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New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

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  • New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

    This post is not intended to be critical of any of the superb helpers on this site who spend their valuable time providing advice to debtors.

    Over the past few weeks I have noticed that many vulnerable debtors are advised to make complaints to their MP's, local Councillor, HMCTS Area Enforcement Managers (for court fines) or Local Government Ombudsman. With respect, in most cases, neither of these options is the right one.

    Fortunately, one of the 'good points' of the new Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 is the PROTECTION that is now given to "vulnerable" debtors (more on this in a moment).

    As most people on here will now know, the fee scale is much clearer in that debtors will be charged a 'Compliance Fee' of 75 and this is charged to the account when the local authority transfer the case to the enforcement agent. If the debtor has more than one Liability Order/court fine/or parking charge notice a fee of 75 is payable for EACH debt.

    The debtor is given "7 clear days" in which to make payment OR to contact the enforcement company to agree a payment proposal (a STICKY that I have written explains more on how the number of days is to be calculated). The 'period' of repayment depends entirely upon the agreement that the local authority has with their enforcement agent but 3-6 months (max) appears to be a 'common' timeframe.

    If the debtor fails to pay the debt as shown on the Notice of Enforcement or to 'engage' with the enforcement company then the case will be referred to an enforcement agent for the purpose of 'Taking Control of Goods" (previously levying upon goods). This visit will incur an "Enforcement Fee" of 235. An excellent inclusion in the new regulations is that where there is more than one Liability Order/court fine/parking charge notice etc the enforcement agent cannot charge 'multiple fees'

    Vulnerable debtors:

    At the time of the visit if evidence of 'vulnerability' is given to the enforcement agent then he is supposed to 'rewind' the account back to the Compliance Stage and the 'Enforcement fee' of 235 should be removed.

    If the debtor was not present at the time of the visit it is vitally important that they write to the enforcement company straight away to outline their 'vulnerability' and to provide 'evidence'. If the enforcement company are satisfied that 'vulnerability' has been demonstrated then the position is that the 'Enforcement fee' of 235 is removed and the case 'rewound' to the Compliance Stage.

    For the avoidance of doubt, the 'Compliance Fee' of 75 will not be removed.
    Tags: None

  • #2
    Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

    I could not agree more Milo. Some of these issues predate the new regulations and have long been an issue with advice given by a small number of people. The vulnerability issue is critical and only serves to demonstrate people MUST engage at the earliest opportunity directly with the enforcement company.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

      Originally posted by Wombats View Post
      I could not agree more Milo. Some of these issues predate the new regulations and have long been an issue. The vulnerability issue is critical and only serves to demonstrate people MUST engage at the earliest opportunity directly with the enforcement company.
      The problem that we have is that so many people now rely solely upon mobile phones for communication and sending letters is something that appears 'alien' to them. Letters (or emails) are so vitally important and provide a 'paper trail' which is once again important if there is a need to make a complaint at a later point.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

        Evidence of vulnerability must be provided at the first opportunity in future, and complaints only when and if the evidence provided is ignored then.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

          Indeed - we must not lose sight of this part as well, "debtors are advised to make complaints to their MP's, local Councillor, HMCTS Area Enforcement Managers (for court fines) or Local Government Ombudsman. With respect, in most cases, neither of these options is the right one."

          The problem here is following this advice can actually delay getting 'proper' help to debtors and thus exacerbate their position. We must stay grounded and realistic in terms of what help we can give.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

            Totally agree with the above. When Bailiffs become involved its getting serious the Debtor MUST communicate with them to avoid extra fees 75 is despite seeming to be high is reasonable any further fees can be avoided.
            Biggest problem arise when a stupid Bailiff tries to get a debtor to pay more than the can afford this must be addressed somehow. Anyone in debt must realise that when Courts or Balilffs become involved they must act quickly to either pay or appeal if its not their debt.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

              The problem is that certain civil enforcement companies - and we know who they are - set instalment amounts at levels they know very well the debtor cannot realistically afford and there needs to be checks and stops to nip this practice in the bud before it gets out of hand. The new regulations are nowhere near perfect and, in my honest opinion, the MoJ need their backsides kicked from one end of Petty France to the other, then back again for an encore for coming up with what I can only describe as a train crash waiting to happen. Also, some enforcement teams at magistrates courts either need retraining or better training or whoever is telling them to ignore debtors needs pointing in the direction of the nearest Jobcentre Plus office.

