touch with a debt collection agency to prevent things from escalating whether you can pay or not.

If you can’t afford to pay the full amount, you should discuss your personal circumstances with Scott & Co and arrange a debt repayment plan.

Their agents should take your situation into consideration and arrange a payment schedule you can afford.

Can you apply for a Time to Pay Order?

Yes. If you’re struggling to pay your bills and have fallen into debt, you could apply for a Time to Pay Order.

All proceedings stop once you apply for the order which could make it easier to settle what you owe. But there are other options available, which is why it’s best to seek advice from a debt expert before deciding what to do.

Moreover, several debt charities provide free debt advice when you need it!

What is a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS)?

As mentioned, another option is to negotiate a Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) which freezes all interest charged on the amount owed to a council or other creditor.

Plus, it stops diligence proceedings from starting. It should allow you enough time to organise your finances and seek debt advice on how to settle the debt.

Do you need to settle a Scott and Co debt?

Whether you settle a debt with Scott & Co or not depends on several things. For instance, is the debt yours to pay? Is the debt statute-barred? If so, you may not have to pay.

But if you owe the money, then you’ll have to settle the debt with Scott & Co whether it’s the full amount or in instalments!

What could Scott & Co do?

Once your details are passed to Scott & Co after the council obtains an enforcement right (summary diligence), a debt collection agency has the right to:

  • Get an Earnings Arrestment
  • Apply for a Bank Arrestment
  • Get an attachment of property on items outside your home
  • Get an Exceptional Attachment Order (EAO)
  • Get an Inhibition Order which stops you from selling your home, property or your business premises
  • Make you bankrupt

Each of these could make your life extremely difficult so it’s worth speaking to Scott & Co to prevent them from escalating the matter to any of the above stages!

What is summary diligence?

Summary diligence is a process used to enforce specific debts. For example, it can’t be used to enforce the following:

  • Credit card debts
  • Bank loan debts
  • Hire purchase debts

All of the above are regulated by the Consumer Credit Act. Summary diligence, on the other hand, can be used for:

  • Credit union loans
  • Maintenance orders
  • Landlord guarantees
  • Council tax debt

Also, it can only be executed by a Sheriff Officer or by a Messenger-at-Arms and nobody else.

What is an Earnings Arrestment?

An Earnings Arrestment allows Scott & Co to contact your employer. Your boss will deduct money from your wages to pay off what’s owed. 

However, before this can happen, you’d be sent an information pack 12 weeks before the earnings arrestment is applied to your bank account.

Also, it’s worth noting that if you apply for a Time to Pay Order, it prevents an earning arrestment from being issued. But you must apply for the order as soon as you can or it could be too late for the court to issue one.

What is a Bank Arrestment?

Scott & Co could freeze your bank account by applying for a Bank Arrestment. When this happens, your account remains frozen until you make an arrangement to pay off what you owe on the debt.

Your bank will release the funds Scott & Co requested after 14 days. And it can be done without your consent!

In short, you may get an unpleasant surprise when checking what funds you have in your account. You may even miss paying other direct debits as a result!

It’s worth noting that the debt collector must leave a minimum of £494.01 in your account. But you can request more if the action causes you serious financial hardship.

Also, you can ask for a Time to Pay Order which prevents Scott & Co from freezing your bank account.

Check out what happened to one person who fell behind with their council tax payments:

What is a Bank Arrestment?

Source: Moneysavingexpert

Could Scott & Co take money from your bank account?

Yes. When a sheriff court issues a bank arrestment, Scott & Co can take money directly from your bank account.

Plus, they can do so without your consent!

Can Scott & Co Sheriff Officers enter your home?

Yes. Scott & Co Sheriff Officers may enter your home, but only as a last resort!

Once an Exceptional Attachment Order is issued by the sheriff court, an Officer has the right to enter your property.

However, they can only enter a property between the hours of 8 am and 8 pm Monday to Saturday but not on Bank Holidays!

You should always ask whoever visits you from Scott & Co to show their identification. You could also ask to see the official court order to enter your home.

