New powers for debt collectors to enter your home

23 Dec

The blogosphere has been raging at news that the government is “proposing wide-ranging new powers for bailiffs to break into homes and to use “reasonable force” against householders who try to protect their valuables.”

Basically it would mean that if you attempted to stop bailiffs from entering your private property, they could pin you down while they make off with your telly.

Personally I’m not sure where forceful restraining ends and actual assault begins. And I’d be surprised if the government has given it much thought. Thinking something through isn’t really this government’s style.

Chances are if you try and prevent the bailiffs, you’ll get a bit of a slap and it’ll be your word against theirs.

I’m certainly not comfortable with empowering non-official agencies with the right to physically restrain me on my own property – regardless of my inability to pay the bills.

I’ll leave you with Sim-O’s frightening scenario ::

You come home from work/holiday/the shops and find your door kicked in. You enter the house to find it’s been ransacked. You enter the living room. The telly, the DVD player. Gone. The draws of the side board are shut, but you know that someone has been going through them. You go upstairs just dreading to what you’re going to find. In one room after another, chests of drawers have been rifled. Someone has gone through all your most intimate items. Your business filing. Wage slips. The jewellery gone as well.

How do you think that’s going to feel? Thinking that someone has broken into your house and stolen your belongings, that’s bad enough, but when in reality the ‘thieves’ have had the law on their side and are allowed to ransack your home, when even the police can’t just walk in, is an abomination.
Now you have all the upset, distress and associated hassle of having to get it all back because it turns out it wasn’t you that owed the bank/loan company/district court money. It was the people that lived where you do previously. Or you just happen to have the same name as some one who owes money. Or it could just be a completely random reason why you have appeared on the bailiffs records.
How does that feel? I bet you’d be feeling a bit shit and angry about it all. Good job you’ve got a strong character and are able to deal with the stress by someones’ typo. How fortunate that you happen to have enough savings to get you by while you claim back everything from the bailiffs. Just remind me, how much do lawyers cost? Because I bet it won’t be a quick and easy process.
It’d be hard but you’d survive the experience. What about the old lady next door? Would she? What’s she going to do when the bailiff sticks his boot through the door?
Or how about the ‘highly excitable’? Ending up being pinned to the ground with a broken arm? Or worse.

Scary Mary.

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