I have received a letter but it is not for me. What should I do?
If you have received a letter or notice from Dukes and the person named on the letter has no connection or relation to you, please click here.
If you know the person whom the letter is addressed to and have a forwarding address, please provide this information immediately to prevent further letters, visits and costs to the debtors account.
If you delay contacting Dukes, continued recovery action or additional letters may be sent to your property.
What is the recovery process under TCE?
The TCE introduces two processes, one for High Court Writs and one for all other cases – the latter process being named a “Warrant of Control”. In non-High Court enforcement there are 3 distinct stages:
1. Compliance Stage
2. Enforcement Stage
3. Sale Stage
The cost to the debtor increases with each distinct stage.
At High Court there is an additional enforcement stage.
How can I pay my debt?
Please click here or navigate to the ‘Methods of Payment’ tab displayed at the top of the page for a list of payment methods accepted by Dukes
I don’t think I owe this debt. What can I do?
You can do two things:
1. Dispute the debt with your Council, but you need to act quickly as any delay may result in further costs.
2. Pay the amount requested and then dispute the debt which will save additional costs should the debt be proven to be outstanding. Any amount incorrectly paid will be reimbursed.
If the debt is enforceable, i.e. overdue Council Tax, Commercial Rent, Non-Domestic Rates or Penalty Charge Notice, Dukes Bailiffs will be in possession of a liability order or warrant issued by your Local Authority through the Courts. You should pay the due amount and then contact your Local Authority to query the liability raised.
I need help with financial problems. Who can I turn to?
If you are experiencing payment difficulties and would like to set up a specific payment arrangement, please contact a member of our team to discuss your proposal.
If you need help confronting financial problems, there are a number of national debt advisory services recommended by the government, who will help you for free. click here or navigate to the ‘Help & Advice’ tab displayed at the top of the page.
What happens if I ignore Dukes’ Enforcement correspondence?
Your debt will not go away. We are obliged by law to enforce your debt. If you ignore our correspondence you will be visited by an Enforcement Agent, which will result in:
• Your debt increasing
• Your right to pay in instalments may be withdrawn
• Your goods may be seized and removed without warning
If I forget to make a payment what should I do?
Contact Dukes immediately to explain why you have missed the payment and to seek permission to continue the arrangement. If you contact us within a couple of days, we may accept your delayed payment.
If you do not contact us, our automated system will assume your intention is not to pay, resulting in further enforcement action and additional costs to you.
Find our contact details by clicking here.
What happens if I refuse to pay a debt?
If you refuse to pay what you owe, further costs will be added to your debt.
If you continue to refuse to pay, the Local Authority will consider their options for recovery. Depending on the type and level of debt they could apply to the Magistrates for:
• Committal to prison
• Attachment to Earnings / Benefits
• County Court Judgement
It is important to note that these actions can have a detrimental effect on your credit rating. This can affect your ability to obtain a loan, credit card or mortgage in the future.
What happens if I pay my debt directly to the creditor?
If your debt has been sent to Dukes to recover, you will normally be redirected to us if you try to pay the creditor directly. If you do pay the creditor, your payment must settle any additional fees due up to that point.
If any fees are left unpaid, the debt is still outstanding and remains payable in accordance with the regulations. Unpaid fees can be recovered by enforcement action, including visits from Enforcement Agents, which may increase the amount you owe.
Can I pay my debt by instalments?
If you do not have enough funds available to pay the debt in full, we will always consider your offer to pay by instalments. You will need to answer some basic questions about your ability to pay and what settlement period is affordable for you and acceptable for the creditor. You will be bound by the terms of any agreement, and any subsequent breach may result in further enforcement action, and additional costs to you.
Many of our customers pay by instalments to successfully settle their debts, often with no further costs. Our aim is to work with you to get the debt settled as quickly as possible so you can stop worrying about it.
What/who is an Enforcement Agent?
An Enforcements Agent, formerly known as a Certificated Bailiff, is an individual authorized under s64 Tribunals Courts & Enforcement Act 2007 who acts on behalf of Local Authorities or Magistrate Courts enforcing unpaid Council Tax and Business Rates Liability Orders, Warrants for unpaid Parking Penalty Charge Notices and Warrants for unpaid Court fines.
What identification should an Enforcement Agent carry?
All Dukes Enforcement Agents carry their Bailiffs General Certificate issued by the County Court and their Dukes Identity Card which they will show you on request. They also carry official prescribed forms and documentation to prove that the debt they are chasing is owed by you. If you are in doubt, you can always ask to phone our office to make sure.
Copies of the warrants or liability orders granted by the Courts for non-payment of enforceable debts are not legally required to be carried by the Enforcement Agent, however we can supply evidence of these instructions if required.
Note: Bona fide Enforcement Agents will never ask you to part with money without showing their ID. Do not let anyone into your property without seeing proper ID first.
What fees can an Enforcement Agent charge?
All fees charged by Dukes Bailiffs are in accordance with Government and Local Authority guidelines. Legislation as of the 6 April 2014, stipulates that the enforcement process comprises 3 stages, with different charges per stage.
Click Here or navigate to the ‘Regulations’ tab to find out what these fees are.
Do I have to open the door to Enforcement Agents?
You are not obliged to let Enforcement Agents in, but if you do not answer the door, he or she will continue to attend your property in an effort to meet you and discuss your payment proposals, or to Take Control of your Goods.
Refusing entry to Enforcement Agents in will cost you more in fees and add to the debt you owe.
Can an Enforcement Agent force entry?
On a first visit, an Enforcement Agent can only enter your premises via usual method of entry i.e. through an unlocked door. Enforcement Agents can enter when invited but cannot enter forcibly without your consent.
However, if a ‘Controlled Goods Agreement’ in in place and entry has already been gained, the Enforcement Agent can re-enter your premises, using reasonable force if necessary.
Does an Enforcement Agent have the right to take my goods?
If your debt is enforceable, e.g. overdue Council Tax or Penalty Charge Notice, an Enforcement Agent (bailiff) has the right to “Take Control of your Goods”.
Goods can be “Taken Control of” but remain in your property until you have settled the debt. If the debt remains unpaid, they can be removed and sold at auction to settle your debt. It is important to understand that your goods are at risk if you enter a payment arrangement to settle your debt.
I have had a letter hand delivered by an Enforcement Agent. What should I do?
It is important that you take action immediately. Make contact using the number detailed in the letter to discuss your proposals to settle the debt. If this is the first visit by the Enforcement Agent and the debt is for Council Tax, your co-operation could save you the cost of further visits.
Ignoring letters and visits from Enforcement Agents will often result in your debt increasing.
How can I complain about an Enforcement Agent?
If you believe the National Standards for Enforcement Agents have been contravened we would like to know about it.
You can either access our Complaint Procedure online or contact us to talk to a member of staff about the reason for your dissatisfaction. Your complaint will be investigated fully and will be responded to within 10 working days. If your complaint is upheld, Dukes guarantee to refund the charges applied to your case.