Bailiffs must leave you a copy of:
The law setting out their powers and what they can and cannot do. These are the 'Enforcement Regulations'.
The charges the bailiffs are allowed to make for each visit. You should check they have not added too much on to your debt.
Any agreement you have actually signed. This will be called a 'Walking Possession Agreement' and includes a list of goods the bailiffs have warned you they may take
What Legal Authority Must A Bailiff Have?
A bailiff must be legally authorised to collect the debt on behalf of the creditor. The authority is normally known as a 'warrant' or 'warrant of execution' if the bailiff is recovering money owed under a county court judgment. Bailiffs used by the magistrates' court to collect unpaid council tax, outstanding fines, compensation or unpaid maintenance will be acting on either a 'distress warrant' or a 'liability order' issued by the magistrates' court.
If you are in arrears, creditors will sometimes send representatives to your home to try and negotiate repayments with you. These people might be called 'Counsellors', 'Collectors' or 'Advisors'. They do not have powers to enter your home and seize your goods!
Fees Charged By Bailiffs
County Court Bailiffs: the fees charged by the county courts for using the bailiffs will be added to the amount owed. Any additional costs for removing and selling goods will be added to the amount you owe.
Enforcement Officers: are entitled to charge fees and add them to the money you owe.
Certificated and Non-Certificated Bailiffs: are entitled to charge fees and add them to the money you owe.
Certificated Bailiffs: collecting council tax, community charge, distress for rent, road traffic debts and non-domestic rates, should leave a copy of the fee scales that they can charge with you when they visit your premises.
Bailiffs and enforcement officers are not allowed to charge you more than the amounts stated for that piece of work in the scale of fees.
There is no statutory scale of fees for bailiffs enforcing magistrates' courts fines. You can contact the magistrates' court direct to ask if they have an agreed scale of fees that bailiffs can charge.
How Do I Complain About The Debt?
If you think that you do not owe all or part of the money, you need to contact the organisation who is claiming the money from you e.g. your local council, Child Support Agency or the magistrates' court. The organisation concerned has told the bailiff or Enforcement Officer that you owe this money, and it is not up to the bailiff or Enforcement Officer to decide that you do not. You should make sure that you have the relevant account number or reference number to hand when you contact them.
How Do I Complain About The Fees I Have Been Charged?
If you think that the fees charged by the Enforcement Officers are too high, you can apply to the High Court for a detailed assessment of the fees. This means that the court will decide if the fees you have been charged are reasonable or not.
If you think that the fees charged by a certificated or non-certificated bailiff are too high, you can apply to the county court for a detailed assessment of the fees. This means that a district judge will decide if the fees you have been charged are reasonable or not. Detailed assessment applies where the fees scale does not set a fixed amount to be charged.
You will need to pay an application fee to have the bailiff's fees assessed. But you may not have to pay the fee - you may be entitled to fee exemption or remission. You can get details of this and what to do if you cannot pay all or part of the fee from any county court office. Detailed assessment does not apply to magistrates' courts' bailiff fees.