How do I make a complaint about an enforcement agent (bailiff)?

How do I make a complaint about an enforcement agent (bailiff)?

If you wish to complain about an enforcement agent or enforcement company, you must first raise your complaint directly with the enforcement company concerned. Each CIVEA member company has its own internal complaints procedure and you will need to complete this process first. Depending on the complexity of the case, companies will aim to respond to you within 10 working days.

If you are dissatisfied with the enforcement company’s response, CIVEA can usually consider the complaint, as long as the company is one of our members (a full list of members is available here).

In instances where CIVEA is the correct body to review your complaint, we will acknowledge this within 5 days. The Chief Executive Officer will then consider the grounds of your complaint and advise on the next steps. If CIVEA decides to investigate the matter further, we may ask you or the enforcement company for more information.

Once the Chief Executive Officer is satisfied that all the information we require has been received, the complaint will be considered by members of the Compliance, Adjudication and Review of Enforcement (CARE) Panel. If there is a delay in providing a response, we will let you know.

Once the CARE Panel has investigated the complaint, they will write and let you know if your complaint is upheld or not. If the complaint is not upheld, you can appeal the decision in writing by explaining your grounds and submitting further evidence to support the issues you have raised.

It should also be noted that raising a complaint will not put a hold on further enforcement action. CIVEA does not have the legal authority to stop enforcement action being taken under a warrant of control or an order granted by the court. You should always contact the enforcement company, or enforcement agent, as soon as possible to discuss your case and arrange to pay the outstanding balance. If you do not contact the enforcement company, enforcement action can be taken which may result in your goods being taken into control, sold at auction and you will incur further fees and charges.

When might CIVEA not be the organisation to escalate a complaint?

If the debt related to your complaint originates from a Local Authority or Transport for London, this must be escalated to whoever has instructed the enforcement company to act rather than CIVEA. We also cannot consider complaints about the enforcement of a High Court Writ, or the actions of a High Court enforcement agent, county court bailiff or debt collector. While some of our members also employ High Court Enforcement Agents, there is another professional organisation which represents them (the High Court Enforcement Officers Association).

Please note that claims for compensation are not something CIVEA can consider and such matters should be referred to the County Court. The matter must also not be subject to an EAC2 complaint against an enforcement agent which has already been submitted to the County Court.

If you are not satisfied with the resolution to your complaint proposed by the company investigating your complaint, please contact CIVEA as soon as possible because a delay may make it difficult for us to investigate. Enforcement companies destroy most information they hold on cases after they are finalised, particularly if the case has been paid, or the warrant has been returned to the creditor. In cases where body-worn video footage or recorded telephone calls are held, this evidence may also be destroyed after a certain period. The CIVEA code of practice recommends members to retain video and audio recordings for a minimum of 28 days. CIVEA also destroys documentation after a period of six months if a complaint is not pursued within that time. In these cases CIVEA would be unable to consider your case further.

For more information on how CIVEA can assist with complaints, plus some useful tips on how best to raise a complaint depending on your circumstances, please visit the dedicated complaints section on our website.

0844 893 3922

PO Box 745

For general enquiries only, you can contact us by email (, letter or telephone.

If you have a complaint or concern about one of our members, please go to our complaints page for advice

CIVEA is unable to discuss complaint matters over the telephone and complaints should be sent in writing. This is to ensure that the details of your complaint are accurately recorded and understood which makes it easier in addressing your complaint thoroughly. Please advise if you have a disability, so that we can make reasonable adjustments.

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