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elsinore

bailiffs and sheriffs

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How about a forum with this title? I'm sure there will be other aggrieved debtors like me who suspect (or know) that bailiffs/sheriffs have overcharged for their services. Sheriffs particularly are very intimidating and debtors tend to be compliant on pain of evisceration! I'm sure there are rules and rate tables but equally sure that there are bailiffs/sheriffs who ignore them. I will be pleased to tell my story if anyone thinks that it would be of interest. I know that there are grievance procedures but don't know if I have a case. Any response would be appreciated. I couldn't find anywhere more suitable to post, but if I've missed something I hope someone will put me right.


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That's a reasonable suggestion, and I will forward it to site staff for consideration, perhaps as a sub forum in Legalities..

 

John


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Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

 

 

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I'm sure there will be other aggrieved debtors like me who suspect (or know) that bailiffs/sheriffs have overcharged for their services.

 

There certainly are - I'm one of them!

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=4411&highlight=Bailiffs

 

I got Equita bang to rights. Next is Drakes.

 

I am preparing some FAQ's - excessive work load has slowed me down these last couple of weeks, sorry BF. I will have them sorted asap.

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There certainly are - I'm one of them!

 

Thanks for the link BotB. Very interesting read. My beef is with a high court sheriff. I'll report progress a.s.a.p

 

Elsinore


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General question concerning baliffs and recovery actions: -

 

Is it feasible to protect your valuable possessions from these vultures by having a letter of assignment (if that's the right term) passing the ownership of certain named items (or even the entire contents) to a family member over 18 who has no debts?

 

Cheers.


Jeep (The Wife & I)

Halifax joint a/c (£3800 charges + £40 interest on charges over 11 years) - paid in full 23/06/06

Halifax joint a/c new charges £1100 - LBA sent 02/08/06

Halifax 2nd a/c (£1500 charges + £150 interest on charges) - partial payment received 13/07/06 (no s69 interest) - AQ filed 07/08/06 - Court awarded 50% of s69 interest (Bank didn't turn up!)

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Good point - I believe this kind of thing is possible, but not sure yet of the terminology. As a general rule, I think if someone knew that the bailiffs knock was looming, just moving those items out to family would be the quickest and safest bet.

 

I will try to research this point soon, unless you get there first!


..

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Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

 

 

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Good point - I believe this kind of thing is possible, but not sure yet of the terminology. As a general rule, I think if someone knew that the bailiffs knock was looming, just moving those items out to family would be the quickest and safest bet.

 

I will try to research this point soon, unless you get there first!

 

I'm not in that position - although it's not impossible that this could happen in the future - I was interested in the legalities - would they still be able to seize, what would the letter have to say, what witnessing it would need, etc. It would be nice to know that there's a way to protect certain assets, like family heirlooms, etc that are worth far more to you than the monetary value they might raise at auction.

 

Is there any special protection for data - if they seize a computer with your personal data on it - what rights do you have over the contents, and what protection from having it made available to the buyer?

 

These are things that I've been wondering for a few months now. More out of interest than anything so far, but also to make sure that if I can take such action I can do so early enough to make it effective. :confused:

 

Cheers.


Jeep (The Wife & I)

Halifax joint a/c (£3800 charges + £40 interest on charges over 11 years) - paid in full 23/06/06

Halifax joint a/c new charges £1100 - LBA sent 02/08/06

Halifax 2nd a/c (£1500 charges + £150 interest on charges) - partial payment received 13/07/06 (no s69 interest) - AQ filed 07/08/06 - Court awarded 50% of s69 interest (Bank didn't turn up!)

Halifax Visa (#1) Data Protection Act sent - statements arrived - £350 so far

Halifax Visa (#2) Data Protection Act sent - refunded £170

DONATE - Support this site, it supported you!

Follow the route: FAQs > Template Library > Parachute Account > Bank Forums > Spreadsheet

All advice given in good faith and without prejudice or liability, to be taken at your own risk!

