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What is a realistic charge for a bailiff attendance?

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With the Government due to announce its findings in the Bailiff Consultation soon, what do you think is a sensible charge for attending an address for:

 

(a) a Certificated Bailiff collecting Council Tax / Parking Fines

 

(b) a High Court Enforcement Officer collecting unpaid judgments

 

Consideration should be taken into account for costs of the bailiff(s), transport, time and the running of the business (back office).

 

I look forward to some sensible suggestions based on the above.

 

:?:

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I'm not sure you will get help with your business model here but I look forward to hearing some of the replies.


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I'm not looking for help with my business model, I am interested to see what people think....

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Would you mind setting out what might be the difference in activity or other factors which might be the cause of a difference in the cost.

 

Maybe you could also set out what it takes to make these visits so that one has a better idea of what a reasonable charge might be.

Thanks


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I am happy to refer to these points once I have some understanding of what people's thoughts are. Clearly the MoJ has suggested some new fees but I am interested in what your members really think. Surely some sensible dialogue in this area is much needed?

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One thing to remember, and it is an insurmountable issue where bailiffs HCEOs and other enforcers go in to collect debt, is this:

 

If someone falls behind with council tax or a utility bill, it is usually due to a drop in income, or unemployment, where the debtor cannot afford the original debt at the original repayment rate, as they cannot now afford to service said debt; how does loading more costs and charges help the debt be discharged?

 

In these circumstances and in a vulnerable situation one penny extra is unhelpful. as to the ludicrous charges put on by the likes of Sherfarce, how can someone on JSA waiting for a claim to be processed and the couple rate at £111 per week afford to pay the likes of Sherfarce £3000 in fees plus the original £600 plus costs to a water company?

 

Bear in mind that the late great sadly missed Lord Denning a Master of The Rolls in the last century, wanted to end distress as being medieval and abhorrent to a modern society.

 

Now go figure Mr/Ms HCEO.

 

The thought that trapping people into more debt by a legal route of imposing more and more charges which in extremis could lock someone into a permanent cycle of default and more charges, ad infinitum like a Wonga or loanshark on steroids, is a business model to be exploited makes me extremely angry if not physically sick with disgust!:mad2::mad2:

Edited by brassnecked

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brassnecked, with all due respect that is not what I asked. I would also advise that not every debtor is vulnerable, especially in HCEO work.

 

There is a cost to enforcement and I am merely asking what the forum members believe is a sensible charge. I would be grateful if we could stick to the point.

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You are from the sound of it a Director of a bailiff company, you already have a business model that you work to and I presume it is profitable, if you want to ask consumers what they feel is a 'sensible charge' then they will say either £5 or less, if you want a business point of view then you will already have a set of figures or variables. you obviously aren't going to reveal your 'costs' so why don't you just ask what margin / mark up you feel you can get away with ?


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I am happy to refer to these points once I have some understanding of what people's thoughts are. Clearly the MoJ has suggested some new fees but I am interested in what your members really think. Surely some sensible dialogue in this area is much needed?

 

You are right. Dialogue is needed - but if you feel that you aren't able to let us know some details of what it is all comprised of, then how can you expect people to give a measured response.

 

Dialogue is an excellent idea. With dialogue it is possible to build bridges so that even if there is not actual acceptance - at least there is understanding.

 

By refusing to give at least some basic information, you are immediately erecting a barrier to dialogue - and barriers are something which your industry very badly does not need.

Believe me.


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brassnecked, with all due respect that is not what I asked. I would also advise that not every debtor is vulnerable, especially in HCEO work.

 

There is a cost to enforcement and I am merely asking what the forum members believe is a sensible charge. I would be grateful if we could stick to the point.

 

I'm sure that there is a cost to enforcement. I think that you have to give some details of what it is - if you want people to give you an idea of what they might consider to be a sensible charge


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If i remember right the change being talked about for council tax and parking will mirror what is being used for magistrate fines, letter fee and a single visit fee.

