On the 6th April 2014 new legislation came into effect on how we collect all debts that have gone through the court process.
The full act can be found at the foot of this page including schedule 12, fee regulations and the National Standards for Enforcement Agents.
Independent information can be viewed at https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-bailiffs/what-you-can-do-when-a-bailiff-visits
Stage 1 - Notice of Enforcement
On receipt of a creditors instruction a notice of enforcement or compliance letter will be sent to a debtor. This letter is sent first class post and gives seven clear days (doesn’t include Sunday or bank holidays) in which to pay the outstanding amount or make a suitable agreement (this will usually be not more than over a 12 week period), if this is not done or the letter ignored then an agent will then attend the debtors premises. Once this letter is served on the debtor all of their goods are bound. This means they are not allowed to sell any of their assets or transfer the title. Please do not contact us regarding your liability eg. you don’t owe the money. This is a matter between you and the creditor (who it is claimed you owe the money to). Their details can be found on the Notice of Enforcement.
Stage 2 - Enforcement Stage
A visit can be made to any address within England and Wales 7 days of the week including bank holidays between 6am and 9pm (or the usual business hours of a commercial premises that falls outside of these hours such as a night club/café) where it is believed the debtor can be contacted or has goods that can be taken control of. A fee is charged for this visit of a fixed fee (can only be charged once) of £235 (£190 for High Court writs) plus a 7.5 percentage of any amount of £1,500 (£1,000 on High Court writs). These amounts will be charged whether contact is made or not. At this stage the agent may take control of goods, this can be done if you are not at the premises but can not be done if the only occupant is under 18 years of age or is a vulnerable person. If our agent believes the goods are in jeopardy or meets any resistance the process may move to stage 3 otherwise an arrangement could be made over a longer period extending from 12 weeks mentioned in stage 1. It may be necessary for the debtor or their representative to sign a controlled goods agreement. Section 8 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunal Courts & Enforcement Act 2007 states that it is a criminal offence if a person intentionally interferes with controlled goods without lawful excuse. A person guilty of an offence under this paragraph is liable on summary conviction to: (a) Imprisonment for a term not exceeding 51 weeks or: (b) A fine not exceeding level 4 on the standard scale or c) Both. A PDF file of schedule 12 can be found at the foot of this page.
Additional Enforcement Stage (for High Court Writs only)
Where the agent did not enter into a controlled goods agreement at stage 2 a second fixed fee (can only be charged once) of £495 will be added.
Stage 3 - Sales or Removal Stage
This is where the process begins to remove and sell the goods that have been taken into control. This can be done if an arrangement is broken or negotiations break down or if payment is refused and can be done 2 hours after initially taking control of goods. If at a commercial premises by engaging a locksmith to gain entry and secure the goods on site and sell them or otherwise remove them to an auction facility for sale. If it is a residential property then a locksmith can be engaged only if the goods have already been taken into our control. A fixed fee (can only be charged once) is made of £110 (£525 for High Court Writs) plus a 7.5 percentage of any amount over £1,500 (£1,000 on High Court writs). Disbursements such as locksmith fees, storage charges by our auctioneer and court fees made in regard to any additional disbursements applied for can also be added.
All fees and disbursements can only be charged once the agent has prior to removing goods made certain that all adequate opportunities have been given to the debtor to seek assistance and advice in regard to the process/es. Information regarding getting this assistance can be found at the foot of this page.
Our customers theoretically are the person/s that the money is owed to commonly known as the creditor but our approach at LWE is to treat everybody who we come into contact with equally whether they be our creditor, debtor, third party or somebody who accidentally gets involved in the process such as a new occupant at a property we visit.
As for as the creditor is concerned they have access to our “real-time” database that uses clear English text rather than stage updates and generic terms. A creditor can check the progress of a case instantly should for instance the debtor make an enquiry to them. Remittances to our main clients are made weekly with payments only being held for one week should a cheque not clear.
The debtor can always contact us by telephone , in writing by post, fax or e-mail for an update of their case and balance checks. A link to a PDF version of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents can be found at the foot of this page. The main elements to this are professionalism and conduct, complaints and discipline, information and confidentiality, time and hours and vulnerable situations. These are all detailed in the document.
Due to the nature of our work complaints are inevitable but we at LWE pride ourselves on a very low level of complaints since the company was incorporated in 2002 with only one case going before a District Judge which was dismissed.
We hope you don’t feel the need to complain but should this arise your complaint will be investigated as soon as possible. You should tell us what, in your opinion we have done wrong, how it has affected you and what you would like us to do to correct it.
We only deal with complaints in writing and by far the quickest way to obtain a response is by e-mail to the Director firstname.lastname@example.org where your complaint will be acknowledged and usually replied to within 24 hours. Under certain circumstances it may take longer to make investigations. If you wish to send by post then address your complaint to Mr John Caldon, London Warrant Enforcement Ltd, 20-22 Wenlock Road, London N1 7GU. You alternatively can fax it to us on 020 7788 3460.
If you disagree with our response you should then make contact with the creditor who issued the initial instruction to us. If you feel that an agent is not a fit and proper person to hold a certificate allowing him/her to take control of goods then you should contact the County Court where his authority was issued. We will give you this information when answering the complaint.
Further independent information regarding making a complaint against a certificated enforcement agent should you not be happy with the outcome from us or the creditor can be found at https://www.gov.uk/your-rights-bailiffs/how-to-complain-about-a-bailiff