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I'm not in that position - although it's not impossible that this could happen in the future - I was interested in the legalities - would they still be able to seize, what would the letter have to say, what witnessing it would need, etc. It would be nice to know that there's a way to protect certain assets, like family heirlooms, etc that are worth far more to you than the monetary value they might raise at auction.

 

Is there any special protection for data - if they seize a computer with your personal data on it - what rights do you have over the contents, and what protection from having it made available to the buyer?

 

These are things that I've been wondering for a few months now. More out of interest than anything so far, but also to make sure that if I can take such action I can do so early enough to make it effective. :confused:

 

Cheers.

Which Goods Can or Cannot be Seized

 

Goods, which can be seized

The bailiff can only seize goods which belong to the debtor. However, the bailiff can seize goods, which are jointly owned even if the other joint owner is not the debtor.

 

Goods which cannot be seized

The bailiff cannot seize the following:

 

- Goods which belong to another person

- Fixtures and fittings

- Goods on hire-purchase

- Goods which are rented

 

If the bailiff is collecting a County Court Judgement debt, Council Tax, or Community Charge the following goods cannot be seized:

 

"Such clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment or provisions as are necessary for satisfying the basic domestic needs of the debtor and his / her family."

 

"Such tools, books, vehicles, and other items of employment as are necessary to the debtor for use personally in their employment, business and vocation."

 

http://www.debthelpuk.co.uk/law/bailiffs_goodsseizure.htm

 

Hope this helps, there's lots on Google 'dealing with bailiffs'

 

Onwards and upwards

Elsinore


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The problem I see with regard to dealing with bailiffs is that there are few controls applied and traditionally, they have pursued the weaker elements of the population - people already beset with problems and lacking the wherewithall to challenge the legality of their actions.

That's until bailiffs started dealing with parking penalties of course, now they have a very different category of person to contend with. But anyway, back to the OP - short of an official receipt from wherever the items were purchased, I suspect a letter of assignment would be treated as having little significance by bailiffs intent upon levying distress. They have been too accustomed to rarely having their actions seriously challenged and then only by people upon whom the stigma of debt devalues the complaint.

 

Three years ago, in parliamentary written questions and answers, the following information was provided by the Solicitor General:

 

 

 

BAILIFFS

Malcolm Bruce: To ask the Parliamentary Secretary, Department for Constitutional Affairs how many complaints have been made in each year since 1997 concerning the conduct of bailiffs; how many complaints have been investigated; how many complaints have resulted in a prosecution; how many convictions there were concerning the conduct of bailiffs; and if he will publish a list of banned bailiffs. [136800]

 

 

Mr. Leslie [holding answer 6 November 2003]: My Department is responsible for county court bailiffs only. Any complaint involving a county court bailiff, unless of a serious nature, is dealt with by the county court that s/he is assigned to. There is no database kept on complaints against individual bailiffs.

There are Certificated Bailiffs who act in a private capacity. They are given their authority to do so for a period of two years, by their local county court judge, in accordance with the Distress for Rent Rules 1988. A complaint against a Certificated Bailiff is considered by a judge of the county court that granted the certificate.

 

17 Nov 2003 : Column 469W If the certificate is revoked the Department will be informed. The information will be recorded on the Register of Certificated Bailiffs that is kept centrally. The Register is open to public search through a central point of contact. No data is retained longer than three years. In 2001 two certificates were cancelled, in 2002, 13 were cancelled, and in 2003 to date 17 have been cancelled. Any prosecution would be taken by the member of the public affected by the action of a certificated bailiff. There is no data kept by the county court or the Department centrally.

 

To my mind this is a shocking lack of regulation - basically very limited or no records are kept of bailiffs who have been found to have abused their position - the numbers who have had their licenses taken away are laughably small and yet the CAB and other similar agencies are inundated with complaints of their excessive behaviour. I know they have a job to do and not all of them behave badly but the scope for rotten apples in the barrel is just way too high.

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I think this seems to suggest that 'anything' is fair game, no matter how sentimental.

 

Moving it out before hand is looking like the best option - although I suspect that knowingly doing so might be illegal / unlawful too.

