What Does Arrestment Mean?

Arrestment means that money or goods that you own are claimed and held by a third-party. In Scotland, an earnings arrestment is a procedure used to recover debts. This article answers the question: What does arrestment mean?

What are the types of arrestment?

There are two examples of arrestment:

  • Earnings Arrestment: Here a court order or decree allows money to be taken directly from your wages by your employer to repay your debts. Your creditor will send the earnings arrestment to your employer. The deductions will need to be made every payday in the same way that tax is taken off your wages or salary. Your employer then needs to send the money deducted to the creditor who served the earnings arrestment.
  • Bank Arrestment: Here any money held in your bank, building society or savings account is frozen. Once your creditors have gone to the courts to force your bank to release the money held it can be used to repay your creditor. You will not be able to get access to your account once the bank arrestment has happened even if the amount you owe is less than what is in the bank.

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Can a debt collection agency (DCA) serve an earning arrestment schedule without pre-warning?

The DCA must send a Debt Advice and Information Package no earlier than 12 weeks before serving the earnings arrestment. The pack explains rights and gives details of how to get advice, if they do not do this, any earnings arrestment will be illegal.

However, if the DCA is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, you may be able to pursue a complaint through the Financial Ombudsman Service that your partner was not treated fairly by the company. Alternatively, if the debt is owed to the council you may be able to complain to the Local Government Ombudsman.

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