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Bailiff put a note through the door - they were collecting council tax. I rang the bailiff. They told me they were 'High Court Bailiffs'. I have since found out they were not and Council Tax is not collected by HCEOs. The bailiff lied to me in order to make me think they had extra powers / to intimidate me.

Hull North

I ignored a solicitors letter asking me to repay overpaid wages and so the debt was passed to bailiffs. I live at home with my parents and have depression and am unemployed. Although a debt charity wrote to the bailiffs with offers of repayment stressing that I had no assets and no real money to make large repayments they continued to visit my parents house and continued to serve notices, so my enforcement fees kept on increasing.

Chesham and Amersham

no notice of 7am visit I was in my nightie old and vulnerable with health problems.foot in the door and refused to leave.grabbed my wrists and threw me to the floor suffered bruising and head injury. made my son pay by means of threats.they said it was a peaceful entry which is laughable. I now have to take anti depressants.they laughed at me on the floor and said they thought I should be put down like a f****** dog.please stop these thugs.

Isle of Wight

Bailiffs visited father of debtor, an 80 yr old man with heart issues. Debtor had used address in past but never lived there. Told the father they would take his car and dog. Scared father paid off the debt. Bailiff had turned off camera so no recording of incident. Complaint to bailiffs, who did not find in favour of father even though say they always find in favour of complainant when camera turned off. Got nowhere with CIVEA either - just backed up bailiffs.


I work for Citizens Advice in Sheffield. I have completed a Debt Relief Order for a client and she informs me that a Enforcement Agent is attempting to enforce a parking charge (Local Authority - authorised by Traffic Enforcement Centre). I telephoned EA and told him that client was in a DRO and he should be leaving her alone. "What's a DRO?" he asked. If he doesn't know then he should speak to his own manager. After him calling me rude - he then tells me he does know what a DRO is. "If you know what a DRO is then why ask me?" I state. He tells me that he can enforce the debt. I say he is categorically wrong - he can't. So now I have the issue of waiting for him to act and then raising a complaint. Silly games - silly conversation - and a waste of time and effort for all involved because he doesn't know the law.

Sheffield Central

I was visited by a high court sheriff about a debt I didn't know I owed .They wanted paying in full or they will put our house on an online auction and it will be sold within hours and we would be made homeless.

Coventry North East

My partner rang me as HCEO were at my door. He let them in and rang and told me to hurry home. I had all 6 of my children in the car with me and they were all quite confused and worried when they walked in the door. I put all the children in the front room. I was quite hysterical.They informed me what it was for they had listed my partners car on inventory then we told them that it was his car. They then explained that we needed some more proof as we couldnt find v5 or receipt at the time so they listed it. I had tried family members to get money but no luck. I signed the writ of control understanding that they could take belongings if money wasnt raised feeling i had no option. Evidence was found and i called and told them they lied and said that we never told them it was my partners car and were ver rude and aggressive with their manner. I offered installment payments again over the phone but was not accepted so will be going to court.

Cambridgeshire North East

I was contacted re my complaint to police about my bad experience with a bailiff, by phone. This was the police response to my complaints: Whatever type of warrant the bailiff has, they are allowed to put their foot in the door and forcibly push their way into the house, otherwise no one would let them in. The bailiff is allowed to go after the parents of the debtor for goods, money, if the warrant is for their address, this is because the person owing money probably has nothing and could not pay, and the bailiff has to be paid. Bailiffs can charge any thing they want even if it is a large amount over what is set down by law, The police will only investigate if the company that hired the bailiff presses charges against the bailiff to the police. I don't think this is fair. This is like my son commits a crime, and because the police cannot find him I am put in jail in his place. I am afraid all the time now and do not feel safe in my home ,and constantly worried I will come home to my things taken away by bailiffs.


A bailiff was recovering a council tax debt from a man with physical disabilities which prevent him from working. He is an EU citizen and is not confident speaking English. He called the bailiff on the mobile number he was given and was told that if he did not allow the bailiff into his house, the police would help the bailiff break in and the man could be arrested. After the advice agency explained the correct legal position, the man explained that he felt the bailiff was taking advantage of his difficulty communicating in English,

Bradford West

A bailiff came to my home to recover a fine for my son. I rang him to tell him that my son did not live at my address and had left 18months ago. I then got a barrage of abuse from him and told it didn't matter that he had left he would force entry and take my goods unless I could prove that the goods belong to me. A very nasty person and very intimidating. Bailiff should have to give a people their legal rights by law, just in the same way police give people in custody their legal rights in a booklet

Bury North

I was visited by a bailiff a heated argument ensued because they seized my car even though it was on finance. The police eventually attended and the bailiff told them I had assaulted them (which I hadn't ) I was then offered a deal by the police that if I paid them the bailiff they would not make a complaint of assault, I refused to be blackmailed and was subsequently arrested, however, I was released two hours later with no charge because the bailiff didn't want the hassle of going to court. When I returned home my wife was very upset because she had given all our rent and food money over to the bailiff because she had been told by a "POLICE CONSTABLE" that I would be charged with a criminal offence and kept in custody all day if she didn't pay the bailiff. I'm disgusted with the police for taking on face value the word of a bailiff who lied to me about their powers and lied to the police just to get what they wanted.

Bury North

I was visited by bailiffs at 7:30am on the 11/01/19. I live in a flat but somehow they gained entrance to the communal area. I ignored their repeated bangings at my door and even them shouting my name in the communal corridor (my friends and neighbours could clearly hear them) They eventually left, however, I found a note under my door stating that the had clamped my car. On the note, they left a number was published for a debt charity which I called, I explained my problem to them, The charity advised me that the bailiff could not seize my car as it is on HP agreement, as I was talking to the advisor the bailiffs returned, I told the (through the door) whilst the advisor was still on the phone that my car was on finance and what I had been told. Their reply was the advisor didn't know what she was talking about has the legalisation had changed and that they intend to take my car. The situation escalated. I haven't got enough space to continue. 

Bury North

We received a hand delivered letter through our door addressed to a person who does not live in our property advising of a Bailiff visit and threatening a second. We contacted them and they said that the only way we could prove that the individual didn't live there would be to allow a Bailiff to visit and show our mortgage deeds and Council Tax Bill. We argued that similar information was available publicly and should not necessitate us having to do anything, particularly when that would involve the stress of being subject to a visit from a Bailiff. Why should innocent parties be expected to share their personal data in order to convince a bailiff firm that the data they hold, about another party, is inaccurate? It seems like an unnecessary processing of personal data, particularly when it only proves who pays the mortgage and CT and not who lives there. We eventually managed to convince them without a visit, but only after submitting a complaint, I fear that more vulnerable people would be less lucky.

Lewisham East

Bailiff complaint to the police I was contacted re my complaint to police about my bad experience with a bailiff, by phone. This was the police response to my complaints: Whatever type of warrant the bailiff has, they are allowed to put their foot in the door and forcibly push their way into the house, otherwise no one would let them in. The bailiff is allowed to go after the parents of the debtor for goods, money, if the warrant is for their address, this is because the person owing money probably has nothing and could not pay, and the bailiff has to be paid. Bailiffs can charge any thing they want even if it is a large amount over what is set down by law, The police will only investigate if the company that hired the bailiff presses charges against the bailiff to the police. I don't think this is fair and just and I am shocked by how I have been treated.


The bailiff would have taken every thing, including my mobile phone, all access to internet would have been taken away, surely internet access is a necessity in this day and age, with councils trying to make sure even the poorest have access in their homes, and with the need to daily fill journals for universal credit, resulting in years of sanctions if not completed .


I understand you are investigating bailiffs, I would like to add my plight to your investigations and my thoughts as a completely innocent upstanding human being. I have included my complaints which I have sent to various bodies, to better let you understand what has happened, and I am still waiting to hear back from them. Parents who are housing their grown up children should be protected from bailiffs they should not have to have a receipt for every item in their home, my word should have been enough . When a notice of enforcement is sent out it, there should also be a copy sent out to the home owner, tenancy holder, bill payer of the address, it is very wrong that the first I know of a bailiff coming is being woken up early in the morning to find a bailiff ransacking my private belongings with the blessing of the police. Below is my complaint to various bodies: I am 60 years old I have suffered from mental health problems most of my life I have long term physical illness I work 24 hours per week as assistant manager at St Catherine's Hospice warehouse I have no criminal record not even a parking fine I do not owe even a penny to any one My council house and all the bills are in my name I have lived in this house 40 years As is the case for mental illness I buy too much and it builds up leaving small paths to cupboards The chaotic mess in my home is not normal for a healthy person My son's friend answered the door to the bailiff, the bailiff immediately put his foot in the door, he said your not coming in, the bailiff said yes I am and forcibly pushed the door into his face, this is on video with sound recording, I understand it is also recorded by the bailiff . On Thursday the 6th of December at between 7.30 and 8.30 I was woken from my bed by my son, to find the police and a Bailiff who was ransacking my living room, I had no idea a bailiff was coming neither did my son, I found a letter after The bailiff left of my son's from the end of November 2018 for £137.50 owing. Because of my poor mental health I was vulnerable and terrified and unable to think, the police were no older than my son, they gave me no advice no help they just watched as I got increasingly distraught and terrified as my home was pillaged of all my possessions, I had purchased over 40 years. The Bailiff even searched through my very girly handbag and even more girly purse, I was completely stripped of my dignity, and forced to endure a terrifying experience, with the police watching, usually when a house is burgled you are not forced to watch with the blessing of the police. This Bailiffs sole purpose was to humiliate and terrify me so much, that I would have done any thing for him to leave me alone. After what I think was about an hour passed and my possessions (not my son's) where all disconected and placed in piles to be taken away, it was clear he would be going into my Daughters room, who was absent and unable to provide proof of ownership and he would be taking her things too, at this point, the female police officer asked my son "can you pay" I realised then I could pay for the Bailiff to go away, I was charged £638 . £137.50 was debt £75 compliance stage fee and enforcement stage fee was £235.00 which comes to £447.50 so I was also robbed of money that was not owed. After the Bailiff left I realised I have bank statements and 15 years of paypal statements to prove I own my belongings, vulnerable people are very poor at defending themselves, the police and Bailiffs should be trained to recognise the signs of poor mental health. So an innocent upstanding human being has been left with mental trauma that may never be recovered from, I have already had to be sent home early from my work as I was not in a fit mental state to do my job.


Despite filing court papers to vary terms of CCJ, HMCTS bailiffs threatened to call police and break in. I suffered a mental breakdown and was almost forced to pay. If it wasn't for my daughter, my rights would have been ignored. My daughter advised the bailiffs their practice was poor and referred them to make contact with the court to confirm variation request was submitted. The bailiffs left after an hour later which almost took a year out of my life.

Bromley and Chislehurst

My client did not have a valid lease in place and a high court enforcement company had knowledge of that fact before they started the enforcement and during the raid as I expressly informed them.  The enforcement company did not send the 7 Day Notice and have not provided any evidence it was sent. They said they had sent it first class,  a simple lie. They intentionally did not email me a copy or send a text, although they had my email and mobile number. There was no written evidence of the demised address and so they were acing illegally. The high court enforcement officer stood in front of the door preventing us from leaving the building.

Manchester Central

Bailiffs did not bother to visit my home address to ensure I am fully aware of the alleged fine. I have been clamped by a bailiff while I was in the cafe (nowhere near my home address) On another occasion they stopped in front of me as I was as to pull out of a parking space. Then in the confusion managed to take the key out of the ignition. The vehicle is also still on hire purchase. On both occasions I had no choice but made payment to them.

Dulwich and West Norwood

I had fallen into debt simply for failing to display a ticket in a local (privately owned) car park. Because my mail had been redirected, the bailiff company said the debt had escalated to £868. I asked if I could arrange repayment by instalments. They said it was too late the bailiff was 'being notified tomorrow' . I told them I had completed court papers to stay the writ and vary the warrant, as advised. They said tell it to the enforcement agent. He gave no notice but rocked up 2 days later, demanding over £2300. He threatened my 3 dogs with a weapon he had on his belt . I was terrified I thought it was a taser. I was screaming, terrorised. He would not listen to any offers. He threatened to take my daughter's horse, called up someone to request a vet and a horsebox. I had to put £2300 on my husband's credit card to get him to leave. I was home alone and he was a burly bloke. I cannot sleep as the fear he raised in me keeps resurfacing.

Suffolk Central and Ipswich North

The bailiff who called to my house was very arrogant and condescending with me He would not allow me to speak, talking over me when I tried to explain my situation and became worse when I asked if he was being so rude because I was female and he thought he could try and manipulate me, I knew my rights but he told me I was wrong, he could force entry on a 2nd visit even though I told him the debt was not in this catagory where this rule would apply. I was told no arrangement could be met to pay the debt off and he wanted the cash in full there and then. I ended up shutting my front door on him and locking it before I called the companys number I had on the letter I was given by the bailiff when I opened my door to firstly complain about his conduct and found the call staff were understanding and very helpful when I asked to set up repayments. Bailiffs within this area do the job without any empathy and gain satisfaction from bullying people believing they are the law enforcers, horrible spiteful men.


After the sudden death of my husband I was left with a business.The bailiff wouldn't negotiate and I had to pay to pick up some of my husband's personal belongings. There was no compassion or sympathy,it's not what u expect at a very difficult time.

Bradford West

Im struggling with the amount they have asked us to pay back in installments The repayments are set very high and are very unrealistic which resulted in us not being able to make the demanded amount. We fell in to arrears again with the repayments and now we have had a visit from the bailiffs. In which they have added an additional £245 for the call out. We have asked them to lower the repayments but sadly they couldn’t help us. They are also very unapproachable. Very rude on the phone. All of this because we missed 2 council tax payments because my hubby was made redundant. We lost the right to pay in installments. The bailiffs are relentless and very unreasonable.


I was called by my father one afternoon to come home immediately and was met by a man who used scare tactics such as clamping my fathers car despite being able to prove ownership and threats of calling the police, large fines, taking of goods and prison for a debt I had proof in my hand I had paid. He told me to sit down in my own house and when I pointed out that was rude he told me I was aggressive. There was no reasoning, attitude was poor, forceful, uneducated and unreasonable to say the least. When asked what my options were he simply replied to pay, I called their office and was told two different stories and that he the collector held all the power. Bailiff had a friend in the car outside and couldn’t help thinking they were making a day out of my misery. Poor experience to say the least made to feel like scum for something I hadn’t actually done and proof apparently doesn’t change things. He was also rude to my father and girlfriend who tried to help and told them if they wanted to help me then they should pay!


The bailiff visited early one morning. He told me that he had come about a debt that had gone through the High Court which gave him powers to seize goods. I asked how this debt was different to any other non priority debt and he said it was through the high court and there were certain powers attached to it. He said his client wanted to recoup its money as soon as possible and so I could offer a repayment plan - however he doubted that it would be accepted. I asked what the options were if it wasnt and he said I would be sued for bankruptcy. I said surely the client would want to work with me and recoup money and the bailiff said 'they dont care', which basically negated his whole visit and option to set up a payment plan. So I said that this was somewhat of a contradiction and he shrugged his shoulder and reiterated that the outcome would be that I would made to go bankrupt. The debt is for £2000. For one thing this is incorrect advice and I feel that this was an oppressive, scare mongering approach to take.

Devon South West

In august my car was clamped by a bailiff. A couple weeks later they came to my home at 6am and start to kick my door and make damage. They start to talk loud voice in the middle the street and call me names and stick the notice in mine front door for humiliate me in front of mine neighbours, I call the police and I open case for crime offender. I make complaint to them but them play with me. I send a copy to a debt advice organisation regarding mine financial status. I told them I'm diabetic and high blood pressure but them ignore everything and keep saying they are going to come mine home and increase my debt.

Lewisham East

Severely misled and extorted! Was late on paying under the agreement so contacted by the bailiff firm who told me the stage 2 enforcement fee of £594 applied with immediate effect. However, later told by another employee of the same firm that if I had paid the balance on the phone, the fee would not have been applied. Threatening and bullying behaviour throughout entire ordeal.

Reading East

I live with my brother after separating from my wife. I am a hackney cab driver and rent a cab. Recently I received a court judgement relating to a parking ticket I nor the cab company ever received, nor any subsequent letters. I contacted the Baliff firm offered 50 a week hoping to get my money back after contesting the unfair ticket n court ruling, they agreed but a few days later turned up at my brothers in stab proof vests and refused to leave without payment in full. I was at work and unable to come home. The baliffs did not leave until gone midnight and forcing my brother to pay in full, and I am still not convinced they will not come back. I am suicidal about this and it has caused a lot of ill feeling between me and my Family and I now have to look for somewhere else to live. The council that issued the fine could not care less. I feel this is extortion and theft and should not be allowed.

Ilford South

2 bailiffs came looking for a person. I said I was not that person/didn't know them. They put foot over threshold, would not remove until i show ID. I refuse for 15 minutes. I call Police, police can't attend but advise that i show ID. Bailiffs go. Only one bailiff had ID on Lanyard, other did not.

Islington South and Finsbury

Almost knocked my door down banging on it as a was asleep, I worked nights as a milkman. I refused to let them in so they threatened me with the towing away of my milk float. I had to get my boss to come and because he didn’t have a receipt for the vehicle they still said a tow truck would come to tow it away. I had no choice other than go to relatives for a loan to get rid of them. After reading the law, they were totally outside their powers. Shameless and lost me my job.

High Peak

I had 2 Attachment of Earnings Orders (AOEs) until I went on maternity leave. I received no communication from the bailiffs that this was no longer taken from my wages. The first I knew of it was when a bailiff turned up demanding £1400 there and then. He was aggressive, threatening and very intimidating. He refused to allow any sort of repayment plan and was particularly nasty. I am pregnant and my toddler son was with me at the time but none of this was taken into consideration.

Scarborough and Whitby

I am currently in "negotiations" with a bailiff company, who are acting on behalf of my local council for missed council tax payment. They instructed me (did not discuss...I was informed!) to pay £60 per month to deal with the debt. I missed a payment by two days, and it immediately went to a bailiff. At this stage, I am still paying the monthly repayments of £60. I have called to discuss this with them, and even to offer to pay the amount in full. So far I have been sworn at, hung up on 6 times, and had nothing but a blank refusal to deal with me in any civil way. The irony being that I want to pay the outstanding amount, and they seem to refuse to deal with me other than to send a bailiff to knock on my door. I suffer from PTSD and anxiety. This experience has left me unable to sleep, contemplating suicide.

Truro and Falmouth

The bailiff continued to inform he would take my Grandmas goods even though it was clear they were hers. This included goods that she owned for longer than I was alive. There was no receipts and he saw my Grandma was upset. In the end she cleared the debt which I knew was wrong but my Grandma was too upset to do anything else. Due to this she missed her own rent.

Bolton South East

I owed council tax from a buy to let house that I have now sold. I tried to pay the council in full after the property sale completed but they would not take the payment. They said it had gone to bailiffs that day and I would have to pay them. I phoned the bailiffs but they just said it had not yet come to them and I would have to wait till they contacted me. By the time that happened I could not pay it in full and the bailiff rejected my offer of monthly payments. He called round and said he would be back to take away goods. I told him he was not allowed to break in and he just shrugged his shoulders. He took a photo of my car and asked if it was mine. I denied it. I took advice from a debt agency who adviced me to ignore him and he would then return the debt to the council. I then went away for several weeks and took my car with me. I am now back home and he has been round once more that I know of but i didnt answer the door.

