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I dont think they ment you but in fact someone else, Help and support is always welcomed and valued, without such a site we would be sitting behind the doors worrying and not know our legal rights.

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Hi, i've received a letter from Peterborough City Council saying they have refunded the bailiff fees.


I am about to send the below email back to them, What do you guys think


Dear Shirley

Thank you for your letter

I acknowledge your gesture of goodwill by cancelling the bailiff costs and for this I am pleased the council have decided to wave the costs, However

I strongly feel the council and the bailiff have caused me undue stress and worry in relation to the actions of the bailiff.

It is of my opinion that Equita will not be able to legally uphold there claims of making the visits to *****************************, should this matter be put before a district judge.

It would look very unprofessional for the council should I take this matter to the courts and the Judge decides the evidence provided by Equita is not satisfactory.

For this very reason, I’m happy the fees have been refunded, however due to the councils behaviours and allowing there agent “Equita” to continue there business in this way, I am fully aware there are other cases like mine which Peterborough City Council have failed to act upon.

I am thankful of the council to refund the fees charged by the bailiff, but this has caused me a large amount of stress and worry for this reason I ask the council to consider paying me compensation “Amount to be decided by the council”

Should I not hear from you regarding compensation, I shall have no option then to put this matter before the district judge to decided if and how much compensation should be awarded.

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Stage III Complaints Report


Stage III Complaint Report into the complaint made by:


David B************


3 **************************************

On behalf of (if different):



In respect of (service areas or teams):

§ Council Tax


Simon L*****************

Date Complaint Registered

Complaint Reference


Date Investigation Commenced

17 April 2008

Date Final Response Due

16 May2008

Report Date

12 May 2008

Time Taken To Complete

16 days




1.1 Context


§ Due to personal circumstances, Mr B************ had difficulty in paying Council Tax in respect of his previous address at 52 ************************. Peterborough City Council had passed the arrears to Equita Bailiffs to recover the outstanding amount. The arrears have now been settled, and Peterborough City Council has agreed to cancel outstanding bailiff fees as a gesture of goodwill. Nonetheless Mr ***********l feels the actions taken by Peterborough City Council and Equita in the course of recovering outstanding Council Tax were unreasonable, and in the case of Equita false claims were made in respect of visits made to his address.

1.2 The Complaint


§ Mr *********** complains that Equita have failed to provide sufficient evidence that claimed visits by their bailiffs to his address at 3 *****, were made as claimed on 8th and 22nd February 2008.

§ Mr **************** complains that he has been placed under undue pressure as a result of the actions by Peterborough City Council and Equita, as its agent, to recover outstanding Council Tax. As such he believes Peterborough City Council should compensate him financially.

1.3 The Desired Outcome


§ Mr **************** would like an independent investigation into his complaints, and should evidence of fraudulent activity by Equita be forthcoming, that company should be prosecuted.


Print Name





2.1. The Investigation


As Mr **************** is now resident in **************** I have not met him personally. However in conducting this investigation I have spoken to him a number of times on the telephone, and had correspondence by email. I have interviewed the following Peterborough City Council Staff.

Jim Glover - Interim Revenues & Benefits Project Manager

Shirley Pleszkan - Interim Revenues & Benefits Manager

I have spoken with a number of staff at Equita, including Mike Brient, Customer Services Manager. I have also contacted the Ombudsman’s Office in Coventry, receiving advice from an investigator, Richard Barnwell.

I have been provided with and viewed the following documentation:

Stage 1 & 2 Complaints File

Various Emails from Mr **************** including correspondence to and from Henry Bellingham MP.

Letter to Mr **************** from Edwin Coe LLP on behalf of Equita dated 11th April 2008

Court Decision against Equita (dated 21st December 2005) from Mr ****************

Witness Statement **************** dated 14th April 2008

Incomplete statement of Mr **************** (up to 14th April 2008)

Letter from Jim Glover to Henry Bellingham MP dated 14th April 2008

Service Level Agreement between Equita Ltd and Peterborough City Council (April 2008)

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

Extract from Equita account of Mr ****************

Bailiff Certificate


  • Mr **************** used to live at 52 Ratcliffe Court, Welland Estate, Peterborough PE1 4TY. At the time he left the property in May 2007 there was an outstanding Council Tax account. Recovery of the debt was subsequently referred to Equita Bailiffs.

