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MasterMuggles

Bailiff Took Payment from a Couple In Their 70's Due To a Lodgers Debt

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Hi,

I'm looking for some advice on behalf of family members who had a recent visit from a bailiff and ended up paying for a debt which wasn't theirs.

 

They are a couple in their 70's and they do lodgings for working professionals. They had a lodger who rented a room with them, but was rarely ever there. He mostly lived at his girlfriends and kept the lodging room just in case "things didn't work out" with her.


The couple who owned the house were unaware, but he'd ran up debts against their address.

When he would occasionally return to the lodgings he would collect his post.

 

Last week they had a visit from a bailiff.

They had no prior knowledge of this action or the visit as they are not the debtor.

The bailiff was there in relation to the debts ran up by their lodger.

 

The lady answered the door to the bailiff, she was home looking after her 6 year old granddaughter for the school holidays.

She refused entry however the bailiff stayed at the door and kept on at her to the point where she felt pressured to call her husband (who was out at work) due to the situation.

 

Her husband drove home from work to see the bailiff.

The bailiff was repeatedly told that the debtor was not in the property but the bailiff insisted that they had to let him in as he had to see the lodgers room.

The couple didn't know they were within their rights to refuse entry and the bailiff had threatened they'd be able to come back, break in etc. anyway.


Due to the pressure put on by the bailiff the husband finally conceded to allow the bailiff to see the lodgers room.

They took him to the room which contained a few of the lodgers clothes and personal articles, but nothing of value.

 

The bailiff saw that there was nothing of value in the lodger's room and then refused to leave the property and said he needed to see receipts for everything in the house otherwise he'd start taking stuff. T

 

hey insisted they were the owners of the property, and could not show receipts for everything given they have lived there over 30 years.

They had their own personal effects in their rooms\the front room\communal rooms, there were also other lodgers rooms which contained the said other lodgers personal effects. 


The bailiff asked to see a letting agreement, but the couple never had one in place.

They'd done lodgings for working professionals for a number of years, but never experienced issues nor thought something like this could happen.
They called the police, but the police told them they were unable to assist.

 

Due to fear of all their stuff being removed on behalf of a lodgers debt they eventually agreed to make payment.

They ended up paying over £3,000 for a debt that wasn't theirs in order to save their own possessions from the bailiff.

This is apparently a "voluntary payment" in bailiffs terms.

 

The debt was paid for on a credit card which I believe allows a couple of options.
 

The bailiff was wearing a body camera and mentioned it was in use so this will be requested for retrieval under GDPR.

 

They are a couple in their 70's however I do not believe for a moment they were dealt with as "vulnerable" due to their age which they most certainly are.

The lady was at home looking after her granddaughter .

The child was in the end taken out to a park by another family member in order to get her out of the situation of being there whilst there was a bailiff within property.

 

I believe the stress of the situation and grandchild being present also overwhelmingly to their vulnerability.

This looks to have not been considered by the bailiff.

They paid and have a receipt from the bailiff for the debt, this shows the payment wasn't made by the debtor (who was not in the property at the time and has since moved out)

 

How best to fight this and do we have a case?

What options are there?

There's so much which is shady about this and its painful to see an elderly couple burdened with over £3,000 of credit card debt caused by a debt which was never theirs in the first place.

 

It's a disgusting abuse of powers and I aim to do what I can to try fight to get their money back or at least to get this highlighted to try to stop this happening to another elderly couple.

 

I know there is the option of using charge back or section 75 via the credit card the payment was made with in order to try to reclaim the funds, but not sure if this should be used, could this make the situation worse?

 

Now the bailiff has been within their property I believe they have a right to return.


If a charge back is carried out are the bailiffs able to return even though the debtor has now moved out and the property owners have evidence of this?


They have written proof signed by the debtor stating when he moved out (which was straight after causing all this trouble!!).

They also have tenancy agreements in place for the other lodgers who live at house.

 

Any help, advice or assistance on this matter would be most appreciated.

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Please could you tell us which company this bailiff/enforcement agent was from.


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Thank you. We have some direct contact with a another enforcement company – but not the one that has visited you. Otherwise we could have gotten somebody to look at the situation.

I'm hoping that one of our users @Bailiff Advice will be along to give you some very effective and specialist advice before long.