Northampton South

My experience was terrifying. I found I had a very aggressive thuggish sounding man on the phone telling me he would be seizing my sons possessions. He told me there was no one in the office of the enforcement agency to speak to me despite the fact that the traffic enforcement agency had told me the enforcement process would be on hold as the matter was under appeal. It was extremely stressful to deal with. I and my son have never owed anyone a penny, We are hardworking honest people, and the way the matter was handled shocked me and my solicitor. I felt there was a deliberate policy on behalf of the enforcement agents to intimidate, and make money. Eventually the enforcement order was revoked. It took a considerable amount of time money and energy to challenge, it and I wonder how a vunerable person would deal.with such a situation.

York Outer

My experience was terrifying. I found I had a very aggressive thuggish sounding man on the phone telling me he would be seizing my sons possessions. He told me there was no one in the office of the enforcement agency to speak to me despite the fact that the traffic enforcement agency had told me the enforcement process would be on hold as the matter was under appeal. It was extremely stressful to deal with. I and my son have never owed anyone a penny, We are hardworking honest people, and the way the matter was handled shocked me and my solicitor. I felt there was a deliberate policy on behalf of the enforcement agents to intimidate, and make money. Eventually the enforcement order was revoked. It took a considerable amount of time money and energy to challenge, it and I wonder how a vunerable person would deal.with such a situation.

York Outer

I claim Universal Credit and my debt adviser was told as I was not claiming this at the time a liability order for Council Tax was issued, the in-house Enforcement Team at the Council's only option was to use bailiffs. I was pregnant with a problem pregnancy, about to be induced and was told I would be imprisoned without my baby if I failed to maintain payments of £40 per month. The debt adviser asked if deductions could be made from benefit at £16 per month but as the bailiffs are part of the Council Tax Team they wouldn't entertain this. I was also told my mother's goods would be removed as I live with her.

Alyn and Deeside

I'm unemployed, single mum of 3. Bailiffs are not taking my offer of £20 for at least until I get a job. They keep knocking at my door my kids are so scared. Worst of all I just want to pay them but I can't pay them. They have increased the amount from £665.18 to £900.18. It feels like I'm living in a nightmare and I can't do anything about it.

Ealing Central and Acton

The local council, as most, sent their Bailliff for community charge arrears. I had been ill several years ago and never recovered my earnings or my sanity as a result of the threats issued by the bailliff. Each time they asked for a ridiculous payment on a plan. At first I paid knowing it would be impossible to keep up and it was meaning I fell behind on other bills. The Bailliff doesn't care and neither do the council. I've contemplated drastic actions but so far I'm still here. Destroy the poorest in our society because the council needs the money and to hell with anyone else.

Salford and Eccles

My girlfriend and I were visited by an High Court Enforcement officer last year. We had no prior paperwork to his visit so when he arrived on the doorstep it was a complete surprise. He refused a payment plan and his office would not assist. He was aggressive, angry, physical and completely unprofessional. He added on charges as he pleased, frightened my girlfriend to the point now where she is afraid to open the door unless she knows who it is. My girlfriend raised a complaint to the company who refuse to acknowledge any wrong doings with his actions. She has now escalated the complaint to the HCEOA of whom it has sat with for a year and a half! It took them over a year to decide whether to take on the complaint when it states in their complaints procedure this should take 28 days! They are completely incompetent, we now even have a copy of the footage which took 16 months to get hold of so there is no denying his actions. 77 emails to date my partner has sent to the HCEOA and they still say they are dealing with it!! The complaints process needs regulating immediately.

Wirral West

A bailif called at 6 am concerning my daughters debt, he threatened to take all my possessions unless I paid £413.00. I told him the debt wasn’t mine but he insisted that he could take everything from the house including my lodger and granddaughters stuff and I would have to claim it back later. I was forced to hand over the money, almost my entire savings. My daughter is a addict, I never got the money back.


Payment demanded in full, bailiff refused to set up a payment schedule as I cannot afford to pay in full as on a minimum wage on a zero hour contract, no other benefits in place as i have 2 non dependants living at home.


Men sat in white vans parked behind your vehicle blocking you in. Sat parked opposite your house for periods of time on a daily basis. Knocking very loudly on windows and looking through windows. Putting foot inside the door making it hard to get rid of them. This is with their “client” being very aware of the vulnerability that whose door their knocking on and sat intimidating. Refusing to be reasonable and sending in a recovery vehicle for your vehicle which is a disabled one. Flashing orange lights on top of the vehicles . Upon release of the vehicle low key evening late no flashing lights and vehicle has been damaged! Due to their way had cars piled on top at storage place!.

Crewe and Nantwich

I was visited by an enforcement officer whilst pregnant. The debt was for my partner of which we received absolutely no prior paperwork. The EA quickly focused on taking my car which solely belonged to me! He prayed on me because I was pregnant and vulnerable! I proved ownership but he didn’t care. He escalated costs illegally of which he denies, he was aggressive, intimidating and assaulted my partner. He witheld all paperwork, refused a payment plan and wouldn’t even supply a case number! My parents ended up paying As he turned aggressive and they wanted him gone. I’ve raised a complaint and the company have obviously backed up his actions! I’ve raised a complaint with the HCEOA which has been with them unresolved for 15 months!!!! This industry needs regulating immediately and the extortionate fees need capping!

Wirral West

I live in building divided into flats & opened door to bailiff claiming to have a delivery for a young woman in her late teens from another flat. I immediately saw he had no delivery & challenged him at which point he put his foot in the door , pulled out ID from the council & said he was coming in as he knew his target was in & hiding from him. He was very aggressive.I didnt know the woman but felt concerned for her so I put my weight on the door & told him he wasnt coming into my home & that I was phoning police. He got very angry & started making legal threats & pushing on the door but I didnt budge. When I called police they said the bailiff had right of entry. I said I wasnt moving. He remained for well over an hour railing at me & was joined at one point by 2 other hefty men before leaving. I dont scare easily but it was pure intimidation, legal terrorism almost, & I can imagine the pressure & stress these bailiffs deliberately put people in debt under.

Lewisham Deptford

I had a professional and highly paid job but had to give it up as my parents were dying of cancer. I had council tax arrears and the council instructed a bailiff frim to collect the debt. They demanded huge amounts at Stage 2 of the collection process, or they would remove my car which was used to take my parents for chemo and radiotherapy. I asked the council to take back and they refused. I had to take out high cost loans to pay the Bailiffs to get rid of them. I couldn’t pay my mortgage and eventually my home of 14 years was repossessed. No care nor consideration during my parents’ illness and ultimate death from either the bailiff firm nor the council. I now have a large shortfall on my mortgage and will have no option but to petition for bankruptcy - I lay my situation solely at the hands of the bailiff and the firm he worked for, who refused to allow me an affordable payment plan, as well as the council. The actions of the bailiff in the programme I watched tonight bordered on criminal and he should have been charged. He could not list the vehicle - it was on finance (stepdad) and a tool of the trade.

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Council tax arrears. The council got an attachment to earnings order, in this case Job Seekers Allowance, taking a weekly figure. They also employed Bailiffs to collect the same debt, I of course ignored the phone calls, door knocks and demanding letters. I have since learned that this practice by the council is illegal, as they are not supposed to pursue the same debt in two or more different ways. The blood does not flow when you squeeze the stone.

Boston and Skegness

Debt collectors took my van that was used for my florist business for a residential council tax and business rates debt. The van was clearly signed as a business vehicle and was taken by the bailiffs and we never got any notification of how much the van fetched at auction or anything. The van was only a couple of years old and approximate value was £4,000 the debt was just over £2,000. We tried to explain to the council our circumstances and the fact we were moving out of the shop the next month when the business rates debt was for up to the following April. The taking of our van meant we could no longer run our business and my husband ended up having to go bankrupt as a result and fell into a bad depression and even considered taking his own life and our lives have never been the same since.

Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

Horrific. I was treated so badly I had anxiety attacks. They wouldn’t accept payment plans, said I was lying when I told them I didn’t have any money. I was close to suicide. Told them I believe I didn’t owe the debt but they forced me to pay. In the end I paid, and two months later received a refund because I hadn’t actually owed the money.


A bailiff knocked on my door regarding speeding fine for previous tenant. Told me he was recording the conversation and this would be going onto TV programme if the debt was not settled there and then. I explained it wasn’t me he was looking for, but he continued to threaten me with taking the car off the drive as payment (my dad’s motorbility car as I’m his carer/driver) and further threats of being used on tv and how my neighbours, friends and family would see me lying about who I was. Eventually I found my passport and he left..without an apology or leaving his details of the company he worked for, so I was unable to make a complaint

Ellesmere Port and Neston

My experience with bailiff since 2014. I dealt with a bailiff firm on a couple of occasions. Once they arrived at my home at 6.15 am and woke me and my daughter and my wife up demanding just over £1000. The debt was in my name. I explained we where in server financal trouble stating I was ill with cancer and was in the process of having my home repossesed. The bailiff response was that wasn't their problem and I needed to find over £1000 within 30 mins. Luckily all the major assets on our home belonged to my wife although it did take me over an hour to find receipts to prove it. The stress is enormous


I had a bailiff knock early one morning when I say knock I mean banging on the door like he was trying to break it down. I live with my son who has learning difficulties and we was both really scared..when I finally built up the courage to open the door he wasn't amused that he'd waited so long ..the debt wasn't even for us it was somebody else but he wouldn't listen just kept telling me to ring a family member or friend for the money which I refused why should I do that when it's not our debt..he told me he was going to come back on another day and I must have all the money or he'll be breaking my door in..i phoned the citizens advice who was so helpful and put my mind at rest that they can't do that.. bailiffs are bullies and need to remember that some people they knock on are extremely vulnerable because I'm sure if it happened to a member of their family they wouldn't just sit back and let it happen and wouldn't be happy either.

West Ham

I have an agreement to pay £5 per week for council tax arrears. I'm paying off many of them one after the other. I paid my £5 on the same day that VISA had global banking issues and the payment didn't go through but I didn't know about this. I made my next payment and then after that was told I was in arrears and it had been passed to an EA. I rang him and after speaking to my bank told him that this wasn't my fault. He said he didn't care and that he would get a warrant of control and come and seize my good unless I paid the full amount, which I can't afford.


I had a visit early one morning from a bailiff collecting a debt that wasn't mine, it was my employers. I was threatened, intimidated, harassed accused of assault, the police were called by him, until after 2.5hours trying to get him to leave, I paid.


I work for Citizens Advice. My clients reported that a bailiff came to their door having been let into the block by a neighbour. The bailiff (a lady) did not show any ID, and they thought she was a social worker. Once inside they realised she was a bailiff. My client became very distressed, and threatened to cut his wrists, at which point the bailiff left,

Esher and Walton

We assist many clients who have had recent bailiff attendance at their property- we always have a mixture of responses positive and negative. Although new legislation is in place it is not sufficient. We have some "rogue" bailiffs still who do not appear to understand the procedures in place and we have had to complain about inappropriate behaviour on several occasions. We deal with many vulnerable people and there needs to be a more rigid policy in place to stop further issues with bailiffs who believe they have immense power.

Bromley and Chislehurst

I have had a bailiff come to my door when I was at work. I called him and he said he would come round at 6pm that Friday night. He didn't turn up. He came round again today while I was at work. I called him again and he said he would be round in the afternoon to collect goods as I told him I could not get the money. He didn't turn up again. My partner and I as well as the kids are getting stressed and worried while we wait. Is there anything we can do because in our current situation the stress is not helping. Can we report him to anyone for the stress and worry caused to us.


Bailiff collecting council tax. I went to a debt adviser who helped me work out an affordable offer. Wrote with financial statement and explained that I was vulnerable due to my mental health. The offer was accepted, but less than a month later they rang and pressurised me into paying more than I could afford. Eventually returned for more debt advice after other debts escalated and my debt adviser phoned the local authority who checked the bailiff database and said that they had not recorded the information about my vulnerability - if they had the council may have asked them to return it and they would have lost their fees. As it was the council withdrew the case and made an arrangement with me, but it has caused so much stress and worry that it has triggered my mental health to breakdown further and exacerbated the stress-related incontinence that I suffer from.

Leeds East

I set out below part of a letter I sent to the bailiffs last October: For the past months I have been harassed by your bailiffs for payment of traffic parking fines dating back (as far as I can tell) to 13th August 2015. I first became aware of these when the car was clamped on 18th May 2017, and I was asked to pay £1,171.00 to have it released. Since that date, there have been a number of other clampings and demands from your bailiffs, to the point that my rent is now in arrears, and I cannot make any further payments to you. Your bailiffs have been told that the vehicle is not my property, but being purchased on deferred terms, but continue to pursue my car and to clamp it. I realise, as a result of my phone call, that the fact of my paying leads your bailiffs to the belief that I still have some connection with the person who was the original offender. I believe that your bailiffs have behaved in a way which is not consistent with the code of practice governing the treatment of debtors. I have reason to believe that on one occasion, when I had managed to make a complaint to your office, my car was again clamped within a matter of hours, which seems to be a surprising coincidence.


I work in a charity in Longbridge and my client came to see me as she has council tax arrears with bailiffs. The bailiffs let themselves into her property as the door was open and did not take or list any of her goods but now they are threatening to return and remove goods and sending her a "removal notice" even though I have called the main office and they have confirmed there is no walking possession agreement in place. My client is very stressed and anxious and afraid to leave the house. I have contacted the council but they take weeks to reply. Council tax debts are regularly referred to bailiffs in Birmingham for clients with no assets who are in receipt of benefits and unable to pay.

Birmingham Northfield

Caused distress by intimidation and fear. No regard for vulnerable persons.


Two years ago I was violently assaulted by two very big bailiffs trying to collect a debt that I did not owe on behalf of the local council. I am an average sized middle aged man, I'm very obviously partially sighted. I was physically assaulted by two very big violent bailiffs. One of them attempted to force his way into my home in a very violent physical way, the other filmed it, I attempted to stop his illegal break-in as anyone naturally would, while my very frightened partner called the police. By the time the police (who were clearly on first name terms with them) arrived, the video had been edited, I was immediately arrested, I spent the next 8 hours locked up while these 2 were left in our home with my by now very frighted partner. The police showed no interest in my story, they showed no concern for my partner who was forced to go borrow money from people and then.. out of room.

Hackney South and Shoreditch

My husband took out several loans in my name and defaulted on them all. He was on remand when the bailif called at 6.30 pm on a Saturday night. I explained to him the loan wasn’t mine I knew nothing about the CCJ from the previous year. I told him I’d fetch the evidence as I had been in touch with the debt collection agency who had written to me to confirm there would be no further action. When I came downstairs he was in my house. He refused to accept all the evidence. I was ill with the stress of the circumstance and started with chest pains as he walked around my house on his phone arranging a van. I was intimidated so much I called my neighbours to help me. They eventually pId him 2000 pounds to get rid of him. Which was subsequently refunded. He bullied me and my two little grandchildren so much I was frightened of leaving my doors unlocked and have been ever since. My neighbours were witness to the bailiff's behaviour, even following me upstairs when I asked if I could put my baby grandson to bed. I complained.


Our client rang us, very anxious, about a bailiff visit where the bailiff had threatened to take away all her goods immediately if she did not pay £500 on the spot. He should not have threatened her, and he should not have said he could take stuff immediately.

Leicester West

Our client popped out to the shop and returned to find a bailiff in her house. He had entered the house when the only person present was an 11yr old child. He should not have entered the premises when there was only a child present.

Leicester West

Our client, a disabled wheelchair user in her sixties, answered the door to a bailiff. He pushed past her into her flat and stayed for seven hours, shouting at her and demanding large sums of money immediately. When she tried to phone for help he snatched the phone from her hands. She eventually managed to phone the police but was told that they could not get involved. When we visited her at home a few days later she was still in a state of terror.

Leicester West

Experiences locally of High Court enforcement of debts evidence that fees are disproportionate to the amounts of debt being collected. The addition of VAT and sale of goods fees when goods have not been taken or even been subject to a warrant of control does not meet with the spirit of the new regulations.


Our elderly client moved from another area where they had left some Council Tax arrears. A couple of years after moving they applied for a Debt Relief Order (DRO) and this debt was included (it seems there was another outstanding sum omitted from the DRO but no liability order for that debt, so no enforcement possible). Recently (a further 2 years after the DRO was approved) the client received an enforcement notice out of the blue demanding payment and which clearly implies that the EA can remove goods whether or not the client is at home. Client who was undergoing vital chemo was terrified to leave the house believing their belongings would be taken whilst they were out. They also kept curtains closed for weeks until we were able to confirm to the client that the EA had been called-off by the local authority in question. This level of fear, not to mention living without natural light for several weeks will not have helped their chances of recovery - and all for a debt that the local authority in question have now admitted was on record as having been included in the DRO.

St Austell and Newquay

A bailiff firm are collecting Council Tax arrears on behalf of the local council from our client who is a 68 year old vulnerable, widowed lady, who lives alone. The arrears appear to relate to 2013. The client’s son has tried to get further details from the council in order to dispute the debt but so far this has not been forthcoming. The enforcement agents have been rude, intimidating and threatening on the phone to the client’s son and have bullied him into setting up a regular payment of £20 on behalf of his mother. One of the things they said was, on hearing that she had sought debt advice was that "they’re not the law, they can’t stop us coming to get the money". As a result of the stress our client's health has worsened and she has recently been hospitalised. Reported by a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Hornsey and Wood Green

My partner and I owe nothing and was woken this morning at 6am by two enforcement agency guys. They were looking for my son who they said owed money. They searched our home and found he did not reside here ! They threw things out of draws and on the floor of the bedrooms. They were both very rude and would not believe he did not live here and refused to listen and walked away while I was trying to talk to them. I phoned my son, and they spoke to him and he confirmed where he lived and told them to go there. They did not and was making a list of things to remove from my home. I phoned the Police who would not help in any way and put phone down on me !!!! We paid the debt as we didn't want them to take our things. It amounted to bullying when we weren't in the wrong and owed nothing. VERY WRONG !!!!!!!!!!


The council are aware my partner is vulnerable- mental health issues. They still passed the debt to bailiffs. My partner agreed an arrangement and went to make a payment but their system was down so this was taken as a payment missed and they added on the enforcement stage fee. I have contacted them on numerous occasions and explained my partner is vulnerable but they still send letters directly to my partner as if it is on purpose.

Barnsley East

They have been several times whilst i have been out as they seem to call mid day time when most people are out so i think they will start calling later now as had 3 hand delivered letters saying i owe local council tax and the letter says they can start a controlled goods agreement without me being present. Well good luck with that one as i know they arent allowed to break and enter. Its wrong scaring people like this. Personally i dont mind so much slight annoyance but i can manage it whereas other people are probably scared when they come knocking.


There aren't enough characters to share what I want to say. Briefly, bailiffs lied about their powers to get access to my property. No attempt to negotiate with you or ascertain you circumstances -  just endless threats nearly all lies as to what they can do, if you don't clear the debt there and then. No excuse for their behavior, but as they are paid on results they seem to be prepared to do and say anything to get results.

Worthing West

I have received text messages with phone numbers on tried to ring and told the number doesn't accept incoming calls Rang head office to get through to them you needed a reference number and a pin number on correspondence Not on all letters they send me When I got through I was told they couldn't talk to me I needed to speak to agent I told them I hadn't a working number They repeated same number finished call I finally got through and set up a standing order Yesterday I received a text saying bailiffs were due to call to remove goods I rang number . He said I had defaulted on my agreement in March It's now april I said I hadn't, checked my bank I rang enforcement team, paid off half of debt and agreed increased payments they said they would inform bailiffs company rang bailiffs. He said he was still coming to remove goods as I wasn't paying off soon enough. He was scarey loud rude and unreasonable he should be accountable for his actions

Coventry North West

Yesterday two thugs came pounding on my door at 8.30 pm. It was very dark and I live in an isolated house. These men were calling about something that was nothing to do with me. They were incredibly intimidating and said they were from the ministry of justice and could do whatever they liked. Their ID were just plain printed cards that anyone could have made and it was too late to call an office to verify them. They wound up my puppy and then left the gate open so she could escape. They then sat for 10 minutes parked on my driveway with their lights on which was very intimidating. There had been no previous contact by phone, letter or during daylight. I am less vulnerable than almost everyone they deal with but I was scared and upset. It is appalling that they should be allowed to behave in this way.