 

But of course we're just talking hypotheticals, right? :D


..

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Opinions given herein are made informally by myself as a lay-person in good faith based on personal experience. For legal advice, you must always consult a registered and insured lawyer.

 

 

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The problem I see with regard to dealing with bailiffs is that there are few controls applied and traditionally, they have pursued the weaker elements of the population - people already beset with problems and lacking the wherewithall to challenge the legality of their actions.

.

To my mind this is a shocking lack of regulation - basically very limited or no records are kept of bailiffs who have been found to have abused their position - the numbers who have had their licenses taken away are laughably small and yet the CAB and other similar agencies are inundated with complaints of their excessive behaviour. I know they have a job to do and not all of them behave badly but the scope for rotten apples in the barrel is just way too high.

 

Yes, quite agree BotB. That's why I suggested Bailiffs and Sheriffs as a forum title. Thousands of us are being empowered by knowledge acquired on CAG/BAG. I would never have taken on my bank without the information, shared experience and confidence acquired here. Individually we were impotent, collectively we have become a force. The same principle applies to those under attack from bailiffs. CAG can be the database, CAG can be the 'regulatory body' vis-a-vis bailiffs, in the same way that BAG is seeing off the banks.

 

Elsinore


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I think this seems to suggest that 'anything' is fair game, no matter how sentimental.

 

Moving it out before hand is looking like the best option - although I suspect that knowingly doing so might be illegal / unlawful too.

 

But of course we're just talking hypotheticals, right? :D

Purely hypothetical in my case - watching the Bailiffs program on BBC earlier in the year made me wonder if there are ways of protecting your property - I think there is a gross unfairness in the way the system works. I realise that many people whose cases were shown only have themsleves to blame - didn't pay the fine when they should have done, and ending up paying far more than it would have cost.

 

But in a lot of cases when goods are seized they are auctioned off for the lowest bid and don't raise anywhere near what they are worth. A TV with a value of say £100 in one of these trade-in places (modern pawn shops) is seized and makes £10 at auction - where is the fairness in that? By the time these vultures add on their 'charges' the amount to be repaid can be many times the original debt so the goods don't really make a dent in it. The debtor will have to replace the removed goods at some time in the future for many times the amount that was was raised on the seized item, so they lose out again. Personally I think that the whole debt recovery system stinks - everything is weighted in favour of the big financial institutions and the man in the street is walked over, and crushed into the ground without anyone standing up him.

 

A similar thing happens when a company that is going bust carries on trading and taking money on orders knowing full well they can't supply the goods. The poor consumer ends up funding what is owed to the bank (who get the second slice of the pie after the taxman) by the business and gets nothing in return except maybe a few pence in the pound if they are lucky.

 

Rant over! :mad:

 

Cheers.


Jeep (The Wife & I)

Halifax joint a/c (£3800 charges + £40 interest on charges over 11 years) - paid in full 23/06/06

Halifax joint a/c new charges £1100 - LBA sent 02/08/06

Halifax 2nd a/c (£1500 charges + £150 interest on charges) - partial payment received 13/07/06 (no s69 interest) - AQ filed 07/08/06 - Court awarded 50% of s69 interest (Bank didn't turn up!)

Halifax Visa (#1) Data Protection Act sent - statements arrived - £350 so far

Halifax Visa (#2) Data Protection Act sent - refunded £170

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Sorry if this is seen as hijacking your thread, but I asked in another area and received no replies.

 

I had a call from some bailiffs the other week, but hid and pretended I wasn't in, though watched them through the window.

 

They dropped a card through the box and said they'd called and I now owed them £25 quid odd for the missed visit.

 

The guy then got back in his car, waited outside watching the house for 10 minutes, then returned to my front door.

 

I pretended I wasn't in again and he posted another card saying he'd made a second visit, and that's another £25!

 

OK, so the lesson learnt is not to ignore the bailiffs, but I'm hopping mad at the sneaky trick they employed to screw more money out of the system.

 

Anyone got any ideas about challenging this, given that I've got no documentary evidence of this apparent foul play?