  • Visits are recorded as having been made by an Equita Bailiff to ****************, **************** **************** on 8th and 22nd February 2008. This is the current address of Mr ****************.

  • Mr **************** contested that these alleged visits were made.

  • The complaint was investigated at Stage 1 by Jim Glover, and Stage 2 by Shirley Pleszkan, both of whom concluded that sufficient evidence existed that the bailiff visits took place.

  • The outstanding Council Tax arrears have been paid by Mr ****************. Shirley Pleszkan, as a gesture of goodwill cancelled the £42.50 bailiff fees, on the grounds that Mr **************** was no longer resident in the Peterborough Unitary area, outstanding Council Tax had been paid, and that further action to recover the costs would be uneconomic, time consuming and unproductive.

Mr ****************, through telephone conversations and his partly completed statement maintains:

  • His first knowledge that Equita were involved was a letter dated 22nd February 2008 received via the post on 27th February 2008.

  • His initial attempts with Equita and Peterborough City Council to resolve the matter were unsuccessful. He subsequently spoke with Jim Glover who advised him that the £42.50 in bailiff fees were the result of two visits by a bailiff at 09.02hrs on 8th February 2008 and 08.25hrs on 22nd February 2008.

  • Mr **************** disputed the alleged visits had taken place. On 5th March 2008 Jim Glover sent him GPRS detail provided by Equita, including a map. Mr **************** believes this evidence to be flawed and subject to tampering. He does not believe the evidence provided is sufficient proof the bailiff visits were made.

  • He has requested further evidence from Equita, including the name of the bailiff concerned. That information has been refused.

  • Mr **************** believes the fact that the Council have offset the bailiff fees is an attempt to cover up the fact that the bailiff visits were not made, in the hope of concluding the matter.

Mr **************** provided a statement from ****************, the occupant of ****************, ****************. She states that she was at home at the relevant times and dates when the bailiff allegedly called. She stated no such visits were made.

Jim Glover was interviewed:

  • He confirmed he had dealt with Mr **************** in respect of bailiff and other matters raised in relation to the outstanding Council Tax at 52 Ratcliffe Court

  • He pointed out that under legislation there is no legal obligation for Peterborough City Council to prove that bailiff visits take place - they merely have to be satisfied that such visits took place. This issue in respect of being satisfied that a visit took place may have more weight if court proceedings were being taken, but in the case of Mr **************** the fees have been waived.

  • Notwithstanding his comment above, as the officer dealing with a complaint Jim Glover undertook to satisfy himself that the visits recorded to **************** had been made. He contacted Equita, who supplied him with GPRS timed and dated data. This information satisfied him that the visits had been made. He subsequently forwarded this information to Mr ****************.

  • Jim Glover acknowledged that whilst the data provided showed the bailiff to have been at the address at relevant time, it could not show that there had been a physical visit to the door.

  • As a result of the enquiries he had made, and the information he had received Jim Glover had not upheld Mr ****************’s complaint into the bailiff issue or the other complaints he raised.

Shirley Pleszkan was interviewed:

  • She confirmed her full review of the investigation completed at Stage 1 by Jim Glover, and her agreement with his conclusion of satisfaction that the recorded bailiff visits took place.

  • Her decision to write off the bailiff fees was as she stated in her Stage 2 letter to Mr ****************, and nothing further should be read into that decision.

Michael Bryant from Equita provided the following information:

  • Information of bailiff visits is recorded contemporaneously by the officer at the time a visit is made. Equita bailiffs are issued with pens which contain digital cameras. When the pen is used a digital file is created and then converted for transmission via Bluetooth on the bailiff’s mobile phone. GRPS data records the location from where the information is sent.

  • Within two or three minutes the information is received for records which are date and time stamped. From this information it is possible to produce screen prints, which was done to provide the information to Mr ****************.

  • Michael Bryant pointed out there is no legal requirement for information of bailiff activity to be recorded in this way.