Dorset South

Makes me feel worry, anxious to open the door to anyone. Shameful that I can not pay back the money I owed. I was very restless at some point and kept looking out the window every minutes of the day.


After one missed instalment on a Liability Order Payment plan for Council Tax due to ill health, an enforcement agent left an Enforcement Notice while I was out. When I contacted him, we was gruff, dismissive and rude, referring to me repeatedly as 'darling', despite me asking him not to do so, cutting me off and being quite intimidating, threatening "we're coming round the house"... I wished to discuss my situation and the possibility of being considered a 'vulnerable person', as I am single mum struggling with severe mental health problems and anxiety disorder. However, after completely dismissing me, he eventually hung up on me, not without 'promising' to come over again. He has since not answered any further calls from me. I have contacted the private company for which he works and was also rudely dismissed and hung up on four times! I am in intense distress and deeply distraught by the experience. Please also note that the outstanding debt was only £125, so the enforcement fee of £235 seems grossly inappropriate. I have now borrowed the money and payed, simply because I felt afraid and intimidated. This is not right.

Westminster North

I sold a car back in April 2017 without sending the the log book off . I then had a fine for no insurance on that vehicle for 50 pound. Like a fool I said I'm not paying that, its not my debt . I sent the log book off with the new keepers' details but to cut a long story short the fine turned into 425 pounds with a bailiff firm, their cut being 75 pound. I thought ok I'm not going to get out of it, although I only sold the car for 100 pound in the first place. I'm just going to have to swallow it so I called the bailiffs and made an arrangement to pay it in instalments as I'm on benefits at the moment and way behind with our rent. I paid an initial payment and called the week later on the Friday to make another but they said its too late, I should have paid on Wednesday and subsequently could face another 235 pound charge if I didn't pay the full amount. I paid the agreed original instalment payment but they could still want a further 350 on top of the 425. Who's policing these people?


My father a 91year old man who is essentially deaf was confounded by a JBW agent. Telling to pay up for a debt incurred by a relative who does not reside at his property but may have put his address as a temporary contact address. If payment was not forthcoming extra charges of removal & storage of goods would be incurred. My father believed the debt to be £513000. He was told that if proof of ownership was not forthcoming his goods would be seized. Few bills last 91 years, so effectively he was led to believe they could remove almost everything from his home, even goods that once belonged to my dead mother. The JBW reluctantly showed identification. Only the threat of 999 made him find a so-called warrant, a tiny display thing no 91 year old could read. This JBW agent had invited himself in and would not retreat. I should have called the police but only did so after he had left. The bill was £513.00. I paid it to get rid of him. I do not know the offence that allegedly generated this debt. Neither do l know who was allegedly responsible.

Croydon North

We are constantly seeing Bailiffs in this area giving misleading information to clients. Acting as if they have the powers of High Court Enforcement Officers, and threatening clients which actions they have no legal power to enforce. This has involved using various mobile phones to send threatening text messages to clients.

Wythenshawe and Sale East

Client was contacted by a bailiff in regards council tax arrears and made a payment plan offer which was refused. The client feels frustrated that the bailiff is unwilling to engage in a discussion with them about offers of payment and continues to demand the payment in full which they cannot afford.


My debt issues increased when I lost my job & had to claim universal credit for the first time.My rent is paid 4 weeks in advance & UC payments are 4 wks in arrears & no payment received until 7 wks after the date you claim. I received phone calls within 7 days wanting payment or face being evicted. I found a job before I got my first UC payment but was made redundant a year later. My landlord has been brill the council not. Bailiffs came at 6.45am he did show I.D but I didn't let him in.He threatened to take my car & visited constantly for a wk then requested I ring him which I tried constantly all wkend which he ignored.I panicked & partially followed some advice I got from National Debtline & paid £100 direct to the council.They have left the debt with the bailiffs & refused CT support because I couldn't provide them with documents I hadn't received myself from my ex employer. I think council should also be reformed as they send in the bailiffs so fast I think its more about figures on paper than people and also UCredit.

Bolton South East

Client had a bailiff visit and later made contact with the bailiff by telephone to offer a repayment plan. The bailiff refused the plan, has consistently put the phone down on the client, yet continues to bombard them with threatening text messages.

Leeds East

Despite not being aware of the debt until a bailiff arrived at my door (they had been writing to me at the incorrect address) the bailiff refused to even consider a payment plan when I explained I did not have the £500 he was asking for. He laughed at me when I explained my very difficult circumstances & vulnerability. He told me it was 'my own fault for getting into debt in the first place'. He spoke in a threatening way, telling me he was allowed to come into my house whether I wanted him to or not (I later found out this was a lie). He told me he was sending 'his boys' round to take my car (even though I explained it was on lease & not in my name). He put the phone down on me even though I was speaking very politely & calmly. The enforcement agency refused to speak to me & kept putting me back through to him, even though I explained my vulnerability (diagnosed with depression & anxiety among other issues) and that I felt scared to talk to him or have him visit my home. Finally I got help through debt advice.


I’ve tried to get a payment plan to be told no. They say 117pound a month or coming to take goods. I’ve 100 left told them I’ll pay on 29th January 2018 told it’s fine then 2 days later got a call I have to pay in 3 days said I can’t - told to ask friends for it - told them Friday I can only pay 50 on 19th then 50 the following Friday - told no. Now coming to my house to take goods I’m so ill over it trying to pay to be told now or we're taking goods


Somebody working for a bailiff firm called my employer's Head Office to find my manager's contact number. They managed to speak to my manager and informed them of my financial circumstances. I work for a financial company and this behaviour could have a detrimental effect on my current employment. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I raised a dispute about the amount the bailiff firm says I owe in council tax arrears. I was then contacted directly by an enforcement agent saying that I had drawn attention to myself and should expect a visit very soon. I felt that this was a threat. Also, fees have been added for a visit that didn't happen as up to that point I was up to date with my payment arrangement. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Devon West and Torridge

Bailiffs came round to my flat last night banging loudly on the door. I have heart issues and was very upset. I did not sleep well at all. The bailiffs have told me on the phone they will return with a locksmith whether I am at home or not. At the moment I dare not leave the flat. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I am being threatened by bailiffs who are collecting for a Magistrates fine. Although I have explained to the bailiff that my wife is extremely vulnerable at the moment, and I am her full-time carer, the bailiff is still threatening to bring a locksmith to force entry to our house. This has caused a lot of distress to me and my wife. 

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

I have Council Tax arrears from 2012, which were passed on to bailiffs. Originally these arrears were £600-£700. Since 2012, I have paid over £1,000 towards the arrears but they now currently stand at £900. I have missed payments every few months which have added to the debt but this is only because the bailiff firm has passed me between offices and failed to respond to my attempts at making contact and to make payments until after my payment dates were missed, by which time the bailiff fees had been applied. I have always made contact to pay each month and I think the charges are unjust on the basis that the bailiff firm has made the whole process unnecessarily difficult. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Birmingham Ladywood

I suffer from depression and am on medication for this. I felt very intimidated by the enforcement agents. They advised me that they were calling the police because I had assaulted them (I hadn't). The enforcement agent proceeded to clamp my car but no police arrived. I paid their fee with a mix of credit cards and my overdraft leaving me in a position where I could not afford to cover living expenses for the rest of the month. I still have £150 to pay and the enforcement agent has refused to remove the clamp on my car until this has been paid.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Richmond Park

I have tried many, many times to arrange a payment with the bailiff firm offering £50-£100 per month which I feel is affordable, but the person I spoke to asked for £110 and then £287 on top of that, which I really can't afford. When I said I couldn't afford that and tried to offer £100 again they put the phone down on me. 

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I am having a parking fine collected by bailiffs. I called them to explain my difficult situation and they told me that they understood and that they would be willing to enter into an affordable repayment plan. But then the bailiff still turned up at my house and threatened to take my car and would not set up a payment arrangement.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I was contacted by a bailiff regarding council tax arrears. After I'd spoken to an adviser at StepChange I contacted him to confirm the arrears and tell him that I was getting advice from StepChange. He told me that I would need to pay £375.00 before the advice session could be completed and due to his attitude I felt I had no option but to take a loan out to repay the debt. Once I had this loan money the bailiff advised me that he actually needed £413.00 and that I would have to meet him in a hotel in Burnley because if he came to my property he would have to charge another £200.00.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I feel I am being harassed. Two enforcement officers waited outside my door waiting for me to leave to take my 6 year old daughter to school and then followed me and my daughter to the school. My daughter was very distressed by this.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Bromley and Chislehurst

I was contacted by telephone by an enforcement agent acting on a high court writ for water arrears. Although I explained that my circumstances were presently very difficult, the enforcement agent was rude and arrogant to both myself and my son when he tried to speak on my behalf. I felt very intimidated by his manner. 

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Worthing East and Shoreham

My council tax arrears had been passed on to bailiffs to collect. I called the council to explain my circumstances and they agreed to take the debt back from the bailiffs. I then called the bailiff firm to advise them that I had spoken to the council and an agreement had been made with the council and they would be contacting them to take the debt back. The bailiff told me that it didn't matter as the debt was with them now and that they would be around at 5:30pm to remove goods on the first visit. I called the council back and they advised the bailiffs could not do this. My partner called the bailiffs back and they told her they could not discuss with her and hung up.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Erith and Thamesmead

Bailiffs are collecting my Council Tax arrears. The bailiff has refused my offer of £100 per month, which is all I can afford and is insisting on £515 per month or he will get a warrant for my arrest and send me to prison. I am a single mum. 

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Hornchurch and Upminster

I had a train fine for 2009. This had been passed over to enforcement agents and the enforcement agents came to my mother's property to try and recover the debt. I had moved house and my mother explained that I had moved out. The enforcement agent was shouting through the letter box calling her a liar and telling her to let them in. I set up an arrangement that I couldn't really afford to pay of £100 per month. I paid the first 3 months but couldn't afford to pay the last 2 months due to financial hardship. The enforcement agents said that they were going to come and empty my mother's house and take goods.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Camberwell and Peckham

I have business rates arrears that are being dealt with by enforcement agents. I made an agreement with the enforcement agents to pay the debt over 12 months. I later spoke to the council and mentioned this agreement. The council told me the enforcement agent shouldn't have agreed this. The enforcement agent then visited my house and made a Controlled Goods Agreement. I feel as though I have been forced to agree to pay £525 a month when my debt adviser has told me that I can only afford to repay £275 a month.

As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Morecambe and Lunesdale

My Council Tax arrears were passed on to bailiffs. I let the bailiff in. An agreement for payment was made but the bailiff did not produce an inventory list. He just told me that everything in the house was under his control.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Hereford and Herefordshire South

I had a Transport For London Congestion Charge which was passed to Enforcement Agents. I am currently suffering from post-natal depression and have two young children. I am currently repaying debts and my debt adviser has told me that after paying for essentials I can afford £50 per month in repayments. This is what I offered to the Enforcement Agent to clear the debt. However, they will not allow me to make any payments towards the debt unless I commit to paying two instalments of £139 (total outstanding £278). I haven't been able to get through to the Traffic Enforcement Office and Transport for London will not discuss anything with me.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Somerset North East

An enforcement agent has told me that he will take my vehicle despite evidence presented to him of it being on HP.

Southampton Test

I am a support worker and bailiffs have been continuously pursuing a council tax debt from someone I provide support for. They only have ESA benefit payments as income. It got to the point where I was about to call the police. We have now complained to the council about the bailiffs' behaviour which was the only thing that got them to stop calling at the house.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Swindon North

I had a parking fine enforced by bailiffs for £600.00. The first agreed payment was £425.50 and the remaining balance of £175.00 was to be paid on the 11th November. I paid first payment over phone. When I received the receipt the payment taken was £425.00. I have been receiving at least 3 phone calls a day from bailiff firm chasing the 50p payment.I have told them that I do not have it in the bank but they can come to my house and collect the money or add it on the next payment. I am still receiving calls from them and feel as though I am being harassed.

As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


Bailiff threatening to kick the doors in and smash the windows! He has also threatened to take client's sister's car when she was visiting!

Bury South

I had the bailiffs knock loads of time I refused to open the door but they waited for me one day wen I was out and as I opened the front door they were there and put there foot in the doorway so I let them in the end as I was agitated and anxious through my mental health. They went round my house taking notes and writing stuff down it was horrible I had a panic attack afterwards when they had gone I had to pay a large sum of money each week and only half of it went on debt the rest was on their fees


I'm a single parent with a 14 yr old daughter. She is on the Autistic Spectrum & I have to walk with a stick due to a stroke I suffered. I have depression and on medication for it. A youngish man knocked on my door one day and ask could he have a quick word. He knew my name and addressed me by it when I leaned out the window when he knocked the door. I answered the door where at that point he told me he was a high court bailiff, stuck his foot in the door, grabbed my keys off the key hanger inside the door and forced passed me knocking me out the way. He was there to collect council tax! I had to phone my neighbor from work.He was in my house for over an hour, told me to phone everyone in my phone and get money off each one of them if nesssary to pay the debt. I told my daughter to go into her bedroom as she was shaking with fright and crying.He walked around my house & into my daughters bedroom while she was in there.Shes 14 yrs old!

Devon North

Bailiff visited client for council tax debt and client explained they were a single parent in receipt of benefits; bailiff still demanded payment and client paid £100 as fearful, with a further deadline set for full balance. Discussion with Leeds council tax recovery office identified that the bailiff should have passed back the debt on receiving the information the client is on benefits.

Leeds East

Citizens Advice Money Adviser. A client told me that a bailiff and three other men (unidentified) had called for her partner's debt while she was alone in the house with a sick three-year old child. Two of them arrived at the front door at the same time as another two arrived at the back door and they banged on the doors, kicked the doors, and shouted at her from both sides of the house at the same time, The child started screaming and the client fled upstairs with him in terror. The client then talked to the bailiff through the upstairs window but he demanded she come downstairs and let them in or they would return with a locksmith. The client sensibly refused. The bailiff later contacted the debtor by phone and said that if he did not pay they'd be back to see his girlfriend.

Leicestershire North West

I had a very negative experience when visited on Wednesday 29 November 2017. I was awaiting a package so when someone knocked on my door I opened it. The agent immediately put his foot over my threshold and refused point blank to remove it saying he had every right to put his foot over my threshold. Having had a CT scan the previous evening I was dehydrated and disorientated and as a 63 year old single woman felt very vulnerable. I am now investigating how to complain about this officer and his company.

Westminster North

Bailiff firm repeatedly trying to enforce CCA regulated agreement, did not respond to a complaint.


I had a bailiff visit on 13th November, 2017. He was extremely intimidating and rude. The total debt was £2276 I offered £2000 that day and the remaining money the following day. This was refused. I explained I was a vulnerable person due to a heart condition, ongoing anxiety, stress and depression, my step mother had recently passed away and I was an unemployed single parent. His response was he did not care. He listed items such as fridge/freezer and things in my son's room. He seized a vehicle that was not mine. This was proven to not be mine at the time and since they took it but they have refused to communicate. The situation actually caused me to be hospitalised due to heart condition and I lost chunks of hair. The owner is still fighting to get the vehicle back.


As told to a Citizens Advice adviser. Client has a debt being collected via bailiffs - he has no fixed abode but has used his mothers and girlfriends mothers address for correspondence only in the past. The bailiffs have tried both addresses demanding payment of a parking fine debt amounting to £158, despite having been fully informed that the client is currently serving a prison sentence and not due to be released until mid December 2017. Despite re-iterating this and advising bailiff that debtor does not live at either address, they continued to press for repayment. Lastly they advised clients mother that if she did not pay the amount of £158 in full then they would attend the prison with the police on the day of her sons release and have him re-arrested for non-payment of the debt! As a result, clients mother was scared into paying this amount! Client has been advised to start the complaints process with the enforcement agency and escalate to the certificating court if necessary, pending outcome of initial complaint.

Isle of Wight

Very Stressful, frighten and hiding in my own home, I didn't even answer the door. Received theirs letter were bad enough, set me back from all the progress with my therapist. It made me much more retrieve and isolate even more, every knock on the door and every time the phone ring.


Bailiff's are stating that they can take control of cars on Hire Purchase. They appear to be referring to the case of Reiss Vs. LB Barnet, Barnet County Court, April 2015. The judge in this case stated that “Debtors have an ‘interest’ in hire-purchase goods and may be clamped.” This is contrary to the majority of legal opinion and past caselaw. Despite this it is very difficult to argue this with a bailiff as they hold all the cards.

Coventry South

Despite trying to negotiate repayment agreements at an affordable rate the bailiff continues to state that he wants 50% of the council tax debt upfront. If this were possible the debt wouldn't exist in the first place! The majority of this debt accrued through a failure in the benefits system, during a transition to work. This person is not a 'wont pay', but a 'cant pay' the bailiff is just unrealistic!

Nottingham South

Bailiff visited and left a Removal Notice saying I had to pay over £1000 immediately. I telephoned him the next morning and he said I had until 4.00 pm that day to pay the full amount, or he would come and take my belongings. I explained I only had £1 in my bank account for the next 4 days, but he told me I had to borrow the money from somewhere, and I should speak to friends and neighbours. When I took debt advice we discovered the warrant had been withdrawn and the bailiff should not even have been collecting the debt. As reported to a Citizens Advice Debt Adviser

Leeds Central

Posted by Citizens Advice administrator: Client owed £673 Council Tax arrears to Isle of Wight Council. The arrears were assigned to a bailiff firm to collect collect. No evidence of a notice of intended visit. Bailiff arrived at property, announced that he is here to collect Council Tax arrears and demanded full payment. Client had no money, he told her she should phone friends and family and borrow it. He then stepped past her without invitation and listed her goods. He was at the property for 1.5 hours during which she phoned everyone she could think of. Finally a friend agreed to lend her £500 and the bailiff took payment over the phone. He then left, saying he would be back for the balance at 0900 Friday.

Isle of Wight

When I have a licensed debt advisor bailiffs still will NOT accept Standard Financial Statement (SFS), need 3 months bank statement proof of benefits do not listen to health problems Either pay up, borrow from friends or we add a larger charge.

Bromley and Chislehurst

I had a bailiff collecting on behalf of Sandwell Council as I have fallen into arrears, he first wanted a sum of money upfront which was 500 I told him I couldn’t do it he said that’s the only way. I then got advice which was to not let him in and don’t correspond by phone. One day I was walking back from picking my three children up from school and he text me a sinister message about where I was walking and what I was wearing. He then told me he was going to get the police to arrest my partner. I am pregnant and he scared me so much I didn’t want to return home.

West Bromwich East

Visited by bailiffs 4 months ago regarding a fine for crossing Dartford tunnel, bridge and forgetting to pay tariff which came to £5.00- I was sent one reminder 3 weeks before bailiff arrived, payment requested was for about 200 pounds , when bailiff arrived he clamped my car on drive and would not release it untill i paid £860.00 , which i had no alternative but to pay as i am a carer in the community and need my vehicle to visit the elderly. As i told the bailiff this is leagalised robbery.

Thanet North

A bailiff called and told me I had 30 minutes to pay them in full, or they would take my possessions. They said they would get a locksmith to force entry. They were rude and aggressive and left me feeling upset and uncomfortable.

Haltemprice and Howden

I am a single parent with a disabled child. An adviser at an advice centre made an offer of payment to Council Tax / Bailiff but got no reply. The bailiff contacted me and told me he would have me arrested.

