A member fell victim to someone posing as a bailiff who pressured her into ‘settling out of court’ over non-payment of a bill that she had already refuted. Has it happened to you?
Member Laura Ivermee told us:
‘Last year, I ran an advert for my graphic design company in a publication. We verbally agreed it would be a one-off advert.
‘Six months later, the publication contacted me, arguing that I had agreed to run two adverts six months apart.
‘It told me it would send the recording of me agreeing to this, but nothing arrived so I forgot about it.
‘Some time after, a court bailiff contacted me and said the company was suing me for non-payment, supposedly for an advert in 12 issues that I had agreed to – at £299 per month.
‘He told me that he was on his way to serve the papers, I’d have to pay another £1,100 if he did so, and he had the authority to seize goods if I failed to pay.
‘I was pressured into settling out of court for £3,200, as this would allow me to make a counterclaim.
‘When the court documents to support this counterclaim didn’t show up, I contacted the courts, which had no details of this case. It was all a very well-run scam.’
Our say on fake bailiffs
Bailiffs must usually give you at least seven days’ notice of their first visit.
This gives you time to check their identity, either by contacting the court that sent them or checking against an official register.
Always ask for ID – anyone who falsely claims to be a bailiff is committing fraud, so you were right to report this to Action Fraud and the police.
Unfortunately, because you paid by bank transfer, there is little chance of recovering your money.