Bailiffs, Card Fees & Surcharges

The law that sets statutory charges for enforcement of debts do not provide for bailiffs to charge card fees.

 

The statutory fees have been set to include the costs (or profit) a bailiff company can operate to recover the debt.

There are separate laws that deal with the actual cost of processing a card transaction. It says the "actual cost of the transaction" can be charged. Regulation 4 & 5 of the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 states;

Excessive charges prohibited

4. A trader must not charge consumers, in respect of the use of a given means of payment, fees that exceed the cost borne by the trader for the use of that means.

 

If have been charged excessive card fees then you a right to ask the court to evaluate the charges in a process called a Detailed Assessment Hearing.

Some bailiffs argue these rules only apply where there is a contract. However there is no contract between a bailiff and a debtor.

 

 

 

 

 

Credit cards

A credit card is a regulated consumer credit contract under section 8 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Anyone who earns or charges a fee or a commission for processing a regulated credit money transfer is trading in "ancillary credit business" and is required to be licensed for consumer credit, section 21(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

Anyone engaging in any activities for which a licence is required when he is not a licensee under a licence covering those activities commits an offence under section 39(1) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.

You make an online check with the public register of consumer credit licensees maintained by the Office of Fair Trading.

If the bailiff company is unlicensed then you can make the following complaints reporting the company for committing an offence.

The law does not specify a minimum gain arising from the offence.

 

Your local trading standards office

The Financial Conduct Authority, 25 The North Colonnade, London, E14 5HS

 

 

Your local police force in writing.

 

 

 

 

Criminal law

If the company is regularly performing unlicensed ancillary credit business then offences may also be committed under section 993 of the Companies Act 2006 which states;

 

Offence of fraudulent trading

 

(1)If any business of a company is carried on with intent to defraud creditors of the company or creditors of any other person, or for any fraudulent purpose, every person who is knowingly a party to the carrying on of the business in that manner commits an offence.

(2)This applies whether or not the company has been, or is in the course of being, wound up.

(3)A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years or a fine (or both);

(b)on summary conviction—

(i)in England and Wales, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding twelve months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both);

(ii)in Scotland or Northern Ireland, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum (or both).