Widespread use of private
repossession agents hazardous, reports Fred Crawley.
UK motor finance providers may be
risking non-compliance with civil procedure rules in their
post-litigation enforcement methods, warns vehicle repossession and
debt collection agency Burlington Credit.
Speaking at a Finance and Leasing
Association event, Burlington principal high court enforcement
officer Nicholas Todd claimed several key players in the industry
were using non-compliant methods to enforce County Court judgments
for delivery of goods.
He said there was “widespread
practice” of lenders employing private repossession agents to
enforce County Court orders where they are not entitled.
According to the Ministry of
Justice’s Civil Procedure Rules, applications for warrants of
delivery of goods to creditors may only be enforced by the County
Court’s own civil servant bailiffs.
However, a recent survey carried
out by Burlington found 62% of motor finance providers polled used
private repossession agents to enforce County Court delivery orders
in preference to using the County Court bailiff service.
Several respondents admitted to not
being aware that using private repossession agents is
Gill Payne of Wright Hassall
solicitors said: “While using private repossession agents to
encourage customers to comply with County Court orders is
compliant, using agents to enforce County Court orders is not.
“The industry needs to ensure their
agents are not overstepping the mark and that best practice is
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT)
has provided its own preliminary view on the issue, advising that
the County Court delivery order in its standard form “would not
appear to entitle a creditor to enter premises to take possession
[of goods], as it is an order which requires the debtor to return
the goods, not one which provides any specific right of entry to
The OFT advice goes on to state
that, “under these circumstances, where the debtor fails to comply
with an order to deliver or return the goods, the creditor may seek
enforcement through any of the routes provided in the Civil
Burlington business development
manager Adam Wonnacott believes this view from the OFT is at odds
with what has become standard practice within the UK motor finance
“Enforcing through the County Court
bailiff system can often provide disappointing results for the
judgment creditor, and this appears to have led the industry to
adopt its own solution to the problem by using private repossession
agents,” he added.
Burlington says it has developed a solution which complies with
the CPR by applying High Court Enforcement services to its range of