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  1. Hi all, I would really appreciate some advice. My business partner and I run a small business, and cashflow is very delicate. Some time ago we got in some money trouble and an invoice was sold to a debt recovery company. We managed to pay it off (or so we thought), but unfortunately my business partner is a bit scatternbrained with numbers, and paid the incorrect amount. The total outstanding debt was £5,723.96. My business partner sent them a transfer of £5,700, accidentally leaving off the £23.96. My business partner had some fees he wanted to dispute - The debt recovery company then sent a follow up email saying all prior fees are legitimate, and that "I have checked your account and can see we are still awaiting a payment of £23.96. I am assured this will be paid in due course, and this case can then be closed.". My business partner forgot to respond to the email (stupid, I know), and three weeks later (yesterday) they send a hired thug to our place of business, while customers were there, demanding the £23.96 plus a £1111.87 enforcement charge. He said that unless we paid that to him on the spot, he would confiscate goods that he valued to the sum of £8000. The £5,723.96 sum had a high court writ, which comes with a cap on fees of this nature that can be charged, as illustrated by the table below: The bailiff claimed to be able to charge for both stage two and three whether or not he actually had to carry out stage three. I pointed out that I was perfectly willing to pay the debt and the enforcement fee on the spot, which meant that he did not have the right to charge a "sale" enforcement fee, but he refused to drop it, saying I either pay exactly what he is demanding, or he starts ripping equipment out of the walls there and then. I had no choice but to pay the entire sum, and did so. There is no doubt in my mind that this is illegal and extortion, and in fact the bailiff himself used the very word "extortionate" when explaining the situation he was putting us in. My question to you is which regulatory body can I bring this to the attention of, are there any court cases setting a precedent in these situations, and are there guidelines that prevent bailiffs from charging huge bills for debts as low as £23? Even the £495 bill is entirely unfair, and clearly taking advantage of an admin error made by a small business. The law was not written to allow them to do this, and it puts our business at risk. Any advice on putting this right would be massively appreciated. Thanks a lot.
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