Campaigning to protect people from bailiffs
Posted Friday 4 December 2009
Today Mind launched a new survey on people’s experiences of contact with bailiffs when they are in debt. If you have experience, you can help us by filling in the short survey.
Mind’s In the red campaign, launched in 2008, found widespread evidence of bad practice by bailiffs and debt collectors, including excessive fees and heavy-handed behaviour, which can lead to further mental distress for people struggling with debt.
This matches evidence from an analysis of 500 cases seen by Citizens Advice Bureaux in England and Wales, which found 64 per cent of bailiffs were felt to have used harassment or intimidation and 40 per cent had misrepresented their powers of entry, to try and reclaim the debts.
A respondent to Mind’s survey said:
One debt-collector told me he could break into my house and take my stuff while I was out, another said they’d get me sent to prison. When you’re in a low place you sort of believe them even though you know they can’t do that.
Bailiffs came to my home while I was very ill and would not leave until I wrote out a cheque for council tax for a full year. The cheque will not be honoured so I await their return. I live most of my days in my bedroom afraid and lonely.
The Government has committed to introduce independent regulation of the bailiff industry, but Mind is concerned this will not be strong enough to stamp out bad practice. We are planning a campaign on bailiff regulation to be launched soon and want to hear about people’s experiences to inform our work. You can help us by completing this short survey.Mind launched a new survey on people’s experiences of contact with bailiffs when they are in debt.