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photoman

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photoman last won the day on June 22 2008

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  1. Here is a link to the judgement. The important bits are the opening summary, and paragraph 98, which appears on page 41. Our conclusion in summary 98. We are concerned with the situation where a claimant sends the Secretary of State a request for a mandatory reconsideration (a revision application) to which the Secretary of State responds by stating that the application is late and does not meet the criteria for extending time. We have concluded that as a matter of statutory interpretation a claimant in such circumstances has a statutory right of appeal to the FTT.
  2. I'm a bit of a lapsed member of CAG; I thankfully needed no more help from the kind members here, and I also felt that my own job, and any help I could give back here was done, as my area of specialisation was business bank charges (starting the thread "claiming on a business account, lets join forces? ...if anyone remembers), and once that door became closed I had a lot less to contribute.......plus lots of other personal things in life just sort of took over my time. There was never any chance of Martin ever becoming a lapsed member though ! His passion, his drive and his quest to see right done were exceptional. Likewise his ability to research, comprehend, seek out, and interpret for others was exceptional..... as was his kindness and eagerness to help others. I only ever spoke to Martin on the phone, but after doing so several times into the early hours of the morning, I did feel a great affinity with him, and as if I had known him a long time, such was his welcoming and friendly nature. The loss of Martin is the loss of a truly exceptional person; a great loss to this site and the cause for justice, but more importantly the loss of a kind, gentle and selfless person for all his family and friends. We all say RIP Martin Kay... but right now, he's probably already going through St Peters bank statements looking for errors !!
  3. Ha..... I note that my last post was auto edited by CAG system, putting in the word "problem" were I had put in another word. Sure you can figure out what that word originally was ?.... (it rhymes with Pram)
  4. ...... actually, your probably quite right. You can only prove you received something, not that you didn't receive something. ie: If it were the case that that you had to prove you'd got a letter from someone, you produce the letter. However, to prove you've not received a letter is impossible. Now I recall, I did also receive several letters in the post too, and these were actually identical to those hand posted, so I don't recall which were actually which. They're probably saving themselves even more time, by just posting out the "visit" letters !! (...or just not bothering at all). Another bone of contention regards this [problem].... and lets be honest..that is exactly what it is... is that all the letters were nearly identical and generic. NO mention of the actual sum due at such date, NO mention of what fees were added to date, NO mention of what additional fees would become due. All the company has done is taken a pile of identical ready printed threatening letters and popped them in the days post to all those on its' current hit-list !! I'm surprised they haven't outsourced the popping into an envelope bit to a centre in India employing child labour........... I'll bet it's been considered though !!
  5. Hi Tom, Thanks, I very much look forward to seeing you post on the LGO action. The complaints made to the LGO seem to be pretty common; ie claiming fees for supposed visits, and levying upon vehicles not owned by debtor. I've been thinking about this, and come to the conclusion that the motivations for the bailiff companies for undertaking such actions (which are indeed misrepresentations) are pretty obvious. PROFIT !! This is out and out FRAUD as defined by The Fraud act 2006, and the LGO, the government and the courts should be laying down the law and prosecuting these companies under such act. Consider for a moment the options available to a bailiff company: Their task: The bailiff company is passed a pile of debts to enforce on behalf of their client (lets say 50). They are asked to collect the outstanding sums, and for doing such they can add their own fees for the work required to enforce. Note, that they are collecting the clients money, which they must pass on, so it is only their own fees they get to keep. Option 1: The bailiff company send out their agents to collect. The bailiff calls upon each of the debtors, knocks on their door, informs them of the debt, and informs them that they need to pay such sum, plus a fee of £24.50 for that visit. The bailiff company collects the debts and makes £24.50 in fees for each successful collection, and perhaps, allowing for travel to each premise, time spent explaining and collecting etc manages to make say 20 visits in a day. Thus is takes 2 and a half days to collect the 50 debts, and bringing in. £1225 in fees. (from which must be deducted the agents wages for 2 and a half days work, commission, back office costs etc) Option 2: The bailiff company send out their agents, who waste no time in actually knocking on the doors or talking to anyone, and simply slip a letter through the letterbox informing the debtor of the visit. Because of time saved, they can make say 50 such visits in a day. INTERIM FEES TO COMPANY (50 x £24.50): £1225. THEN, 7 days later they visit each premise again, again not actually knocking, but simply slipping letters through each letterbox. This time they may also make a quick scan of the locale, and choose a nearby vehicle, note it's reg and mark it down on a levy form. INTERIM FEES TO COMPANY (50 X £18 FOR 2ND VISIT + 50 X £29.50 FOR A LEVY FEE): £900 + £1475 = £2357 THEN, 7 days later they visit each premise again, again, simply slipping letters through letterboxes. NOW, although they can't charge anything more for simply another visit, as they claim to have performed a levy, they instead add a £60 attendance fee onto each debt. INTERIM FEES TO COMPANY (50 X £60): £3000. THEN, 7 days later, they start to actually try to collect. This may take a bit longer, so they visit say 20 premises in a day, informing each debtor that they have already made 3 prior visits, the first two of which they were unable to make contact, but managed on the 2nd to make a levy. On the third visit they attended with the intent to collect, which incurs an attendance fee, and today they are doing likewise, which incurs another attendance fee. EACH DEBT IS NOW: £24.50 (first visit) + £18.00 (2nd visit) + £29.50 (levy) + £60 (1st attendance) + £60 (current attendance) TOTAL FEES: £192.00 So, if they have contacted and collected each debt on their 1st visit, the gross total in fees (before wages and costs) to the company for 50 debtors = £1225 If however they follow the pattern of option 2, the total gross fees (before wages and costs) for the same 50 debtors = £8350.
