Frequently Asked Questions

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Enforcement Agents / Fees

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?


Our recovery process follows three defined stages in the Taking Control of Goods Regulations: Compliance (Notice of Enforcement), Enforcement Visit, and Sale or Disposal. Each stage of the recovery process incurs additional feels, as per Government and Local Authority guidelines.

  • Notice of Enforcement £75.00
  • Enforcement Visit £235.00 (+7.5% if the debt is over £1,500).
  • Sale & Disposal £110.00 (+7.5% if the debt is over £1,500).
Click here to learn how each fee can be added to the amount you owe.




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.

Click here to be redirected to our Complaints Procedure.




Why are you not called bailiffs anymore?


As of the 6th April 2014 new legislation came into force changing our name when working on cases like yours to enforcement agents. We can still take your goods and sell them but the legislation, terminology and fees have changed.




What goods can an Enforcement Agent take?


The enforcement agent can take control of goods which you own or in which you have a beneficial interest. This includes goods which you jointly own with someone else, even if the co-owner does not owe any money. They are not able to take control of goods which fit any of the descriptions of exempt goods indicated in regulation 4 of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Regulation 4 can be found here .





Payment

How can I pay my debt?


We have a range of payment methods available for you to use, including many 24 hour payment methods. Visit our Payment Methods Page.




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.

Call us now to speak to one of our friendly Contact Centre Team.




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.
Log in to your online account to set up a payment arrangement.




Are you allowed to take money from my wages?


Yes. Regulation 37 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, as amended, allows us to attach your earnings so that your employer has to take a payment from your wages each week or month and send it to us on behalf of the council. Some councils ask us to do this for them.





Disputing a debt

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.




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.





General

What is the recovery process under Tribunals Courts Enforcement 2007?


The Tribunals Courts Enforcement 2007 (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.




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 friendly welfare team to discuss your proposal. Alternatively, if you need help confronting financial problem there are a number of national debt advisory services recommended by the government, who will help you for free. Click here to for more details.




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.
Visit our Regs & Fees page for a breakdown of fees that can be added to your account.
  • Your right to pay in instalments may be withdrawn
  • Your goods may be seized and removed without warning




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
• Bankruptcy
• 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.




Can I manage my account without speaking to anyone at Dukes?


Yes. The letter(s) / Notice that you have received from us will have your Dukes Reference and Client Reference number on. You must use this information to log in to our online application. Once you log in you will be able to

  • Find out details about your debt including the total costs and fees added to your account (at the time of when you are logged in)
  • See the total balance of your account
  • Make payment in full
  • Request a payment arrangement
  • Confirm the date of when your next payment is due
  • Download a copy of your account statement
  • Seek independent debt advice
Login to manage your account now.




Can Debt Collectors find out where I live?


Yes. Debt Collectors use intelligent technology to identity a debtors current address based on financial data. It is not possible to hide from debts.





Penalty Charge Notice

How much is a parking ticket fine?


How much you pay for parking ticket or Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) depends on what type it is and who issued it. For a PCN you usually have 28 days to pay. In some cases, the fine is reduced if you pay within 14 days. If you do not pay a PCN within 28 days, you’ll get a ‘charge certificate’ and you’ll have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 50% more.




Is a parking ticket just for parking offences?


No. In addition to parking, you can get a PCN for: - breaking some traffic rules, for example going against a ‘no right turn’ sign or driving in a bus lane - not paying the charge for the London congestion zone, low emission zone or Dartford Crossing (Dart Charge) on time.




How much is a London Parking Fine?


If your vehicle is illegally parked you may be issued with a parking ticket for £130 or £80, depending on the severity of the contravention and the borough in which the offence was committed. For an accurate value, check the local council's website where the offence was committed.




What happens if I don't pay a PCN?


For a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) you usually have 28 days to pay. In some cases, the fine is reduced if you pay within 14 days. If you do not pay a PCN within 28 days, you’ll get a ‘charge certificate’ and you’ll have 14 days to pay the original fine plus 50% more. If you do not pay the charge, the PCN is registered as a debt in the County Court, a court fee is added and an Order for Recovery of the Unpaid Penalty charge is sent. If you receive an Order for Recovery of the Unpaid Penalty charge, you must pay the charge within 21 days. If you do nothing, the Court will grant authority for a warrant to be issued and an Enforcement Agency will be asked to recover the debt from you. The Enforcement Agency will charge you for this.




Do you have to pay PCNs?


Yes. PCNs require payment of a fine but do not result in a criminal record or points on a driving licence. Failure to pay the charge can lead to the County Court issuing a warrant to civil enforcement agents (bailiffs). This will mean added charges and civil enforcement agents (bailiffs) taking goods from your home, including your vehicle to settle the debt.




