Aggressive behaviour from bailiffs remain a concern

Following on from our post on social media, bailiffs and their conduct is still very prevalent in the news and a real issue for the communities we advise in Buckingham, Winslow, and the surrounding rural areas. Whilst this isn’t the cheeriest of subjects – this is an issue faced by many people in the Buckingham area.

Concerns are continuing over bailiffs using aggressive behaviour to pursue debts despite a legal crackdown, a Ministry of Justice report has found. Bailiffs are often used by creditors, on the authority of the courts, to seize property if people with debts fail to pay what they owe. More often than not the majority of this is for unpaid council tax, which accounted for 60% of cases sent to bailiffs by local authorities in 2016-2017.

Quite often, individuals we help have been scared by either the prospect of bailiffs coming to their home or when bailiffs have actually visited their home. This can be an extremely stressful experience, but you do have rights and you shouldn’t feel bullied. You don’t have to let bailiffs into your home and you can talk to them outside, speaking through the door or over the phone. This is usually the best solution if you have children or are feeling vulnerable. Be aware that they are allowed to come through unlocked doors so making sure that windows and doors are locked is essential.

There are a few extra rules that bailiffs should follow if you feel you are vulnerable. People who fall into the following categories are considered as vulnerable:

  • Disabled or seriously ill
  • Have mental health problems
  • Have children or are pregnant
  • Are under 18 or over 65
  • Don’t speak or read English well
  • Are in a stressful situation like recent bereavement or unemployment

The Citizens Advice suggest you should always get proof of who is at your door and why they are visiting, and they should be forthcoming with an ID badge, card or ‘enforcement agent certificate’. They will pass any documents through the door to you, so you should feel safe. Tell them to leave if they can’t prove who they are. Say you’ll report them to the police if they don’t go. If they won’t leave you should call 999.

This can be a scary time so for more information about what to do you can follow these links:

https://goo.gl/QQ3xny

http://certificatedbailiffs.justice.gov.uk/

https://bacab.org.uk/

https://goo.gl/yuBqvz

Jane Mordue

Jane Mordue

Chair of BACAB. She has had many roles, as former Chair of our CAB, then vice chair of the national Citizens Advice.

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About BACAB

The Buckingham Area Community Advice Bureau “BACAB” Foundation is an independent registered charity set up to ensure that the Citizens’ Advice in Buckingham, Winslow and the surrounding area is sufficiently funded to provide its core service to the local community.

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