  6. By the way. Not sure if it was clear form my "success" post that the bailiffs actually dropped ALL their fees in my case. Ie: the £24.50, the £18 and the £29.50 levy fee. Strictly speaking I could actually have still been held liable for the legit 1st and 2nd visit fees. However, I sort of had them by the short and curlies here: If in response to my letter they'd written back, insisting the levy was proper and lawfully done, then they would have needed to go on and provide evidence of the grounds used to imply the vehicle was mine.... of which there is obviously none. If they then attempted to legally enforce the whole claim, their unlawful act would have come to the courts attention. If on the other hand, they wrote simply admitting that the levy was incorrect, and so would drop only such sum, then that's clear written evidence of an unlawful act, which becomes actionable in law. So, they couldn't have pursued the full sum, without having each part subjected to legal scrutiny. Nor could they just drop the levy part, as this would require admiting the levy was unlawful, In either case, the most they could have hoped to enforce would have been their visit fees...... but at the same time have their actions brought to the attention of the courts. So, they probably just thought the best approach was to fudge a bit in a letter about acting in good faith etc (without actually admit any wrongdoing), and offer as "a gesture of goodwill" to write off their total claim (about £72). ........ but just think how many times they probably DO get away this, and "customers" just cough up the whole sum ? .... better from a commercial point of view for them to just drop the occasional claim such as mine, rather than face a full inquiry, and lose a whole income stream !!
  7. The really crucial issue to hand here is not the small additional fee that the Bailiffs charge for performing a levy. (In my own case it was only an additional £29 levy fee they were trying to claim). Although such sums may seem trivial, imagine that they are routinely adding such fees to thousands and thousands of cases, so adding up to many thousand (if not millions) of pounds, and you start to see their motivation. However, the real and more worrying issue is the progression of fees and charges that may then be incurred, and also the escalation in legal rights of the bailiffs. This is when bailiff companies can really start to make serious money. IN ALL CASES Bailiffs fees are capped under law at £24.50 for their first visit, and £18 for their next. The crucial obstacle that the bailiffs then face, is that under law, they CANNOT then charge anything further. NOTHING more for any further visits. NOTHING more for any attendance fees, van fees, removal fees, auction, storage, etc etc It is ONLY after having ACTUALLY performed a levy that the bailiffs can really begin to profit. ONLY once they HAVE ACTUALLY performed a levy, they can then start to charge attendance fees. ONLY once they HAVE ACTUALLY performed a levy can they later remove or seize any items. ONLY once they HAVE ACTUALLY performed a levy can they charge additional costs: removal, storage, auction etc. ACTUALLY PERFORMING A LEVY IS THE CRUCIAL TIPPING POINT, AND SO A MAJOR OBSTACLE TO THE BAILIFFS CHARGING ANYTHING MORE. THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THEY ARE OFTEN CONTRIVING TO CLAIM A LEVY HAS BEEN PERFORMED WHEN ONE MAY NOT HAVE ACTUALLY BEEN DONE. Another crucial point for all to remember is: BAILIFFS CANNOT LEVY UPON ANY ITEMS THEY DO NOT ACTUALLY HAVE PHYSICAL ACCESS TO. If they just view an item through a window, they CANNOT place such item upon a levy. AND REMEMBER. BAILIFFS (APART FROM THOSE ACTING FOR CUSTOMS AND REVENUE OR THOSE ENFORCING COURT FINES) HAVE NO LEGAL RIGHTS OF ACCESS TO YOUR HOME. EVEN IF THEY (OR YOU) CALL THE POLICE, THE POLICE WOULD ONLY ATTEND TO ENSURE THAT THE PEACE IS KEPT, AND CANNOT FORCE YOU TO GRANT ACCESS TO THE BAILIFFS. IF A BAILIFF COMPANY ATTEMPTS TO CHARGE YOU MORE THAN THE £42.50 STATUTORY MAXIMUM, THEN PRESUME THET THEY MUST ALSO BE ATTEMPTING TO CHARGE A LEVY FEE. If you have not given them access, and do not believe they have actually performed a levy, then DO NOT simply pay their demand. ASK TO SEE THEIR LEVY. IF THE LEVY IS WRONG OR HAS BEEN PERFORMED UNLAWFULLY, THEN CONTEST IT. DO NOT simply just pay their levy demand, as doing so is your tacit acceptance that they have actually performed one, and then they can add... and add... and add more charges.
