Citizens Advice Lindsey is throwing its weight behind a campaign for an independent regulator to crack down on bad-behaving bailiffs. New figures from Citizens Advice England and Wales and debt charity StepChange reveal 850,000 of the 2.2 million people contacted by a bailiff in the last two years were victims of bailiffs breaking the rules.
Of the people affected by, or who witnessed a bailiff breaking the rules, one in five (18%) had seen unsympathetic treatment of someone with an illness or disability, one in six (17%) had a break-in threatened, and one in 10 had tools or a vehicle required for their work removed.
In the last two years Citizens Advice Lindsey helped over 300 people with bailiffs, for debts such as council tax arrears, parking fines, and magistrates’ court fines.
Rule-breaking bailiffs often cause people more stress, anxiety and financial hardship, according to the research. When someone had a negative experience with a bailiff:
- Seven in 10 reported increased stress and anxiety
- One in two experienced knock-on effects on their finances, with one in six people (17%) taking out additional credit to pay the bailiffs
Jenny Barnett, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Lindsey, said: “It beggars belief, that an industry that can cause so much damage, is not properly policed by a regulator.
“We see first-hand the widespread harm the actions of bailiffs and the companies they work for inflict on people and their families. It must stop. The evidence is clear, the Ministry of Justice has no other option but to establish an independent bailiff regulator.”
Citizens Advice Lindsey
Guildhall, Marshall’s Yard
Drop-in is available:
Monday 9.30am – 1.30pm and Wednesday 10.00am – 2.00pm
Adviceline: 03444 111 444
Monday to Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm (calls are charged at the same rate as 01 or 02 numbers)