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What to do if the Bailiffs Call.

1. Even if you owe money, never let bailiffs into your home unless they are accompanied by the police. Once they have been allowed in, they can return and force entry when you are not there.

2. Once inside, they have the right to stay there until they have collected the goods. But if they gain entry to a communal entrance in a block of flats that does not constitute entry into your property, however much the bailiff insists it does. Call the police if they refuse to go.

3. Keep windows and doors closed - under ancient laws bailiffs are allowed to enter if the door is ajar or windows open - but they cannot force an entry unless they have been allowed in previously.

4. If you open the door to a bailiff, they cannot force their way past you - if they attempt to, report it to the police as assault. Bailiffs can take your car if it is on a public road, but not if it is on a drive.

5. If these rules have been broken, pay £50 for a summons from your local county court and issue proceedings against the bailiff firm. They usually back down because, if the judge rules against them, they can have their licences removed and would rather not take the risk.

6. Remind any bailiff that any behaviour that is intended to cause 'alarm', distress or humiliation is an offence and threaten to press charges.

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