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 CES oh what a surprise

 

go ring their card provider

do a section 75 as it is NOT their debt in THEIR name.

 

the card provider cannot refuse

details handed over under duress.

 

sorry but IMHO this IS one of the rare occasions this SHOULD be done on paying a bailiff... and immediately 

 


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Normally, I am not in favour of advising a Charge Back against a credit card provided BUT, after reading through your post a few times, I would not hesitate in contacting the credit card provider. 

 

The couple need to ensure that they make contact with the credit card provider as soon as possible. They should make sure that they advise the card company that they had even contacted the police for assistance. 

 

Secondly......and this important, they MUST contact the enforcement company to state that they wish to make a formal complaint regarding the events that day. They should inform the company that they have contacted their bank and they wish to put the enforcement company 'on notice' that they should NOT pass the payment onto the creditor (enforcement companies must retain payments for 21 days so time is of the essence). 

 

Thirdly, they should make a request for a copy of the Body Worn camera footage. 

 

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Hi

 

As this is to do with a 'Lodger' and they frequently have lodgers could I ask when they are taking in a Lodgers do they get them to Sign a 'Lodger Agreement'?

 

Have a wee look at this CAG link on 'Guide to taking in a lodger', among other issues (especially the PDF): 

 


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I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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I'd just like to say thank you for the information and assistance provided thus far, I believed that what happened was wrong and something needed to be done about it, but having details of the course of action that should be taken is massively beneficial to us.

 

In terms of the advice provided I would just like to clarify some items to allow us to move forwards:

 

1) Contacting the credit Card Company:
- Should this be done in advance of a complaint being raised to the bailiff\before we receive a response from the bailiff to confirm they have received the complaint?

- I've seen that its been advised the word "Bailiff" is best not to be mentioned in relation to charge back requests. When raised with the CC company are we just to report that the "Merchant placed the couple under duress" for the payment?

 

2) Raising a Complaint to the bailiff:

- Should this be done in the form of telephone call, letter or email?

- In terms of the complaint, what should the exact nature of the complaint be? (There's so much wrong with this it's hard to know where to begin what point is best to complain about!)

 

3) Body Worn Camera footage:

- Should this be requested as part of the complaint to the bailiff or should this be completed under a GDPR request? (Or potentially both?)
- Being that the images could contain footage of the husband, wife and potentially 6 year old child (which I understand has its own issues) I'd like to know which route carries more weight. Would the legal guardians of the 6 year old also be entitled to see what data\footage is held that could identify their child?
 

 

Finally in terms of all this being carried out by someone who isn't the debtor, what if any comeback (legal or otherwise) can the couple expect?
Does this leave them more vulnerable to revisits from the bailiff or potential legal action against them?

 

Again thanks very much for your responses

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1 hour ago, MasterMuggles said:

 

1) Contacting the credit Card Company:

- Should this be done in advance of a complaint being raised to the bailiff\before we receive a response from the bailiff to confirm they have received the complaint?

 

- I've seen that its been advised the word "Bailiff" is best not to be mentioned in relation to charge back requests. When raised with the CC company are we just to report that the "Merchant placed the couple under duress" for the payment?

 

 

 

The complaint to the credit card company should be made today. Also, today a well worded complaint should be sent to the enforcment company.

 

Why on earth would you be wanting to LIE by withholding the fact that the payment had been made to a bailiff company (or to be precise, an Enforcement Agency)?

 

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Thanks for the info @Bailiff Advice, much appreciated

 

There was nor is any intention to lie, in fact finding I've done I've seen lots of discussion over recharges and it was mentioned lots of times that banks are less likely to be willing assist if it involves payments to bailiffs hence the question before we take action. I don't see how this couldn't count as a payment under duress.

As I suspected (and has been confirmed) given the nature of this one a recharge seems a very valid course of action.

I'm just trying to give my family the best possible chance to get their money back whilst negating risk of further action against them given the distress this has already caused.

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IMHO little point in involving the credit card company

the debt has obviously been sold to a DCA

and they probably purposefully got a backdoor CCJ using an old address.

then passed this to an HCEO as its over £3000 

 

complain to the DCA/debt buyer

 

 

 


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also consider what was said in the opening post about the debt being against their address.