What i think is fair im sure will totally be different to what others think but hey heres what i think-

 

Council tax/nndr

Initial letter (debt £1-£1000) £50

(debt +£1000) £75

Visit fee (debt £1-£1000) £150

(debt £1000 +) £225

 

Parking

Letter before visit £50-60 (per fine)

Visit fee £100 per fine (no other charges except removal)

 

Same for every council and bailiff company totally transparent


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Consideration should be taken into account for costs of the bailiff(s), transport, time and the running of the business (back office)
Really ?

 

Irrespective of the number of warrants served ?

That is preposterous.

You need to revisit fixed and variable costs/overheads (and appropriate tax relief). Say for example, and for ease of numbers, that it costs your business 500,000 gbp p.a to run the back office and bailiffs etc. And you only get 5 warrants to enforce in that financial year.

Your stance would put the total claimable fees per warrant at 100,000 gbp (assuming all were satisfied and ignoring the profit element). If you got 500,000 warrants it would put the total claimable fees per warrant at 1 gbp per warrant (assuming all were satisfied and ignoring the profit element). Are you proposing a floating fee that goes down if you get moire warrants to enforce ? I think not. Sure there are costs of entry into the market place and critical mass issues - but they are there for all businesses to deal with.

Yours included.

Your suggestion would kill off the smaller, and so more agile and innovative, companies and reduce the field to just behemoths. And we all know that that leads to only to oligarchic pricing and customers being screwed And your industry has many vulnerable customers.

You get your business model wrong, and that includes you agreeing bad bargain contracts, and the consequences are yours. Across the industry as a whole outrageous charging is endemic (look at the Council parking tickets forum !) there is no 'one spreadsheet solution'. It is not a case of one size fits all. Easy answer to charges conundrum ?

Pay all bailiffs of whatever type a fixed salary. That won't stop certain well known companies from pressuring their bailiffs to ramp up the charges of course but it will level the playing field and highlight them, then they can be dealt with.

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brassnecked, with all due respect that is not what I asked. I would also advise that not every debtor is vulnerable, especially in HCEO work.

 

There is a cost to enforcement and I am merely asking what the forum members believe is a sensible charge. I would be grateful if we could stick to the point.

 

No not every debtor is vulnerable, but remember that allowing charges to spiral many multiples of the original debt as can happen now is also unhelpful. I would suggest that no more than £50 and a maximum of 25 miles at 40 pence per mile for private individuals, is the ballpark.

 

Obviously if it is a corporation and they have funds, then £300 plus mileage, and legitimate true cost of removal vehicle, remember that a Luton 3.5 tonne vehicle is around £75 per day to hire if self drive, plus £8 per hour for a couple of porters, the hourly rate to cover duration and attendance plus two hours for base job and return to base, bear in mind that loading these fees upfront all together is naughty and should only be imposed if HCEO calls subsequently specifically to remove.

 

As to sticking to the point, not all debt is wilful avoidance, and is due to a change of circumstances severely reducing income and ability to pay, that is my point, that any extra makes successful timely discharge of the debt less likely. This is true whatever the cost of enforcement.

 

In modern society with electronic systems, affordable deductions from salary/benefits is an equitable alternative with minimal cost to the creditor if systems were put in place.

 

Sorry if I cannot see the value of your work, but distress is medieval and deserves no part of the system in the 21st century. As an advice worker and Councillor I have seen the results of excessive enforcement demands, and action by Bailiffs and HCEO, and they could well amount to breach of Article 3 European Convention on Human Rights, as cruel and inhuman treatment that could be construed as mental torture.

 

There is one underlying issue that is the elephant in the room, you run the risk with excessive enforcement charges coupled with the existing debt, sending the debtor into bankruptcy, at which point it is effectively game over for enforcer and creditor, who may then get diddly squat.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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@lamma post #12 I agree


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Where I find the problem is making the distinction between the Certificated Bailiff & the HCEO. I don't see a difference between the two & strongly believe the charges applied should be the same, after alll there is little diffrence to knocking on the door and asking for Council Tax/Unpaid PCN & that of Southern Water's Bill. It is the same goods you are attending to seize & remove. The HCEO is in the same position as the Certificated Bailiff when the debtor refuses you entry.

