Bailiff’s are used when
What is a bailiff? Owing debts like county court judgements, council tax, parking fines, court fines, and dropping behind significantly, then a bailiff may visit your home.. If you ignore reminder and warning letters the bailiffs will eventually be involved.
Bailiffs on your doorstep
If a bailiff visits you, you don’t have to open your door or let them in. if you leave a door open, a window open, or invite them in, then bailiffs can usually only come into your home. If you open your door they are not allowed to push their way in or leave a foot in the door, you can call the police if they try this. Unpaid criminal fines, income tax or VAT are usually the last resort bailiffs are allowed to force their way into your home.
Ask a bailiff
You should always ask a visiting bailiff for copies of the bailiff’s certificate, a copy of their ‘authorisation’ to take your things, to see proof of their identity and a copy of the court order saying you owe the money.
Without inviting them in you can offer to pay a bailiff on the doorstep, either all of it or some negotiated amount with them – you don’t have to invite them into your home. To prove you’ve paid ensure you get a receipt.
Not being able to pay
If you can’t or don’t offer to pay anything you could be taken by to court right away, tell the bailiff you’ll pay the money back directly to those owed, negotiate with the bailiff about repayments, offer to pay what you can afford by writing to the organisations.
What bailiffs can’t and can take
Clothes, cooker, furniture, work tools or someone else’s belongings bailiffs are not allowed to take if they get into your home. Bailiffs can take items like a TV or games console. Outside your home they can also take things like your garden equipment or car. Items taken bailiffs will sell to cover their fees and pay the debt.
You will be charged for the bailiff’s visit and this will be added to what your debt, also charging you fees for taking your belongings and coming into your home. If you think they’re charging for something they haven’t done or charging too much you can ask for a detailed breakdown of their charges, you can also complain and challenge them.
How to complain about bailiff’s
Although they might be collecting even for the council or the government bailiffs usually work for private companies. Write to the bailiff’s company to complain about a private bailiff, also write to the organisation you owe the money to if you don’t get a response from the bailiff’s company, You can also complain to the bailiff’s trade association If the bailiff is a member. Keep copies of any complaints letters.
You are allowed to complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service about a lender or debt collection agency but must follow the lender’s complaints procedure.