Payment arrangements with bailiffs
In order to avoid a bailiff visit (and incurring an enforcement fee of £235), a payment proposal must be agreed within the time frame outlined on the Notice of Enforcement . You must be given a minimum of seven ‘clear days’ notice before a visit can be made to your property. This period of time is referred to as the ‘Compliance stage’. From our experience, most companies will accept a payment proposal over a period of 3 months and in some cases, even 6 months. You will be expected to make the first instalment at the time of setting up the payment arrangement.
How to set up a payment arrangement with a bailiff company.
A payment proposal should be set up over the telephone as soon as you receive the Notice of Enforcement. Any ‘vulnerability’ should be brought to the attention of the bailiff company at this stage. When setting up a payment arrangement, you should make clear the date on which payments will be made (ie: 31st of each month etc). If the payment date falls on a bank holiday (or a Sunday) you must ensure that your payment is made in cleared funds before the due date. Failure to do so, will lead to the payment arrangement defaulting.
Defaulting on a payment arrangement.
If payment is not made in cleared funds by the agreed payment date, the agreement will normally be terminated. If this happens, the account will be passed to an individual bailiff. He will make a personal visit to your property for the purpose of taking control of your goods. When he attends, the debt owed will increase to include the enforcement fee of £235. The fees that can be charged are outlined on this page.
Can I make payment direct to the local authority or Magistrates Court?
Once a Notice of Enforcement is issued, bailiff fees incurred up to the date of payment form part of the debt. From all payments made (whether to the council, court or enforcement company), the Compliance fee of £75 must be deducted first. The difficulties that you will face by paying the council (or magistrates court) direct are outlined on this page.
If the debt being enforced is a criminal court fine, then in all cases, the court will transfer your payment to the relevant enforcement company (Marston Group, Collectica Ltd, Swift Credit Services or Excel Enforcement).
Can I make a payment arrangement with the bailiff when he attends my property?
Yes you can but in reality, it is much more difficult. If there is a vehicle on the driveway, it would be the preferred item to take control of. In many cases, the enforcement agent would insist on a Controlled Goods Agreement being set up. This would involve the bailiff coming into your home and making a inventory of goods. You would be allowed to continue using the items. However, if you default on the payment arrangement, the enforcement agent can take steps to remove the goods listed for sale. Therefore, wherever possible, a payment proposal should be made during the ‘compliance stage’ outlined in the Notice of Enforcement.
Commentary from Bailiff Advice Online
If you have a debt that is being enforced by bailiffs and are experiencing difficulty in getting a payment arrangement accepted with the bailiff company, please feel free to contact us. You can email a question to us using our online Enquiry Form. Alternatively, can contact our helpline. Details are on our Contact page.
Lastly, our Simplified Guide to the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 can be read here.