Bailiffs: Make a Complaint About a Certified Bailiff

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Section 8 of the Distress for Rent Rules 1988 provides for a person to file a complaint at court against a certificated bailiff and challenge his fitness to continue work as a bailiff.

Complete a Form 4 complaint and return it to the bailiff’s certificating court. Don’t be hasty; make sure you have ducks in a row before shooting. Keep everything factual & short. Call 0207 210 0516 with the name of the bailiff to find the court name and address. Also read this article from LMAG

Grounds for making a complaint can include:

The Bailiff is untrustworthy

  • Collecting a debt that is larger than the debt originally claimed by the creditor

The bailiff defrauded you

  • He over-charged you in fees committing an offence under Section 2(1)(b)(i) and Section 4(1)(c)(i) of the Fraud Act 2006
  • Charged a fee that is not prescribed in law – e.g. a credit or debit card fee or a van fee etc
  • Charged a fee contradicting Section 10 of the Distress for Rent Rules 1988
  • Charged you a walking possessions fee without you signing it
  • Tricked you to sign a walking possessions agreement pretending the document was something else – e.g. a receipt, or payment confirmation.
  • Getting you to sign a walking possession agreement before telling you what the fee will be
  • Charged you attending to remove fee on his 1st visit
  • Seized goods valued disproportionately higher than the debt
  • Sold your goods at a disproportionately lower price than you would have otherwise attained at auction (e.g. on eBay)
  • He has charged you fees for previous visits while you were out and says you have to prove those visits were not made
  • He has charged you fees for visits or posting letters that contradict Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 e.g. by sending them to a different address.
  • He enforced or tried to enforce the same debt twice
  • He enforced or tried to enforce a null-debt (paid up debt), or debt comprising entirely of bailiffs fees.

The bailiff is dishonest or of unfit character

  • He was aggressive, rude, threatening or intimidating
  • Pretended to be an officer of the court
  • Impersonated a solicitor or police officer

You sustained an injury by the bailiff (Contact a solicitor and make a separate claim under the Personal Injury Protocol )

  • Lied about the extent of his authority
  • Damaged your goods, car or property (Reclaim these from the authority that instructed the bailiff via the small claims track)

The bailiff committed extortion or blackmail

  • He said you will pay a higher sum of money unless to pay him a lower sum of money according to a deadline

The bailiff levied incorrectly

  • Seized goods that are not yours, e.g. belonging to a room mate, finance company, landlord, friend, relative, employee, client or neighbour
  • Goods you require for domestic basic needs, e.g. fridge, cooker, clothes, bed, chair, medical equipment
  • Non-movable goods e.g. a TV or painting bolted to a wall, or item needing a tool to remove (not vehicles requiring a tow truck)
  • Intellectual property or item covered under The Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or a computer containing the aforementioned
  • Tools of your trade, including a van, taxi or minicab (not criminal debts, fines, CSA, HMRC etc)
  • Goods subject to a hire purchase agreement

The bailiff did not adhere to the law

  • Threatened to break into your home or get a locksmith without a valid levy
  • Called at night
  • Entered your home by applying force against you, a door or window
  • You have a disability, ill, or heavily pregnant
  • Refused to show proof of authority, name of certificating Court or proof of debt (Contact police on 9999 and report a burglary in progress)
  • You (If you’re an Attorney – your donor) do not have mental capacity
  • You have filed an appeal or a statutory declaration against the debt
  • He seized a computer or laptop and didn’t allow you to recover data stored on it (you should immediately contact a solicitor specialising in Intellectual Property)

The following are not sufficient to make a complaint on their own, only to supplement a complaint.

The bailiff was unreasonable

  • He called at an hour when most people are normally asleep
  • Climbed through a window
  • Climbed over a gate or fence
  • Used ladders, climbed a fire escape, emergency exit or other external structure not normally used as an entrance
  • Refused to give a fee breakdown until after you have paid them
  • He set a deadline for you to pay that’s disproportionately short compared to your ability to pay

The Court will give the bailiff 14 days to answer your complaint.

If the bailiff fails to respond he will be summonsed, but you don’t need to attend.

The Court can:

1. Order the bailiff to pay you compensation from his bailiff bond. This is a monetary deposit or a policy similar to liability insurance.

2. Revoke the bailiff’s certificate

3. Dismiss the complaint

Don’t bother complaining to trade associations and quasi-regulators such a NALEO ACEA CSA ESA and BPA they are private companies and have no legal authority. Their codes of practice are voluntary.

If you are claiming financial losses, expenses or fraudulent fees by a bailiff who acted unreasonably or unlawfully, always file the claim against the authority that instructed the bailiff, NEVER the bailiff or his firm. If you have already executed chargeback you may be refunded twice ;-)

With Thanks to 10110001

See also: Bailiffs: Complaint about Certified Bailiff