What is a PCN?


A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) is a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) issued to motorists found to be in contravention of parking restrictions, waiting restrictions and some moving traffic offences. PCNs are usually issued by local authorities – either by a yellow notice affixed to your car or, if you’re caught on camera, through the post.




Does a bus lane camera flash?


No. Bus lane cameras are not the same as speed or traffic light cameras. Usually a bus lane camera is a CCTV camera which captures images which are inspected. If an unauthorised vehicle is seen in the bus lane a fixed penalty notice is issued to the registered keeper of the vehicle.





Covid-19

Do I still need to pay Dukes during this pandemic?


If your income has reduced due to COVID-19, meaning you can no longer meet your agreed payment arrangement, please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss a temporary solution. If your finances have not been impacted, we recommend that you continue to make your payments as agreed, or contact us to set up a payment plan. Enforcement visits were paused from 23 March until 24 August. If you have defaulted on your arrangement, or have failed to contact us after receiving a notice of enforcement, you will be at risk of an Enforcement Agent visiting your home to seek payment.




How can I keep track of my payments, and the amount left to pay?


Login to our app via the 'my account' button at the top of this page. You'll need your Dukes Reference Number (Case ID) and your Client Reference Number. Once you're logged in, you can see a list of your previous and upcoming payments, along with the remaining balance and fees applied to the account.




Is Dukes still open?


Yes, Dukes is still 'open' and available to contact during this pandemic. However, to protect our team and our customers, we have reduced our opening hours to 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday, and our team are only available via telephone, and LiveChat on our website. Our premises across the country will remain closed until we receive guidance from the Government that it is safe to reopen. Enforcement visits will resume on 24 August 2020.




Have Dukes opening hours changed?


Yes, our opening hours have changed. To ensure the safety of our staff and customers, our offices have closed but we do have a team working from home who are answering any queries over telephone, email or LiveChat. Our opening hours are now 8:30am - 5:00pm on Mon - Fri.




Can I defer my payment?


If your income has reduced due to COVID-19, meaning you can no longer meet your agreed payment arrangement, please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss a temporary solution. If your finances have not been impacted, we recommend that you continue to make your payments as agreed, or contact us to set up a payment plan.




Do I still need to contact you during COVID-19?


Yes, please ensure you remain in contact with us if you have any questions or concerns about your account at this time. Due to a high volume of enquiries it may take some time to get through to us via the telephone, therefore recommend you chat with us instantly on LiveChat for an immediate response.




Are Enforcement Agents going to visit me during this pandemic?


Enforcement visits were paused during 23 March - 24 August to provide relief to customers in the height of the pandemic. During this time, we reached out to our customers via email, SMS and letters to advise when enforcement action would resume and how to contact us to resume payment, or to advise us of a change in your financial situation. From Monday 24 August, Enforcement Agents resumed enforcement visits. Agents will be visiting customers who have not contacted us to organise payment or who defaulted on their payment arrangement without reason. If you are worried about a pending visit, contact our office team on 01785 825 500.




My income has reduced due to furlough, but I still want to pay my debt. Can I temporary reduce my payments?


Yes. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can discuss a temporary solution that suits your current financial situation.




Can I still speak to you on LiveChat?


Yes, you can still speak to us on LiveChat. Our friendly team are available 8:30am - 5:00pm, Monday - Friday. (excluding bank holidays)




Will my debt be cancelled due to Covid-19?


No, your debt will still remain active with us. We recommend you continue paying your agreed payment plan, if possible, to ensure you are not prolonging the length of time you are in debt for. Our aim is to help you get out and stay out of debt, so if you can't stick to your payment arrangement we will look to set a lower temporary arrangement prior to providing a payment holiday. We deal with every case independently and will provide a tailored solution for each individual.




How are you dealing with social isolation measures?


As of 23 March 24 August we closed our offices and stopped all enforcement visits to ensure the health and safety of our staff and customers. We were operating a remote service via telephone, LiveChat and email. From 24 August our head office reopened and our Enforcement Agents have resume enforcement visits. To ensure the safety of our team and customers, every Agent is equipped with and will wear protective gloves, surgical face mask, clear face visors and hand sanitizer. Our Enforcement Agents will remain 2m distance away from customers during a visit and will retreat to their vehicle to discuss the account via the telephone if this is preferred by the customer. Prior to returning to work, all of our Enforcement Agents have competed CIVEA-approved training which covers social distancing, and PPE. More information on our social distancing / isolation measures can be found here.









HEAD OFFICE ADDRESS
Dukes Court

7 Newcastle Street

Stone

Staffordshire

ST15 8JT

CONTACT US

 

info@dukeslimited.co.uk

01785 825 500

 

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