Ashfield Citizens Advice has seen an increase in clients seeking guidance on what bailiff companies can and can’t do.
In a recent case Tina from Sutton in Ashfield, who has multiple long term health problems, was being pursued for non-payment of a TV licence by collection agents Collectica, the warrant officer threatened to seize their family pedigree dog as a means of payment and said he would come back with a locksmith to access their home if they didn’t pay the full amount by the end of the week!
Kathryn Stacey CEO at Ashfield Citizens Advice said ‘Clearly the client was very upset and contacted us for help. Tina’s mind was put at rest as to what can and cannot be taken by a bailiff (dogs and family pets are not assets and cannot be taken). Tina was also advised on what action to take for the best possible outcome in her case.
There was a clear breach of the guidelines from the collection agency and the client is well within her rights to lodge a formal complaint with the creditor, in this case TV Licensing. We’d encourage anyone who’s being pursued by a bailiff to seek advice as quickly as possible and not to ignore any correspondence from a debt collection agency.’
Nationally Citizens Advice helped people resolve 98,000 bailiff issues in 2017/18. This number has grown by more than 25% since 2014, despite reforms which sought to ‘stamp out bad practice’ in the bailiff industry in that year.
Gillian Guy CEO of Citizens Advice says ‘the piecemeal reforms of 2014 have failed; we frequently see blatant violations of the rules, such as bailiff refusing offers of payment and entering people’s homes unlawfully’
The Ministry of Justice will be looking at the industry later this year; Citizens Advice will be calling for
- An independent bailiff regulator to ensure bailiffs get proper training and to monitor individual and systemic bad practice.
- A free and independent complaints process.
If anyone has problems with bailiffs call our debt team on 01623 784385 or please refer to the information on the Citizens Advice Website;