Complaints

First steps

If you wish to complain about an enforcement agent or company you must first raise your complaint directly with them, allowing at least 28 days for them to respond.


If you’re unsatisfied with the outcome you can refer your complaint to CIVEA* to investigate as long as:

  • The complaint is about a certificated enforcement agent.** We cannot help if your complaint is about the enforcement of a High Court writ, or the actions of a High Court enforcement officer, county court bailiff or debt collector.  
  • The complaint is about one of our members. A full list of our members can be found here

  • The complaint was raised with the enforcement agent or company no more than six months from the date of the incident.

  • No more than six months has passed since receiving the enforcement agent or company’s final response before raising the complaint with CIVEA.

  • The complaint is submitted by post. We cannot accept complaints via email or discuss the matter over the telephone.



What you need to send CIVEA:

1. Copies of the correspondence between you and the enforcement company regarding your complaint. 

Please do not send us original documents unless we specifically ask you.
If you would like your documents returned you must first pay an administration fee of at least £10.***
This must be done within six months of receipt of the complaint or no later than three months after completion of the complaint, otherwise the documents may have been destroyed. 

2. A completed and signed complaints procedure leaflet.

Please include brief details of your complaint and send us only relevant documents.
Excessive and irrelevant documentation will delay the investigation and may even hinder a proper resolution of your complaint.


What happens next:

  • The Director General of CIVEA receives the complaint and considers its grounds.

If the complaint meets the requirements set out above and the Director General decides he or she can investigate, you may be asked to send more information. However, should your complaint not meet the requirements set out above or found to be frivolous, the Director General may refuse to investigate.

  • If the Director General decides he or she can investigate they will ask the enforcement agent or company to write a response to the issues raised in the complaint. 
  • The Director General will then write to let you know if the complaint can or cannot be upheld.

  • If the complaint is not upheld you can appeal the decision in writing explaining your grounds. 

  • Your complaint will then be considered by the Executive Council of CIVEA. 

  • Should the complaint be upheld, the Executive Council will make sure the enforcement agent or company complies with their decision. 




*Please be aware that CIVEA cannot give advice on enforcement issues. If you have questions at any stage contact the free advice services listed on your ‘Notice of Enforcement’ or seek legal advice.
It should also be noted that raising a complaint will not put a hold on further enforcement action, nor do CIVEA have the authority to intervene in the enforcement of a warrant, prevent the visit of an enforcement agent or prevent the seizure of goods.


**A certificated enforcement agent is an individual who has been granted permission by a judge to seize goods when enforcing civil debt including non-payment of council tax, business rates, parking and other traffic offences, fines from magistrates’ courts, child support awards or failure to pay commercial rent.
A debt collector is an individual who recovers money owed under contractual transactions such as credit card debt, loans and the purchase of household goods or vehicles. Such an individual can seize the goods concerned - in certain circumstances, but cannot seize other goods unlike a certificated enforcement agent.


***If a substantial amount of paper is involved this fee may increase but you would first be notified by the Director General.