              The current Criminal Justice System needs reforming in that profit-driven civil enforcement companies need taking out of the equation altogether and directly-employed and publicly-accountable Civilian Enforcement Officers (aka Warrant Officers) entrusted with the collection of court fines. There also needs to be a massive crackdown on the issue of Liability Orders for alleged Council Tax arrears and collection of unpaid PCNs. CT arrears is an area that is too open to fraud and the use of distress seems to be a default option and not the last resort as it should be. We have all come across examples of the malpractice involved in the collection of unpaid PCNS.
              Life is a journey on which we all travel, sometimes together, but never alone.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                I do agree cases need to be complained about where things are going wrong, but the absolute priority has to be ensuring the person with the bailiffs after them doesn't have them coming into their home and taking their possessions to pay their fees and help protect people from having needless fees added by delaying communication with the bailiff. Get things on a level so the immediate threat has passed, THEN worry about complaining. Anyone in a vulnerable position should communicate with the bailiffs as soon as they know bailiffs are involved and should do so in writing.
                “We may not win by protesting, but if we don’t protest we will lose. If we stand up to them, there is always a chance we will win.” Hetty Bower

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                • #9
                  Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                  so something still not right if it is realised the defendant is venerable the 75 pounds sticks
                  Jokes
                  Best keep building them prisons

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                    Originally posted by Amethyst View Post
                    I do agree cases need to be complained about where things are going wrong, but the absolute priority has to be ensuring the person with the bailiffs after them doesn't have them coming into their home and taking their possessions to pay their fees and help protect people from having needless fees added by delaying communication with the bailiff. Get things on a level so the immediate threat has passed, THEN worry about complaining. Anyone in a vulnerable position should communicate with the bailiffs as soon as they know bailiffs are involved and should do so in writing.
                    Realistically, when you have a civil enforcement company that is known for trying to force debtors to pay unrealistically affordable instalments and the debtor is on JSA, plus court staff are being as unco-operative as possible, escalating to a higher level asap is sometimes the only way of resolving the matter.
                    Life is a journey on which we all travel, sometimes together, but never alone.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                      Originally posted by bluebottle View Post
                      Realistically, when you have a civil enforcement company that is known for trying to force debtors to pay unrealistically affordable instalments and the debtor is on JSA, plus court staff are being as unco-operative as possible, escalating to a higher level asap is sometimes the only way of resolving the matter.
                      That is undoubtedly true BB, but the 'sometimes' to which you refer are very rare. Even then it is important to approach higher authorities with a comprehensive knowledge of the debtors position and prior actions. I think Amethyst has summed it up extremely well in saying the priority is to deal with the immediate issue in the best and fastest way possible, then address other issues once the immediate stress has been relieved.

                      The stickies covering the introduction of The Taking Control of Goods Regulations stated in March that we would usually be advising people to engage with the enforcement companies at the earliest possible opportunity - that statement remains as true now as it was when written three months ago.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                        is that right Wombats I prefer to get to the point The bailiff's have no right of first time entry full stop so its a con law As far as common law concerned or people talking crap about big words of section part 5 of bullshit section 5 of the persons act

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                          Originally posted by Wombats View Post
                          That is undoubtedly true BB, but the 'sometimes' to which you refer are very rare. Even then it is important to approach higher authorities with a comprehensive knowledge of the debtors position and prior actions. I think Amethyst has summed it up extremely well in saying the priority is to deal with the immediate issue in the best and fastest way possible, then address other issues once the immediate stress has been relieved.

                          The stickies covering the introduction of The Taking Control of Goods Regulations stated in March that we would usually be advising people to engage with the enforcement companies at the earliest possible opportunity - that statement remains as true now as it was when written three months ago.
                          Whilst that may be true, Wombats, there are EAs who clearly seem to be under the impression they can carry on as they were before 6 April 2014. Collectica is one of the worst offenders. The behaviour displayed in the thread I believe Milo is hinting at is something they did last year and it took the intervention of an HMCTS Area Enforcement Team to stop a seriously-ill person and partner on JSA from being bullied into paying money Collectica knew they could not afford. Notwithstanding that Collectica lied to HMCTS the couple had agreed to the figure Collectica demanded. Only this evening, I have responded to a thread where it is glaringly obvious that a Further Steps Notice has been issued in error.

                          If a case is straightforward, then I agree with you 100%, Wombats, but if there are inconsistencies, errors and/or abuse of the legal process, the alleged debtor has a legal right to defend themselves against those inconsistencies, errors and abuses, not meekly hand over money they may not even owe to a hired thug who is a hangover from the 12th Century and has no place in 21st Century Great Britain.
                          Life is a journey on which we all travel, sometimes together, but never alone.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                            Originally posted by bluebottle View Post
                            Only this evening, I have responded to a thread where it is glaringly obvious that a Further Steps Notice has been issued in error.
                            I've missed that one, which was it? Sorry to go off topic for one post.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: New bailiff regulations and the position regarding "vulnerability"

                              Originally posted by russelldash View Post
                              is that right Wombats I prefer to get to the point The bailiff's have no right of first time entry full stop so its a con law As far as common law concerned or people talking crap about big words of section part 5 of bullshit section 5 of the persons act
                              Very eloquent. In answer to your question, yes, it is right. The FMOTL approach will only lead one way, and it is not a discussion I'm prepared to get involved in, there's plenty of sites where people who wish to follow that approach can go. :beagle:

                              Comment

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