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My MP and Bailiffs


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I wrote the following letter to my MP recently on the subject of Bailiffs.

 

In the light of the Whistleblower programme on BBC1 yesterday, the need for radical change to the regulation and control of Bailiff Companies has become paramount.

 

Please write to your MP on similar lines (although I'm sure your indignation will show through more than mine did after that appalling programme).

 

Please also post your MP's response, so that we can gauge the effect.

If the response is at least as positive as mine was, then perhaps we can look forward to changes being made.

 

 

Dear Ms Cooper,

 

I am writing to you as a concerned constituent, to tell you about a problem of which I have become aware in recent months. I am a member of a forum which deals with consumer issues and which is becoming increasingly pro-active in lobbying for the abolition of unfair and/or unlawful practices.

 

The problem is the unscrupulous and often unlawful actions of bailiffs who are appointed by local authorities to collect overdue, unpaid council tax and parking fines.

 

As you will know, bailiffs appointed by local councils are required to be certificated and are licensed to practise by their local county court. Fees that are to be charged by certificated bailiffs are governed by a published scale.

 

Many certificated bailiffs are displaying a complete disregard for the rules relating to their approach and dealings with debtors. Abuse of the system is widespread, resulting in debtors being intimidated, misled, harassed and overcharged.

 

Most debtors are already in dire financial straits, meaning that the additional burden of exorbitant bailiffs’ fees is unbearable. Many of these debtors are in especially vulnerable categories, such as single parents, those in receipt of DLA, the elderly, family carers and the educationally disadvantaged.

 

Another disturbing aspect of this problem is the role of the local authorities or councils. There are many examples of councils apparently shrugging off their responsibilities once debts have been handed over to their bailiffs. Bailiffs in many areas are allowed to engage in debt collection with no apparent control or audit from their employers, the councils. Codes of conduct, such as that published by Manchester City Council, are few and far between.

 

I appreciate that you have many parliamentary interests but I hope that you will be sufficiently concerned to require more information. Anecdotal evidence is readily available. I would be pleased to expand on this topic when you next hold a constituency surgery.

 

Yours sincerely

Elsinore

I recently received this reply

 

Dear Elsinore,

 

Thank you very much for your correspondence regarding the practices of bailiff companies employed by local authorities for debt collection.

 

I am in agreement with you over the need for better and more effective regulation of Bailiff Companies.

 

In the first instance I have written to

 

Vera Baird QC MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department of Constitutional Affairs.

 

Phil Woolas MP Minister for Local Government and Community Cohesion at the Department for Communities and Local Government.

 

The Chief Executive of your District Council

 

The Chief Executive of your County Council

 

Once I have received responses from each organisation I will be in contact with you again.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Rosie Cooper MP

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Well done in getting a reponse.... lets hope Ms Cooper is up to it

 

Dave

** We would not seek a battle as we are, yet as we are, we say we will not shun it. (Henry V) **

 

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Just a few thoughts for letters.

 

The situation is deteriorating, because there is increasing pressure on the bailiff companies. In recent years, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been increasing the pressure on local authorities to improve their enforcement rights. At the same time the Department for Constitutional Affairs has been increasing the pressure on the magistrates court to increase their enforcement rates. Now, knowing that bailiffs don’t knowingly walk away from payment, that means they’ve got to try harder with those people who are further down the economic scale. So what might sound like a good law and order soundbite for a government minister is having a disproportionately harsh effect on those people who are the poorest and most vulnerable.

 

The government expects a free enforcement service for public bodies and if the government or the public body as creditor won’t pay, then the people in debt have to pay. The burden will be pushed down to them. Now successful enforcement varies, but by and large, most bailiffs will be successful in a third or less of cases. And those third of people in debt who pay up therefore have to fund all the bailiff action that takes place against the people who don’t eventually pay up. So you’re seeing that a third or less are paying for two-thirds or more, and therefore the fees will reflect that.

 

Where some of the fees are fixed, some are not. The early stages of the bailiff procedures, the fees are generally fixed. But when it comes to the point of removing goods, then it’s the reasonable costs and expenses which have been incurred by the bailiff. What’s reasonable in any one situation is very difficult to assess. There’s no absolute cap. Bailiff fees for small debts like parking penalties will seem disproportionately high - £200, £250.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Whoops! Did it via the very efficient email link given on this thread - but pretty much demanding that they cease to employ these thugs knowing that they are now captured on film threatening and terrorising the weakest families in our communities. Will post the reply though!

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I have sent letters via WriteToThem.com - Email or fax your Councillor, MP, MEP, MSP or Welsh, NI, London Assembly Member for free to:

 

My MP

My two City Counsellors

My County Counsellor

 

I won't be posting the content of the letters or the replies here as they are essentially private letters. I have not notified any of the correspondents that I was writing them a public letter so I feel that, for the moment it would be unfair to publicise them here.