Hull North

I did not receive any letter before a council tax bailiff visited. He told me he wanted money and I had to pay in full. I do not speak much English and I started to cry. He threatened to have me arrested and told me that he would come back with the police. He wanted me to get money from friends and family to pay.

Hull North

A bailiff rang me about a council tax debt. He asked me what I was going to do about the debt. He was aware I have a heart condition as he mentioned it (at the time I was waiting for a triple bypass operation). I explained I couldn't work until I had my bypass op and could not pay as I was on disability benefit only. He said this was not satisfactory and that he would apply for a warrant for my arrest.

Hull North

I received bailiff letters at my address for a family member who has not lived with me for 3 years. I rang the bailiff to tell them this and they said they would remove property from my home to pay their debt.

Hull East

I am blind and have a guide dog. There was a knock at the door and someone said they were a bailiff. They were very loud and so I let him in as I did not want the neighbours to hear. I did not know about the debt and I told the bailiff I was scared and frightened. The bailiff told me that he was going to come back with the police and a van. I began to cry and rang my daughter. The bailiff snatched the phone off me whilst I was talking. I was confused, frightened and upset. The bailiff told me I had 24 hours to get the money. I was terrified in my own home and very anxious the next night when I thought he was coming back (he didn't).

Hull West and Hessle

Council Tax debt. I called the bailiff to pay and he was aggressive. He told me I would go to prison if I did not pay in full. I asked my Mum if she would look after my child if I went to prison. She paid the bailiff £100 for me. I rang the next week to pay again, but the bailiff firm told me it wouldn't make a difference and I would still go to prison. I am single, self employed and have fibromyalgia. My illness has got worse because stress causes a flare up of pain.

Hull East

A High Court Enforcement Officer came to my property and I refused to let him in. He told lies about his powers, saying he would be bringing the police and a locksmith even though he was only enforcing a County Court debt that has been passed up to the High Court and no such power exists. He was trying to use the level of the Court to intimidate me into thinking he had more powers than he did.

Warrington North

Due to multiple debts, my home was visited by three different firms of bailiffs/HCEOs. They all use threats and intimidation to extract unaffordable repayments and pay no regard whatsoever to how payments to them will impact on other debt repayments or my family's ability to live. We sought help from Citizens Advice who have been marvellous. They immediately negotiated a "hold" on further visits while they investigated our circumstances and helped us decide on the best strategy to deal with our debts. We now feel able to make a fresh start with our finances without this terrible threat hanging over us.

Cambridgeshire South East

Shared via citizens advice adviser - client visited by bailiff - no entry to personal property gained - bailiff insisted that he could seize clients vehicle - although this was a company vehicle owned by his employer and not client. Client explained that he was not the registered owner/keeper/insurance holder for vehicle. Client's employer contacted the bailiff to confirm his ownership. However, bailiff continued to state he could seize the vehicle unless the debt was repaid in full. Clients employer, unsure of his rights and not wanting his vehicle removed, unaware that this action could not take place, paid the bailiff in full, leaving our client now with a debt owing to his employer and embarrassed that his employer was made aware of his debt situation.

Isle of Wight

Bailiffs clamped a car not belonging to the debtor. DVLA registration was not seen as proof of ownership and the person involved didn't have original purchase information. The person was about to start a new job and needed the vehicle to get to their place of work in a few days time.

Swansea West

Our experience was very frightening. We would advise anybody in this situation to NOT let bailiffs in but to politely ask for their contact details, why they are there and ask them to leave, saying you will seek advice. We didn't know this and panicked. We were worried the bailiffs would call on our son's estranged wife where his children also live. We ended up paying a lot of money to stop the worry. There are 'Bailiff Advice' people on the internet but their advice isn't always sound. Debt charities are extremely helpful and take the worries away.

Somerset North East

My boyfriend at time had mental health issues. He had ignored a parking fine and it increased and finally the bailiff knocked on our door. He was big and intimidating. He didn't tell us who he was at first, but asked for my boyfriend by name. He had a camera around his neck. He asked for a large sum of money and got irate when we refused to answer questions. He seemed to be using tricks to keep us at the door, and stop us shutting the door on him. We said we would talk to the council directly and he said it was too late for that. Finally we shut the door on him. I called the council an told them of my boyfriend's mental health issues and suicidal ideation. They were shockingly indifferent. They said they couldn't do anything and why should my boyfriend get any special treatment? Finally I wrote a letter to a councilor and a long complaint letter to the council parking fine body. They backed down and asked for the original fine amount (it had multiplied several times). I was Able to advocate for him. Others may not be so lucky.

Kingston and Surbiton

This year a bailiff firm wrote to my son at my address for repayment of a fine he'd incurred at Magistrates Court (my son doesn't live with me). He knew nothing about the court hearing or fine. We contacted the firm who insisted on payment or they would send a bailiff. I paid one payment and set up a payment plan for the rest while we investigated why he'd been fined. 3 weeks later a bailiff from another company came to my home demanding full payment. I explained there was a payment plan in place. He wouldn't accept that. I had to pay the balance or he would return with the police. I complained to the first firm. They wrote and apologised and refunded their fees, error by their operator. I'm still furious about it. Bailiff also didn't turn his video on until half way through interview. (There was no nastiness in his visit). The first bailiff firm didn't explain about Statutory Declarations either, which we've since found out about and had granted. They say they don't give legal advice when I complained about this.

Wentworth and Dearne

I had visits from bailiff re council tax as I was late paying 3 times the council took me to court. I was consistently 2 weeks late as I'm on benefits. Bailiffs ignored my letters as I didn't put a reference number so they sent bailiffs who added £400 to my £100 bill by letters and visits, when I was in they were aggressive without being threatening. Telling me I had no choice but to pay the total immediately. Years later I'm still paying now multiple ctax and fees as I couldn't pay bailiffs and the tax I owe 3k on probably £800 in ctax and still get visits even though I've got a payment plan. I feel bullyed

St Ives

I had been working as a self employed teacher so work was quite patchy as I preferred to stay with the one college I was with. I become anxious, when the work dried up and I struggled. I used all my savings up trying to stay afloat. I ended up on Universal Credit. I asked on the very first day about claiming for Housing Ben and Council Tax Ben, & was told by DWP it would all be sorted once my claim was sorted out but it could take up to 8 weeks. I was worried and went to the local council only to be told that I needed to book an appt online - and that was the only way I’d be able to see anyone at the council tax offices. The bailiff came. I sat shaking, listening to him banging on the door. H I felt hounded. I was petrified. It caused me to have a breakdown. I couldn’t cope but luckily got help from a bailiff friend. He told me what to say/do. But I had to fight the council to take back the debt to stop them visiting again. I never open my door now.

Harrow East

A client presented at drop-in with issues relating to the enforcement of a Magistrates' Court Fine. He had missed two payments of £5 due to benefit problems, and the debt has been passed to enforcement agents. I made a telephone call to the bailiff but his phone was off. I then telephoned the company themselves and had a strange phone call with the man there trying to lecture me on the benefit system. He would not accept that a joint ESA claim existed. I could not progress past this point, he told me I was withholding information. I explained that I was not ignorant of the benefit system, and it was not a material fact - he can still talk to me about the debt. But he was continually rude and would not progress the call. When knowledgable and experienced advisers can't even get the most basic information, something is broken. I did speak to the bailiff directly - and while he was not brilliant, he would atleast talk to me. Submitted by a Citizens Advice debt adviser

Sheffield Central

An enforcement agent firm have been in contact with me with regards to council tax arrears. The enforcement agency requested a payment of £32 per week. I have been making payments of £35 per week in response. The agency have applied additional charges to the debt since this arrangement began. I questioned this and have been informed that the charges are due to my failure to agree to the proposed repayment arrangement in writing. I feel this is unjust as the repayments made have been met, and in fact been above, the amount that was originally requested. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Derbyshire Mid

I have had my council tax debt passed to enforcement agents. The enforcement agents haven't attended my property but have still added on the fees for a first initial visit to the debt anyway (which has been verbally confirmed to me). I have not received any sort of documentation for an initial visit. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


The bailiff collecting Council Tax arrears used locksmiths to enter my home twice and added £280 costs to my debt. I had never let them in and no walking possession had taken place. They also sent me letters to say they would apply to court for my committal to prison for 3 months if the debt was not paid. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


A bailiff visited my house for the second time and has broken the PVC front door by banging on it with excessive force. The door has cracked and come away from the brick frame. I had made a previous complaint to his firm regarding this specific bailiff but this has not been acknowledged by the company. I have health issues which the bailiff firm have been made aware of. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I was visited by a bailiff regarding council tax arrears from last year. He had gained access to my building by pressing my neighbour's buzzer and not through my property. I invited the bailiff in to show him that I had no goods that he would be able to take and I showed him my bank statement on my phone to show that I had no money in my account. The bailiff took the phone out of my hand but I have got it back now. I found the bailiff to be aggressive and unhelpful. I have a meeting with his firm tomorrow. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I had 2 Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) (£450.00 each) which had been passed to bailiffs. They clamped my Hire Purcahse car. I agreed to pay £100.00 a month towards the debts and was sent a text message confirming the payment arrangement had been made. The following day I had a phone call from the bailiffs advising that the payment arrangement didn't stand and I still had to pay the amounts in full. They would not advise me on the full amounts I owed with their fees added on. I was upset and made a complaint but have not had any acknowledgement of this. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Islington North

The bailiff was intimidating & bullying; he appeared more interested in what was in the knicker drawer than identifying goods of value. He suggested I was sub letting, implied that he would take my bed, washing machine & settee if I didn't pay the full £720 immediately. I felt bullied into phoning hmy mum to ask for money. My mum is now worried that the bailiff has her number as he insisted I used his phone to contact her, as I had no credit on my phone. He also tried to get me to phone my 90 year old grandad. He scared me to death & I've found it difficult to stop crying since.

Thanet North

I had a call with a bailiff for a Council Tax debt. I told the bailiff I suffer from depression/anxiety. He responded "Don't we all? I'm depressed sweetheart". His reply made me feel awful. I could not believe he was dismissing me in this way. He also said "I can enter your property without you being there". When I challenged him about this, he said he had not said he would break in. Further, he said he could attend my home at 7am and would be harassing me. I felt threatened and helpless. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Hazel Grove

I had an enforcement agent collecting on a CCJ of £5000 that was taken by a private individual against me. The enforcement agent was in the house and saw I had no goods worth taking control of. He then went on to state that if I didn't get some money together and a payment in place he would call the TV crew for "Cant pay we'll take it away" to come down and film my sofa, TV and other goods being removed from my property. I felt very threatened by this enforcement agent. As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


Agent called to my property at 8pm, he was wearing a bulletproof vest and I thought it was the police at first, he told me I have to let him in or he would force entry to my property. He demanded the full sum and wouldn't leave unless this was paid in full. He told me either full payment or goods, I said that I have sought advice and going through a Debt Relief Order (DRO) but he wouldn't acknowledge this and told me I had been wrongly advised. He then started taking a list of goods and said he would leave me with only a bed and a fridge freezer. I felt so intimidated in the end that I called a friend who paid the balance in full for me.


Bailiff called at the door and demanded immediate payment of the debt in full. When I told him I couldn't pay it, he said he was off to fetch the police and would come back with them and with a van and take my things away. He had not been in the house and had not listed anything. He also said he would take my motability car. I told him he was not allowed to, but he ignored that.


Rented a house for my family from end 2014. Previous tenants were sharers (and described as neighbours from hell by those in the street). They had loads of unpaid debts / unpaid parking fines / etc. For the next yer and a half, despite returning all mail received for them and marking it 'Not known at this Address. Return to Sender', we started getting vistis from Bailiffs. Typical scenario would first be a hand delivered letter through the door from the bailiff stating that he had rung the doorbell, but it went unanswered. This was completely fabricated, as there was always someone in, and the bailiffs never tried to talk to us on that first occasion. Then, the next morning at 6 am, our family was woken by the bailiff ringing the doorbell. The bailiff informed us that he was fully entitled to disturb us from 6 am onwards. Of course, each time we would have to identify ourselves to the bailiff and explain that the person he was seeking had not lived at this address for months. Allowing bailiffs to harass families by allowing them to ring on the doorbell at 6 am is unnacaptable and pure harassment.

Finchley and Golders Green

The Local Authority (LA) is very aggressive in its use of Enforcement Agents. Times are hard and the LA has a deficit budget and needs every penny it's entitled to claim. Fair enough!  A change in legislation is required to ensure clarity. The Law and the Regulations don't harmonise, cause confusion and lead to aggressive recovery tactics. People trust authority figures and tend to let bailiffs in. At this point the game is over. There have been 6 hour visits, the use of finding cannabis to ensure payment, unreasonable payment demands and levying on Hire Purchase vehicles. Deductions from benefit are often more appropriate than enforcement agents. I can understand some of the issues faced by non-payment of council tax but in many instances arrears are caused by genuine hardship. There are some shady practices used by Enforcement Agents but the Law allows them to persist. There are numerous clients who would willingly share stories of how this process was conducted and how it made them feel violated. Story shared by local adviser

Staffordshire Moorlands

Client's feeling under pressure by bailiffs to make offers of single down payment and monthly payments that are simply unreasonable and unsustainable. Then when client defaults on unrealistic payments a fee of £594 is added to the already mounting debt.

Client experience shared with an adviser from Citizens Advice Southampton

Southampton Test

Our council sends all council tax arrears cases straight to bailiffs even when they know that client is on a means tested benefit. This has become a big issue since clients stopped getting full Council Tax Benefit. As a result these clients end up paying bailiff fees which often means their debt more then doubles. This results in inability to pay the following years council tax and so this starts all over again. It is like a penalty for being poor. Should be mandatory for councils to go for a deduction from benefit instead.

Comment submitted by local adviser


High Court Enforcement Bailiffs said they could break into the clients home after gaining access but not completing a control goods agreement. Charging VAT on the compliance stage fee with an Enforcement stage fee of £822.00 on a debt of £775.55. This client we would consider vulnerable due to her age and in receipt of benefits including PIP

Liverpool Walton

Visited by bailiffs regarding debts owed by my son. Son has not lived with us for well over a year but still has some post sent to us (we are now returning this on advice of Citizens Advice). Bailiffs know his new address (we don't) but insist because he has a financial footprint at our house they can take what they like unless we can prove ownership. Wife is incredibly upset and we are both terrified. They have been in the house first thing in the morning when we weren't dressed, spoken to son on phone who was in his own house and clearly not living there. Been verbally abusive towards us. We have a mobile number for the bailiff but not been able to get hold of him or find out what company he works for. We have paid them some of what my son owes just to buy us some time to get more help from advice agency.

Romsey and Southampton North

My client has a Council Tax debt which she is willing to pay but not able because DWP have suspended her ESA for 6 months longer than they should have done. The Council put the debt on hold, but the hold expired on Sunday night, and at 6.45am on Monday a bailiff put a note through her door demanding payment in full. She phoned up and was told, illegally, that they had booked a van to come and seize her possessions at 7pm that day and she was so afraid she paid the debt, spending £700 of the last £1200 she had left to live on, as she has no benefits or other income due to DWP delays.


CAB adviser with disabled client, non English speaking, bailiff aware of negative disposable income from previous contact, arrangement put in place that client misunderstood so he was underpaying but making regular payments. Bailiffs contacted client and asked for payment in full as he had not adhered to offer of £5 pw, he was paying £5 every 2 weeks. He was unable to afford this so came to CAB for further assistance. Contact made with bailiff who advised client had been 'aggressive' on phone so as a result he was refusing to accept the payment offer and 'will return with the Police to remove his goods'. Bailiff advised he would have agreed a payment if client conduct had been better. Client denies being aggressive and stated they refused to allow him to speak so he became stressed. Situation resolved by contacting local authority as they were collecting council tax arrears. Payment plan reinstated and client advised of correct amount to repay.

Newport West

Bailiff following up court fine for TV licence where client had moved and never seen papers. Rang court and arranged appointment to do statutory declaration to restart the court process. Court can't stop bailiff action - send us to bailiff- bailiff says only can stop action on instructions from court - go round in circles and still in fear of bailiff visits and additional costs.  Having great difficulty sorting out by phone.


Strangely this is quite a positive experience - but made me aware of how little I knew about bailiff law and how confusing it is. A bailiff came round to my flat and I let him in. He then told me that I needn't have done that and that other bailiffs probably wouldn't tell me that. He was very nice about the problem and agreed something I could afford but he did say that I was lucky to have been assigned him, who would tell me my rights.

Holborn and St Pancras

I work at a Local Citizens Advice. The Local Authority is aggressive in it council tax recovery. The recent Welfare Changes have dragged many vulnerable customers into the recovery process. The problem I have is the conflict between the Law and the Regulations. Enforcement Agents who gain peaceful entry threaten to empty the property if the balance isn't paid in full. A Bailiff can lawfully empty the property but the Regulations should mitigate their conduct. One Bailiff, remained in a Customer's house for 6 hours until payment was sourced through relatives and business client. This caused significant embarrassment and distress and could have lost a client for the Customer. They were losing their home after a Part 8 claim. There needs to be new primary legislation.

Stoke-on-Trent North

Enforcement officer said they would break down the door and take parents goods when I was living at their house.


Enforcement agent attended the property, very aggressive and demanding. Explained that I couldn't pay their demanding sums living off £73.10 per week. Agent clamped my vehicle, worth around 10% of the debt and said they would remove it. They returned 2 days later and stated that the clamp had been removed by someone other than them and added further fees. They went on to remove the car and added even further fees making the debt value a massive amount higher than it was originally. This caused severe stress.


Magistrates court fine for speeding. The bailiffs pushed a Notice of Intention to collect paper through my door . It was dated 2019! It implied they would break in to seize property in my house. When I phoned them they said they could take my partners car even though it was solely owned by her and that they would be coming to break in. They refused to negotiate a repayment plan with me even though I was prepared to pay my debt off. They said if I didn't pay it all they would come and take my things. It left me feeling very angry and aggressive towards them and I am fearful I will do something I will later regret if they don't adopt a more helpful approach and attitude.

Nottingham East

Summer of 2017. (Speaking for my mother who does not speak English) Two bailiffs knocked on my door at 7:30. My yongest opens the door. They walk into my house. One heads straight into the living room the other walks into a bedroom. My teenage daughter is asleep. He starts going through my girls wardrobe. I did not know in which direction to run. Then one of my kids ask what are you doing. They say my elder son's name (who does not live with us) and say he owes £300 and his is in debt because he committed a crime. I could not explain that the court had over ruled it a month ago and brought it down to the original amount, which my husband paid off. I panicked and phoned my eldest child and gave the phone to one of the bailiffs guys. My daughter asked for paperwork and informed him that we did not get any notice. He said to her, your brother is a criminal and handed the phone back. He then rounded up my grandchildren's new bikes which was bought by my son in law via delivery.

Poplar and Limehouse

I was erroneously evicted from a property mortgaged when the DSS failed to make payment when not working. A baliff turned up out of the blue, rude, shouting, saying she had posted notice [a buff envelope not specifically addressed to me & alongside elections] and I had to get out. She had an estate agent & locksmith with her. Even though I rang Citizens Advice I did not know what to do. The police were called & discussed things. The baliff would not accept an offer via the police to pay outstanding arrears [mum] & I had 30 mins to get me, the dogs, confidential work stuff out of the house. She continued to taunt me throughout- yes neighbours loved it! & even attempted to pet my dogs. She jeered when she entered my house. The eviction was wrong & 6mths later I went home, having had to pay £6 - 8 K in fees. What was worse was that in that time they switched the fish tanks off [no access] emptied out my freezers, and some damage was done to the house. I felt violated, not safe & unable to stay, and sold what had been home at a loss.

