Calls for harsher penalties for rogue bailiffs
It can be tough enough getting back on your feet from being in debt, especially if you’re currently on payment plans to repay bills such as unpaid council tax, for instance.
Sadly, statistics show that one of the first avenues that councils across the UK are turning to when debts arise is commissioning bailiffs to recover the debt. For many it can be an extreme initial solution – especially if the bailiff is unprofessional, uncooperative and aggressive.
So many, naturally and understandably, are scared when bailiffs come knocking at their door. Statistics are also showing how bailiffs are having a poor effect on people’s mental health, such are the overzealous tactics some of them can use despite strict regulations.
Mental anguish aren’t the only problems bailiffs can cause, though. Amazingly, some rogue ones put their fees on top of the original debt, adding to people’s financial woes and crippling them in whole new ways.
That practice has led to Plaistow based non-profit organisation Money A+E to call for harsher penalties for bailiffs who increase the financial burden of people’s original debts.
Co-founder Gregory Ashby outlines the difficulties. “From our experience, there is still much improvement needed in debt recovery practices. It is often extremely difficult for residents to get bailiffs to agree to affordable repayment schemes. This leads to the original debt accruing additional fees and becoming unrepayable.”
Mr. Ashby, for instance, mentions examples such as a £40 parking fine which could potentially reach as high as £600 thanks to additional charges by rogue bailiffs. They will, he claims, use aggressive and intimidating behaviour to enforce such a debt.
He says that his Money A+E charity offers advice to numerous people who have such problems, including people charged for home visits that simply have never occurred.
“There needs to be stiffer consequences for bailiff firms when they act inappropriately,” he says. Hopefully his advice is listened to, and rogue bailiffs who are adding to people’s original debts get a much stronger slap on the wrist from the powers that be.
Until then though, you may not realise that you actually already have a strong set of rights should a bailiff come knocking at your door. Did you know, for instance, that bailiffs are not allowed to enter a property by force and can’t enter between the hours of 9pm – 6am?
If you’re feeling the force from a rogue bailiff, you don’t have to sit back and take it. You have rights – contact Get Bailiff Advice now, free of charge, and we’ll help you to become debt-free.