 

I will ask for permission once I have replies and, if permission is granted I will post the content here.

 

Pete

I will not make any deals with you. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. Number 6

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hi i have sent one to my MP, one to my Councilor and one to my MEP because his name is Robert Kilroy, I am going to have a reply off kilroy :)

SETTLED CASES

LTSB (CC) £20 21-8-06

HSBC (CC) £600 19-10-06

HSBC (Ac) No.1 £1900 25-10-06

RBS (CC) £900 25-10-06

Smile (Ac) £1300 17-11-06

A&L (Ac) No.1 £400 23-11-06

A&L (Mortgage ERC) £3900 4-12-06

LTSB (Ac) £200 13-12-06

A&L (Ac) No.2 £120 19-12-06

HSBC (Ac) No.2 £650 29-12-06

LTSB (Business) £1700 13-2-07

RBS (Ac) £4500 + Default Removal 17-3-07

Barclays (Bus) Warrant of Execution 10-3-07 not used yet

ONGOING CASES

Egg (CC) N1 Filed £1300 + Default Removal Judgment Order 9/1/07 In my Favour

Barclays Business loan & 2 accs. S.A.R N1 filed Judgment in Default isued 15/2/07

HSBC (CC) have failed to produce Credit Agreement

TO DO CASES

Egg (Loan)

LTSB (Ac Ltd Company)

LTSB (Loan)

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Think anyone writing to their MP etc should read and digest this first... it could well be that the program going out on BBC after the closing date for consultation on the new draft bill is just pure coincidence, or then again maybe it isn't. Is dear old Aunty Beeb guilty of propagana mongering?

 

Maybe the government WANT people to be outraged and to demand new regulation for bailiffs, just so they can get this "oh look, here's one we prepared earlier" bill through without it being looked at too closely by us mere mortals...

 

Please express your grave concern not only at the current illegal activities of bailiffs, but perhaps MORE importantly the proposals for fully legalised bullying, breaking and entering, abuse, assult and the theft of even your pet dog or cat that this new bill is going to allow if it sails through as your lovely Tony and Gordon no doubt hope...

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/post-269564.html

 

 

 

 

News feature from Legal Action

 

HomePage

 

Concern over draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill proposals

September 2006

 

Alan Murdie, barrister and author of 'New powers of fines officers: a disturbing development', June 2006 Legal Action 32, writes:

The draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill proposes wide-ranging reforms to the structure and composition of tribunals, judicial appointments, the enforcement of tribunal awards and debt recovery, particularly as regards the law on the seizure of goods. Of particular concern are Schedules 11 and 12 of the bill, which envisage a radical overhaul of the law relating to the seizure of goods. The new regime would apply to all money judgments by the High Court and county court and sums recoverable before magistrates. All common law rules and restrictions on the right to levy against goods are to be abolished, and replaced with a statutory code to be contained in regulations made by the Lord Chancellor.

Distress for rent by a landlord at common law is also abolished. In future, all types of bailiff will be replaced by individuals appointed and approved as 'enforcement agents'. These agents will then be given seizure powers wider than any which have been permitted in England and Wales since the Middle Ages.

The draft bill envisages that when enforcing against the goods of a debtor, enforcement agents will be entitled:

  • to break into private dwellings under warrant;
  • to use force against occupiers;
  • to invite third parties on to premises; and
  • to seize money or goods found on premises, including pets.

The draft bill's approach marks a radical departure from the principles that underlaid the common law, which operated to prevent violence against individuals and premises to effect entry. Similarly, rules preventing the seizure of money and items in use prevented the ransacking of homes or breaches of the peace once entry was gained. Of particular concern are Sch 11 paras 24(2) and 31(5), where the Lord Chancellor may make regulations allowing enforcement agents a 'power to use force against persons' in respect of domestic dwellings and goods on the highway.

Enforcement agents will also be able to bring non-qualified assistants on to private premises. Under Sch 11 para 22(2), warrants may also require a police constable to assist an enforcement agent.

Explanatory notes to the bill maintain that its provisions engage both debtors' and creditors' rights, under the European Convention on Human Rights, to a fair trial (article 6), private life (article 8) and the protection of property (Protocol 1, article 1). However, much will be dependent on judicial interpretations of these rights. In practice, there are unlikely to be effective safeguards against abuse despite the optimism of closing paragraphs of the notes that 'sanctions' will exist against improper recovery action. Reforms to attachment of earnings orders, administration orders, and the establishment of debt management schemes are also outlined.

The draft Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, Cm 6885 is available at: www.official-documents.co.uk/document/cm68/6885/6885.pdf and from TSO, £50.30. The closing date for representations on the bill is 22 September 2006.

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Letter sent to Mr. Purnell MP for Ashton under lyne.

Recieved reply asking for contaact details so he could give a more "in depth" Response.

Dear Sir

 

I am greatly concerned about the current prospect of altering the powers given to county court bailiffs.

