As I have mentioned before, normally the threat of seizure is enough to encourage a debtor to pay and we rarely have to take the next step of removing, then selling the goods to raise enough to clear the debts and fees. But, when we do need to sell goods, HCEOs can arrange for this to be done either by auction or by private treaty.
The auctioneer will always try to get the best price for the goods, selling to the highest bidder on the day.
However, as you may well have experienced first hand, auction prices are generally much lower as few items hold the value they had as new.
In the case of vehicles, if the HCEO is unable to get the keys and documents (V5 and service history), the sale price really plummets. You can, of course, get new keys cut sometimes, but this adds significantly to the cost, usually around £250 depending on the vehicle.
There has also been a significant decline in the value of household goods, especially electrical items. Televisions and computers bought several years ago fetch very little these days as brand new products can be bought at relatively low cost.
The court may also allow for the goods seized to be sold privately rather than at public auction if it can be demonstrated that a higher price is likely to be obtained. This is called private treaty. This is usually the best option for goods that are quite specialist or where there is already an interested party.
While the costs of removal and sale may vary, the fees for the HCEO are set by the Lord Chancellor as a percentage of the sums realised, as follows:
- 15% - first £100
- 12.5% - next £900
- 10% - above £1000
When the goods are sold by auction on the debtor’s premises, the fee is 7.5%
By private treaty
- 7.5% - first £100
- 6.25% - next £900
- 5% - above £1000
Please read my article on the seizure of goods if you would like to find out more.