The order states a Sheriff Officer has been ‘granted a warrant for all lawful execution’. Once you’re happy with things, you can decide whether to let them in.

It’s worth noting that a Sheriff Officer can use reasonable force to enter your home if you don’t let them in!

In short, they could break hinges, locks and windows to gain entry into your property.

On top of everything, you could be charged for breaching the peace or for obstructing an officer of the court from carrying out their job!

What are the rules about forcing entry into your home?

Some rules apply before Officers can use reasonable force to enter your home. Even when they have an Exceptional Attachment Order!

For instance, someone must be 16+ years old and present in the home when an officer uses force to enter. Plus it must be someone who understands what’s happening!

If the person is deemed vulnerable or unable to speak English, Scott & Co cannot enter your home until the right circumstances are met!

Who pays for the repairs when Sheriff Officers cause the damage?

If Scott & Co Sheriff Officers damage a door or window when they force their way into your home, it’s the council that foots the bill.

Unfortunately, these costs are typically added onto the amount Scott & Co are recovering as additional fees to your unpaid bill!

What items can’t Scott & Co Sheriff Officers take?

There are items which can’t be listed in an Exceptional Attachment Order. It means a Sheriff Officer can seize them.

I’ve listed the items that can’t be taken below:

  • Essential household furniture
  • Clothing
  • Bedding
  • Essential household appliances like fridges, cookers, washing machines and freezers
  • Items belonging to children
  • Work tools and equipment

However, it’s sometimes up to an Officer to decide whether an item is essential or not to your day-to-day living. The same is true if it applies to work-related items.

What can Scott & Co legally do?

Scott & Co can contact you about the money you allegedly owe. However, there are things debt collectors can and cannot do.

A debt collection agent from Scott & Co can:

  • Contact you by letter, phone, email, or text and they can visit you in person if all else fails
  • Discuss things with you discreetly
  • Arrange for you to pay them directly whether it’s the full amount or in instalments

What can’t debt collectors do?

Debt collectors in Scotland can’t discuss a debt you allegedly have with other people even when you say they can!

So, if Scott & Co spoke to a family member about the money you allegedly owe, it would be unlawful. You have the right to file a complaint against them.

Can you stop Scott & Co from contacting you?

No. You can’t stop Scott & Co from contacting you, but you can tell them how you’d like to be contacted.

For example, you can write and ask them to only contact you by letter. It’s a good move because you’ll have records of all their correspondence and demands!

Make sure you send the letter by registered post and keep a copy for your own records just in case you’re taken to court.

Can you negotiate a payment with Scott & Co?

Yes. You could negotiate a settlement payment with Scott & Co. However, you should seek advice from a debt expert before you enter into any sort of negotiation.

Their advice could be invaluable when it comes to calculating a settlement figure you can afford.

Scott & Co should be willing to consider your offer to pay less in a lump sum to settle the debt in full. After all, not having to chase you for payment makes a debt collector’s life a lot easier!

However, make sure to get them to agree on a settlement figure in writing so you have a record of the agreement.

Also, if your settlement figure is accepted, make sure you make the payment within the agreed time. Otherwise, the agreement could be null and void.

You’d have to pay the full amount if this happens!

What happens if Scott & Scott make you bankrupt?

When you owe more than £3,000, debt collectors in Scotland can make you bankrupt or they can sequestrate your assets until the debt is paid in full.

It’s best not to let things get this far and to enter into negotiations with Scott & Co to resolve the debt positively!

Can you ask Scott & Co to prove the debt is yours?

Yes. You should ask Scott & Co to prove you owe the money. Send them a “prove the debt” letter by registered post.

It stops the debt collector from taking the matter further if they haven’t already provided proof the debt is yours.

Don’t just take their word for it. Ask Scott & Co to send you authenticated proof the debt is yours!

Should you check if the debt is statute-barred?

Yes. You should always check if a debt is too old to enforce before you admit or fork any money over to Scott & Co.