This is not true, it is against a person who happened to give that address for service of documents etc.

 

As the people involved will now be aware bailiffs tend to exaggerate their powers and say misleading things because that's way they get paid.

 

The use of a body camera will help them in any argument about the validity of a recharge as the bailiff co will be damned either way

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One thing to note, CES may refuse to deal with complaint as person who paid is not named debtor, so hide behind Data Protection.  that was breached by the bailiff giving details of the debt to a third party, the landlady.  Just an angle to explore, the chargeback must be done now, and a written request by email, and a hard copy by post requesting the camera footage from the bailiff.


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You can also make an official complaint to the High Court Enforcement Officers Association if your complaint to CES is not satisfactorily resolved:

 

https://www.hceoa.org.uk/

 

https://www.hceoa.org.uk/images/content/documents/complaintsprocedure-19/complaintsprocedure-2019.html

Edited by Will Goodfellow

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If you have not already, it would be a good idea to check your free credit reports.

Just in case.

Also the Land registry to ensure nothing has been second charged. You can do this on their site, it costs £4.

 

You do have to contact the police. this is identity fraud. If you get a crime number it will also help your cashback claim.


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Thank you for all your replies.

 

It looks like a charge back will be initiated by the persons involved hopefully.

I will provide an update in due course.

 

Providing some further details:

The receipt has details of the client on it and I can confirm the debts had not been sold to a DCA.
I will not detail who the creditor is, but I feel the actions taken against my family members would likely appear rather toxic to such a business.


Especially taking into account my family were not even the debtors, yet paid another person’s debt under threat of losing their possessions!

 

Going by the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014 it’s mentioned:

Creditors Responsibilities


 

07. Creditors should remember that enforcement agents are acting on their behalf and that ultimately they are responsible, and accountable, for the enforcement agents acting on their behalf.

So would it be worth raising the complaint direct to the enforcement agency and the creditor at the same time along with DSAR for footage from BWC?
 

Other areas of interest to me within the above mentioned document are:

10. Creditors have a responsibility to tell the debtor that if payment is not made within a specified period of time, action may be taken to enforce payment.

 

If the persons involved here were not the debtor nor were they aware of any debts or actions by bailiff to\at their address, why would they not be afforded the same rights as the debtor?
They were blindsided by this action and suffered greatly as a result.
 

16. Should a debtor be identified as vulnerable, creditors should be prepared to take control of the case, at any time, if necessary.

One again they are not the debtor, but if a couple in their 70’s who let the bailiffs in under pressure and made a £3,000 payment for someone else’s are not vulnerable then I really don’t know who is?


Upon speaking to the wife she’s mentioned the fact she was at home with her 6 year old granddaughter when she opened the door to the bailiff and followed by the bailiff then being within her home with her granddaughter and subsequently refusing leave made her feel vulnerable and violated.


They've also had the stress of the husband recently suffering ill health which has contributed to their vulnerability not to mention that as a result he's still suffering breathing difficulties which are very clear to see/noticeable!
 

Also looking further at:

Professionalism and conduct of the enforcement agent

Enforcement agents must not be deceitful by misrepresenting their powers, qualifications, capacities, experience or abilities, including, but not restricted to;


·Falsely implying or stating that action can or will be taken when legally it cannot be taken by that agent
·Falsely implying or stating that a particular course of action will ensue before it is possible to know whether such action would be permissible

·Falsely implying or stating that action has been taken when it has not

·Falsely implying or stating that a debtor refusing entry to a property is classed as an offence.

From what I’ve been informed and hopefully the footage will show; some of the above sound as if they've been breached.

However in order to prove this we will need the footage.

 

Does anyone know or have experience\results\success with a DSAR regarding BWC footage and bailiffs?

I know any failure to provide the footage will lead to a complaint to ICO which will not be taken lightly!

30. Where enforcement agents have identified vulnerable debtors or situations, they should alert the creditor and ensure they act in accordance with all relevant legislation.


Once again they are not the debtor; however the owner and occupants of the property were vulnerable and it was a vulnerable situation, yet the creditor wasn’t notified?
Are they again not afforded the same rights?

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

I'm hopeful that the charge back is done and will serve its purpose with the payment taken under duress in what was a scary and stressful experience for those involved.