 

There is one firm who make charges akin to telephone numbers yet the attending officer receives nothing like the £750 demanded for a visit, they use blanket charging and have lost on more than 1 occasion when challenged, which is very akin to the Certificated Bailiff either blatatntly overcharging or going for multiple fees.

 

I can't put a figure on what the charges should be but as the person attending is basically no more than an unqualified collector of monies then the £75 per hour the local plumber charges looks value for money. Until such time that challenging charges is simplified - preferably to a completely independent body - then the complaints will carry on. They may have put the "Bailiffs & HCEO's" out for consultation but with some of the figures that are being bandied about then in the present climate more are going to resist.

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With the Government due to announce its findings in the Bailiff Consultation soon, what do you think is a sensible charge for attending an address for:

 

(a) a Certificated Bailiff collecting Council Tax / Parking Fines

 

(b) a High Court Enforcement Officer collecting unpaid judgments

 

Consideration should be taken into account for costs of the bailiff(s), transport, time and the running of the business (back office).

 

I look forward to some sensible suggestions based on the above.

 

:?:

 

a) capped at 10% of the debt /fine to avoid a debt/fine of £70 being turned into £500

b) should be raised to £5,000 before a writ is of Fi' Fa' can be applied for.

 

WD

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Where I find the problem is making the distinction between the Certificated Bailiff & the HCEO. I don't see a difference between the two & strongly believe the charges applied should be the same, after alll there is little diffrence to knocking on the door and asking for Council Tax/Unpaid PCN & that of Southern Water's Bill. It is the same goods you are attending to seize & remove. The HCEO is in the same position as the Certificated Bailiff when the debtor refuses you entry.

 

There is one firm who make charges akin to telephone numbers yet the attending officer receives nothing like the £750 demanded for a visit, they use blanket charging and have lost on more than 1 occasion when challenged, which is very akin to the Certificated Bailiff either blatatntly overcharging or going for multiple fees.

 

I can't put a figure on what the charges should be but as the person attending is basically no more than an unqualified collector of monies then the £75 per hour the local plumber charges looks value for money. Until such time that challenging charges is simplified - preferably to a completely independent body - then the complaints will carry on. They may have put the "Bailiffs & HCEO's" out for consultation but with some of the figures that are being bandied about then in the present climate more are going to resist.

 

When you put it that way they are no more than the likes of Moorcroft and Snotcall, minimum wage door knockers. I also see the commonality and HCEO and bailiff should get exactly the same scale.

 

Agree with wonkeydonkey's points also in post #16, with a subtle variation: a 10% charge for debt or fine up to £500, 5% on sums above £500, 2% 0ver £1000 to avoid telephone number charges. Lower limit for fi-fa should be £5000, and preferably £7,500

Edited by brassnecked

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Its easy. Make overcharging a statutory offence (with teeth) - and enforce it. It will never happen, ask yourself why.

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To me the Government will never change things to a fair system as the majority of debts collected upon all appear to be taxation in one form or another. We also have the Local Authorities regarding the issuing of Liability Orders or PCN's as another profitable income stream mainly because they cannot be bothered to find out why the sums go unpaid.


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Ploddertom is spot-on. I would observe that Tesco pay the minimum wage for unqualified people and, despite the phoney attempts to professionalise the enforcement industry with C&G qualifications etc, I see nothing that should command a pro-rata wage of more than £15 per hour (gross) plus moderate (and genuine!) expenses for a doorstep collector. Also, the sum being collected should have no bearing on fees - which should be flat.

 

I see no real distinction between a Bailiff and an HCEO.

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I see no real distinction between a Bailiff and an HCEO.

