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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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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?'. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


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.

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity


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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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. 

Shared by a caller to StepChange Debt Charity

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 ,


This year, I had a sitting tenant in a rented flat. Although her tenancy was up she wanted a council flat. I had to go through all the procedures, and eventually paid for bailiffs to remove her on February 14. On January 13, 2017 however my tenant rang me to say she had moved out. My grouse is that I had to forfeit the money I had paid the bailiffs despite the fact that they had a month's notice, and therefore didn't have to do anything.

Westminster North

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 seven organisations – AdviceUK, Christians Against Poverty, Citizens Advice, Money Advice Trust, StepChange Debt Charity, The Children’s Society, Z2K – have all seen the impact of continued problems in the bailiff industry on the front line of the services they provide.

As we approach the Ministry of Justice’s three-year review of the reforms, our Taking Control campaigns aims to highlight the experiences of our clients with bailiff action in the last three years, with recommendations for further reform.

As part of the campaign, we are inviting people who have been visited by a bailiff since April 2014 to share their experience on this microsite.

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

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 are worried about a pending bailiff visit or problem debt you should seek free debt advice as soon as possible.

Terms & Conditions

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

Privacy policy

1. Introduction

1.1  Money Advice Trust (“we” or “us”) take the privacy of your information very seriously. This policy explains how and for what purposes we use the information collected about you via this site (referred to below as the “Site”). Please read this privacy policy carefully. By using the Site and any services we offer via the Site, you are agreeing to be bound by this policy in respect of the information collected about you via this Site.

1.2  If you have any queries about the policy, please get in touch with us at and we will do our best to answer your questions.


2. Personal Information

2.1  We do not generally collect personal information from you but if you enter into correspondence with us or report a problem to us, we may be required to keep such personal information as you provide to us.


3. Use of this information

3.1  We will use information collected in accordance with clause 2.1 to:


4. Sharing this information

4.1  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.

4.2  We will not disclose any of your personal information without your permission unless we are required by law to do so (for example, if required to do so by a court order or for the purposes of prevention of fraud or other crime).


5. Information automatically collected from your computer

Log files/IP addresses:

5.1  When you visit the Site our web server automatically records your IP address. This IP address is not linked to any of your personal information. We use IP addresses to help us administer the Site, to collect demographic information and to find out such things as how many people are visiting particular pages on our Site.

5.2  We may also gather other non-personal information (from which we cannot identify you) such as the type of your internet browser which we use to provide you with a more effective service.


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


6. Other Sites

6.1  We cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of other sites even if you access them using links from our Site and recommend that you check the policy of each site you visit and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.

6.2  In addition, if you linked to this Site from a third party site, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners or operators of that third party site and recommend that you check the policy of that third party site and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.

7. Transferring your information outside of Europe

7.1  As part of the services offered to you through the Site, 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. We may also share information between group companies, which may be located in countries worldwide. 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 policy.

7.2  In addition, if you linked to this Site from a third party site, we cannot be responsible for the privacy policies and practices of the owners or operators of that third party site and recommend that you check the policy of that third party site and contact its owner or operator if you have any concerns or questions.


8. Changes to our Privacy Policy

8.1  Any changes we make to this policy in the future will be posted on this page.