  • He provided an extract from Mr ****************’s Equita File




Pre Bailiff Letter sent


Electoral roll check confirmed surname listed, confirmed resident and phone number ex-directory


Bailiff visited - no contact made, letter left - £24.50


Case re-issued to bailiff for further attempt to levy


Bailiff visited - no contact made, left letter - £18.00


Received call from Mr. ****************. Arrangement made for CP to pay £5.00 per week, first payment due 05.03.08. Girobook issued


Received call from Mr. **************** advised of bailiff costs, confirmed if arrangement was not maintained further costs may be incurred. CP confirmed will not pay fees as was not previously advised.


Received call from Mr. **************** advised to start making payments - CP was recording call without permission so call terminated


Case put on hold for 14 days as per Jim Glover


  • Michael Brient detailed concerns Equita have with providing information to Mr ****************. Previous comments logged by Mr **************** on ‘The Consumer Action’ website are considered defamatory and are currently in the hands of Equita’s legal advisors.

  • In view of the comment above Michael Brient was reluctant to release the details of the bailiff involved in the visits to **************** to Mr ****************. Details were provided for this investigation with a caveat that they should not be released to Mr ****************.

  • The bailiff involved has not been subject to a previous allegation as that made by Mr ****************.

  • Whilst acknowledging that it cannot be proved an actual knock was made on the door at ****************, Michael Brient is satisfied on the basis of the information available to him that such visits were made.

A copy of a valid Bailiff’s General Certificate issued at Northampton County Court has been provided and examined.

A telephone enquiry was made to the Ombudsman’s Office in Coventry, as to whether the information supplied by Michael Brient was acceptable without a visit to Equita’s offices in Northampton for the technology to be viewed. The advice from investigator Richard Barnwell, relayed by advisor Kerry Hartnett was that such a visit was not necessary.

Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act concerns an exemption in respect of personal data within the meaning of the Data Protection Act 1998. In this case the detail of the Equita bailiff is clearly personal data and as such exempt from release under a Freedom of Information request.

2.2. The Findings


  • Mr **************** alleged visits to his address at **************** **************** by an Equita Bailiff on 8th and 22nd February 2008 were not made.

  • ****************, the occupant of ****************, **************** states she was at home at the relevant times and dates when the bailiff allegedly called. No such visits were made.

  • Malcolm Brient provides data from Equita’s records which shown timed and dated GPRS information to suggest the calls were made. He also provides an extract from the Equita log for Mr **************** confirming this information

  • The bailiff involved was correctly certificated. Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act provides an exemption for the need to release personal data, specifically in this case the name of the bailiff.

  • Section 45 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 deals with distress in respect of the recovery of council tax where a liability order has been made. There is no legal requirement to prove bailiff visits

  • The bailiff fees charged were in accordance with Schedule 5 of the Regulation

2.3. The Conclusion


1. Mr **************** complains that Equita have failed to provide sufficient evidence that claimed visits by their bailiff to his address at ****************, ****************, were made as claimed on 8th and 22nd February 2008.

Whilst it cannot be proved that an actual knock on the door of **************** took place at the time and dates in question, the technology used by Equita provides sufficient evidence to show that the bailiff was at the location at the time. This information is also recorded in Mr **************** Equita’s file. There is no apparent reason for the bailiff not to have called as suggested. He has not been subject to any previous complaint of this nature.

Under legislation there is no legal obligation for Peterborough City Council to prove that bailiff visits take place - they merely have to be satisfied that such visits took place. This was the conclusion at both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of this complaint. Again I am satisfied that the evidence shows the bailiff visits did take place and as such this complaint is not upheld

2. Mr **************** complains that he has been placed under undue pressure as a result of the actions by Peterborough City Council and Equita, as its agent, to recover outstanding Council Tax. As such he believes Peterborough City Council should compensate him financially.

As I find Complaint 1 above is not upheld, and therefore Peterborough City Council and Equita as its agent have behaved in an appropriate manner, there is no reason for compensation to be made to Mr **************** in this case. This complaint is not upheld

2.4. Recommendations


There are no recommendations resulting from this complaint


Simon Lovell


13th May 2008



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I have been following this for some time as I have a similar problem, however after reading the last post I would like to know if you have won or not, it seems to show that you had no case but I may have missed something (I hope so because I am in a similar position except my car is subject to a walking possession agreement) some advice please

Edited by UK27
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