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Please bare with me as this is a long transcript. I owe my council £378.29, but I couldn't make any payment as I recently lost my job. My local council referred the case to the Equita who sent me a "Notice of enforcement" stating that I need to pay 453.29 (Incl. compliance stage fee £75) before 20/02/2017 or contact them to arrange a payment plan else the case will be passed onto bailiffs. I called them on 16/02/2017 and told them that I could pay the money by the end of this month as I recently got a job and so will be paid at the end of this month. I thought we had an agreement as the agent gave me her direct phone number. When I called the agent on 27/02/2017 to make the payment as agreed, she said the case had been passed to a bailiff agent as I'm too late. She put me through to the bailiff agent without letting me explain to her. The bailiff agent stated that he had not received the case yet so asked me to call him in the evening and gave me his number. I called him in the evening, and he stated that he still has not received the case but told me that he would call me tomorrow. I did not get any call from him on 28/02/2017. I called him on 01/03/2017, and he said the case has been assigned to him but busy to talk so he would call me back later, but I did not get any call. I sent him a text on 02/03/2017 asking him to call me when he is ready to talk but no response. On Monday 06/03/2017 he appeared at my house and demanded me to pay. I told him that I called him many times to resolve this issue over the phone to prevent paying the additional "Enforcement stage" fee of £235, but he did not let me speak and demanded the payment else he will take away the goods. I had no other choice but to pay £688.29. I called him today 08/03/2017 to understand why he did not call me back when I was offering to pay the money. He was implying that he did not receive any call from me, but the case is resolved. I also asked why he did not notify me by a call or a letter that he will be visiting my house but did not give me a straight answer. I had recorded all the calls I made to him including when he said that he had not received the case yet and will call me back to implying that he did not receive my calls. Can I make a formal complaint and request a refund of the fees added by the Equita? Please advice.
I'm assuming there is a precedent to this. I have a debt to the Council for back Council Tax which I have been paying back as and when I can afford it. Today Bristow and Sutor sent an enforcement agent (who told them he was a bailiff) while I was out and luckily they did not let him in. Nothing, apart from a few items such as my bed and an old stereo which is worth pretty much nothing, on these premises belongs to me as I am just a lodger here and the room is furnished by the landlords. I have never denied that I owe something but the amount is in dispute I have told B&S this previously but they have ignored all my letters. The bloke cleared off when it became clear he wasn't being allowed in but I suspect he will be back. Apparently he was eyeing up their car and I would obviously hate for them to become involved when it is nothing of their doing. Do these people have any claim to anything on the premises and where do we stand if they return in the future? I have spoken to the Council but they say it's out of their hands now although I suspect they could do something about it if they wanted to. Thanks in advance for any help and advice
Under the new rules that take effect today (6th April) it is made very clear indeed in the Regulations that if a debtor wishes to challenge the legality of the enforcement or to challenge the prescribed fees this may be made by way of an application to court under the appropriate Civil Procedure Rule (as outlined in the new regulations). If goods have been taken that the debtor consider should be 'exempt' or which are owned by a third party then once again, specific provision is made in the new regulations for the procedure that must be undertaken. Such remedy includes any breach of a provision of Schedule 12. The above is vitally important given that in the past few days a number of internet sites are providing debtors with the following incorrect information which is very likely to lead to goods being removed and the debtor facing additional costs. . "If your vehicle or goods cannot be returned to you then you can recover the replacement cost of them, or the cost of new goods if equivalent like-for-like goods are not available". "If your vehicle or goods have been seized and the enforcement action is not compliant with any of the above, then you can recover the goods and claim damages from the creditor for unlawful enforcement action and for the unlawful deprivation of the use of your vehicle or goods" "The law says you must be given at least 7 days clear after receiving a "notice of Enforcement" before receiving a visit from an enforcement agent. If this regulation has not been complied with then everything that took place at this visit and everything that followed is revoked".
The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013. Statutory Notices Notice of Enforcement: This notice must provide the amount of the debt and the relevance Compliance Stage fee. The Notice of Enforcement must state the precise date that the debtor must pay or agree a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent. If the debtor does not pay or agree a payment arrangement by the date specified an enforcement agent will make a personal visit and may seize your belongings. This is called 'taking control'. The notice must also outline the additional fees and expenses that may be applied if payment is not made by the date specified Details on how to pay (with the opening hours and days) together with the contact details must be provided. Controlled Goods Agreement By entering into a Controlled Goods Agreement you will be able to continue to use the goods listed but you need to be aware that you are acknowledging that the goods listed are under the 'control' of the Enforcment Agent until the sum outstanding is paid in full. The Controlled Goods Agreement also must state that if you fail to stick to the terms of the agreement the goods may be removed and sold. This will incur a further fee. The notice will state the debt outstanding, the Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage fee and any expenses. The Agreement must be signed by the debtor, a person authorised by the debtor or a person 'in apparent authority'. The Agreement must provide a detailed description of the item (eg: Computer, television, car etc together with the make and model (if known) and the relevant serial number, colour and any identifying marks. Warning of Immobilisation This notice will be provided if the Enforcement agent has fitted a clamp to the vehicle. This notice only needs to be signed by the Enforcement Agent. Notice of Intention to re-enter premises. This notice will be sent where a debtor has failed to keep to the payment terms under the Controlled Goods agreement and the notice is to advice that the enforcement agent intends to re-enter your premises to either 'inspect the goods' or to remove them for sale'. This Notice must provide details of the Controlled Goods Agreement and details of how the agreement has failed. This notice will provide the amount of the debt, the Compliance Stage fee and Enforcment Stage fee and details of the precise date and time when payment must be made. Details of the additional fees that could apply must be provided. Notice after Entry or Taking Control of Goods (on a highway) and Inventory of Goods Taken into Control This notice will advise the debtor of the action taken by the Enforcment agent (to enter premise or to take control of a vehicle on a highway. Details on how to make payment and the date and time by which the payment must be made. The goods will be released on payment in full (or may be released if you have signed a payment arrangement with the enforcement agent). This notice only requires to be signed by the Enforcment Agent. Notice that goods have been removed for storage or sale. This must be provided to the debtor when goods are actually removed. This notice must outline the daily or weekly storage fee. The notice will also outline the debt, Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage Fee and Sale stage fee and any 'expenses'. Payment in full will avoid the sale of the goods and the goods may be collected. The notice only requires the signature of the Enforcement agent. Inventory This notice is to advise the debtor and co-owner that goods have been taken into control taken into control listed belong to the debtor and a co-owner and once again, only needs to be signed by the Enforcement Agent Notice of Sale This must be provided PRIOR to the sale the goods have been sold and must provide the name of the co-owner (if applicable) This itemise the debt, Compliance Stage fee, Enforcment Stage Fee, sale Stage fee and any expenses. details must also be provided of the date, time and place of sale and will advise WHEN the sale will take place and the time. If payment in full is made goods can be collected. The notice must itemises the goods (model, serial number etc) and must also provide a 'valuation'. The sale is conditional on the reserve price being met. If this condition is not met a new time and place of sale must be given in a further notice. Notice of Abandonment of Goods This notice will tell you that goods listed have been formally abandoned and that you are free to collect the goods. The reason for abandonment will be because the debtor or co-owner were not given notice of sale within the period required by law. Goods must be collected within 28 days of the date provide on the Notice.