In Scotland, a debt is statute-barred when it’s at least 5 years old and meets specific criteria which is:

  • You haven’t admitted owing the money in five years
  • You haven’t paid anything towards settling the debt in the last five years
  • There’s no court decree registered against the debt

Could you legally write off the debt?

You may qualify to have the debt written off by applying for a Scottish Trust Deed which would protect your assets from being seized.

However, there are other options worth considering which is why it’s best to seek expert debt advice before deciding on anything.

Can you complain about Scott & Co?

Yes. You have the right to complain about Scott & Co if any of their Officers acted unlawfully or inappropriately.

First, lodge a complaint with Scott & Co, preferably in writing by email or letter so you have a record of it.

If you complain in writing, make sure you send the letter by registered mail so you know Scott & Co receives it.

The debt collector should respond in a timely manner but if they don’t or their reply is inadequate, you can file a complaint with the Sheriff Principal. They’ll launch an investigation into the matter.

I’ve listed ways to file a complaint with Scott & Co in the table below:

By phone 0131 477 8900
Via email [email protected] 
In writing Complaints Manager, Scott & Co (Scotland) LLP, 12 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh EH3 7QG

Can you file a complaint against a sheriff officer?

Yes. You can write to Scott & Co to lodge a complaint against an Officer if:

  • They behaved in a disreputable or unreasonable manner
  • They exceeded their actual powers

After this, you can complain to the Sheriff Principal at the local Sheriff Court if you’re not happy with Scott & Co’s response to your complaint.

You could file a complaint with the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers which has its own disciplinary practices.

You can write to them, email a complaint or send a letter by recorded delivery. Their contact details are as follows:

 Society of Messengers-at-Arms & Sheriff Officers  Forth House
28 Rutland Square
 Telephone   0131 292 0321
 Email   [email protected]
 Website   www.smaso.org.uk

How do you contact Scott & Co?

You can contact Scott & Co at their various offices in several ways which I’ve listed below:

Addresses Head Office
9 Melville Crescent Edinburgh

16 Queen’s Road Aberdeen
AB15 4ZT

The Prudential Building, 31 Albert Square

22a East Port Dunfermline
KY12 7JB

50/52 High Street Galashiels

279 Bath Street
G2 4JL

29 Innes Street Inverness
Phone 0333 320 6871
Email [email protected]
Website https://www.scottandco.uk.com/

Is there any free debt help available?

Yes. You can contact a debt charity if you need to speak to someone because you’re drowning in debt and not sure where to turn.

I’ve listed some leading debt charities below:

“It will only get worse” 😩

It’s cliché to say, but with debt it’s true; the longer you leave it, the worse the problem gets

There are straightforward and effective ways to deal with debt, but you have to know your options. 

Fill out the short form to find out about the debt solutions that could reduce your monthly payments or even write off some of your debt.

Get Started

Lastly, what happens if you don’t pay Scott & Co?

Scott & Co have the right to escalate the matter when you don’t pay them. You could face having an arrestment placed on your earnings or bank account.

Moreover, you could face court proceedings and end up paying a lot more than the original debt!

The best way to deal with a debt that Scott & Co is chasing you for is to stay in touch with the debt collector. Next, seek debt advice before you enter into any negotiations with Scott & Co.

Don’t admit, sign or pay any money to the debt collector until you are sure that:

  • The debt is yours and not someone else’s!
  • That it’s not too old to enforce which means it’s at least five years old which in Scotland makes it statute barred!

You should only settle things with Scott & Co when you’re happy that you owe the money and that it’s not too old to enforce.

Thanks for reading my post. I hope the information helps you decide how to respond to a letter from Scott & Co so things are less stressful!

The authors
Avatar photo
My name’s Janine, and I’m a mum of two who’s always been passionate about trying to cut down spending costs. I am now sharing as much financial knowledge as I possibly can to help your money go that little bit further.
How to beat Scott & Co debt
How to beat Scott & Co debt

Looking into debt solutions could help. 

  • Lower monthly payments
  • Reduce pressure from the people you owe
  • Affordable monthly repayments.