Portsmouth South

They showed up at 6am, banged so hard on the door everything rattled, insulted me, swore at me, told me I should be fired from my job. I had some things that belonged to a friend who had just moved out: such as handbags and makeup (I am male, my friend was female) I explained this to the bailiff who then said "you look like the kind of guy who uses them on the weekend." implying that I dress in drag, then they left because I had nothing of value. I am now debt free thanks to Citizens Advice.


Bailiff attended property where debtor used to live. Didn't get response so knocked next door & was told they no longer lived there but a family member lived further down the round. Bailiff has gone to this property, gained entry & started to remove goods despite being told the debtor didn't live there or own any goods there & were provided proof of this & made aware where the debtor was currently living. Bailiff ignored all of this, stated that they were on TV Show & that it was lucky the TV crew weren't there to cause further embarrassment. There were vulnerabilities/disabilities in the property, this wasn't taken into consideration & those in the house were forced to pay the debt to prevent goods being taken. This has left a disabled man & his carer with no funds left to pay on going living expenses for the month as well as putting them into debt as used credit as well as funds in bank account.

Dudley North

"today ur enforcement agent came to reposes goods as I had outstanding balance of £xxx. I could not pay whole balance off but paid 500 and I will pay 100 every month until my dept is clear. I hope this is ok and would like to say ur agent was outstanding. I have a stammer and fibromaialger and the firm kindness he showed me made me believe once again in treat people how u want to be treat. thank you and kind regards." Shared by a debtor being enforced against by [name anonymised] bailiff firm

Durham North

Intimidated into signing control notice and handing over cash whilst cooking and serving customers, being charged VAT on fees, and refusing to answer clarification questions from the tenant, which then resulted in  being asked to stop asking questions via emails


Had High Court bailiffs visit. They have charged VAT on the fees. Sought advice from my landlords money advice team (I rent from local authority) and they challenged this citing the HMRC guidance but the response from the bailiff firm was that they could charge the VAT to me because I was their customer and they were providing me with a service. It seems that the debt advice sector and HMRC take the view that the creditor is the bailiffs firms customer and so VAT should be charged to them and not me. However bailiff firms see differently. As there is only HMRC guidance and no actual legislation in place to clarify the position on VAT and bailiff fees, I feel this needs to be addressed as I am only making small weekly payments of £5.50 toward my debt and having to pay VAT on top of fees is not an incentive for me to address the debt - some times I think I would have been best off waiting 12 months for the debt to be returned to the creditor and avoid the bailiffs - I am now saving for a DRO


A High Court enforcement officer attended to recover debt 'owed' to a PPI reclaim firm. The fees are completely arbitrary and in no way can you see how they have even made an attempt to abide by the regulations. To make things worse when a complaint was lodged, the response may as well have said ‘tough’! They know full well that there is no real recourse to complain. Very few members of the general public will apply, or even know how to apply for a fees assessment – and could they risk the chance of costs being awarded against them! The enforcement officer who attended in this case also told our client that he could force entry. Which of course he cannot.

Leicester West

Dealt with a Bailiff acting on a Council Tax Debt. When the Bailiff attended the property they lied in order to gain entry by stating that they were 'from a charity'. The Bailiff advised that they were attending in order to assist in the process of setting up payment arrangement to clear off the debts.

Leicester East

I have been contacted by enforcement agents about a debt. The enforcement agents were asking for regular repayments which I can not afford. The enforcement company says "it wasn't their problem that I couldn't afford the payments and that I needs to pay it". They say they cannot lower the repayment amounts. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Milton Keynes South

I have a Magistrates Fine with a bailiff firm for Speeding & No Insurance currently at over £600. The bailiffs misled me over the phone & by letter-headed paperwork. They told me that they were High Court Enforcement Officers authorised to collect the Fine. On questioning them it became apparent that they were simply acting as ordinary private bailiffs on behalf of the Magistrates Court & NOT the High Court. Although this remains a serious matter & the fine a priority, it is NOT with the High Court as originally intimated by the bailiffs by letter & post. This clearly affected the advice I received as the process is different for private bailiffs and High Court Enforcement Officers. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


The bailiff has been contacting me and being rude to me and asking for me to borrow money from friends etc to pay the money I owe. He laughed at me when I said I'd raise a complaint and refused to give me his name. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Cannock Chase

The bailiff collecting the council tax I owed wrote a Controlled Goods Agreement, and included items such as a kettle, toaster and other items which should be exempt. I managed to get them to agree to hold off for a month while I went and got advice. The advice organisation managed to extend this period for another month, but after this the bailiff got back in touch with me and asked them if I had the goods to settle the debt or the money to pay. When I told them the goods were not worth enough to cover the debt and were actually exempt, and that I did not have any money to pay, the bailiff told me they would be coming back to arrest me. I have been very worried. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I am finding it very difficult to contact the bailiff dealing with my council tax case and often have to contact their office directly to make payments. The bailiff then sends text messages to me saying that they've being trying to contact me. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Bedfordshire Mid

The bailiff collecting my debt is hard talking and will not accept offers of payments. He has threatening to clamp my car, which is on a Hire Purchase agreement until he gets a full payment in one go, but this would mean that I couldn't go to work. The bailiff has also told me that I am not allowed to make payments online, only in one lump sum to him. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I've tried repeatedly to set up an arrangement to pay Council Tax arrears with the bailiffs - they've refused to respond to my emails and attempts to set up payment. Then they sent an agent to visit my home to collect the full amount. I am very unhappy that my repeated attempts to resolve the situation have been dismissed, resulting in escalation and the full amount being demanded. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I had a council tax debt that was being repaid through deductions from my benefits but this was stopped when I moved house. The debt was then passed on to bailiffs instead. I didn't receive any notification that this had happened. A bailiff arrived at my door at 7am and continually pressed the doorbell. When I finally responded, the bailiff was rude and threatening. I didn't let him in and this is the first time a bailiff had visited my home. However the bailiff claimed that unless I paid £500 within 24 hours, he would come back with the police and remove goods. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Rutland and Melton

An enforcement agent visited today when I was out and he put his foot in the door when my mum opened it. When she stepped back to close another door he put his foot in that door as well to try and get in. He was rude and abusive to an elderly lady and demanded money from her to repay a debt that I owe. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I called the bailiff firm about my debt. They were very condescending to me and kept using my first name. When I tried to explain my situation the lady kept saying: "You're not listening to me". I think that they should provide more help to people like me who have low/zero income and that the amount I have to pay should be means tested. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


The bailiffs have been given a DART fine to collect. The fine was for just under £200. The bailiffs came out to visit my partner's home yesterday and put through the letter box thirty-three identical letters and added £250 to the fine for each bringing the balance to over £6000. I have offered to pay the original fine when I get paid next week and the bailiffs have agreed to this but told me the £6,000 for the letters will remain on the balance. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Epping Forest

My council tax arrears of several thousand pounds have been passed onto bailiffs. They have a Warrant of Control but have not visited my home yet. Despite me telling the bailiffs that I suffer from Anxiety & Depression AND that my very young grandson who lives with me has just come out of intensive care, and should not be unduly stressed or disturbed, the bailiffs stated that this was nothing to do with them & they will attend my property to remove goods. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I have a magistrates fine which is being collected by a bailiff firm. I rang them up to arrange a payment for the fine and I just received abuse on the phone, before having the phone put down on me. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


When I made an arrangement I offered £30.00 per month. After they left my home the bailiff firm told me the amount the bailiff had noted was £50.00 per month, which will cause me a lot of extra hardship to repay. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Crewe and Nantwich

I have a complaint about the general services of a bailiff firm. They have told me they can break into my home even though they haven't been in the property previously. I have offered to make a payment arrangement which was completely refused even though it was more than suggested on my budget. They just have a generally bad attitude about this. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I had a parking fine that was passed to bailiffs. I have been being treated for cancer and I'm unable to pay more than £1 per month to the parking fine. I advised the bailiffs of my situation and that I felt vulnerable due to my illness and living alone. I've got back to them about all their requests for more information. But I've now been told that I do not fit their criteria for vulnerability and that they are going to enforce the debt. I am very unhappy about this and feel upset and worried about the possibility of a bailiff coming to my property when I am alone. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Brentford and Isleworth

An enforcement agent from visited my home and clamped my partner's vehicle. The enforcement agent is enforcing a debt which is only in my name. After showing the enforcement agent documentary proof of my ownership of the vehicle, the enforcement agent still refused to unclamp it. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

High Peak

The enforcement agents are collecting an old Council tax debt for my council. I don't have a permanent address at the moment and am staying with family and and using my elderly parents home address for post. I have told the enforcement agents this. I have asked them not to attend my parents home. But this has been ignored. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Sheffield South East

The high court enforcement officers are collecting an outstanding County Court Judgement for over £2,000. I got an agreement in place to pay £40pm to them. But they now have a Controlled Goods Agreement which includes exempt domestic items & items specifically listed in the regulations that they are NOT allowed to remove including my cooker, fridge, table & chairs and microwave. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Bishop Auckland

The bailiffs collecting for council tax have been making unnecessary threats to me in terms of forcing their way in and hanging around my home with intimidating behaviour. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Wentworth and Dearne

The bailiffs are collecting a Parking Fine issued by the council of £108. I want to complain about them as they have clamped a vehicle which is on a Hire Purchase agreement, disregarded the fact that I have health issues including Bi-Polar & that my adult daughter, who lives with me, also has Mental Health Issues. They have also advised me that unless payment in full is made they will clamp the vehicle again even though they are aware the car is subject of Hire Purchase agreement. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

I have a high court debt. The officers keep coming to my parents' home despite having been given proof that I no longer live at their property. I would like to initiate a complaint against them. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I am finding the bailiffs intimidating. I am unable to contact them via telephone as every time I ring I am put on hold and then they hung up on me. If I contact them via email it can take over a week for them to reply. They have advised me they will not accept any affordable payment per week worked out by StepChange Debt Charity as evidence of my financial situation. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Somerton and Frome

I am very unhappy with the bailiff's language and tone when speaking to me. They have also not responded to correspondence I have sent. The bailiff has completely disregarded my difficulty with depression and commented negatively upon my money management when they visited. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Arundel and South Downs

I've not been able to keep up with payments to the bailiffs due to change in my circumstances. When a bailiff visited, they said they already had a controlled goods agreement. The bailiff was rude and threatening and advised me to borrow the money from my friends or family. My mum is on holiday but he asked me to contact my mum. He said that when I'm at school picking up my child, he'll arrange for a locksmith and enter my home when I'm not there to take all my goods. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


An bailiff informs me that I have been given incorrect advice and that when they call back today that they can force entry. This was for collection of council tax and the bailiff did not have a warrant. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


An enforcement agent visited my home and despite being advised that there was a very vulnerable child inside, was threatening to my partner. So much so, that the child, who is supposed to be in a safe environment, went to school in fear. Despite this the enforcement agent did still threaten forced action, even though we had made a payment offer. The enforcement agent was very threatening in his approach. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I've been trying to make an arrangement to pay my council tax arrears of approximately £841. The enforcement agent is unwilling to make any arrangement despite me offering £30 a week, then to clear the whole amount when I receive my next wages, which would clear it very soon. I have already made a payment on the enforcement agent firm's website but have been told not to bother paying any more as it was not enough. The enforcement agent has now given me a warning of committal notice. I am incredibly worried and not able to sleep. The enforcement agent told me I could go to prison and that I was not taking this seriously enough. But I don't have any way to pay immediately. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


Regarding bailiffs collecting for council tax arrears - I made an arrangement with the bailiff for £10 per fortnight, but was still receiving letters, phone calls and texts from the company asking me to pay the debt. I called the head office to ask them to stop these communications as I'd already made an arrangement, but the woman on the end of the phone was very rude and hung up, after saying she would continue to send letters and messages until the debt was cleared. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


A bailiff entered my home without permission whilst we were all upstairs. We discovered him in the house filming goods with his camera. I am really concerned about my young children and the impact this incident could have on them. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Morley and Outwood

The bailiff was very rude and verbally aggressive to me. She threatened to force entry into my home (though no Controlled Goods Agreement had been made, and no previous access to the property given). I told the bailiff she wasn't allowed to force entry and was told by the bailiff that she could do what she wanted. I told the bailiff that she was rude and upsetting me and the bailiff replied that it was my fault as I should pay my bills. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


I couldn't get through to the enforcement agent who had visited my house so I called their office. But the person who answered told me she couldn't answer my questions and hung up on me. When I called the enforcement agent's mobile again, the agent told me he would enter my property even if I wasn't home, and said he would bring the police. The agent wasn't helpful and was quite 'bolshy'. I am really concerned about the agent visiting because I am currently away from home on a course. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


My previous council tax debt is being dealt with by a bailiff firm. I have paid them £25pw for the last 16 weeks to repay the debt with the intention to settle the debt with a final payment of £80 in the 20th week. Initially they wanted the debt paid back at £29pw over 20 weeks but I told them I could not afford this, but could pay £25pw. The bailiffs have accepted the last 16 payments, but then wrote to me and told me I was in arrears and sent a bailiff to my home. They added this charge to the debt, so I now owe much more again. I have tried to speak to them, but they have been unhelpful and hung up on me. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Penistone and Stocksbridge

I was very dissatisfied with a High Court Enforcement Officer. He arrived at my property at the time I was having a telephone debt advice session. I did not let him in, but he then proceeded to knock on my neighbours' houses and I then saw him coming out of one of my neighbour's house. He also threatened to take my car, even after I explained that it was on hire purchase. My mother who is disabled lives on the same street as me and she is unaware of the situation which was a real concern for me as I didn't want her to find out about my debts this way. As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Plymouth Moor View

I have been suffering from mental health issues for most of my life from childhood right through to now. I have recently fallen behind with my council tax and have have how ever kept up my payments, however I have received a call telling me now that my payments up being changed from twenty pounds to 55 pounds and have to find 200 pounds in five days or I'm going to loose my belongings. They are fully a where of my mental health issues and continue to intimidate me despite the fact I now pay them when I should and haven't missed a payment. This has now made my mental health deteriorate again when I had been doing so well up to this point I don't know what more they can take from me as I only have my life life to take

Reading West

This is about council tax. I received letter from council saying I owed £113 for 2016/17 and £107 for court charges, even though I had not received any court letter. I paid balance of my council tax and the court charges on 29th March 2017. The council decided to use the £113 for the April council tax which is beginning of April 2017/18 and sent £107 to the Bailiff who started coming to my house to embarrass me and saying I owed £310 for their admin charges when it was the council's fault for not telling them I paid and did not use the money for the purpose of what I paid it for. I did not receive any letter from the council to state that I was taken to court and they obtained a judgement letter without my notice. I was not sent the judgement letter nor did I receive a letter saying I was being taken to court.

Reading West

This is a parking permit issue. The bailiff came to my house without any form of identity, I didn't know where they came from or on behalf of whom they came because they did not show me any ID. After telling them they can take whatever property it is that will compensate the amount owed, they wanted to take my family's important documents to which I disagreed with. They began to assault me and one elbowed me and pinned me down to a bin. I did not receive a letter before they came nor a letter to say that I was taken to court or the judgement letter. I wasn't shown the judgement letter when they came. They took my children's possessions despite telling the bailiffs that they were using the laptops for their exams. They took all electronics that could have been used to record the ill treatment they showed me and I was unable to contact anybody to let them know what was happening. They took 4 laptops, mobile phones belonging to my children, my IPod, Tablet, IPhone 5 and 6s, desktop computer, 55inch Samsung TV, important family documents all to compensate for the £512.

Reading West

A bailiff forced me to come home from work and pay my unemployed, lodger's debt. The lodger said he had received no letters about the debt. I was terrified that I would lose my possessions including family items. The bailiff said the lodging agreement was not good enough, he needed to see receipts, or he would start seizing goods. I have many possessions and few receipts. The bailiff said he would have still have been coming after me, if the lodger's debt had been £20,000. Despite paying under duress, the bailiff's firm refused to refund my payment. After the lodger left, I was warned not to let any other bailiffs (who might be after the lodger ) into my house and I was frightened for months, every time I went outside, in case there was a bailiff lurking. The police said they would not come, if another bailiff got in after the ex-lodger. I feel badly let down by the law and the courts. The lodger said he had no more debts. A letter from debt collectors' arrived for him. I had lodgers for six years. I was supplementing my modest income and providing a home for someone, never again!!!!

Swindon North

A bailiff knocked on my door at 6.45 am! I was in bed & asleep at the time; answered the door in a somewhat sleepy/confused state of mind. Let him in, as it was cold & windy outside (doing him a favour) then felt intimidated as I was wearing just a dressing gown & slippers and he, quite a well-built man 20+ years younger than me, became rather forceful in his approach. I am in my 60s with depression & don't need this "dawn raid" approach. He was from HMRC.

Reading East

Nearly visited by a bailiff after two letters afrom the repo men, and many letters from TV licensing after registering as not needing a tv ???? license 8-10 times, the bayliffs refused to listen to me and court action was going to be taken against me for needing a tv license something which I didn't need, very unfair treatment in the end after going online I had to phone tv licensing twice to stop the bailiffs coming to see me after tv licensing had sent me several letters of fines for not registering. They obviously didn't look into the fact that I wasnt watching tv therefore didn't need one. The bayliffs refused to listen like everyone else.

Reading West

Bailiff kept shouting at me for no reason while I was holding a young baby who started crying. Partner speaks little English and bailiff forced him to sign an agreement which he didn't understand. The Bailiff listed a huge number of items including items obviously owed by my two children. The property is part furnished but the bailiff was not interested and said he will also take the landlords items. He said he would be back this evening to empty the house. I had an arrangement which was being regularly paid but then was late with a payment so he immediately visited. I was very upset and have been shaking all day after him shouting at me.

Wolverhampton North East

The bailiffs have been really difficult to talk to and unhelpful when discussing repayment of my council tax arrears. I can't afford to pay the whole amount at once, but they want me to.

Sutton and Cheam

When the bailiffs first visited I made an arrangement with them to pay and they were collecting the payments by visiting my house. After a period they stopped coming and so I thought this was paid off. It has now come to light, when I was recently visited by bailiffs again. One of them put their foot in the door when my son opened the door and when he tried to close the door, they put their shoulder in and the door became damaged due to this.

West Ham

I had been finding the bailiff firm who had been passed a debt which I don't owe very difficult to deal with and very rude. The next time I called them I did it from Mind charity with an adviser listening into the call on loud speaker for support. When I tried to explain my situation the person on the phone said “Be quite, I’m trying to talk. If your parents do not let us in then we will break in and arrest them, because it’s illegal to not pay a judgement” and “Your mental health issues are irrelevant.”I told them I was completing an N245, to stop them trying to collect money I don't owe, but they’ve told me it doesn’t matter. They are now addressing all my correspondence to my parents address and calling round to their house. I am very concerned as my parents are elderly and this is making my own mental health issues worse.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


A bailiff accessed the block of flats I live in via an emergency button for fire services. The bailiff was filming within the property and when he saw my friend who was staying in my flat at the time, he asked her to provide ID to prove who she was and threatened to get the police involved if she did not provide ID. Even after my friend had provided ID, the bailiff continued to say that they would get her arrested if she was lying. When I called the bailiff firm involved to complain, they said no one of the name the bailiff had given worked for them and then hung up on me.

As told to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser

Gillingham and Rainham

A client called to seek advice and reassurance, as when speaking to the bailiff firm collecting her council tax arrears she had offered to pay them £165 per month to repay the debt in 4 months. The person she spoke to on the phone told the client that this was not acceptable and that unless she repaid the debt in one sum, they would change the locks on her house.  This left the client frightened and unsure what to do.  I advised her correctly that a bailiff cannot do this when collecting council tax arrears, and that they had misled her. 

