Patricia Pearl - Small Claims Procedure - A Practical Guide


An excellent guide for the layperson in how to use the County Court - a must if you are intending to start a claim.

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  1. #1
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    Default Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    A number of years ago i was overpaidicon housing benefit. I didn't pay this back and the council sought county courticon judgement against me (900 approx). They then pursued this through an attachment of earnings (which was consolidated as I had others also), I was paying this back at a rate set by the judge until February this year when I lost my job. The judge asked me to supply details of my income and expenditure and basically "suspended" the AOE.

    I received a letter from Phillips a couple of weeks ago informing me that they were seeking to clear the debt. I put this to one side and forgot all about it. Another letter has dropped through my door today basically saying that as I have ignored them they are looking at taking the debt back in full within 7 days or if not they will be sending bailiffs to me.

    What can I do? I presumed that the judge's word would have been final. If a judge rules I cannot afford to pay it then surely that should be good enough???? Confused!! Advice needed!


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    Hi welcome to CAGicon:

    Do you know exactly how much of the debt remains owed to the Council in relation to the actual ccj?
    What is the wording of the DJ order, it may be he has stayed the AOE not merely suspended it.


    Send Phillips and the Council a copy of the DJ order suspending AOE. and if applicable draw their attention to the following:

    The national standards of Enforcement agents 2002
    NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR ENFORCEMENT AGENTS MAY 2002

    Those who might be potentially vulnerable include:
    • the elderly;
    • people with a disability;
    • the seriously ill;
    • the recently bereaved;
    • single parent families;
    • pregnant women;
    • unemployed people; and,
    • those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English
    WD


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    It didn't say suspended you're right - I can't think off the top of my head what it said but it said "it's been xxxxx with liberty to restore". Don't you just love it when your mind goes blank lol!

    I can't remember how much the original debt was but it was around that so not sure they've added charges.

    My confusion is that the council opted for a CCJ and then an AOE and now cos the judge has said we cannot afford to pay they've gone to bailiffs.

    If they turn up won't be gettin in but would still like to know if they're allowed to do it!


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    Surely Phillips can only be acting as debt collectoricon this time?

    PT

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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    Unless they have returned to Court to resore the order they cannot pass it to bailiffs .....if you have not received notice to a hearing to that end then I suggest you use the CCJ reference number and contact the Court to see if the Council have actually followed procedure.

    WD


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    This is the letter:-

    PRE-ENFORCEMENT NOTICE

    You have failed to make suitable repayment arrangements concerning overpaymenticon of housing benefits to yourself which remains outstanding. Therefore you have left us no option but to carry out full recovery procedures in which you may incur additional charges of no less than 45.

    Our recovery agents have now been granted approval to attend your premises without any further warning to commence recovery procedures.

    You must make the IMMEDIATE FULL PAYMENT of all of the outstanding amounts (as shown above) to prevent this action commencing.

    YOU HAVE 7 DAYS FROM THE DATE STATED IN THIS NOTICE TO PAY ALL OUTSTANDING AMOUNTS IN FULL.


    I haven't received any further notification from the court and at a rough guess the CCJ was granted around 3/4 years ago. The overpaymenticon was from me not declaring maternityicon allowance as a change in circumstances and was interviewed under caution at 36 weeks pregnant in Dec 2005.

    So do you think that they are simply working in a debt collectoricon capacity in this instance as opposed to bailiffs? I am confused as my partner has had dealings with Phillips for a court fine as bailiffs and they were horrendous.


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    Right......I have emailed them explaining my situation and asking them to clarify in what capacity they are collecting this debt; whether they are acting as bailiffs or debt collectionicon agents as if they are collecting as bailiffs I haven't received notification from the court.

    Not sure if that was the right thing to do but at least they can't say i'm ignoring them lol


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    In the CAGicon libraryicon is a letter for doorstep collectorsicon, send them that. No matter what happens they cannot attend as Bailiffs. As a guide to what happens read through this:
    1 - you owe someone some cash and either refuse or cannot afford to pay
    2 - creditor takes you to Court and wins
    3 - Judge orders you pay even at a low rate or in your case via AoE
    4 - for whatever reason payment by you fails
    5 - Creditor can either pass remaining to Debt Collector or go back to Court for further enforcement
    6 - one way of enforcement is to ask for Warrant of Execution - cost 100 added to Debt
    7 - if WoE is granted this is for the county courticon Bailiffto attend and he writes first anyway
    8 - a private Bailiff such as Phillips cannot collect on civil debts
    So I bet the headed paper from Phillips says Bailiffs and Debt Collectors and they will be very economical with the actual powers they do have.

    PT

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  9. #9
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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    They have emailed back and confirmed that they are acting as debt collectorsicon. They have asked me to submit an offer of payment and they will go to WMDC for their "approval".

    Cheers guys for your help - much appreciated! Very, very sneaky oh Phillips using their bailiff guise though me thinks!


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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    They have emailed back and confirmed that they are acting as debt collectorsicon. They have asked me to submit an offer of payment and they will go to WMDC for their "approval".

    Cheers guys for your help - much appreciated! Very, very sneaky oh Phillips using their bailiff guise though me thinks!


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    Just pay the Council direct using there online or automated phone payment systems. Phillips were more than flippin naughty they were totally out of order trying to suggest they were bailiffs.

    WD


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Phillips Bailiffs and overpayment of housing benefit

    If the Order you have is the current offering then you should remind the Council of this by sending them a copy. If they want to take it any further then they need to go back to Court for another Hearing but if your circumstances are still the same then they are just wasting taxpayers money.

    PT

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