FAQs for Customers

These FAQs are aimed at customers who have received notification of a debt. If you are a client looking for information about our services, click here:

FAQs for Clients

My Debt

What is this debt about?

We collect a variety of debts, including Council Tax, Non-Domestic, Penalty Charge Notices (also known as PCNs) for local authorities (councils), and unpaid County Court Judgments (CCJ’s) under a High Court Writ of Control

I don’t think I owe this debt. How can I dispute it?

If your debt relates to Council Tax or Non-Domestic Rates, you must contact the relevant Local Authority if you do not think you owe any money. If your debt relates to one or more Penalty Charge Notices then please contact us to discuss your dispute. In the case of a High Court writ of control, please contact the court directly. Enforcement action will only cease if instructed by the client or via court order.

There are two people named on the liability order I have received, and I have paid my half of the debt. Why are you still pursuing me?

There are two names on the liability order or writ of control because you are Joint and Severally Liable for the debt. This means that either of you can be pursued for the full amount of the debt, not that it is split between you. We can continue enforcement action against you until the full amount of the debt has been paid.

What happens if I pay part of the debt?

If you only pay part of the debt without discussing this with us, enforcement action will continue until the full amount of the debt has been paid.

I need help to manage this debt! Where can I find debt advice?

We understand that you may need a bit of extra support from time to time, and we will do our best to work with you to understand your circumstances and find a suitable solution. We recommend that you seek professional debt support from a reputable provider, click Read More to find links.

Dealing with debt is causing me distress. Where can I get support?

We understand that dealing with debt can be difficult, and support is available if you are struggling to cope. Click Read More to find a list of organisations that can help.

Making Payments

Why have Bristow & Sutor added additional fees to the total of my debt?

Bristow & Sutor charge fees in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. The fees are set by legislation and are the same for all civil enforcement agents operating in England and Wales. There are two different fee scales, one for High Court Enforcement, and one for non-High Court Enforcement.

Can I send payments to the end creditor?

Please do not send payments to the end creditor, whether this is a Local Authority or Transport for London. All payments must be sent directly to us, as payments sent to the end creditor may be incorrectly allocated and may not stop our recovery action.

Debt Enforcement

Can I stop the enforcement agent from acting to recover this debt?

If you or someone else intentionally obstructs someone lawfully acting as an enforcement agent, you or they may be guilty of an offence and be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for up to 51 weeks or a fine up to level 4 (currently £2500) or both.

Can the law stop the enforcement agent acting?

The regulations were written by government to enable the enforcement agent to collect these debts that are due to our clients. The law is there to guide the enforcement agent as to how they should act, not to stop them acting.

Can I hide my goods from an enforcement agent or sell them to stop them being taken?

No. From the moment you are sent a Notice of Enforcement from our office your goods are “bound” in law. This means you cannot sell them or dispose of them.

Should the enforcement agents be knocking the door?

They are instructed to do so where appropriate but the law does not make it mandatory.

What goods can enforcement agents take?

The enforcement agent can take control of goods which you own or in which you have a beneficial interest.

What paperwork do enforcement agents have to leave?

Enforcement agents will leave different forms when they carry out certain actions. We are required by law to leave some of these forms, and other letters will be used to provide information to you where there is no set legal form.

Can enforcement agents force entry?

An enforcement agent can gain peaceful entry on an initial visit to take payment or complete a controlled goods agreement. If payment is not completed, or a controlled goods agreement is not completed, they can force entry to inspect or remove goods that are subject to a controlled goods agreement. Under a High Court Writ of Control, an enforcement agent may also force entry to a commercial, trading address.

How will goods be sold?

Goods will usually be sold by public auction.

What can the end creditor do with a case if the enforcement agent sends it back to them uncollected?

If we are not going to take further enforcement agent action the end creditor has several options.

Are you legally allowed to take money from my wages?

For Council Tax 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.

Can the enforcement agent take my goods if I won’t sign anything?

Yes. The regulations do not require your signature or co-operation for goods to be removed or sold.

What if I have received a visit regarding Sundry Debt?

Some visits are made by our agents called Credit Security Limited. If you have paperwork from them contact them at: Credit Security Limited The Old Court House High Street Whitchurch Buckinghamshire HP22 4JS Telephone: 0845 122 2975 www.creditsecurity.co.uk

What happens if I don't pay a sundry debt?

If you do not act straight away and still reside in England or Wales the next stage in the recovery process may also involve the instigation of County Court proceedings. If the Court grants a Judgement against you then there will be significant consequences.

How is my credit rating affected by enforcement action?

Your credit rating is not directly affected as a result of the action Bristow & Sutor may take against you or the data we hold. However, if you do not pay your debt, this may progress to further action which can affect your credit rating.

About Bristow & Sutor

What is an enforcement agent?

Enforcement agents work on behalf of creditors to recover the debts that they have been unable to collect.

What does an enforcement agent do?

Enforcement agents are empowered to take your goods and sell them by public auction to pay off your debt. This procedure is called “Taking Control of Goods.” You can prevent this by paying in full, or by agreeing and completing a payment plan.

I have received a letter from Bristow & Sutor but I’m not the named person on the correspondence. What should I do?

If you have received a letter from us but you are not the person named on the correspondence please complete the 'not the named person' form or contact the office. Please click 'Read More' for a link to this form.

How are Bristow & Sutor regulated?

The civil enforcement industry doesn’t have a formal regulatory body, however Bristow & Sutor aim to lead the way in ensuring we behave fairly and professionally.

How do I make a complaint?

We’re continually striving to improve our service, and we welcome your feedback. You can make a complaint via any of the communication channels listed on the Contact Us page, or email us at [email protected]. Click Read More for our full Complaints Policy.

Data Protection and Subject Access Requests

What is a subject access request?

A subject access request gives individuals the right under the General Data Protection Regulation to find out what information we hold about them.

How do I request a subject access request (SAR)?

We request you complete and return to us a SAR form along with two types of identification. Click read more for a link to the form and more information about the kinds of identification we can accept.

Is there a fee for making a Subject Access Request?

No, there is no fee for a straightforward Subject Access Request.

Do I have to have any identification copy documents certified as true copies?

No, there is no need to have documents certified.

If you are unable to locate any information for me on your records, will you tell me?

Yes, we will notify you if we cannot find any information for you on our records.

Can I request a SAR by phone?

Yes. We will then send you a copy of our SAR form via your preferred method of contact or you can print it from our website, to return to us with your two forms of identification.

Can I request a SAR on behalf of somebody else?

Yes, however we require the data subject’s consent in writing and two forms of identification as required from the above table, confirming the representative’s identification, along with our form.

Can you forward on my SAR results to another organisation or third party on my behalf?

No, details of your request will be forwarded to you and you can forward on the details as necessary.

How long will it take to process my SAR?

We will send you the details of your request within one month of receiving the requested documents.

How will I receive the information?

We can send the information by email or post.

Where can I find out more information about making a SAR?

For more information, you can visit the Information Commissioner’s website: http://www.ico.org.uk
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