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Being pursued by Searchlight Collections? Wondering if you’ll have to loosen your purse strings or if there’s another way out? Don’t dismiss their calls and letters just yet. 

This could evolve into a more serious situation. Let me guide you through your alternatives… but brace yourself; what comes next may surprise you!

Warren Marshall
Last updated on 13 August 2023
Fact Checked

Table of Contents

1. Understanding Searchlight Collections
2. The Searchlight Collections Debt Reality – What If I Can’t Pay?
3. I’m not sure that I owe this amount to Searchlight Collections; what can I do?
4. Can Searchlight Collections Visit My Home?
5. The Prospect of Court Actions
6. What Happens If I Still Can’t Pay?
7. Assistance Schemes for Your Water Bill
8. Reaching Out to Searchlight Collections
9. Key Points
10. FAQ


Understanding Searchlight Collections

In the vast financial landscape of the UK, one name you might frequently encounter is Searchlight Collections. This entity stands as a formidable debt collection company primarily concerned with recouping unpaid water debts on behalf of Bristol Water PLC.

If you have received correspondence from Searchlight Collections, it could be an indication of an unpaid water debt. If you don’t respond to Bristol Water PLCs request to make the payments, then they will get Searchlight to contact you on behalf of them. 

Even though this situation is stressful, keep in mind that there is always a way in which you can deal with them. So responding carefully with a proper plan is important. 

The Searchlight Collections Debt Reality – What If I Can’t Pay?

The Searchlight Collections Debt Reality – What If I Can't Pay?

If you cannot pay Searchlight Collections the money you owe, don’t worry. Make sure to let them know your situation. Afterwards, discuss with them what you should do. There are many solutions to this. So discussing your situation with them is the right way to approach. 

They will send you an income and expenditure form that you should fill out to identify the amount that you can afford to pay. Searchlight Collections is not an unyielding entity. They offer you an opportunity to arrange a payment plan based on your income and expenditure. Understanding your options is crucial in such scenarios. 

Additionally, several resources can guide you through this tumultuous journey. Some organisations that you will find helpful include:

  • StepChange
  • Citizens Advice Bureau
  • Financial Wellness Group
  • Money Advice Service

They are well-equipped to help you navigate these turbulent financial waters. These companies will guide you to work out your expenditure and income and suggest ways in which you can resolve your issue. 

I’m not sure that I owe this amount to Searchlight Collections; what can I do?

I’m not sure that I owe this amount to Searchlight Collections; what can I do?
Challenging the amount with Searchlight collections is the way to go about this. One size does not fit all, and this is especially true for financial matters. You might find yourself scratching your head, unsure if the Searchlight debt amount mentioned in the letter is indeed accurate. 

You’re not alone! There are instances where individuals, particularly those who have moved during the billed period, are unsure if the debt is rightfully theirs. In such a situation, you can challenge the amount with the company. 

They will then coordinate with Bristol Water PLC for an investigation into your claim. What happens next? The outcome might either verify your claim, leading to an adjusted bill, or it might negate it. 

Can Searchlight Collections Visit My Home?

If you have not been returning any of the calls from Searchlight Collections, then there is a high chance that they will visit your home. This is why you should not ignore their calls. Speaking directly with them helps to avoid a lot of issues. 

However, if they visit your home, you’re under no obligation to invite them in or even open your door. But make sure to give them another option to contact you, such as through a letter or email. The primary goal of their visit is to collect the debt or work out an arrangement aiming to resolve the situation. 

Keep in mind they cannot come in forcefully. If they do, they are going against the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). If this happens, don’t hesitate to make a complaint. 

The Prospect of Court Actions

The mention of court action can evoke a certain fear. It’s not a situation anyone wishes to find themselves in, but it’s crucial to be aware of the possibility. If Searchlight Collections fails to establish a repayment plan with you, they might commence court action. 

This could lead to a County Court Judgment (CCJ) against you, which could gravely impact your credit score as your new creditors will be able to see this red flag for six years. 

What Happens If I Still Can’t Pay?

If you still can’t pay the amount you owe to Searchlight Collections even after receiving a CCJ, there is a certain process that the court will take you through. We will discuss this below in detail. 

Stage One: The Attachment of Earnings

First off, the court could potentially issue what is known as an ‘attachment of earnings’. This means the court will ask your employer to directly cut off a portion of your wages. 

The court will then directly transfer this amount for the repayment of your debt. It’s simply like your debt is being serviced without you having to do anything manually!

Stage Two: Sending In the Bailiffs

If the ‘attachment of earnings’ method doesn’t cover the debt or isn’t feasible, the court might employ a more direct method. They could order via a warrant or a writ of conduct to bailiffs to seize your belongings to make up for the unpaid Searchlight debt. So, in this case, your personal possessions might be at stake.