As reported to a StepChange Debt Charity adviser


When the bailiffs turned up at my house, I was out, and  they discussed my debt with my husband and asked him to repay it, despite his knowing nothing about it. He paid the whole amount as they were very threatening but this has caused us a lot of problems as we couldn't afford to pay that amount all in one go.


I have kept the bailiffs updated with how much I can afford to pay each month and when I can pay it but they are continuing to call and leave messages on my mobile. Some of these are really threatening and I feel they are harassing me.

Reading West

I was doing my daily work. I received a call from a bailiff. He was very threatening and saying I'm going to prison. he was going to my house to remove my goods if I don't pay up that day. I had to find the money on that day and it was an extremely high amount. The debt was for Council tax. I tried to reason with him while I was trembling. I felt faint. I felt sick. The amount was so high. When I got back onto the shop floor where I worked I found it very difficult to deal with customers and tears was in my eyes through the fear of the bailiff which caused me to leave work early that day.

Croydon Central

Bailiff came to my house for outstanding bill. My disabled wife was in on her own at the time, told bailiff she was disabled also showed him proof of this. He still insisted on payment and if she didn't pay he would have her incarcerated When asked what that meant he replied he would have my wife put in prison. My wife has a heart condition and other disabling problems and is on medication for these.There are rules for dealing with vulnerable people but these are regularly being ignored by bailiffs


Bailiffs came to your house this week. You let them into your home because you did not know you should not. When you let him in the debt was for a relative who lived with you in their own room. They did not want to talk to the bailiff. You told the bailiff that the relative did not own any of the things in your home and still he said he would take your things. He started unplugging your TVs and HiFi. The TV was being watched and the Hifi was on. He said unless you had receipts he would take everything. You were very frightened and paid him the money to go away. You told him that your partner was disabled and he still would not leave. You and your partner are retired and this was so distressing for you. You are having trouble sleeping as a result of this. This experience was put in by South West London Law Centres from a client who rang us and gave permission to put this online.

Mitcham and Morden

Harrased and hounded for months by bailiffs employed by Amber Valley Borough Council over a £300 council tax debt, With fees I have to pay just under £1000. I have been unable to work due to a decline in my mental health after the death of a family member and have had zero income (I did not claim benefits during this period due to a lack of rational decision making, caused by my condition). The experience has broken me and left me struggling to keep my head above water as I desperately try to rebuild my life. I no longer feel safe in my home and my recovery has repeatedly been set back due to the "knock" and the fear and stress that this causes. I attempted to contact the council and pleaded for some advice on what to do but have heard nothing from them. I can say without hyperbole that the experience has driven me closer to suicide than anything else I have been through.

Amber Valley

Inflexibility on the part of the Agents both as to what could be afforded from net disposable income and the willingness to work to an agreement that would not necessitate further visits and additional changes.


As a CMA debt adviser, I have liaised with Baliffs on behalf of clients. A common experience we are facing is when a person uses their parents address for mailing purposes, but have no fixed abode and then an enforcement agent visits the property of the parent and threaten the parent that they will remove goods unless they can prove their do not belong to the client. Enforcement Officers are trying to gain access without actually having a warrant, because we are acting on behalf of the parent, not the person named on the document they are reluctant to help with the situation. Clients are generally intimidated by enforcement officers whether that is their intention or not, just due to the nature of the situation and their reputation. Consumers are not aware of their rights or what the enforcement agent can and cannot do.


I am a single mum and I have been working very hard to try and provide for my daughter, recently completing a Law Degree and sustaining part-time work with my own business. I had Council Tax arrears from a previous property, that came about by numerous recalculations, confusion, and financial difficulty combined. I entered into an arrangement with the Bailiff and had paid off most of the debt over 10 months at approx. £22 per week. With only 10 weeks to go I had missed two payments, which I intended to catch up with next week. Yesterday the enforcement officer arrived and I was immediately stressed and harassed in front of my young daughter. I advised that I was paying regulalry and that the debt was coming near to an end but he advised that he would sieze my goods and that £235 was added to my bill. I am now set back and very distressed. I am trying so hard. If I had not tried to work I would not be liable for Council Tax. Immoral Standards.

Hereford and Herefordshire South

I had bailiffs come to my door and i managed to hold them off with the power of the courts... i was in 14,000 worth of debt and this experience panicked me! i then found a company on facebook and spoke to them whilst i was trying to figure out something to do with all this piling up debt! they were so helpful and caring towards my situation and they really helped me out of a tough spot.

Basildon South and Thurrock East

The EA turned up at my house at 8.50pm and told me that I had to let them in as I owed £150 Council Tax and that with their fees for the visit would go up to £500. Told them that I am vulnerable and that I was talking to the council to sort out the debt. Was told it was too late for that. Felt very intimidated and borrowed money from family to get them to go away. Spoke to Suffolk County Council next day and was told that they were taking AoE from my wages for the £150!!!! Told it was paid to bailiffs and they said I had to sort it out with bailiffs to get the money refunded. Still waiting for a refund from Bailiffs and Council have taken £120 from wages via AoE. I am at my wits end trying to get this sorted out. Council will not take any responsibility for the actions of the agents/bailiffs that they are employing to recover their debts. These bailiffs are just bully boys.

Suffolk Coastal

the bailiff refused to accept i was a vulnerable case regardless of the fact i was immobile at the time and also suffering from various injuries because of an accident. They threatened to report me to social services because i had a child and i couldn't look after him.. (pointless to the fact i have two teenagers and a hubby at home) then said he would report me to police for a threatening dog when she was in the kitchen asleep.. he only left when i agreed to pay him if he came back in an hour.. needless to say i did not pay him and went back to the council and made a serious complaint

Preseli Pembrokeshire

He was rude, condescending and did not take into account I was a vulnerable household. He ignored all of my comments and actually laughed when I told him that the original debt was being questioned. He made a difficult situation worse due to his lack of empathy and his attitude towards me. After speaking with him, I actually contemplated taking my own life. He made one of the lowest parts of my life much worse than it needed to be.


An automated process instigated, again automated, by Peterborough City Council for Council Tax. The Bailiffs add an extortionate amount of fees, apply bully and fear tactics, threatening all sorts of visits, clamping of vehicles and prison etc. People standing in Lawful Rebellion Article 61 oh Magna Carta have nothing to fear. Send the bailiff away, they have no contract with you.


I delt with threats from bailiff, then the firm then the council who refused to accept payment offer, and vulnirability . However an organisation on fb and google helped with finding the correct legal paperwork and framework so they had to listen and accept my situation . Kind regard


I have personally had two bailiff visits, a disputed parking ticket, which led to the bailiff sending text messages every 2 hours for 36 hours, including early hours of the morning, a direct breech of the taking control of goods act, and protection from harassment act. and an historical council tax debt which the council know full well is not valid and have been instructed all further communications must be through my solicitor, so they sent bailiffs again, I have over 80 letters here, many text messages and phone calls, all for an invalid debt that dates back to 2000. As admin of groups who deal with these matters daily and helping over 150 thousand people with this topic, We have had reports of members with situations where bailiffs have pushed past 5 year old children in their underwear and refused to leave, or where they have pushed past pensioners and forced payments for debts which are not in their name, and cars on finance or mobility being clamped and left for weeks despite being exempt.

Rossendale and Darwen

As a debt advice service, we are finding many of the bailiffs are rude, refuse to negotiate and causing more undue stress to clients. Intimated & afraid for a client's family, they often try to sort out a payment plan, but rarely accepted. We also feel councils are quick to send off bailiffs shortly after the final notice, which is only incurred when you miss one payment!

Cambridgeshire North West

Terrible persistent calls and threats from bailiffs who were given false information and refused to go back to the company for clarity, saying that it was no longer the company's concern. I finally managed to get the company to deal with the bailiffs from their end, which they did after a asking a number of times. Bailiffs made no effort to confirm that the case was closed.

Portsmouth North

Bailiffs are contacting me via phone very late at night, as late as 23:00, and multiple times per day including Sundays. They refuse to accept payment offers even though I've done a budget with them which shows I can't afford to make the payments they demand. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Sittingbourne and Sheppey

I had a bailiff turn up at the door for council tax debt. As far as I'm aware, there had been no previous visits by bailiffs to where I used to live (where the council tax debt relates to) or to my current address. However the agent pushed the door into me, injuring my foot which required hospital treatment. I was informed that I must pay the entire council tax debt or the bailiff would remove 10 times the value in goods from my home. Police were called. 

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Carmarthen East and Dinefwr

The bailiffs visited me and told me in no uncertain terms that as bailiffs they could turn up at my house at any time and enter the property and seize whatever belonged to me, even though I've checked and this isn't true. 

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I had council tax arrears of £593 that were passed to bailiffs - they visited and the bailiff pushed past my wife to get into the house when my children were present - this made my wife and children very upset - they gave us a notice of attendance and said that they would be back. 

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I have had excessive interest & charges added by a bailiff firm to the amount I owe them. I don't feel I have been treated fairly as the debt should have been paid off by now and I owe more now than the original debt. 

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I thought I had successfully paid off all I owed. But then the bailiffs got in touch and said I owed them 9 pence and the debt would not be closed and that I will incur interest if this is not paid. 

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A bailiff has been making inappropriate and unwarranted suggestions to me. They have also sent me inappropriate texts.

Leeds Central

I had an original debt of £665. I had paid off £75.00 of it but when I tried to settle the rest the bailiffs didn't return my calls or respond to my letters. I then got another bill - this time it had increased to £825. I am very unhappy with this but when I tried to contact the bailiff firm to sort, they said they would just send bailiffs round to collect the rest. 

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Birmingham Hodge Hill

I am currently bed bound, receiving cancer treatment - the enforcement agents knocked on the door and told me to open it so I called to them to tell them my situation that I can't get out of bed. They said they didn't care and if I didn't open the door they would be back later with a big white van to take all my stuff. 

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Denton and Reddish

I got an injury when I was on a job at work. The bailiff firm collecting my debt asked for my x-rays and information about my health from my GP. I supplied this information but the bailiffs called me a "liar". I had an arrangement to repay old council tax arrears but am now unable to pay due to this work place injury. 

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Scarborough and Whitby

A bailiff firm have increased the amount I owe by £663.11 on a debt of £949.84 without telling me why or providing a full breakdown of the extra fees and charges. 

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Birmingham Yardley

I am a single parent and due to have a baby in 6 days. A bailiff rang me and was rude and threatening. He just told me that he will be calling round to my property and will remove goods if I don't pay everything I owe all at once. 

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I spoke to a bailiff firm and was really not happy with the way that they dealt with me as they were very persistent in trying to collect all the money at once. Eventually due to my mental health problems the debt was passed back to the council and I was referred to claim ESA. During the application process I was contacted and asked 'why haven't you killed yourself?'. 

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Doncaster North

A bailiff came round and was very rude and threatening. I am currently pregnant and have previously suffered from high blood pressure. The bailiff also refused a repayment offer of £80pw which my father had offered to pay for me, Instead he told me he was returning tomorrow to seize my goods. 

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My landlord said I have rent arrears but I dispute this. Now I've received a High Court writ for these from a High Court Enforcement firm, but I have not had any other notices or letters from the court. The bailiffs have told me that they can force entry into my home to take goods. This is very frightening as I live in the house on my own. 

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Cardiff North

Bailiffs misled my wife to gain entry to my house and assaulted her. The police were called but the bailiffs said it was self-defence. They listed goods such as my computer containing special software for my blindness, which I know they are not allowed to take. 

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Bradford West

Bailiffs have been very threatening that they will get a ladder to break into my house through my 15 years old son’s window. They've also told me they will force entry whenever I open the door to leave the house and have said they will take my car which is on HP. My son is terrified that someone is going to break in through his bedroom window. 

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I received a letter from a High Court Enforcement firm notifying me that my water bill debt had increased from £1300 to £41650. This turned out to be an error as the debt had actually risen to £2242, but that is still a huge increase. This has caused me a lot of stress.

Bradford South

A bailiff visited my Mum's house, even though it was me and my brother who owed money. He took my Mum's phone out of her hand and began searching through it for numbers and was demanding a picture of me and my brother together. 

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High Peak

The bailiffs rang me up asking for a payment towards a debt. I told them that this debt was my ex-partner's and I didn't have any contact with him because of an ongoing court case. The person on the phone said they didn't believe me, and said enforcement agents would be sent round to my home to collect the money even though no CCJ has been issued. 

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Tyneside North

The bailiffs have been acting in a scary and threatening manner, demanding money from me in a very menacing way, leaving me feeling I have to pay even though I can't afford to. They asked for £200 per month and I can't afford that. I've paid a parking fine in full with them as they told me I had no other choice. I've raised a complaint with them but just got a very rude reply. I feel I've got no option but to pay them what they're asking for.

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Plymouth Moor View

Bailiffs collecting council tax have forced me into signing an agreement that I can't afford. They told me that they can't lie to me but that they had to have a written agreement with me today. They told me I could then ring the council and negotiate with them the amount to be paid. But when I rang the council, the council refused to negotiate and said the matter was with the bailiffs. 

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I set up an arrangement with the bailiff firm to pay £50pcm. I thought this was being paid by Direct Debit but the bailiffs have now told me I actually needed to contact them monthly to pay over the phone. They never told me this before and when I tried to explain the situation, the bailiff called me a liar and hung up the phone. 

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Bailiffs have illegally clamped my car.


The bailiffs rang me up at work and told me I had to complete an income and expenditure with them there and then, even though I didn't have any figures with me. They were really rude and wouldn't listen to anything I was telling them. 

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I tried to tell the bailiffs that my council tax arrears were being paid directly from my salary This was around Christmas 2016 so I was told to call them back in the New Year to complete an income/expenditure form and get something confirmed then. I called them in the new year but was told they were unable to accept a request to take the money owed directly from my earnings and so the debt had been passed to enforcement. I felt I had done everything they requested and tried to find a way to pay what I owed, but now the bailiffs are knocking on the door, and money to pay the debt is still coming directly out of my salary every month. 

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Sussex Mid

We had a bailiff visit from a bailiff firm. The agent pushed his way past my partner and kept turning a microphone on and off when discussing how much we owed. I found this traumatising as the agent mentioned he could take my car to pay for my partner's debt. Later on when we paid the debt he told me that he wouldn't have been able to take the car as it wasn't in my partner's name. 

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Brigg and Goole

I called the bailiff firm which is dealling with the money I owe in response to a letter they sent, as I had missed 2 payments because of illness. The person who answered the phone was very rude and screamed down the phone that they knew there was a car so they would take that and my furniture if the debt was not paid in 24 hours. 

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Sheffield Heeley

I've just tried to call a bailiff firm as they sent me a letter asking me to ring them. They have just hung up on me after saying that they would "take the next steps" but I'm not at all sure what this meant. 

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Truro and Falmouth

My Council Tax debt has been passed on to enforcement agents. The debt has now gone up to £624. At the moment they haven't visited my house but they have told me that they will be coming to my house at 10pm today to take goods. I have told the bailiffs that I have a disabled 12 yr old son, and that this will really upset him. I am finding this all very distressing. 

As shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Lewisham West and Penge

The bailiffs I'm dealing with said they have only received 1 payment for two debts. I spoke to someone at the bailiff firm but they didn't listen to me, and still won't agree repayments with me.

Brent Central

I let a bailiff into my home who was collecting a council tax debt but he didn't make a controlled goods agreement. He then preceded to threaten me that he would turn up with a locksmith and if I didn't pay £75 per month I would have to go to prison. This left me worrying about what would happen to my two children. When I found out he couldn't do this, I rang the bailiff firm he was from directly to make a complaint but the office informed he could essentially say what he liked. 

Shared by a StepChange Debt Charity client

Manchester Central

I have a complaint about a Court Enforcement Officer collecting the money I owe on my water bill. He visited my home when I was away and then he went to my neighbours' house to ask which was the car I owned. I was really upset that my neighbours now know that I have Enforcement Officers chasing me for debts and this is a breach of data protection law.

Surrey South West

I phoned the bailiffs after receiving a letter, and was put through to a bailiff who told me I must pay 50% of the debt or he would call the police, and force entry into my home to take goods. This left me feeling very threatened and, until I was advised otherwise, I believed what he said to be the truth. As shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Brent Central

We are a Community Money Advice Centre, assisting mainly vulnerable adults with their debts. Our clients’ experience of bailiffs is mostly not positive (although we welcome recent limits on their power). Our clients often have mental health difficulties, yet bailiffs don’t seem to have any regard for this. They expect clients to understand verbal instructions, and the written information they provide is too often only partial, using unclear terminology. Our clients just don’t understand what the bailiffs are saying or doing. For example, one client phoned us, terrified because all the bailiffs had communicated to her was that she was under arrest; she hadn’t understood at all that she’d been bailed to appear in court re her TV licence. The majority of times we’ve experienced bailiffs is due to unpaid council tax. We feel it would be better if we could talk directly to the council to help the client set up a payment plan; to avoid the debt growing because of bailiff fees and ensure the council gets their money sooner, but it is difficult to get bailiffs to return the debt to the creditor. It feels like they are only interested in making money from our vulnerable clients!

Southend West

I have proof that I have been making payments to the bailiffs on time and they have admitted to losing the payments which has caused me serious stress. I had paid via my credit union and the bailiff firm takes the money directly. They have asked for my bank statements as proof of payment and I have sent these but they are now claiming they have not received these either.

Leeds East

I spoke to a gentleman from the bailiff firm chasing my council tax arrears as I had missed a payment due to going into labour. However, he blamed me and my daughter for missing the payment and was very rude over the phone. I was very upset and asked to speak to a manager, but he declined to pass me on to anyone and said that his manager had given him permission to disconnect the line.

Boston and Skegness

I am really annoyed about how bailiffs have handled my Council Tax arrears. I felt they tried to intimidate and threaten me, but when I tried to raise a complaint the bailiff did not appear to have correct ID - he wouldn't give his full name. Afterwards I then received threatening text messages and calls from him.

Suffolk West

I lost my job so fell behind with council tax payments. Got taken to court when £70 was added for court costs. Balance outstanding was £335 after court. I contacted Thurrock council and paid £100 but they told me future payments would need to be paid to the bailiff company who will contact me soon no name of company was given balance left was £235. I heard nothing then a month later I got a letter from a bailiff company who had added a charge of £235 so balance now had doubled. I was furious as I had never received an initial letter from them and was waiting to make a payment. However they would not accept this and informed me that if I didn't make the full balance payment £470 then there would be further charges added if they came out to the property. I contacted Thurrock council who stated it was the bailiff firm who were dealing with it even though they had initially failed to give me the bailiff's number when I first called them to make a payment.


May 2015 and we had a letter through our door from a third party who had listed the car on the drive for collection if this bill wasn't paid. It was a business rates bill that was one week behind an arrangement that we had made and the council refused to stop the bailiff action. We didn't have any CCJs and this came out of the blue. We had been paying £100 per week and one payment was a few days late and this was the response, including adding £1500 in costs for the enforcer. The bailiff refused any offer that we gave and we offered up to £2000 that we had managed to beg, borrow and steal from friends and neighbours. We also proposed a set agreement for the end of every month at £400. Bailiff refused to budge he wanted everything and insisted on coming to the house to do a walk round. Upon discovering very little of value in the house and a further £2000 added to the pot he finally settled on half of the debt with an agreement to pay the remainder at £400 a month. After this the council regained the account.


The problem with the ballif is they want too much money in a lump sum and stupid monthly payments so it's impossible to deal with them

Somerton and Frome

The bailiff was invited into the property by the client, a single mother of a young child with limited English skills, and proceeded to list goods. He then got her to sign a £50 per week repayment plan without taking any steps to assess whether the plan was affordable. Had the bailiff concerned taken the client’s vulnerability into account and given proper consideration to her financial circumstances, it would have been immediately obvious that the repayment schedule she signed was not affordable. The client felt pressurised into signing the agreement fearing that she would otherwise lose her possessions and has ended up with substantial rent arrears because she has been prioritising payments to the bailiffs rather than paying her rent.


