Dukes Bailiffs Limited: A Guide To Managing Your Debts With Dukes
Dukes Bailiffs Limited are a privately owned, family-run business. Established in 1993, They have over 25 years’ experience in providing Debt Collection and Enforcement Services for both public and private sector clients.
Dukes Bailiffs Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). It also has a number of other memberships and associations, including:
- Membership of the Credit Services Association (CSA)
- Membership of the British Parking Association (BPA)
- Membership of the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA)
- Membership of the Institute for Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV)
What Do Dukes Bailiffs Do?
Dukes have High Court Enforcement Agents (commonly referred to as bailiffs) authorised by the Ministry of Justice Lord Chancellor’s department, to enforce High Court Judgements and County Court Judgements, over £600. Dukes also recover smaller debts for things like unpaid utility bills.
Why Have I Been Contacted By Dukes?
You will be contacted by Dukes Bailiffs Ltd if they have been asked to manage your account by their client, and you owe their client money. You should be told what the original debt relates to when you are first contacted. Always be sure to check that you know where the debt has come from and that you actually owe it.
Dukes collect local authority debts such as unpaid council tax, business rates and penalty charge notices, as well as commercial rent arrears.
What Will Happen If I Ignore Dukes’ Correspondence?
Don’t be tempted to hide from your debt problem. As daunting as it can be to face up to your debt, ignoring it can result in:
- A significant increase in the amount you owe
- Losing the option to pay by instalments
- Having your goods seized and removed
When debt collectors get involved, you become liable to pay their fees on top of the amount you owe. The fees that are applied will depend on the type of action taken against you.
Since the 6th April 2014, Dukes Bailiffs Limited have to adhere to fees regulations set out by the Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007. There are three different stages, and fees vary accordingly.
|Stage||Fixed fee||% fees on debt above £1,500|
|Sale or disposal stage||£110||7.5%|
- Compliance Stage: Fee £75
The compliance stage fee is applied when Dukes first receive your case and write to you with a Compliance Notice. At this stage, enforcement agents will not visit your property and you will be given an opportunity to make full payment or propose a payment arrangement.
Dukes must issue you a Notice of Enforcement at least 7 clear days before an Enforcement Agent can visit you. Clear days do not include Sundays or bank holidays.
- Enforcement Stage: Fee £235
If you fail to cooperate or do not pay during the compliance stage, your case will move on to the enforcement stage. The enforcement fee is charged when an enforcement agent visits your property. For debts over £1,500 there will also be an additional 7.5% charge applied to the amount over £1,500.
- Sale or Disposal Stage: Fee £110
If Dukes take control of your goods and attend your property to make arrangements for their removal, you will be charged the sale or disposal fee. For larger debts, you will also incur an additional fee of 7.5% of the debt over £1,500 on top of the £110 fixed fee.
Costs of High Court Enforcement
If your creditor has a County Court Judgement against you and wants to ‘transfer up’ to the High Court, you will be liable to pay the court costs on top of your original debt. This includes:
- A £66 administration fee for referring the case to the High Court
- All court costs
- Enforcement fees
High Court Enforcement Fees
Dukes Bailiffs Limited can act as High Court Enforcement Agents, and fees for High Court enforcement differ to the charges in the table above. There are four stages in the High Court enforcement process, and fees vary according to the stage you are at.
|Stage||Fixed Fee||% fee for debts over £1,000|
|Compliance stage – writing to you about your debt||£75||None|
|Enforcement 1 – visiting your home||£190||7.5%|
|Enforcement 2 – visiting your home again||£495||None|
|Sale or disposal – taking your goods and selling them||£525||7.5%|
Percentage fees apply to debts over £1,000 but are only applied on the amount of the debt exceeding £1,000, rather than the full amount. For example, if your debt was £2,500 you would be charged 7.5% on £1,500 of it.
In addition to the fees outlined in the tables above, you may have to pay ‘disbursement costs’ which cover the costs of things like: storing your goods after they’ve been removed, locksmiths if bailiffs were allowed to use them to gain entry to your home, advertising and auctioneer’s fees.
I’ve Got More Than One Debt With Dukes
If you have more than one debt being collected by Dukes Bailiffs, you can be charged the Compliance fee for letters written for each debt, but they cannot charge you more than one fee for visiting you or removing your goods.
Take Action Before The Bailiffs Do
One way to avoid your problem spiralling out of control, and the costs of enforcement increasing your debt, is to act before the bailiffs do. If you can afford to settle your debt in full, do. Of course, many people with debt are facing financial difficulty and are, therefore, simply unable to do this.
If you can’t afford to clear your debt by making a full and final settlement, make an offer. If you’re able to agree a repayment plan with Dukes, whereby you pay affordable monthly instalments, further action should be stopped as long as you keep up the payments.
Dukes will consider pay-by-instalment options, but the onus is on you to make a proposal. It will help if you have a budget so you can show what you can reasonably afford, or why you can’t pay more than you’re offering.
It’s also important to ensure you don’t commit to a plan that you can’t stick to. If you make a payment plan and go on to miss payments, further enforcement action is likely to be taken.
Seek Debt Advice
If you are struggling to cope with your debt on your own, seek professional advice. Scottishtrustdeed.co.uk have debt specialist advisors, with in-depth knowledge of debt management solutions, who can help you get out of debt.
What Can Bailiffs Take?
Bailiffs can only take items that belong to you, the debtor, and are not allowed to remove items deemed essential for day-to-day living or work. Bailiffs can’t leave you without adequate heating, lighting or cooking equipment, for example.
They must also ensure that they leave you enough beds and bedding for everyone living in the house, a dining table and seats, and clothing.
Where the goods are required for your work or study (like tools or text books), bailiffs must leave alone items worth less than £1,350 altogether. This is also the case for necessary work vehicles worth less than £1,350 – for instance, if you’re working as a taxi or delivery driver.
There are a number of other items which are exempt including:
- pets or assistance dogs
- vehicles displaying a disabled badge
- medical equipment
- goods on an outstanding hire purchase agreement.
If you experience a problem with an enforcement agent, you should seek to resolve this directly with Dukes Bailiffs Limited in the first instance. You can send your complaint in writing to:
Dukes Bailiffs Limited
7/8 Newcastle Road
If you are unhappy with the response you receive, you can escalate your complaint to CIVEA – the Civil Enforcement Association.
Always ask for ID – Dukes Enforcement Agents should be able to produce their Dukes Identity Card on request.
If you miss a payment by accident, contact Dukes immediately to explain the circumstances and ask for your payment plan to be continued. Failure to contact them will result in Dukes assuming that it is your intention not to pay your debt, and may result in enforcement action being taken against you.
No. If your debt has been passed to Dukes, paying the creditor directly will NOT prevent you having to pay any additional fees that have been added to your debt.
Services Offered By Dukes Bailiffs: Business to Business Debt Collection, Court Action, Status Enquiries / Company Searches, Repossessions, Small & Ad Hoc Debts Collected, Tracing, Utility Debt Collection, Public Sector, Field Collections, Process Servicing, Bailiff