Chargeback requests for bailiff fees.
If you have made a payment to a bailiff/enforcement agent and are considering making a chargeback request to your bank or credit card provider in respect of bailiff fees, then please read here first. From the many inquiries that we receive on this subject, debtors are encouraged to consider a ‘chargeback’ following misleading information on various internet sites to ‘pay and reclaim’.
What is a Chargeback?
A Chargeback allows you to ask your card provider to reverse a transaction if there is a problem with something you’ve bought on your credit or debit card (for example: if goods have not arrived at all, goods are damaged, the goods are different from the description, or where the merchant has ceased trading).
Why are ‘chargeback’ requests recommended?
Commonly, ‘chargeback’ applications appear to be for the purpose of reclaiming ‘disputed’ bailiff fees.
What ‘advice’ is being given to debtors?
As an example, the Dealing with Bailiffs website encourages debtors to Pay and Reclaim and alarmingly, advise the debtor that when completing a ‘chargeback’ application form, that they should not reveal to the card provider that the payment had been made to a bailiff company and instead, should claim that ‘undue pressure’ had been made upon them to ‘obtain a money transfer’. Worse still, the website advises that the debtors chances of getting a ‘rapid chargeback’ to a ‘near certainty’ will be strengthened if they enclose a sworn statement of truth that the transaction had been made ‘under duress’.
What is the effect on the warrant of control if a ‘chargeback’/reversal has been made?
In the unlikely event that payment is reversed/refunded by the credit/debit card provider or bank, the transaction will be treated in exactly the same way as if payment had been made by cheque and had been dishonored by the bank. The warrant of control would not have been satisfied and accordingly, would not ‘cease’ to have effect. The debt (and bailiff fees) would still be owing and the bailiff would be legally entitled to recommence enforcing the warrant. Sadly when this happens (which is very often) it is always the case that a bailiff will refuse to accept a payment proposal and instead, will insist that the entire amount (including bailiff fees) be paid in cash. Payment by debit or credit card will be refused.
Making a false allegation on a credit card chargeback form.
Debtors lying on credit card chargeback application forms are unwittingly committing fraud themselves and could be prosecuted.
It needs to be made clear that in requesting a reversal/chargeback from the bank (or card provider) that the amount requested is not just for the amount of the bailiff fees…but includes the amount of the debt to either the local authority or Magistrate Court (in the case of a court fine).
If an individual considers that a bailiff has committed ‘fraud’ then this is a matter for the police to investigate and certainly not for the debtor to take matters into their own hands !!
Note from Bailiff Advice Online
The fees that a bailiff can charge are clearly provided in legislation and full details can be read here. If you consider that you have been overcharged then it is vitally important that you contact the enforcement company for an explanation of the charges.