I understand that the proposed legislation has now reached the Draft stage and is dangerously close to being put on the statute books.

It is the view of most people that this legislation would directly contradict basic human rights and place an additional burden on the less well off in society.

It would also undermine the sanctity of the home enjoyed by all british citizens since Magna Carta and put under serious risk the entitlement to personal security in their own dwelling.

I earnestly request that you look into this matter as a matter of urgency.

 

Yours truly,

 

Peter F. Bardsly

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

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  • 2 weeks later...

I have just gotten off the phone with the secretary of the MP for Tameside and he asked if I could go and see him on Friday regarding this matter.

 

This is not part of his surgery so he will be able to give me an hour of his time.

I had a nodding acquaintance with him through the work I used to do with the Credit Union in the area, and since this bill will greatly affect the socially excluded due to financial means he realises it is of great interest to me.

 

I would appreciate any input from other members of this community and any questions you would like me to ask.

Also any relevant points that you think I should make in order to make the points raised in this forum.

 

I

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Many thanks for the support

 

Peter

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well done to everyone - I sent my email on 28th September and to date have heard absolutely nothing - except for an email asking me if I had received any response from my MP! Not too impressed actually.

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News just in!! I have just received a very posh House of Commons envelope containing a letter from my MP. He has kindly handwritten my name and his signature in a flourishing blue pen but the content was very disappointing.

"I am afraid I have not seen the television programme to which you referred and I am somewhat surprised as most bailiffs are law-abiding and well-disciplined,

 

I am not aware that ********* Borough Council is using bailiffs at all, but I will certainly pass on to the Council your concern that they should not do so.

 

Thank you for writing to me on this subject."

 

Written 27th October - almost a month to the day of my original mail to him!

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Recieved a letter from Harriet Harmell this morning going to see my mp again tonight.

Peter

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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I received a letter from my MP yesterday:

 

He is apparently raising the matter with the Minister.

 

Pete

I will not make any deals with you. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. Number 6

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  • 3 weeks later...

Has this bill been passed?

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No, not introduced yet but it's in the list of bills contained in the Queens Speech for introduction during the coming Parliament.

 

Pete

I will not make any deals with you. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. Number 6

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I'm in communication with my MP about this Bill. He got a letter from Harriet Harman at the DCA which seems to contain innacuracies, I've written back highlighting these and asking for clarification.

 

Pete

I will not make any deals with you. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own. Number 6

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  • 1 month later...

right recieved a letter from my mp jonathan shaw who recieved a reply from harriet harman regarding the new bailiff laws etc that are due to be introduced. see what you make of it. i have had to link from a external site as i cannot post attachments here.

 

bailiffchaser/BAILIFF RULES - Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

 

double click on the photos to enlarge them .

CLICK HERE FOR A LOOK AT ALL OF MY FILES: http://s134.photobucket.com/albums/q82/bailiffchaser/

do not forget to click on my scale if i am giving you the right advice or advice is making sense click my scales otherwise others think i am not helping you.

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I received an almost identical letter from HH (via my MP) last Saturday.

 

The only significant difference was that my letter omitted the sentence in Bailiffchaser's letter which began "A new fee structure...." but I had that in a previous letter.

 

Elsinore

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The letter is simillar to one I recieved .

The bill is strill under scrutiny at the House of Lords and is currently at the Grand Comitee Stage considering some of what i would say are fundemental amendments to scedule 12 of the Act.

.ie

"4A (1) The following fall into the definition of exempt goods

so as to preclude seizure of—

(a) any goods which are fixtures or fittings attached to the

premises including goods which are plumbed in or connected to water,

fuel or power supplies,

(b) domestic animals and animals kept as pets,

© guard dogs,

(d) any dog on which a blind person relies,

(e) any animal which is kept for commercial gain, save as is

allowed through common law and where provision for the welfare of

the animal has been arranged in advance,

(f) in the case of domestic dwellings no sum of money of £500 in

cash or below,

(g) in the case of domestic dwellings no sum of money which would

leave the debtor with less than £500.

 

And particularily

 

"24 (1) Nothing in this Act shall permit the entry by force to

a dwelling house by a civil enforcement agent where—

(a) the door is locked or secured against entry;

(b) a householder has indicated to a civil enforcement officer or

enforcement agent that such entry is refused; or

© where a dwelling is occupied or appears to be occupied by a

person or persons under 16 or by a person lacking the mental

capacity to understand the consequences of entry.

(2) Nothing in this Act shall allow a civil enforcement officer

pursuing a fine recoverable as a civil debt to—

(a) search a person without their consent;

(b) search a person of the opposite sex;

© remove items of clothing or jewellery or other wearing apparel;

(d) remove a person from a dwelling who has sole care of children

resident in that dwelling, whether the children are physically

present at that time or not.

 

I am in contact with My MP to find out where we are with these ammendments and if they have been aproved by both houses.

 

 

It's a start

 

Peter

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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