If you have debts of over £5000, you may be able to write off your debt with an IVA
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Bristow and Sutor are an enforcement agency, otherwise known as a bailiff agency, which operates across England and Wales. They first began operating in 1977, so they have a long history in the business, and they are well known for their council tax collection services.
They directly employ the enforcement agents that they use, rather than using external agencies, which they believe offers them greater control and the ability to operate with better ethics.
They primarily work with local authorities to collect debts relating to the following:
- unpaid council tax
- business rates
- Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
They also use a second debt collection agency called Credit Security. This agency collects debts relating to overpaid housing benefit and former tenant arrears, which are also known as sundry debts.
Bristow and Sutor pride themselves on having market-leading technology that provides their local authority clients with detailed reporting and a direct link to the agents who are chasing the money.
Important: If Bristow and Sutor enforcement agents have contacted you, it is essential that you do not ignore their communications, and that you seek help. As you get further down the debt collection process, the more difficult the circumstances will become for you.
Bristow and Sutor are bailiffs. This mean that they have powers which debt collectors do not have. They will try to repossess any vehicles in and around your property, as well as items from your home.
What happens if I don’t pay Bristow and Sutor?
Their collection services follow three stages:
Compliance StageYou’ll receive a Compliance Notice in relation to the money you owe, giving you seven days to come to a payment arrangement with them. At this stage, the letters will ask for payment in full of the money you owe to their client. They will add their collection fees of £75 on top.
If you don’t pay, then they can issue you with a compliance order called a Notice of Civil Enforcement. This notice acts as a warning that enforcement agents are preparing to visit your house if you don’t make arrangements to repay your debt and their additional fee. At this stage, their fees comprise:
- £235 fee
- In addition, 7.5% of any debt amount over £1,500.
Controlled Goods AgreementIf you still haven’t paid your council tax, or any remaining debts, bailiffs will come back with a Controlled Goods Agreement. They will make an inventory of your goods which can be seized and sold. For example, a car or other equipment that you own. If you sign the Controlled Goods Agreement, it will give you further seven days to repay your debts in full, including their fees. At this stage they add a fee of £110 plus 7.5% of any debt amount over £1,500.
But what if I don’t owe money to Bristow and Sutor?
If Bristow and Sutor are chasing you for unpaid council tax, or other monies, that do not relate to you, then you should contact them immediately to explain the situation. They may ask to see your ID before they will remove your details from their collection database.
In some cases, they may direct you to speak to your local council to resolve the issue of who is liable for the unpaid bill. In this scenario, the agency will continue to chase you for payment until their client tells them to stop.
Can Bristow and Sutor force entry into my property?
Bristow and Sutor are generally not allowed to force entry into your home to collect unpaid council tax and other monies owed to local authorities. The only time a bailiff can force entry into your home is as a last resort on rare occasions if they are collecting debts such as:
- Unpaid criminal fines
- Income Tax
- Stamp Duty.
Even in these cases, they will send a warning letter before their planned visit. Enforcement agents can only use reasonable force to enter your home, which generally means using the services of a locksmith.
If your debt relates to council tax, then bailiffs can not force entry. They also can not push past anyone who opens the door to them.
We recommend that you do not let enforcement agents into your home at any time. Call us, and we will connect you with free information to improve your financial problems.
Can Bristow and Sutor remove goods?
- Kitchen appliances
- Assistance dogs
- Things which are necessary for your work, up to a value of £1,350
- Medical equipment
Are Bristow and Sutor legitimate?
Bristow and Sutor are a legitimate enforcement agency, and they come under the regulation of the Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA).
As members of the CIVEA, Bristow and Sutor have to follow a stringent code of conduct and they must deal with vulnerable debtors in a particular way.
They are also members of:
- IRRV, The Institute of Revenues Rating and Valuation
- CSA, The Credit Services Association
- Cyber Essentials
- Citizens Advice
- And others.
How can I make a complaint about the behaviour of Bristow and Sutor Enforcement Agency?
In the first instance you should raise your grievance with Bristow and Sutor by calling them on 0871 677 0070 or writing to: Compliance Officer, Bristow and Sutor, Bartleet Road, Washford, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 0FL. They have an independent compliance department which conducts an investigation into every complaint that they receive.
Remember to keep a copy of any letters that you send.
If you are dissatisfied with their response, you can escalate your complaint to the High Court Enforcement Officers’ Association in the following ways:
- Email your complaint to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call 0844 824 4575.
Are Bristow and Sutor High Court Bailiffs?
Yes. Bristow and Sutor are High Court Bailiffs, otherwise known as Enforcement Agents. They are registered to collect County Court debts, and their clients are usually local councils. Their most common debts are council tax debt, non-domestic rates and parking fines.
Bristow and Sutor have the following rights when collecting money owed to their clients, such as unpaid council tax:
- They can call you as many times in a day as can be considered ‘reasonable’. They can call you from different telephone numbers to increase their chances of reaching you.
- They can send you letters about the money they believe you owe.
- They can visit you at home to discuss your debt, but you do not have to let them in. They are not allowed to push past you into the house, or to enter if no adults are present. They can visit you anytime between 6 am and 9 pm.
- If your business owes money for business rates, then Bristow and Sutor can visit your business premises.
