StepChange Debt Charity response to new rules on bailiffs
25 January, 2013
StepChange Debt Charity is concerned that government measures on bailiffs announced today (January 25) by the Ministry of Justice do not go far enough to protect people from aggressive enforcement practices.
The charity is particularly concerned that the measures do not provide for an effective complaints procedure, a straightforward way of stopping action by enforcement agents or effective oversight of bailiff conduct. StepChange Debt Charity recommends:
- Independent regulation to ensure proactive monitoring of bailiff conduct and control of unfair practices
- An independent dispute resolution process to make sure complaints about bailiffs are fairly heard
- A clear way to stop unnecessary bailiff action for someone making every effort to pay off their debts
Commenting on the new measures, Delroy Corinaldi, StepChange Debt Charity external affairs director, said:
“Financially vulnerable debtors will continue to face unnecessary hardship and undue stress if there is not independent oversight of bailiffs.
“Without a clear standard on affordable repayments and independent oversight of firms, the new fee structure may in fact add to the problems some of our clients face.
“Evidence from our clients suggests debtors encounter aggressive bailiff behaviour with some regularity. The most frequent problems include incorrect or illegal levies, threatening behaviour, refusing to consider reasonable repayment offers and misrepresentation of legal powers to enter someone’s home.
“It is therefore crucial that robust measures are introduced to give struggling debtors the protection they need.”