  8. Thank you Tomtubby. I've just received by email the CAG July newsletter, which focusses on exactly this matter, and has been compiled in conjunction with your good self. As many on this forum may have been drawn to this thread after facing similar issues, then perhaps it may be of benefit to post here the content and advice given in the newsletter regards this subject ? Could you do so, or would you mind if I did ? regards PM
  9. SUCCESS !! Letter from Bailiffs received today stating that they are dropping any claim for any charges on their own part. They claim to be doing so as a "gesture of goodwill" (...... so nothing to do with the fact that they could face criminal charges for Fraud if they continued huh) !! A convoluted and still defensive letter from Equita, in which they try to defend their actions by claiming that they would have actually performed relevant checks on the vehicles prior to any actual removal. A success of sorts in that Equita have dropped any attempt to enforce their fees, but still somewhat missing the point. My point was not the prevention of the bailiffs incorrectly removing a third parties property (as far as I'm concerned, they would be welcome to have still attempted to do so, and then face the legal consequences brought upon them by a neighbour). My point was rather along the lines of the points raised by Andrew Hobley (The Local Government Ombudsman) in his article on such practices, ie: that in the absence of actually performing a valid levy, bailiffs are contriving to invent such, so that they may then add further spurious charges for attendance, vans, storage, auction etc etc etc. Without having actually crossed the crucial threshold of performing a levy then bailiffs fees and charges are capped, which is exactly why they are contriving ways to claim to have performed a levy. Anyhow, success part 1, fees dropped by Equita. I now wait to see if the Council will still respond to my complaint about Equitas' actions, and whether they will act on such matters against them, ie: actions & guidelines to make Equita to behave lawfully. I also wonder if Equitas' "gesture of goodwill" was prompted solely by my letter to them? Or whether they have already had there knuckles rapped by the Council ? Regards to you all PM
  10. Agreed, but it wouldn't bring home to them the seriousness of their offence. I would very much like to see how they respond one they are aware they have committed such a serious offence !!!
  11. If they send you a statement of account, and it includes a "levy fee", then send them this: In response to your letter of XX/XX/11. Thank you for the information provided, and the statement of account. I note that the account breakdown includes a charge for a “Levy fee”.

 I strongly refute your claims of having performed any such levy, so if you contend otherwise then you MUST provide me with the following information :
 
1/ The time and date that such levy was performed and by whom (the bailiffs full name, and the county court where the bailiff was certificated). 

2/ A comprehensive itemised list of exactly what items were levied; detailing said items by description, make and model, serial number and estimated value. The inventory must detail individual items and not include "catch all" items purporting to cover goods not specifically listed. I also remind you that an agent must not purport to levy on goods to which no physical access is available. 3/ An explanation of what measures were taken to ensure that said items levied were actually solely my own possessions, were not owned fully or partly by any other party, nor hired or leased, and also what measures were taken to ensure that the total value of such levy did not exceed the total value of your claim. 4/ An original of any agreements or ‘walking possession” I have ever supposedly signed as a result of any such visit. I have on no occasion ever granted any of your agents physical access to my premises. Therefore, if any of your agents purport to have otherwise acquired access in order to have performed any such levy, then such an invasion would have been a clear act of trespass, upon which I would take appropriate legal action.

