Recover an impounded vehicle from a bailiffs compound

Run this checklist to see if the taking of the vehicle is compliant with the law


Take a printed copy of this checklist with you when you go to collect your vehicle:

If you are reclaiming the vehicle from where it is being held, then you will need to pay the debt and all fees the bailiff asks for when reclaiming your vehicle.

ALWAYS use a credit card, a debit card if OK but it is much harder getting your money back later.

Take someone with you to collect your vehicle. They wont be allowed inside the secure are of the compound.

Take a pen & paper, your mobile phone and a selfie stick.

When you arrive at the compound, ask your witness to write down anything the compound staff says.

Pay with a credit card NEVER question the fees but you MUST ask for an explanation of his fees and costs. If he refuses to explain them then take it down in writing and say NOTHING even if you know he's overcharged you. You reclaim these later.

Do not SIGN anything, or if compelled to, then "sign" using the word "declined" or "refused" instead of your usual signature. Say nothing when you hand the document back. That prevents them using it defending your claim.

When you reach your vehicle, and before you get in.

The car will get damaged if the bailiff takes it. Take comprehensive video of the vehicle. You compare this with the video you made before it was taken.

Make a continuous time stamped video using your mobile and a selfie stick with fill-flash set to ON. Record the video SLOWLY in this order starting from the front number plate. Take your time with this.

The whole front of the car.

Move round to show the bodywork both sides

The paintwork, roof, wheel, bumpers, bonnet, all doors and tailgate including any damage to the locks, sweep the camera slowly over the roof.

Open the boot and record the spare wheel condition and its contents.

Record the engine bay, the battery, fluid levels especially brake and steering fluid reservoirs. The engine number and any unique markings. Ensure its the original engine.

Record the content of the glovebox and any damage to the lock.

Record any steering fluid under the vehicle. Using street lifter wheel brackets often causes steering hydraulic failure.

Record all road wheels for damage to hubs and tyre walls. Street lifter brackets can press against them causing tyres to deflate or hubs to be damaged.

Record the mileage and fuel.

Record the whole of the underbody of the car. Bailiffs move vehicles around a compound using forklifts causing damage to engine pan, fuel lines and exhaust system. This can cause the car to be written off. With video evidence you recover the replacement cost.

If you cannot timestamp your video then make a sworn affidavit proving the date, time and location the video was made.


When driving the vehicle away:

Check the brakes are good. Use of wheel clamps often damage brake ferrules and loss of brake fluid when the wheel clamp chains become snagged on them.

Ensure the steering is straight. No vibration. If the steering is stiff, the steering hydraulic line has been ruptured from outward pulling motion of street lifter wheel brackets.

Check normal operation of all gears of the gear box.


When bringing a claim under paragraph 35 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, you must show evidence the vehicle was undamaged immediately before it was taken. Liability then resides jointly with the creditor and the bailiff company under paragraph 66 of Schedule 12. Here is how to bring court action.




Once you have collated a list of damage, you must notify the council or creditor and the bailiff IMMEDIATELY before you drive your vehicle away from the compound. This is very time critical. Otherwise damage can be attributed to you if you delay notifying the creditor and bailiff company.


Take this template with you: Complete it ready to email to the council and the bailiff company while you are at the compound.




NEVER sign any document given to you at the vehicle compound. It will be a disclaimer preventing you taking legal action. If you sign it then you will not be able to make a claim for damages.


If a bailiff asks you to delete photos from your camera. Say you will make a note of his request. You need photos of damage to claim repairs from the authority that instructed the bailiff.

Once you have your vehicle execute chargeback with your credit card

No Money?

If you don't have the money, or access to a CREDIT card AND you are 100% certain you will be successful in revoking the original debt.

You can take out a rental vehicle to cover your immediate motoring needs keep all receipts you reclaim this later from the authority that instructed the bailiff. This is recovered under paragraph 66 of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 using the Small Claims Track along with the damage to your own vehicle.




I am available for hire

If you need an expert witness to attend, in your presence, any bailiffs vehicle compound in the Home Counties, and stand as an expert witness. I am discreetly wired for live audio and video recording.

I will examine the bailiffs paperwork at the compound office, prepare your vehicle damage report and transmit them to the creditor or the council from the compound on your behalf, and start the claim.

Many bailiff compounds only allow the driver or owner inside the compound to drive the vehicle out, and it is here I prepare the photography and damage report.

I also have a 11.5 tonne flatbed truck with a qualified driver/loader to transport your vehicle if needed. The cost is recovered from the creditor if the vehicle was road-worthy before it was taken.

To get started, contact me for a consultation.