 

Also - regarding possessions - as long as everyone in the house knows to say to any calling bailiffs that all items in the house belong to and were bought by other family members, with the only possessions owned by the debtor being their clothes and bedding, surely they can't take anything unless they can prove otherwise?

 

Doesn't work if you live on your own though! ;-)


"Be reasonable, demand the impossible"

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Anyone got any ideas about challenging this, given that I've got no documentary evidence of this apparent foul play?

 

Ask them for a breakdown of their charges. Better still, get a S7 request out so you can see what their records say about visits etc. Then ask them why they logged two visits on the same day within 10 minutes. If its not logged in their records on the same day, you still have the cards they left I hope? So ask why they have charged you for a visit that doesn't appear in their records. Who ever's idea it was to invent Section 7 DPA did more of a service for consumers than anyone ever imagined I'm sure. :)

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Thanks - that's really helpful BotB. Thought it'd end up being my word against theirs.

 

Where might I find info on this Section 7 thing? I've looked in the bank templates and tried a search. :-? Is it on this board? Or is it a letter I need to draft up myself?


"Be reasonable, demand the impossible"

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I think there's a letter template for bank charges.

 

I'd suggest a letter on these lines for your purposes:

 

 

RECORDED DELIVERY

The Data Controller

XYZ Ltd.

 

 

Dear Sir,

 

Re: Section 7 Data Protection Act 1998

Subject Access Request

 

Please provide me with all documentation held by your company whether electronically or on paper concerning myself.

 

Please find enclosed my cheque for £10.00 in respect of the fee payable for this request.

 

As you will be aware, there is a statutory time limit of 40 days to respond and I would therefore be obliged to hear from you within that period with all relevant documentation.

 

 

Yours faithfully,

 

 

You don't have to tell them why you want the documents and I would recommend you don't do so at this stage. Your next communication with them can deal with the specifics when you see what comes back. At the moment you need information to support your claim.

I would recommend sending the fee with your letter as it cuts out delay. £10 is the most you can be charged for providing you with the information they have on you. Send your letter by recorded delivery.

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Guest Mumofthreeboys

BotB you are a complete star!!!

 

I was just about to ask someone if they had such a letter when I spotted this thread. Thank you.

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Good thread this. I've been under pressure from bailiffs employed by the local council for quite some time, firstly for council tax arrears and now since they have taken over parking control, for unpaid parking fines.

 

The bailiffs concerned (Phoenix Commercial Collections) are breaking several rules, letters in unsealed envelopes, letters not in envelopes at all, charging for a callout when they didn't even bother to knock but just posted a letter through the door, not providing an itemised bill, not providing a list of their charges upon request, not responding to an official written complaint and request for information, and so on.

 

Here's the best one: Sending a letter stating that they will be round with the police and a locksmith to break into your home and take your goods. Intimidation and totally inaccurate. They can NOT break into your house unless you have previously signed a "walking possession" agreement. Unless you have previously let them into your house they cannot legally enter your house in your absence except via an open or unlocked window or door. That's why the first thing they say is, "Can I come in and discuss a repayment plan?" Once they are in they can legally enter again. The police will not attend unless there is a disturbance etc.

 

Oh, and they use a profit-making 0870 number as a contact number and a premium rate 090 fax number (their letterheads should state by law that it is a premium rate number but they don't mention it at all.)

 

Bunch of cowboys.


I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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Guest Mumofthreeboys

seylectric, send them the letter that BotB set out - I sent mine recorded this morning.

 

I'll keep you posted.

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To be honest I couldn't care less what info they hold on me, for me that's not the issue. My point is that the way they are pursuing these debts and the trauma and harrassment they cause is illegal, and far from paying them any money I would like to see them stopped and liable to pay some compensation for their actions.


I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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Guest Mumofthreeboys
To be honest I couldn't care less what info they hold on me, for me that's not the issue. My point is that the way they are pursuing these debts and the trauma and harrassment they cause is illegal, and far from paying them any money I would like to see them stopped and liable to pay some compensation for their actions.