Stage Three: Completing a Financial Statement

In certain extreme situations, you might be summoned to court to complete a financial statement. This is a document that contains details about your financial situation. This includes:

  • Income
  • Expenditure
  • Assets
  • Liabilities

This is an attempt by the court to understand your financial state and to determine a reasonable repayment plan for your Searchlight collections debt. 

Stage Four: The Possibility of Bankruptcy

And now, the final and most serious consequence – bankruptcy. If none of the above measures suffices, you might be declared bankrupt. This is not a scenario anyone wants to encounter, but it’s important to be aware of all possibilities when dealing with Searchlight collections. 

Bankruptcy can impact your financial life significantly and is usually seen as the last resort. Is this the absolute end, or can things still take a turn? It’s time to sit tight and continue on this journey.

The Silver Lining

Each cloud has a silver lining, and even in these dire circumstances, hope is not lost! You can still find assistance to help you through this. Remember the assistance schemes for water bills we discussed earlier? They can come into play here.

Additionally, debt advice charities can provide crucial guidance to help you navigate through these turbulent times. 

Assistance Schemes for Your Water Bill

Are you aware that there are schemes designed to help individuals struggling with their water bills? If you’re facing financial hardship, these schemes could be your saving grace. They include the following:

  • Low-income Pensioner Discount
    • You qualify for a 20% discount if you receive either pension credit or solely depend on a state pension as your income.
  • Watersure Plus Scheme
    • You have the option to participate in the bill cap scheme, potentially reducing your bills if you meet specific eligibility criteria and receive certain benefits.
  •  Reduced Bill-Assist
    • This is intended for individuals experiencing severe difficulties and who have already sought guidance from StepChange, Citizens Advice Bureau, Financial Wellness Group, or Money Advice Service.
  • Water Direct Scheme. 
    • Individuals receiving specific benefits have the opportunity to request the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions) to deduct a designated sum from their benefit payments. And it will then be directly paid to the water company.

Depending on your situation, these assistance programs could significantly reduce your financial burden. 

Can my water get cut off?

No. It is legally prohibited to disconnect or restrict your water supply if you are a residential (UK citizen) customer.

Reaching Out to Searchlight Collections

The first step towards resolution is to get in touch with Searchlight Collections. They are a subsidiary of Bristol Wessex Billing Services LTD, and you can reach them through various channels. 

Speak with them, discuss, and come up with a solution. Your financial stability might just be a phone call away!

Email customer.services@bwbsl.co.uk 
Telephone 0345 600 3600

Key Points

  • Searchlight Collections is a debt collection agency that specialises in collecting unpaid Bristol Water PLC debts.
  • If you’re contacted by Searchlight Collections, remember there are legal methods in the UK to write off a part of your debt.
  • If you’re unable to pay, don’t despair. Reach out to organisations such as StepChange, Citizens Advice Bureau, Financial Wellness Group, or Money Advice Service. They offer excellent advice and support.
  • If you’re unsure about the amount that they are claiming, raise a dispute. Searchlight Collections will collaborate with Bristol Water PLC to investigate the issue.
  • Failing to make payment arrangements with Searchlight Collections might lead to court action. The consequences can be serious – a County Court Judgement (CCJ), an attachment of earnings, or in the worst-case scenario, bankruptcy or seizure of your belongings.
  • Check out the various schemes available to help with your water bill payments. This could include the Low-income pensioner discount, Watersure Plus Scheme, Reduced Bill-Assist, and Water Direct Scheme. It’s worth exploring these options to alleviate some financial pressure.
  • Remember, Searchlight Collections is not the enemy but a bridge to connect you and Bristol Water PLC. Working proactively with them can lead to a resolution of your debts and, potentially, a better financial future.


Why have I been contacted by Searchlight Collections?

it’s likely that you owe money to Bristol Water PLC if you have been contacted by Searchlight Collections.

Will Searchlight Collections visit my home?

Yes, they may send an agent to your home if you ignore letters and phone calls from Searchlight Collections. You’re not obliged to let them in, but they can help you settle the debt or establish a payment plan.

Can Searchlight Collections take legal action?

Yes, Searchlight Collections might commence court action if no payment arrangement is made. This could result in a CCJ against you, an attachment of earnings, or even bankruptcy.

How can I contact Searchlight Collections?

 Searchlight Collections are owned by Bristol Wessex Billing Services LTD and can be contacted via email at customer.services@bwbsl.co.uk or by phone at 0345 600 3600.

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