 

If it is successful, as my family members are not the debtor then are there any other issues for them to consider?
Would it be the creditors decision to reinstate action?
 

I fail to see how anyone who's unrelated to the debtor or the debt in question + someone who is not named on the warrant could have any further action taken upon them after a charge back.


I know it's unlikely, but has anyone seen\had experience of something like this or seen any cases, information or details either here or elsewhere?
 

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1 hour ago, Dodgeball said:

You do have to contact the police. this is identity fraud. If you get a crime number it will also help your cashback claim.

OP said debt was in Lodgers name but at their relative's address, and bailiff enforced against them as third parties, obviously disclosing details of debt in breach of data protection and probably GDPR, so other ways to attack bailiff as Judicial excuse for breach probably won't wash.

 

Its a shame there wasn't a signed agreement for the room from the Lodger, as had that been produced, and the bailiff then continued it would have been cut and dried and the bailiff could be in a pickle.


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As the creditor is known it might be worth writing a formal Complaint to them, outlining what their appointed Agents have done Others will be along with futher advice and options soon I'm sure.


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8 minutes ago, brassnecked said:

OP said debt was in Lodgers name but at their relative's address, and bailiff enforced against them as third parties, obviously disclosing details of debt in breach of data protection and probably GDPR, so other ways to attack bailiff as Judicial excuse for breach probably won't wash.

This is another unconsidered, but very good point. Thank you.
As I state in my post above, we have the payment receipt which also shows the clients name.

Professionalism and conduct of the enforcement agent
19. Enforcement agents must act within the law at all times, including all legislation and observe all health and safety requirements in carrying out enforcement. They must maintain strict client confidentiality and comply with Data Protection legislation and, where appropriate, the Freedom of Information Act.
 

15 minutes ago, brassnecked said:

Its a shame there wasn't a signed agreement for the room from the Lodger, as had that been produced, and the bailiff then continued it would have been cut and dried and the bailiff could be in a pickle.

Tell me about it! This is however sorted moving forwards thankfully.

As a family member, it was also a shame that I or another more youthful family member didn't get a call from them at the time as this could have all been avoided.
We'd have ensured the bailiff was promptly told to sod off! Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

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The money was being pursued was only due because of criminal fraud .The police should have stopped the enforcement,  until this was resolved this is apart from any civil enforcement matters the issue of t


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Don't think there was any police attendance at the property, duing the bailiff visit could MasterMuggles clarify? 


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Yes on the first or second post something about the police not being interested

Beginning to get some bailiff bashing vibes, toxic and voluntary payment etc, words only used elsewhere. The first thing to do to help the OP would be to ensure safety then notify the police

 Then you could notify the court and get them to suspend the warrant. After this we can look at the bailiffs behaviour.

 

I will leave you good people to it.


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57 minutes ago, brassnecked said:

Don't think there was any police attendance at the property, duing the bailiff visit could MasterMuggles clarify? 

The police didn't attend. As far as I'm aware they were involved at the point the bailiff had persuaded the owner to allow entry to look in the lodgers room, but then refused to leave the property.

I will get this confirmed however.

 

47 minutes ago, Dodgeball said:

Beginning to get some bailiff bashing vibes, toxic and voluntary payment etc, words only used elsewhere.

Forgive me, but I'm unsure of what's meant by this?

I can confirm I'm just an aggrieved family member of people who've suffered an unwarranted and awful experience (not to mention £3k credit card debts for someone else's debt!) which should have never been able to happen hence the choices of terminology! It's a little hard to use positive terminology under the circumstances! lol

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it is extremely rare for an original credit to take court action upon a £3k card debt

how are you so sure on this?

 

also, to clarify, this was settled by a credit card payment.

it would be a section 75 claim under the Consumer Credit Act and NOT a chargeback.


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When the lodger was leaving he disclosed to the owners of the property what the debt was in relation to.


The information disclosed by the lodger ties in with the name of the "client" detailed on the receipt from the bailiff.

 

*and just to confirm the debt wasn't in relation to a credit card, all mention of cards is in relation to how my family made payment (of £3k) to the bailiff to save their possessions!

Yes, section 75 was what I meant to refer to instead of charge back.

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