Bailiffs have been found to be using too many intimidation tactics against debtors according to a financial ombudsman report last year. Citizens' Advice has spoken out about possible further regulation.

In November; we agreed household debt could be better served away from bailiff action. Focusing on the issue of mental health, we wanted to look for more empathy to be deployed in debt collection.

The Financial Ombudsman reported that numerous bailiffs broke rules and pressured people. Threats of seizure of goods are far too common, despite being a last resort. It is also argued that bailiffs themselves should be a last resort. As debt collectors, we often have to remind clients “we are not bailiffs”. We attempt to resolve debts before court action and before costs heavily affect both sides.

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Steps “can be taken to address problems”

In a press release from Citizens’ Advice, Chief Exec Gillian guy addressed the results. “While concerning, these figures show the steps that can be taken to address problems in a regulated sector.”

“The Ministry of Justice have the evidence in front of them to establish a bailiff regulator. It now needs to follow through. An independent complaints process must be introduced, like in the financial services sector. This is so bailiff complaints can be reviewed independent of the industry.”

As a service similar to bailiffs, our own reputations are affected by perceptions of bailiffs. Despite explaining that we are not the same entity, many people will see debt collectors as bailiffs. Depending on the complexity of a case, in some cases we will instruct bailiffs on a debt. Because of this close bond, we would like to see an effort to improve public perception of bailiffs.

AYOM can do what it can to improve our reputation. We have a number of excellent reviews from both those who owe and are owed money. The company adheres to FCA and voluntary codes like the CSA-UK. We also operate with our 3 core values in mind:

  • Integrity
  • Commitment
  • Empathy

With all this however, our partners further down the legal track must also do their bit. We wrote about debt and mental health in October, speaking of our role towards dealing with those in debt. It is a fine balance of looking after the client but also ensuring the person owing is treated fairly. With debts bailiffs often face like tax and bills, this is especially important. Those in debt could have reasons that have seen them reach that position, and so care must be taken.

For anybody negatively affected by court bailiffs, there are complaints procedures available. The press release admits a lack of a clear procedure has made it difficult. It calls for a clearer path if bailiffs have overstepped the mark.

Warning: contains strong language

Should I get a bailiff involved?

If you are looking for a debt to be collected; looking pre legally could be a simple solution. Debt collectors use time tested methods to resolve debts quickly. We attempt to recover debts without the need for drawn out court cases. It is an efficient credit control method and in many B2B cases, can maintain a good relationship.

AYOM employs a legal team to review cases to provide opinions on the chances of recovery. We can tell you how confident we are and if the debt can be collected pre legally. Even if the case does require CCJ or High Court involvement, bailiffs may not be required to resolve the case.

If you’d like advice on collecting a debt pre legally, please get in touch. We are available on 0800 130 3357 and by email at Enquire today about collecting your debt long before a bailiff is needed.

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