 

I understand what you're saying, but if you sent the letter, they would have to supply you with the information they hold on you, thus proving they did indeed send letters, make phone calls, etc (or not as the case may be). If, then, they cannot explain their costs, you will be liable for compensation.

 

If more people complained maybe they wouldn't act like bully boys and be more likely to follow the letter of the law.

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Thanks, that's a very useful read indeed. Most bailiffs get away with the way they operate by frightening people into believing they have more powers than they actually have, or by simply lying (such as saying in their letters that they will be round with the police and a locksmith etc. when they have no right to do so).

 

They don't bother me in the slightest to be honest, I know they can't get in and there's little else they can do, but as stated above it's the way they operate I object to and the fact that they are causing me and my family distress by threatening to break in with the police is what I want to challenge, not the fact that they are not supplkiying information or overcharging me, that's why in this case BotB's letter is of no use to me personally.

 

I'm not interested in compensation for unfair costs (because they're not getting paid anyway so whether or not they have or will supply this information to me is irrelevant, I want compensation for the stress and harrassment caused due to the way they illegally operate, not for excessive costs.


I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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Purely hypothetical in my case - watching the Bailiffs program on BBC earlier in the year made me wonder if there are ways of protecting your property - I think there is a gross unfairness in the way the system works. I realise that many people whose cases were shown only have themsleves to blame - didn't pay the fine when they should have done, and ending up paying far more than it would have cost.

 

But in a lot of cases when goods are seized they are auctioned off for the lowest bid and don't raise anywhere near what they are worth. A TV with a value of say £100 in one of these trade-in places (modern pawn shops) is seized and makes £10 at auction - where is the fairness in that? By the time these vultures add on their 'charges' the amount to be repaid can be many times the original debt so the goods don't really make a dent in it. The debtor will have to replace the removed goods at some time in the future for many times the amount that was was raised on the seized item, so they lose out again. Personally I think that the whole debt recovery system stinks - everything is weighted in favour of the big financial institutions and the man in the street is walked over, and crushed into the ground without anyone standing up him.

 

A similar thing happens when a company that is going bust carries on trading and taking money on orders knowing full well they can't supply the goods. The poor consumer ends up funding what is owed to the bank (who get the second slice of the pie after the taxman) by the business and gets nothing in return except maybe a few pence in the pound if they are lucky.

 

Rant over! :mad:

 

Cheers.

 

 

Do you know tho that the Balfs have to give you information about the sale of your goods where the auction is to take place/date/etc etc.

 

I know a guy who actually went and got most of his gear back quite cheaply.

 

Problem is quite often theres still big money owing after they sell the stuff because more charges are added (storeage/removal etyc etc)

 

The level of charges is also extortionate up to 90.00 a throw to send a van round to your house.

 

In my local papers classifieds I see a van and driver advertising his services for 25 quid an hour..............obviously he is either selling himself short.........or has no desire to make another 65 quid at the expense of piling misery on some poor guy who cant afford his council tax....................


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Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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It's VERY easy to protect your property - just don't let them in and don't sign anything! Keep all doors locked always and all windows locked while you are out. They CAN NOT break in unless you have previously let them in (don't be fooled by them saying "Can I come in a minute" with a big smile on their face, or let them go to the loo or anything) - if you HAVE previously let them in then they ARE entitled to legally break in the next time.

 

Tell them your car is for business use and/or that you are self-employed (there's no way they can verify this) and they can't take that either. Give them a letter stating the same thing, and if you can get them to sign that they have received it and read it.

 

Stick to this and there is nothing, absolutely nothing, they can do (but read on). Just don't pay them! Do remember though if it's a fine from the police they can lock you up for non-payment (so just pay £1 a week). If it's regarding unpaid council tax you can in theory get locked up BUT only if you are refusing to pay, not for simple non payment. If it's a fine from the council for a parking fine (where these are council controlled) there's nothing they can do, just tell 'em to p off.


I only mouth my opinion, please look elsewhere for sensible advice! :)

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