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bailiffs should have powers to add extortionate”costs” removed and should be subject to strict regulation.

Comment 21st July 2010

Bailiffs are currently allowed powers which turn them into legalised extortionists and blackmailers.  My own experience nearly broke up my family as I could no longer cope with the fear they caused and was going to remove my children and go abroad.  Luckily a sympathetic council worker eventually arrange for a full refund from the bailiffs and stopped the harrassment, but it seems that they are a law unto themselves.  As briefly as possible, the story is this:

My susband unwittingly entered a bus lane in the wrong time slot because the clocks had changed and we hadn't altered our car clock.  He planned to sort this out without telling me, but put it off.

I knew nothing of this until a letter from a bailif company arrived, charging us an increased fine plus some huge costs of their own for having visited while we were out.

My husband tried to pay this – we got the letter on Friday evening after work – but they were shut over the weekend.  He paid on Monday morning. 

The folowing day we received another letter with additional costs because we had not paid within 24 hrs ( note, they'd been shut)  and further costs for yet another apparent visit while we were out.  He also paid this.

We received yet another letter with the same ploy.  And another.  And another.  By now we had stopped paying.  We discovered there is a rate they are supposed to charge per visit and per letter – something like £12. 00, per letter and maybe £30.00 per visit.  We were being charged about £180.00 per letter and visit on top of the original fine – long since paid.  By now our bill was nearly £1000.

We had discovered an online Bailiff Watch advice forum, which advised us regarding these costs – but the Bailiff companies keep getting this closed down.  That is sinister in itself.

The police said it was a civil matter.  By now I was hiding in the house with the lights off, and had warned the neighbours that I might need sanctuary if bailiffs tried to enter my house with me if I was walking from my car to the house, on the odd occasion I had to leave the house.  The breaking point was when my eight year old son refused to leave the house to celebrate his birthday, in case the bailiffs came round and took his presents.  At this point even the lady from Barnet Council saw red and arranged the full refund for us,  and told us she was going to move to work in another department as she couldn't do this job against her conscience any more.

These Bailiff Companies are legalised thugs and blackmailers.  Councils should not be allowed to employ them.  They are allowed act with apparent impunity.

Why does this matter?

Bailiffs are legalised criminals.  Ordinary people who inadvertantly get stuck on a cross hatch, or similar, can now find themselves at the mercy of these thugs, and the law will not help them.  They added their own arbitrary costs, and the more we paid the more they demanded.

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