- They can ask you to repay the money you owe, such as your council tax, plus their collection fees.
- They may be able to seize good or property left outside of your home and sell them to repay the money you owe.
- They can only force entry to inspect or seize goods and property that is subject to a controlled goods agreement. In most cases, forcing entry involves using a locksmith rather than breaking down a door.
- If you do not respond to their communications, and fail to agree to a repayment method, they may take you to court. This legal action could result in them receiving a court order to reclaim the money; for example, an attachment of earnings order enables them to take money directly from your wages to repay your debts.
If you receive a visit from an enforcement agent, you can ask them to show you their ID through a closed window, and proof of the debt they are collecting. They can not pretend to have official court documents unless they have received a court order. They also can not threaten you with jail, if you do not pay.
If you receive a visit from Bristow and Sutor enforcement agents, call us as soon as possible, and we will do our best to deal with them on your behalf.
How do you stop Bristow and Sutor bailiffs?
You can stop Bristow and Sutor by taking proactive action to manage your debts. Your options include:
- Paying the money you owe, such as overdue council tax, or any rates you owe on your business premises.
- Taking a formal debt management solution such as an IVA, a debt relief order or bankruptcy.
- Asking for some time to seek formal debt advice. Most enforcement agents will honour your right to have a period of ‘breathing space’ to get your financial matters in order. This option is only a temporary solution while you get support with your next steps.
The worst thing you can do is ignore the issue, because your problem will quickly escalate if you are not opening your post and responding to their messages. The more visits you receive from the company, the more they will add additional fees and other costs to your debts.
If Bristow and Sutor are chasing you and you are in doubt about the best course of action, then get in touch with us at IVA Advice as soon as possible. We’ll review the details of your case and let you know the options available to you, before your situation (and charges) escalate.
Bristow and Sutor Frequently Asked Questions
How can I contact and pay Bristow and Sutor bailiffs?
You can contact them about your debt recovery process in the following ways:
- Website contact form: www.bristowsutor.co.uk/pay/debtor-contact
- WhatsApp: 07860 078 251
- Text: 07781 488270
- Telephone: 0871 677 0070
- Letter: Bristow & Sutor, Bartleet Road, Washford, Redditch, Worcestershire, B98 0FL
What about a Bristow and Sutor free phone number? The website does not list a Bristow Sutor free phone number.
In some cases you may receive a visit from Credit Services Limited who you can contact in the following ways:
- Post: Credit Security Limited The Old Court House High Street Whitchurch Buckinghamshire HP22 4JS
- Telephone: 0845 122 2975
- Online: www.creditsecurity.co.uk
It is important that you do not pay the money you owe for council tax etc to the council if Bristow and Sutor are pursuing you for it.
Instead you can make a payment directly on their website at www.bristowsutor.co.uk/pay. You will need to input your case number to be able to login.
Do Bristow and Sutor chase Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) and Business Rates?
They collect Penalty Charge Notices relating to traffic-related penalties or penalties for parking contraventions that have been issued by the local council. You may receive one of these notices if you park your vehicle in the wrong place or if you are caught violating traffic rules.
The Traffic Enforcement Centre, which is a part of the County Court, can issue a Warrant of Control against you if you do not pay your Penalty Charge Notice(s) on time.
Bristow and Sutor may pass this type of liability to one of their agencies called Credit Security. This collector also deals with debts relating to overpaid housing benefits and unpaid rent from tenants.
Your local council may also appoint Bristow and Sutor if you own or manage a business that is in arrears with business rates. The enforcement agency will contact you to arrange a repayment in full or a repayment plan for the unpaid business rates; similar to the process and powers they have for unpaid council tax.
If your business is unable to pay its business rates, the council may begin insolvency proceedings, and the business could become bankrupt. It’s best to seek support as soon as possible if your business is facing enforcement action. Make sure that you seek advice from an organisation that understands the regulations regarding unpaid business rates, for example, one that has experience in business liquidations and business administrations.
If the business with unpaid business rates is structured as a Limited Company, then you may not have a personal liability for the business rates it owes. However, if the company has a registered office address at your home address or you work from home, enforcement agencies, like Bristow and Sutor, are likely to visit you there as they attempt to recover the money owed to their client.
What if I can not afford to repay the council tax etc that I owe Bristow and Sutor?
If your debts for council tax and other monies are more than you can afford to repay in a lump sum, then you may be able to negotiate a repayment plan with the enforcement agency.
The worst course of action is to ignore your unpaid council tax. The Magistrates Court may issue a Council Tax Liability Order if you haven’t paid your council tax bill. This order enables your local authority to take legal action against you to recover the money you owe. At this stage councils usually notify collectors, such as Bristow and Sutor, to collect the unpaid council tax.
If collection agencies are chasing you, you can contact IVA Advice on freephone 0330 1228447, and we will connect you with free guidance regarding the other options available to you.
Can I get my unpaid council tax written off?
- Payday loans
- Council tax
- Credit cards
- Any other forms of unsecured debts.
Where can I receive free support for my financial issues?If you’ve received a payment demand from a debt collector then there are many organisations in the UK that you can turn to for support and a solution, including:
- Citizens Advice Bureau
- National Debtline
- The Money Advice Service