 I have also never signed any agreements, walking possession orders or indeed any other paperwork presented by any of your agents. If you claim otherwise, then I demand that you provide me originals of such, so they may be subjected to scrutiny in order to determine their authenticity. Yours Faithfully. YOUR NAME (PS: I suggest you send it by recorded delivery, so it's harder for them to claim they've never received it)
  12. Natty123, I've recently been through a similar experience. Equita claiming to have made numerous visits, and also claiming to have performed a levy. 1/ In the first instance, I would advise that you do not speak them on the phone at all. They are slippery as a fish, and will try to get you to agree to an arrangement that will probably be unreasonable. ONLY DEAL WITH THEM IN WRITING. 2/ Does their total claim include their own fees ? You should write tho them and request a breakdown of account. 3/ If their breakdown includes any levy fees, then you should contest such by requesting a copy of their levy, with an itemised breakdown of any items they are claiming to have levied upon. They cannot claim to have performed a levy if they have not actually acquired access to your home, or been able to find a vehicle you own. 4/ They can only charge sums such as removal, attendance, storage, auction costs etc AFTER they have actually performed a levy. Until such point the maximum they can charge is £24.50 for the first visit, and £18 for the second. They CANNOT charge for any further visits, and CANNOT charge any other fees or costs. 5/ Take care if you own a vehicle. Park it away from your home. If they claim to have performed a levy on a vehicle that you do not actually own, then their is a sticky dealing with this issue at the top of this forum. Best regards and luck. PM
  13. PS: Some may claim it's a perhaps bit strong to assert that the bailiff company are committing fraud by acting in such a way? However, I believe this is exactly what is happening. Look up section 2 of the "FRAUD ACT 2006" which states: Fraud by false representation (1)A person is in breach of this section if he— (a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and (b)intends, by making the representation— (i)to make a gain for himself or another, or (ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss. (2)A representation is false if— (a)it is untrue or misleading, and (b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading. (3)“Representation” means any representation as to fact or law, including a representation as to the state of mind of— (a)the person making the representation, or (b)any other person. (4)A representation may be express or implied. (5)For the purposes of this section a representation may be regarded as made if it (or anything implying it) is submitted in any form to any system or device designed to receive, convey or respond to communications (with or without human intervention).
  14. I've recently had this problem, whereby Equita sent me a letter claiming to have performed a levy upon a vehicle I do not (nor know who does) own. Here is the letter sent to the bailiffs (which I have sent along with a highlighted copy of the relevant sections from "The Fraud Act 2006" ) Dear Ms XXXXX, In response to your letter of XX/XX/11. Thank you for the information provided. Your letter claims that your enforcement officer XXXX XXXXXX performed a levy on XX/XX/11 upon a vehicle bearing the registration number XXX XXXX . I HAVE NEVER AT ANY TIME OWNED THAT VEHICLE. I can only presume that at such time the agent in question randomly selected a vehicle parked near my home and decided to imply I own such vehicle in order to serve his purpose. Your officer at such time (or yourselves since) will very likely have facilities to perform a rudimentary check in order to first determine ownership of the vehicle, and even if not, 
you have no other grounds to believe the vehicle at such time belonged to myself. By still implying I was in fact the owner of the vehicle (in order to perform a chargeable levy) is to do so whilst either knowing or believing such a fact is or might be untrue or misleading. 
Such an action is a false representation, made in an attempt to procure a financial gain for yourselves, and so a criminal offence under section 2 of the “The Fraud Act 2006”. Regarding your assertion that you have contacted your client, who you say confirmed I am liable for the fees; XXXXXXXXX Council were probably unaware at the time of making such a statement that your fees were derived as a result of unlawful false representations on your companies part. I have copied this and your recent letters to the relevant department at XXXXXXXX Council, whereon I am sure you will now find they assert otherwise. Yours faithfully XXXXXX XXXXXX
  15. Here is the letter sent to the Bailiffs (... which I have sent along with a highlighted copy of the relevant sections from "The Fraud Act 2006" ) Dear Ms XXXXX, In response to your letter of XX/XX/11. Thank you for the information provided. Your letter claims that your enforcement officer XXXX XXXXXX performed a levy on XX/XX/11 upon a vehicle bearing the registration number XXX XXXX . I HAVE NEVER AT ANY TIME OWNED THAT VEHICLE. I can only presume that at such time the agent in question randomly selected a vehicle parked near my home and decided to imply I own such vehicle in order to serve his purpose. Your officer at such time (or yourselves since) will very likely have facilities to perform a rudimentary check in order to first determine ownership of the vehicle, and even if not, 
you have no other grounds to believe the vehicle at such time belonged to myself. By still implying I was in fact the owner of the vehicle (in order to perform a chargeable levy) is to do so whilst either knowing or believing such a fact is or might be untrue or misleading. 
Such an action is a false representation, made in an attempt to procure a financial gain for yourselves, and so a criminal offence under section 2 of the “The Fraud Act 2006”. Regarding your assertion that you have contacted your client, who you say confirmed I am liable for the fees; XXXXXXXXX Council were probably unaware at the time of making such a statement that your fees were derived as a result of unlawful false representations on your companies part. I have copied this and your recent letters to the relevant department at XXXXXXXX Council, whereon I am sure you will now find they assert otherwise. Yours faithfully XXXXXX XXXXXX
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