Client has epilepsy. Struggling with finances. Single parent. Was on DLA and other benefits but didn't know that she owed council tax. Now with bailiff. 2 x bailiffs so 2 x fees. Client cant go to local Citizens Advice due to work. Doesn't know about Council Tax Support or single person discount. Bailiff refused any offers.

Stoke-on-Trent South

Bailiff refused my offer. He wanted at least my 2 months take home wages which I told him "its impossible that will leave me without food or transport to work" and he told me to borrow from 3 payday loan companies. I told him it will make my financial hardships worse than resolving them. Today his office refused to take my payment over the phone saying they can't take it I have to deal with the enforcement guy and yet this enforcement guy is not even bothering to answer my phone calls, twice he said he will call back up, but to now he never tried to call. All they want is to say I'm not paying and yet I'm offering what I can as a mother with kids. I wish government will intervene before nhs bill goes even higher because of antidepressants which might result with others failing to work and end up on benefits. If government is helping people from bank high interests why cant they help people from being abused with these bailiffs?


We recently contacted a bailiff on behalf of a vulnerable client to inform them that the client was vulnerable and that we would be forwarding evidence to that effect later that day. In the process we had to give the client's new address to the bailiff which resulted in the bailiffs visiting the address the following day at 8.30 am. The client was admitted to hospital a couple of weeks later for treatment for his mental health condition and claims it is as a direct result of the bailiff's visit.

Wolverhampton North East

Bailiffs turned up at the door without sending me a letter or ringing beforehand. I was still trying to sort out the money I owed on Council Tax but they said the council had passed the debt on to them because I hadn't been in contact. When I said that I had been trying to sort things out with the council the bailffs told me it had been passed on to them now and they were adding their fees to the amount owed. They told me I must pay the whole lot (now gone up from £300 owed to almost £700) all at once otherwise they would come back to seize my possessions.

Holborn and St Pancras

I am an adviser for a local charity. I would like to share my recent experience of a client I assisted regarding magistrates court bailiffs. The person I saw was in work and has children. He was visited by the bailiffs to enforce a court fine having missed a payment on arrangement directly with the court. The bailiff set up an extortionate payment of £374 and then a payment of £177 per week for six weeks. This was not affordable. I rang the bailiff firm to speak to them. They told us they do not consider affordability and only consider an arrangement to pay either in full, two payments of 50%, One payment of 40% plus several payments, or 30% plus several payments. They disregarded National Standards:taking control of goods when discussed with them, and merely stated only instruction from the court can change the arrangement. My client did not wish to complain to the court for fear of it getting worse. The bailiffs disregard for national standards goes to show the changes to bailiff enforcement have no effect on bailiff behaviour unless they are forced to adhere to it.


A debt recovery agency are collecting council tax debt from me. I am single and live alone in a private let 16/17 council tax year is also with them and new year starts in April 17 . I wants to make a reasonable and sustainable offer but the agents are not reasonable. I was paying £80 - but was told that was just the amount due for current year without covering arrears so increased to £100 At xmas bailiff rang several times a day and insisted on £150. He than wrote to say I had agreed £150 per debt. I borrowed money from a friend and then had to use food bank to repay the friend. The whole situation made me so ill that over xmas when off work I took painkillers to help me block out the situation. I tried to talk to him and he told me to ring the office , I rang the office and they told me to ring him. Situation is affecting my mental health. He has been in the house but he did not list anything as he said nothing for him to take - I do not own a car . I have to pay CSA .


I had a visit from a bailiff and he was threatening and intimidating and a complete liar and something needs be done about how he is treating people, I opened my door no knowing who it was after finding out I tried to close it he forced me back with my door and gained entry, I stood in the way to prevent him going any further . After 10 mins of this he started saying I'm ringing the police your obstructing me, in this time o showed him I was on £20.36 per week esa and he said I don't care I want full payment now or I clear you out, then my 10 year old daughter who had mental health issues broke down and went into distress infront of him but he said I don't care I want the money , he went on to say he could take my partners car for my debt? I had proof it wasn't mine but he lied and said I can take that becouse it's linked to the house. He also said you are starting to annoy me threatens me.


A client was visited by bailiffs re sons debt. He lives with his mother but it is her tenancy and the council tax bill is in her name. They told the client they would remove property to cover the debt. She said it was her property. They asked her to prove it. some of it was 10yrs old so she could not. They refused to leave the house and she was so intimidated that she paid them £450 to get rid of them although it was not her debt.

Blackley and Broughton

On receipt of a CCJ and despite no prior court paperwork (we live in a very rural area) a set aside hearing was immediately applied for. Whilst awaiting a court date and unknown to us, the other party went directly to the High Court for a warrant for which no paperwork is issued. Although a court date had been set and no enforcement notice received, a Sheriff visited. We were not at home and because of this, despite the fact there was no enforcement notice delivered, a letter was left advising £2,000 had been added to the 'debt'. An emergency stay of execution was granted by the County Court the following day but I had to advise the Sheriff. When I said he couldn't just turn up and expect someone to be in, he asked if we'd received an enforcement notice. When I said no, nothing only the CCJ, he commented that he wasn't surprised he'd only found the house by accident. If judgement is made in a County Court it should administer it so one party isn't kept in the dark. The debt is £2,000 more because the Sheriffs have not followed their own procedures.



Dagenham and Rainham

Bailiff advised client that debt would not be covered by DRO so would have to be paid anyway. Untrue, non priority debt, not excluded. Bailiff told client that although they had begun DRO with CAB, they would not be accepted and should pay up. Many bailiffs are ok but many tell blatant lies about the law to frighten clients into paying. Bailiff informed cl that they could add a debt to a DRO 'if they were quick" Debt already included. Can't stress enough the importance of bailiffs knowing their rights & clients' rights and acting in a professional manor. Bullying unacceptable.


On May 6th 2016, a bailiff company unlawfully clamped my car for another persons debt. They refused to believe it was my car despite showing proof of ownership and I had to pay £600 for the clamp to be released. After providing proof of purchase to them, they still refused to return my money. The police took a statement from me but wouldn't take it further. I am more than happy to share my story as some bailiffs need stopping.

Swansea East

A bailiff knocked on my door asking for my landlord. I told him the landlord didn't live at this address. He pushed me out of the way and entered my home. I immediately called the police and they arrived about 15 minutes later. He never showed me a warrant but claimed to have one. The police did nothing and said it was all legal, including him pushing me. I called the landlord and they paid even though they didn't recognise the debt because he was threatening to take my belongings. I still don't understand how any of it was legal.

Bethnal Green and Bow

My husband and myself are in arrears for council tax , my husband had a work injury which resulted in him being retired early from his job as he had a disability , I am his career and after a while I had to rely on pain medicine for my own wear and tear in my discs and anti depressants as I suffered anxiety and panic attacks.this debt was from a few years ago which appeared from no where but we were paying it in small amounts , we received a letter recently saying if we did not pay the amount in full we would end up in prison both of us . Was very scary we contacted them and arranged to fill in an expenditure form , but we also have our recent council tax and a previous one to pay its tough , but I'm terrified as they came to our previous address saying there not going anywhere and want money the main person was a woman and it really shook me up my husband phoned the council in question which contacted the bailiff company and called them off , I was very stressed ,


On the 6th march 2017, bailiffs knocked on my mother's flat. She wasn't expecting anyone so she opened the door. Two men entered my elderly mother’s flat demanding that she pays the debt owed by my sister. My sister has never lived with my mother but used her address without her knowledge. My mother tried to explain this to the bailiffs and showed them proof of her tenancy but they still walked around her flat taking notes of her possessions. Eventually they left after threatening to return in 24hrs if the debt has not been paid. My sister has depression and has gotten into debt but has been uncontactable for over a year. My mother was terrified that these men would return. I reassured her that if they return she should not open the door and that is what she did when they returned 2 days later. I called the bailiff's mobile. I asked him why he was harassing my mother, he said he will keep going until the debt is paid. I emailed them proof of address for my mother but she is still scared to be in her flat alone.

Greenwich and Woolwich

I brought my son home from hospital. Whilst I was carrying him out of the car, a woman approached me. It turned out she was a bailiff collecting council tax arrears. I had forgotten to pay it with all the worry over my son. She followed me into the house and when I put my son on the sofa, started to discuss taking household items including my son's rehab equipment. She was demanding money. I had no cash to give her and told her to leave. She said she would be back. She did not care at all for me and my son's illness. Luckily I went to our local CAB who complained for us and got a refund of bailiff costs and we were able to pay Liverpool council instead.

Liverpool Wavertree

I had three accounts with the council that I'm currently paying actually I've cleared 1 and paying the others 1 is £20. &£40 per month so £60 in total in January i fell behind with the £40 payment because i needed to get school stuff for my kids and by account was sent to a debt recovery agency.i tried calling the number one their letter countless times and could never get through to an advisor but the payment line was always answered by the automation the balif visited my home and a left a letter showing a bill for £591 when i only owe the council £202???? and he keeps visiting droping off letters threatening to remove goods!!!!I only work partime and my partner is unemployed but he doesn't give a hoot!! Now we leave home in the mornings or keep the curtains closed even when its sunny????

Manchester Central

An Enforcement Agency pushed a 'Notice of Enforcement Agent Visit' sheet through our clients letterbox. It has the amount owed and is signed by the agent. Client hasn't signed anything and she says bailiffs didn't enter the building. This was subsequently confirmed by the bailiffs to ourselves ( a free debt advice agency.) The notice is misleading.: It states that clients 'goods are bound. You cannot remove, sell or otherwise dispose of them.' It says 'if you cannot pay in full, I will need to take control of your goods. You will need to sign a Controlled Goods Agreeement...' Basically the Enforcement Agency is using threatening and misleading documentation and implying things which have not yet taken place. All designed to intimidate the client into making payment without an assessment of their circumstances.

Nottingham East

Two male bailiffs came, I was alone with my 3 year old daughter, I didn't know I didn't need to let them in as they said that if I didn't they would get the police and force their way in. I felt bullied and scared. One of the bailiffs stayed with my daughter while the other drove me to the cashpoint.


My client decided to suspend payments to her unsecured debts to increase the amount she could pay each month to council tax arrears. Her offer would have cleared the debt in 7 or 8 months, but the bailiff refused to accept it , insisting on an amount she could only have paid if she didn't make any payments to the current years council tax or got behind with another priority bill. 

Shared by a CAB adviser.


Had a fine for TV licence, I neglected to pay it. Past to Bailiff, I paid fine online to the court but the EA is still harassing me for it. Threatening locksmiths etc and forced entry .

Suffolk Coastal

I was billed from council tax when my eldest 2 kids were at college and uni, I contested and sent proof they were in education and didn't hear back so I thought it had been sorted until I got a bailiff letter which has demanded I pay £60 per month. I had to leave work due to ill health Oct 2017 and I'm registered disabled as is my adult son. I have a child age 11. The benefits I receive are little because tax credits runs April to April and I was working so won't be updated until april. £60 a month is way too much and it keeps me awake at night worrying about how I will pay it. It's.not right, council tax should help more.

Worsley and Eccles South

I hope no one will ever have the experience i had that early morning about 5 am knocking at the door was like demolishing the entire building it was too scary for disabled person like myself to open and investigate who's knocking at that early hour what an experience first time in my life obviously i did not open for them.unfortunately it was parking ticket went up from 65pounds to 202 pounds in which i don't have that much money to pay??now after that visit the bailiff demanding another 310 pounds on top of the fine is that within the LAW for one visit to charge that much how on earth they calculate that kind of fee i don't understand and why hammersmith council picking on people when the sign i past it then i did U turn when it was clear road to turn i wonder where i will end up later prison or more financial difficulty


We have had numerous bailiff visits since that date for erroneous pcn's. This became so upsetting, with our car being clamped & towed in front of our home & neighbours, & on a few occasions stopping us from being able to get our son to school on time that eventually we contacted the LGO who on investigation with the relevant councils discovered that the pcn's which we insisted we had no information about either had no supporting evidence or the correct procedure had not been followed by the outsourcing company involved to ensure that the notice to owners or charge certificates prior to instructing a collection agency, who then also never bother to either send out letters or deliver a letter prior to clamping. The main council involved were very willing to investigate & we are being refunded the thousands of pounds that has been taken from us, but the fear & embarrassment that comes with hearing someone outside your house at 5:45am, waiting for the moment they can 'legally' clamp your car stays with you, & I no longer feel safe in my home, knowing that despite what they say this does happen with no warning whatsoever.


An 'alleged' bailiff opened my front door, came in my house and refused to leave unless i pay him over £500 for a parking ticket issued by MCC on a bank holiday. MCC states on their website that it's free parking in Manchester city on bank holidays. I sent a copy of this information to MCC, but they ignored it. The bailiff was rude, intimidating and aggressive, ignored that I am a vulnerable family and pounded my car. The 'warrant' was sent via post 2 weeks after the incident, and I am still waiting to discover if he was properly certificated on the day he trespassed. His name was not listed on the bailiff register on the day he trespassed and the court has been evading my questions to determine his status on the day he trespassed and stole my car. The police refused to attend my call for assistance when I informed them that a stranger was in my house. When I told the bailiff I need my car to take my son to the doctor, he informed me to take public transport and when I asked where my car was pounded, told me to 'Google it'. It's theft!

Manchester Gorton

The bailiffs blocked the road with their van to prevent me driving past them. I mounted the verge to get past and they chased me along country roads for about a mile until they gave up. In the meantime I visited the offices of the alleged creditors to acquire details of debt (first I'd heard of it) and they informed me they had no information, the bailiffs had all paperwork. The bailiffs returned three days later, walked straight into my home and stated they had no paperwork. One started taking an inventory of items to seize and commented on how dusty everything was. I had to hand over slightly less than £500 for a debt I didn't owe in the first place, and which was not refundable.


My husband and I in our mid 60s had a knock at the door one evening. 2 men asked for my son. I said he was out and I didn't know where or when/if that night he'd be back. They said for me to phone him but he doesn't use a mobile. They then said he owed money and so they would get a truck and tow either my husband or my car away. I asked what he owed money for and how much but they wouldn't tell me, walked passed me and planted themselves aggressively in my hall refusing to say anything. Eventually I managed to get one of them to say it was for a parking fine and had sufficient cash to pay them and get rid of them; however the whole incident lasted an hour and I was very upset and threatened by them. My son had moved address and didn't receive the initial form. he received no notice that anything was to be expected and was a shock to him when he saw me following day. It was appalling and left a very dirty taste. These men were bullies, intimidating and their behaviour unacceptable

Harwich and Essex North

I was in the kitchen taking some medication when I heard a tap at the window. I presumed the men standing outside to be police officers. They were wearing dark stab vests, with a logo resembling the police,..They asked to come in.They wanted to enforce a parking fine given to my husband's son, who has never lived at out house, and is over 30. They told me the amount accrued was £392.00, and because my husband's son has an old van, that is SORN’d parked on our drive we were liable for the fine. They were aggressive, and said they would seize goods to the value of the fine. I stood in the doorway and said they would not. They threatened me with arrest, and rang the Police. The Police refused to come. After 2 hours wrangling we paid them for a debt we had not incurred because we were intimidated. We are both pensioners. We asked for an audit trail to prove they had tried to contact the perpetrator but they refused. No chance to contact our lawyers on a Saturday for advice. 

Calder Valley

A bailiff knocked on my door last month as I had not paid the 3 months left of this year with 2 months to go. I had paid 2/3 of the year with 1/6 to go. When I queried this I was told I had to pay the full 1/3 owing to the end of the year within 24 hours. I checked with the council and they said this was correct. I was shocked to be woken early in the morning without warning and only owing a very small amount.


Not my experience as such, but my nan's. My cousin was living with my nan for a few years, but moved out about 2 years ago. Since then, he has continued to accumulate debts at my nan's address. Some of these have gone to court, and bailiff action has been issued. As my cousin no longer lives with my nan, has no possessions there. My nan, who is 79 years old, has bailiffs arrive at her house on a weekly basis. Most of them are from unpaid DART charges for the Dartford crossing. Most of the bailiffs are very forceful, tell my nan that they can take what they want from her house, and have no interest in updating their records to show that my cousin no longer lives there. They have been informed on many occasions. My nan has been in hospital with the stress that they have put her under, showing no leniency for her age. The visits still haven't stopped.

Dagenham and Rainham

I was told by the bailiff that if I didn't pay ,(despite my telling both him and the council that I was off work sick and had no income) that he would be back and that I wouldn't like what happened next..

Liverpool Wavertree

The local council employ a firm of Bailiffs whose Collection Agents claim to have the right of entry to any property, day or night, on the basis of a Magistrates Liability Order. They further claim to have powers to remove (for sale) childrens property (including specialist equipment for disabled children), motability vehicles, essential household goods, wheelchairs and specialist medical equipment provided for the treatment of disabilities/medical conditions etc. To my knowledge at least 15 complaints have been made about the behaviour of one of said companies Agents to local Police

Louth and Horncastle

I provided bank details to an enforcement agent in order to pay an instalment of a magistrates fine but they have taken the full amount of the arrears, leaving me struggling to pay my staff wages. Now I can't even get in contact with the enforcement agent or the firm he works.


The bailiff firm said they've hired a van and they're coming to remove goods (even though they don't have the right). They demanded £800 up-front or, "they'd gain access to the property and remove goods" and when I rang the head office I was told it was out of their hands.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Coventry North West

An enforcement agent sent me a text message saying the recovery truck was coming to remove goods and 3 hours later sent another text message saying “get home now if you want to watch your goods being removed”. When I got home there was no note or letter left behind to suggest the enforcement agent had visited.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


My ex-partner got some parking fines  when he was using my car.  Whilst one council has written some fines off when I gave them crime numbers etc, another has referred them to bailiffs who are continuing to pursue these aggressively.  This has included sending me texts saying that I must return home immediately.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


Bailiffs have been adding £46 per month to my original agreed offer. I can’t afford to pay this much.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Leicester South

Bailiffs have been intimidating, threatening to force entry into my house to remove goods, and acting inappropriately outside my house by shouting threats through the letterbox.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Bedfordshire Mid

The bailiff has just told me he is  coming to my home at 6 am tomorrow and bringing his team with him. He said he would get in whether I was in or not. I asked for time to speak to the council. He refused. I was awake all last night and  so stressed.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Durham North West

I've been in touch with the bailiffs to offer a payment towards my debts but they have told me that they will not accept the payment and they are taking me to court. This has really worried me as I'm not able to pay the debts after coming out of work through ill health.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Norfolk North

Bailiffs told me that if I can't pay them £250 by next week then they will bring the police round to my home and get me arrested. This has caused me a lot of stress and worry.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Warwickshire North

I had a visit from an enforcement agent in connection with Council Tax arrears this morning.  I wasn't able to pay what they were asking for, and the agent told me that he would have to pass the arrears back to the council and they would apply for my committal to prison.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Milton Keynes South

The enforcement agent we've been dealing with has refused to negotiate a payment and has threatened entry into our home.  This has caused us a great deal of distress.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Cornwall South East

I had a debt for £1,015 passed to a bailiff firm. I contacted them asking for information regarding the debt but they wouldn't give me any information and demanded the full payment otherwise they would go to the County Court. I felt very threatened by them.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


Bailiffs told me that I would be arrested if I would not agree to an unaffordable payment arrangement. They also told me they were going to remove goods from my home the following day without having been invited in or making a controlled list of goods agreement.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Brent Central

Bailiffs have been abusive with me on the phone and asked me a few times for my PIN and other personal details. When I refused to give this information they immediately disconnected the call.