 

They had a golden opportunity to change things but as usual have well & truly fudged it up. Bailiifs & HCEO's are throwbacks to a medieval system when you doffed your cap to the local Squire. To bring it into the 21st Century they need scrapping and introduce an Enforcement Officer only. Looking at other industries the Government in different disguises have scapped most nationalised industries why not put the enforcement agencies out to grass - just look at all the comments concerning Marstons yesterday, the blatatnt overcharging that goes on with JBW & Newlyn and of course it is only a year since Mr Boast from Rossendales was on the telly.


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With all the benefit cuts, bedroom tax, unemployment, they way to help people who get into debt because of all this is to increase the charges to rob people of more money? This is modern day reverse Robin Hood!

Why cant we use the system used in some Europian countries of taking whats owed from their benefits or wages at a rate that is reasonable and affordable?

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Then there will be 'problems' with the arithmetic and all sorts of amounts will be taken. Where is the line drawn that leaves someone enough to live on ? If that is a consideration at all, which is doubtful.

Edited by lamma

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One thing to remember, and it is an insurmountable issue where bailiffs HCEOs and other enforcers go in to collect debt, is this:

 

If someone falls behind with council tax or a utility bill, it is usually due to a drop in income, or unemployment, where the debtor cannot afford the original debt at the original repayment rate, as they cannot now afford to service said debt; how does loading more costs and charges help the debt be discharged?

 

In these circumstances and in a vulnerable situation one penny extra is unhelpful. as to the ludicrous charges put on by the likes of Sherfarce, how can someone on JSA waiting for a claim to be processed and the couple rate at £111 per week afford to pay the likes of Sherfarce £3000 in fees plus the original £600 plus costs to a water company?

 

Bear in mind that the late great sadly missed Lord Denning a Master of The Rolls in the last century, wanted to end distress as being medieval and abhorrent to a modern society.

 

Now go figure Mr/Ms HCEO.

 

The thought that trapping people into more debt by a legal route of imposing more and more charges which in extremis could lock someone into a permanent cycle of default and more charges, ad infinitum like a Wonga or loanshark on steroids, is a business model to be exploited makes me extremely angry if not physically sick with disgust!:mad2::mad2:

 

 

This instantly reminded me of a comment I read posted on a Northcliffe media website. Far too good to be wasted as is likely to happen when the moderators of Grimsby Telegraph (GT) see and remove it; so I'll post it here.

 

 

If the council wants to raise a few quid, they could try this high earning [problem]....

 

Charge every household a large sum of money for services that the council may or may not provide. Make everyone pay this money upfront, offer them advance instalments. Anyone not able to meet these demands will instantly be branded a scrounger and dragged through the courts like a common criminal. Even though they can't afford the original demand, more money will be added to their bill. If they persist in being poor, the council will then unleash a gang of thugs to steal their furniture and possessions. If after this 'help' they are still poor, then the council should throw them into prison. The magistrates can usually be bought for around £3 a head. To cover up any dissent, their media partners the GT will then portray these parasites as the lowest of the low, fully deserving of their fate.

 

I'm sure this con could earn them a few much needed bob.....oh wait.

Edited by outlawla

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I personally think that the solution to this whole issue is to replace all certified bailiffs and HCEO's with officers directly employed by, for example, the Ministry of Justice.

They would recieve a wage in line with other civil servants, and be publicly accountable for their behaviour.

They would be properly trained and licenced under a professional body with the ability to be stuck off or fined and even imprisoned for incorrect practice. In addition there should be some sort of penalty for illegally impersonating a bailiff or HCEO.

 

I think that fee's are unavoidable, but if operating under the umbrella of for example, the MOJ can be standardised and afforded a level of transparency.

 

The fee's imposed by the system of private bailiff companies is motivated by profit only, remove the motive of profit and things will change.

It may be that some capped percentage system or scale of charges reasonably proportionate to the original sum owed, for example not to exceed 15% or 20% of the amount owed? but also with a degree of proportionallity added for the legth of time that the debt has been outstanding, so for example if less than a year only 10%.

 

I don't see a problem with them still being called bailiffs, the important thing is radical reform of the system.

Edited by mortyarty
missed a little bit out!

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style="text-align:center;"> Please note that this topic has not had any new posts for the last 2505 days.

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