Shared by a caller to StepChage Debt Charity


Bailiffs are are enforcing a County Court Judgment for a gas bill from where I used to live. Two agents knocked on my front door and then proceeded to knock on my next-door neighbour's house when nobody answered. When the neighbour answered, they demanded to know where we were, what time we would be back and if they knew us at all.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


An enforcement agent has threatened to force entry into my home whether I am home or not, if I don't pay off my debt in full in the next few days.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


The council tax I owed was passed on to a bailiff firm. They are adding on fees every time they visit my house, which they shouldn't do.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

The Wrekin

Bailiffs lied to my ex-partner about having got into my house and make a controlled goods agreement. They were also very rude on the phone repeatedly telling me they'd be "coming round with a van" even though they didn’t have the right.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Durham North West

A bailiff firm have been very rude to me over the telephone and they have been sending me multiple letters per week. I feel as if they are harassing me.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


My parking fines have increased from £80 to £422 now they are with a bailiff firm who are unwilling to accept payment in instalments. They insinuated that I was a liar when I complained about the way the individual enforcement agent spoke to my partner.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


The bailiff put his foot in the door and then pushed me. I have a health condition and I ended up in hospital as a result. I called the police as myself and my  daughter felt very threatened, but they wouldn't take any action as they had not witnessed the incident.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Brentford and Isleworth

An enforcement agent told me he was going to bring the police and also a van and come into my house regardless of my consent. He also told me if I moved anything from the house before he did this, he would get the police to arrest me as it was a criminal matter, but he was just collecting a speeding fine.

Washington and Sunderland West

I'm really upset  that a payment plan I set up to pay my council tax arrears has not been honoured by the bailiffs. They have refused to negotiate with me and have demanded payment in full.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


I came down from the shower to find an enforcement agent stood in my living room. I hadn't allowed the agent in, he had let himself in. The agent then asked for proof of my illness, so I showed him prescriptions and medications that I was currently taking. I felt very intimidated and was not in a stable state of mind.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Hull East

A bailiff collecting a magistrates fine went to my next door neighbour and told her they had a warrant to enter her home. He stood outside my neighbour's home shouting so people could hear that he had a magistrate's warrant and he said he'd force entry into her home. My neighbour had already spoken to them about setting up an arrangement and was under the impression an instalment plan had been agreed.

Stoke-on-Trent Central

I have a problem with a bailiff firm accepting payment  for the gas bill money I owe. The bailiffs got into my house and demanded a £500 upfront payment of the money owed and a further £1,600 in 7 days or they would take away my possessions. I said I had 2 young daughters and needed a little more time but they just ignored this. I am feeling very stressed, anxious and crying a lot.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Wyre and Preston North

I have  a County Court Judgement which has been passed to a bailiff firm for enforcement. When I contacted the bailiffs they told me (wrongly) that there is a warrant out for my arrest because of this debt which really upset me.

Faversham and Kent Mid

Bailiffs, who are handling my partner's previous rent arrears, told me that the debt had gone to the High Court. This wasn't true, as the debt had been passed on to them by the council for collection only. I'm really unhappy they could give me this incorrect information.

Castle Point

A bailiff has been very rude and unprofessional in his conduct - calling me a "silly little girl". I complained to the bailiff firm concerned, but they saw no fault in the bailiff's behaviour and just told me to take my complaint to CIVEA.


I've been treated badly by enforcement agents.They have refused to engage in any sort of conversation with me to set up a meaningful payment plan and have pursued a magistrates fine debt aggressively. I filed a complaint with them but didn't get a proper response. The enforcement agents have made numerous threats to start taking everything in my home and don't seem to take into account that I have a 3 month old child.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


I was phoned by a bailiff firm who read out what I owed but I was in such a panic I didn't write it down. When I rang them back to ask who they were collecting for and a breakdown of the debt the person who answered the phone was very rude and refused to give me this information.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Esher and Walton

A bailiff came round to my house and clamped and threatened to remove my car, which is worth more than the amount I owe and I use for my job. The bailiff told me that that the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013  are no longer enforceable, are out of date and no longer apply, even though I checked and this wasn't true.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Hull West and Hessle

A bailiff came round to my home and my son let him in. The bailiff gave me a letter saying that he would be seizing all of my goods except those needed for domestic use. He didn't provide an itemised list of goods and I wasn't asked to sign a controlled goods agreement.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Cannock Chase

Bailiffs are phoning me about 15 times per day and being really rude and unhelpful. I am struggling with the harassment. They've also visited my home and after knocking on the door a bailiff looked through the windows for about 5 minutes which I felt was really intrusive on my private family life. I am feeling really stressed because of this.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Ilford North

Bailiffs have been really intimidating and pushy. I had overstretched myself in attempting to clear my debts, and wanted to agree a lower payment that I could afford, but the bailiffs told me  that because I had afforded payments previously, I should continue to pay the same amount or further action would be taken.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Dorset Mid and Poole North

I am a single parent with no income and have been diagnosed with a terminal illness. When I phoned up the bailiffs to explain my situation they interrupted me and said they'd heard this sort of story many times before and needed a payment with no excuses. The bailiff was very rude and aggressive.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Bedfordshire North East

I was advised by the bailiffs that they could not make a payment arrangement for the council tax I owed over the phone and I would have to make an arrangement when the bailiff visited my home. When the bailiff visited me he refused any payment and said that he was only there to take control of goods.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Swindon South

My child opened the door to a bailiff, who tried to enter, even though they were closing the door against him. The bailiff was very vocal. Our neighbours came out of their homes due to the noise. He said he would return with a locksmith and would take items belonging to my children.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Calder Valley

Bailiffs have been threatening to come and remove goods without a controlled list of goods agreement, if I don’t pay the whole of the council tax I owe at once.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

Dudley South

A bailiff  just visited attempting to gain access to my home, even though when I checked he didn’t have the right to enter. He tried to trick me into opening the door by saying he only needed to complete some simple paper work.  It took me ages to persuade him to go away and he put a lot of pressure on me to let him in.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


About the Taking Control campaign

Concerns over the impact of the bailiff’s knock at the door have been long raised by debt advice agencies and other charities, based on the experiences shared with us by people in financial difficulty week in, week out.

In recent years, some limited progress has been made in improving bailiff law, resulting in the 2014 bailiff reforms in England and Wales, known as Taking Control of Goods.

However, these reforms have had only limited success – and people contacting debt advice charities continue to report widespread problems with the behaviour of bailiffs and bailiff firms.

Our organisations – AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Community Money Advice, Institute of Money Advisers, Money Advice Trust, Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, PayPlan, StepChange Debt Charity, The Children’s Society and Z2K – have all seen the impact of continued problems in the bailiff industry on the front line of the services they provide.

Our Taking Control campaign aims to highlight the experiences of our clients with bailiff action in the last four years, with recommendations for further reform.

The Ministry of Justice has now published the one-year review of the reforms but have not yet carried out a promised three-year review.  Following the launch of our campaign, the Ministry of Justice has announced that they will shortly be launching a new call for evidence in a “crackdown on rogue bailiffs.”

It is more important than ever, to tell the Ministry of Justice why we need bailiff reform and the campaign will be responding to the call for evidence.

As part of the campaign, we are inviting people who have been visited by a bailiff since April 2014 to share their experience. The BBC docudrama “Killed by my debt” illustrates the experience of an individual, Jerome Rogers, affected by bailiff action to collect his debts. If you want to support our campaign, after watching Jerome’s story, you can email your local MP and email the Minister for Justice to ask them to act.

Read our March 2017 report, Taking Control: The need for fundamental bailiff reform, or get in touch to find out more.

Read our “One year on” report which highlights the progress our campaign has made so far.

Have you been visited by a bailiff since April 2014?

If so, we would like to invite you to share your experience – anonymously – to help inform policy makers as they consider the case for further reform to bailiff law.

Select your Parliamentary constituency below – or if you don’t know your constituency, entering your postcode below and we will find it for you (please note your postcode will not be stored).


Enter your postcode and click check

200 word limit. Remaining 200.

Click submit to send us your experience, anonymously. Please note there is no way that this message can be replied to.

If you need help with debt or are worried about a bailiff visit, seek free advice from an independent debt charity as soon as possible.

Terms & Conditions

Where to find more information and understand your rights

The law on bailiffs is complicated. For more information about your rights, start with the National Debtline golden rules about bailiff action.

The National Debtline website gives more information to help you understand your rights and how best to deal with bailiff action depending upon the type of debt you have. There are links to fact sheets with advice about different debts and you can also find a fact sheet on how to complain about a private bailiff with sample letters you can use.

You can find a suite of information and advice about bailiffs at Citizens Advice. This explains what a bailiff is and the process they must follow. You'll also find information about how you can prevent or stop bailiff action, what to do if a bailiff is due to visit, what you need to do if you've received a bailiff's notice, and how to complain.

The bailiff help and advice at StepChange includes a video which gives advice on dealing with bailiffs. You will also find information about bailiff rights and powers, fees and costs, what goods can be taken and how to deal with bailiffs.


If you need help with debt or are worried about a bailiff visit, seek free advice from an independent debt charity as soon as possible.

Are you a debt or money adviser? Can you help our campaign?

The organisations behind the Taking Control campaign – AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Community Money Advice, the Institute of Money Advisers, Money Advice Trust, the Money & Mental Health Policy Institute, PayPlan,StepChange Debt Charity, The Children’s Society and Z2K – have all seen the impact of continued problems in the bailiff industry on the people we support.

The Ministry of Justice had committed to a three-year review of the reforms in April 2014 but, so far, nothing has been published. Our Taking Control campaign aims to highlight our clients’ experiences of bailiff action, to support further reform that ensures all bailiffs and bailiff firms follow the best practices. Our recommendations include:

As part of the campaign, we need the help of local advisers who regularly see the impacts of bailiff action on the people they advise. We would like you to:

Let us know how you can help

Please fill out the form below (you can unsubscribe at any time by emailing

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Terms and conditions

These Terms and Conditions govern your use of: the Taking Control website, (the “Charity Site”) which is run by Money Advice Trust (the “Charity”, “we” or “us”).

Please read them carefully as they affect your rights and liabilities under the law. If you do not agree to these Terms and Conditions, please do not register for any part of or use the Charity Site.

1. Use of the Charity Site

1.1 The Charity Site is provided to you solely for general information purposes only and is subject to these Terms and Conditions. By using the Charity Site you agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions. References to these Terms and Conditions include the Privacy Policy.

2. Amendments

2.1 We may update these Terms and Conditions from time to time for legal or regulatory reasons or to allow the proper operation of the Charity Site. Any changes will be notified via a suitable announcement on the Charity Site. The changes will apply to the use of the Charity Site after we have given notice. If you do not wish to accept the new Terms and Conditions you should not continue to use the Charity Site. If you continue to use the Charity Site after the date on which the change comes into effect, your use of the Charity Site indicates your agreement to be bound by the new Terms and Conditions.

3. Taking Control campaign

3.1 The Charity Site has been created by the Charity as part of the Taking Control campaign for fundamental bailiff reform, launched by charities AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity, The Children’s Society and Z2K in March 2017.

3.2. Any citation of the report Taking Control: The need for fundamental bailiff reform, should be referenced as “AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity, The Children’s Society and Z2K (2017), Taking Control: The need for fundamental bailiff reform” with a link to the report.

3.3. Users of the Charity Site are invited to share, anonymously, their experience of bailiff visits since April 2014, which is then moderated and may be added to the clickable map of Parliamentary Constituencies on the Charity Site.. No personal data will be stored. Any postcodes entered are solely used to match users to their Parliamentary Constituencies via the TheyWorkForYou API. No postcodes are stored by the Charity Site.

3.4. Users are asked not to include personal information or any information that could lead to their being identified from the information they share. Submitted information may be moderated by The Charity to remove or redact information that could identify the user, references to individual bailiffs, references to individual bailiff firms and/or inappropriate language. Any information submitted will be published on the Charity Site at the Charity’s discretion, and the Charity reserves the right not to publish information that is submitted.

3.5. By submitting their anonymous experiences, users are agreeing to the fact that this information may be published by the Charity elsewhere in the future.

4. Intellectual property

4.1 The content of the Charity Site is protected by copyright, trade marks and other intellectual property rights.

4.2 Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited except by express agreement with the Charity.

4.3 You may retrieve and display the content on a computer screen, store such content in electronic form on a storage device or print copies of such content for your own use, provided you keep intact all and any copyright and proprietary notices. You may not otherwise reproduce, modify, copy or distribute or use for commercial purposes any of the materials or content on the Charity Site without authorisation from the Charity.

5. Disclaimer

5.1 It is solely your responsibility to evaluate the accuracy, completeness and usefulness of all opinions, advice and other information provided through the Charity Site.

5.2 The Charity Site includes links to other web sites or material produced by third parties which are beyond the Charity’s control. The Charity is not responsible for content on any site outside the Charity Site or any content provided by third parties.

5.3 We are not responsible for your use of the Charity Site and whilst we try to ensure that material included on the Charity Site is correct, up to date, reputable and of high quality, we do not make any warranties or guarantees of any kind about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability with respect to the Charity Site or the information, services or related graphics, or that the information is correct or appropriate to your particular circumstances or the circumstances of those people who you advise. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

5.4 In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising out of or in connection with the use of this Charity Site and to the extent possible in law we exclude all liability in this regard.

6. Availability of the Charity Site

6.1 Although we aim to offer you the best service possible, we make no promise that the information on the Charity Site will meet your requirements or help you to reduce your debts. We cannot guarantee that the services will be fault-free or available at all times. If a fault occurs with the Charity Site you should report it to and we will attempt to correct the fault as soon as we reasonably can.

6.2 Your access to the Charity Site may be occasionally restricted to allow for repairs, maintenance or the introduction of new facilities or services. We will attempt to restore the service as soon as we reasonably can.

7. Applicable Law

7.1 The Charity Site is intended for use within the United Kingdom. These Terms and Conditions will be subject to the laws of England and Wales. We will try to resolve any disagreements quickly and efficiently. If you are not happy with the way we deal with any disagreement and you want to take court proceedings, you must do so within England and Wales.

8. International Use

8.1 We make no promise that materials on the Charity Site are appropriate or available for use in locations outside the United Kingdom, and accessing the Charity Site from territories where its contents are illegal or unlawful is prohibited. If you choose to access the Charity Site from locations outside the United Kingdom, you do so on your own initiative and are responsible for compliance with local laws.

9. Miscellaneous

9.1 If you breach these Terms and Conditions and the Charity chooses to ignore this, the Charity will still be entitled to use its rights and remedies at a later date or in any other situation where you breach the Terms and Conditions.

9.2 The Charity shall not be responsible for any breach of these Terms and Conditions caused by circumstances beyond its reasonable control.

9.3 The Charity Site is owned and operated by Money Advice Trust, 21 Garlick Hill, London EC4V 2AU.

9.4 If you have any queries please contact

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The Trust (“we” or “us”) take the privacy of your information very seriously. This notice explains how and for what purposes we use the information collected about you.

The Trust looks after the information it holds about you, and respects your privacy. We take appropriate security precautions to prevent your information being lost or falling into the wrong hands.

We make sure that the information we hold is as accurate as possible; we do not hold more information than we need; and we do not hold it longer than we need to.

We keep records of all personal data that we process ensuring we have identified and documented a legal basis for processing the data.

We do not share your data with anyone else without your permission, except when we believe it is the only way to prevent harm to you or other people. If we do disclose information without your permission, this is authorised by a senior member of staff, and we will explain our reason to you at the earliest opportunity.

This privacy notice details the way in which we will treat your information, your rights in relation to it, and how we will ensure that your data is kept safe, secure and in your control. It will do this for all the ways in which you choose to access our service.

If you have any queries about this notice or anything to do with how we treat your data, please get in touch with us by using the contact details at the bottom of this notice.


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If you contact us to enquire further about our services, we will retain this information. This will not be provided to any other organisation and will only be used for the purposes in which we have told you it shall be used. You can contact us at any time to request your information to be removed.


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Use of this information: We will use some of this information in order to:

We may collate anonymous data which is shared with our partner agencies, funders and the government. This is to enable us to demonstrate demand and use of the site.


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Cookies: For a comprehensive overview of how we use cookies please refer to our Cookies Policy.

Use of this information: We will use some of this information in order to:

We may collate anonymous data which is shared with our partner agencies, funders and the government. This is to enable us to demonstrate demand and use of the site.

The Trust and how we treat your data

The Trust is committed to good practice in the handling of personal data and careful compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act (1988) (references to the DPA shall include, to the extent applicable, the General Data Protection Regulation 2016/679.

The Trust is committed to good data management in order to protect people from harm. This means:

The Trust also ensures that it takes into account the legitimate concerns of individuals about the ways in which their data may be used. In particular, The Trust aims to be open and transparent in the way it uses personal data and, where relevant, to give individuals a choice over what data is held and how it is used.

The General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) creates new rights for how organisations treats individual’s data and these are detailed below.

The Trust complies with all relevant DPA legislation and also ensures that the principles of the GDPR are incorporated into the service that we provide.

The right to be informed

The Trust will ensure that all individuals understand why their data is being obtained, how it is being used and how they can access it. We shall provide this information in a manner that is concise, transparent, intelligible and easily accessible. This information is provided for all ways in which you may communicate with us.

The right of access

The Trust wants all people it helps to understand how they can access their personal data, and will ensure that they are able to do this easily and quickly. Please contact if you wish for further information on this.

The right to erasure

The Trust wants you to be comfortable about the data that we hold about you and we provide the facility for you to request the deletion or removal of your personal data where there is no compelling reason for its continued processing.

You have a right to have your personal data erased and to prevent processing in the following circumstances;

The Trust can refuse to comply with a request for erasure where the personal data is processed for the following reasons;

The Trust has a policy of anonymising your data six years after last contact. These records are used for statistical purposes by the Trust. Anonymised records will be held indefinitely.

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If you wish for us to no longer process your data, then we will ensure this happens. You may wish to do this if:

If the Trust has disclosed the personal data in question to third parties, we shall inform them about the restriction on the processing of the personal data, unless it is impossible or involves disproportionate effort to do so.

The Trust will inform individuals if it decides to lift a restriction on processing.

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Should you wish for your data to be provided to you in a machine readable format (e.g. CSV) so that another organisation can process this data, then the Trust will facilitate this where possible. Please contact the Data Protection Officer for more information by email:

The right to object

You have the right to choose how we use your data, if you object, then please let us know.

The rights in relation to automated decision making and profiling

The Trust does not used automated decision making in any of its processes.

Direct marketing

The Trust only uses personal data for direct marketing in the following instances:

Permission will be obtained when the contact details are provided together with details of how an individual’s details will be processed and what to do if they decide they want them removed.

The Trust must stop processing personal data for direct marketing purposes as soon as it receives an objection from an individual. There are no exemptions or grounds to refuse. The request must be dealt with immediately and be free of charge.

Transferring your information outside of Europe

As part of the services offered to you, the information you provide to us may be transferred to countries outside of the European Union (“EU”). By way of example, this may happen if any of our servers are from time to time located in a country outside of the EU or one of our service providers is located in a country outside of the EU. These countries may not have similar data protection laws to the UK. If we transfer your information outside of the EU in this way, we will take steps with the aim of ensuring that your privacy rights continue to be protected as outlined in this privacy notice. If you use the site while you are outside the EU, your information may be transferred outside the EU in order to provide you with those services.

How to contact us

The Data Protection Officer for the Trust is the Head of Compliance and Risk. You can contact them by emailing or by writing to Money Advice Trust, Tricorn House, 51-53 Hagley Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B16 8TP.