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Marston Group: urgent advice needed please

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Hi, thanks in advance for any advice, I will try to keep this short.......

  • CCJ order for a little over £5,000 end of March 08, as I disputed part of the amount owed
  • This dispute had been dragging over the past 2 years and I have been paying £100 per month for the last year and now increased to £200 pm, as I'd said I would once the final amount was 'agreed'
  • Mid-July I received a letter from Marston Group. The letter said they had visited (they had not, I was home sick) and they had added over £1200 to the amount (no explanation/breakdown)
  • lots of to-ing and fro-ing with debt agency, claimant and solicitor. Debt co agreed £200 per month and advised solicitor of this.
  • Spoke to High Court (lady was really helpful) and applied for a Stay of execution, based on the fact I was paying them what they agreed to anyway (someone else went to London to get it done that day) and called Marston to advise I have it.
  • I sent Marston and the claimant each a copy of the stay, which Marston's received on 21st July (I called, they confirmed and I have recorded delivery confirmation).
  • 21st, I also received a loan from a friend for the balance of the CCJ (I know, I am very very lucky, after several years of not being so lucky) and spoke to debt co who agreed that as there is a stay that it was probably ok to pay debt co as previously, rather than the bailiff. She was going to speak to solicitor and confirm, but didn't come back to me
  • 22nd Paid the outstanding balance of CCJ into debt co account (electronic, so cleared by Friday) and emailed claimant, debt co and solicitors to confirm that it had been paid (debt co verbally confirmed they received it as did solicitors, but nothing by email yet)
  • I have received several letters from Marston, since then and today they insisted they will visit next week and remove goods and they also insist they are 'in possession' (although never visited, never levied and no way did I unlock my doors or windows until I had my stay of execution). They also said there is no seal on the stay (he actually said that I was advised of this last week, but I was not, in fact I wrote down what the chap said, which was "you no longer need to worry if a knock at the door"). He basically said that it was not a genuine court document.

Sorry for the long post (I said I'd try, not succeed in keeping in short!) My questions are:

  1. Who is liable for the bailiff fees? My understanding from CAB is that I can only be charged for those if the have successfully placed a levy on my goods, is that correct?
  2. If liable for costs, am I entitled to a breakdown of costs - they have sent a VAST number of letters in the last week, which I'm sure is to get the costs up, as they see this one sliding away as a long term debt. What can I do about this?
  3. I checked with the claimant today, the court stamps are clear on their copy of the stay, but I do see a small embossed 'seal' mark on my original copy - should I have sent the original to Marston Group (I'm loathe to do that, given the distortions of the facts I have already witnessed.

I would very much appreciate any advice you can give me. I have spent the whole day with a racing heart, dry mouth and that sick feeling in my stomach again, I know I won't sleep.



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I know this looks a bit sad to be the first to reply to my own post, but another question has come up while I've been surfing the fora........


WWOW, you posted elsewhere on here some advice.........


"The debt must be more than £600 to be transferred up and enforced by an HCEO. If you can satisfy that your case could have been handled in the original court, then you can contend the claim is vexatious and you can ask for the fees back on the basis the transfer up was solely to obtain higher enforcement fees than they would otherwise have made"


Do you think this would be relevant for me, or is it too late now that I have the stay. I feel morally that they didn't need to escalate to high court, in fact, that was part of my statement in the request for a stay "I believe the creditor has reacted with unreasonable and unnecessary haste to escalate this to High Court Enforrcement, having made no attempt to contact me by telephone, email or letter to amend or formalise the agreement" the 'agreement' being the £200pm I said a year ago that I would pay once we'd agreed the amount.




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Update - I called the Supreme Court central office and got through to another very helpful person who said that the HCEO is being 'very picky' because basically we didn't actually get the order, just did as the Master said and sent them a copy of the fully stamped and approved application. So, more time off work and another expensive trip to london tomorrow to get the right paperwork and fax it to them from the court (and post special delivery copy, etc). Hopefully then they will cancel the van.


I would still appreciate some advice on the fee liability though, please.


Thanks very much


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Hang on a mo ...


In you first post you talked about bailiffs. In your latest post you talk about the HCEO. High Court Enforcement Officers are not the same as bailiffs.



Can you clarify this please.

I really do appreciate all those 'thank you' emails - I'm glad I've been able to help. Apologies if I haven't acknowledged all of them.

You can also ding my gong if you prefer. :)

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sorry for the confusion, I mentioned High Court in my original post, but it's buried in war and peace. It went from CCJ straight to High Court, without passing 'Go' (and without telling me until their letter arrived on 14th July)

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Having recently having dealt with HCEOs I can understant why you were so shaken. I think from memory that any CCJ for over £5000 judgement debt is automatically transferred to the High Court on a writ of fi-fa. There may be some mileage in stating that it is a vexatious claim as you had an agreed paymant plan (as long as you didn't default).


Your only avenue of complaint is through the High Court or through the High Court Enforcement Officers Association, a trade body. There is no simple low cost route like a form 4 in the lower courts. You could apply to the High Court to set the levels of payment but you say you have paid the judgement debt in full and there are just the HCEO fees to pay. I was advised that if the creditor accepted payment that the fees from that point became their responsibility. Prior to acceptance they are your responsibility. Fees are laid out in The High Court Enforcement Officers Regulations 2004. The reason why the fees are so high is that they use Part C (12) to bump up the amount For any matter not otherwise provided for, such sum as a Master, district judge or costs judge may allow upon application (available on the courts website). As these added charges have not been tested yet, they get away with murder. It would be a good idea to PM Tomtubby or speak to the people on National Debt Line.


You are entitled to a breakdown of costs and under the VAT regulations they must provide you with a receipt that meets the conditions laid out in those regulations. The usual advice is to send a Subject access Request under the Data Protection Act. If you look onother threads here, WOW has posted templates. You need to send a £10 payment to Marstons. WOW advises using a cheque and scanning it to provide yourself with proof.


Good luck!

Edited by Heathliver
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Thanks for your help! It doesn't 'automatically' go to High Court for enforcement, unless they feel they want it enforced, the claimant has to make that instruction and, in this instance, it wasn't really necessary, as I was paying regularly (around mid-month).


I have now a proper sealed order that I need to fax to the HCEO (does anyone use fax anymore, where do I find one????) and I will post an original stamped copy as advised by the chap at the supreme court (he gave me two stamped copies, I will keep the other).


The debt co said they will send me a letter to say the CCJ is paid in full, if I write to them (email fine) so I'll be dropping them an email this evening. Hopefully, they won't take too long to do that.


So my only outstanding question is about fee liability, which I'm pretty sure I read is not down to me until they levy my goods..........I'll follow up on your info Heathliver, if I find I am liable.




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  • 4 months later...

Hi Susij and others,


I have today received a multiple e-mail addressed to hundreds of people, from the Enforcement Recovery section of Marston Group; whether they are all 'customers'/debtors of the company they are being instructed by I don't know, but they should have used the BCC (blind copy) function. They said that if I didn't email by return, then authorised enforcement collectors would visit my home.


Anyway, my debt is not even with Marstons it is with a totally different DCA - and they have said that my payments, even though I'm on a reduced payment programme, are up to date! Not sure whether they have just 'lifted' my e-mail address from somewhere. I have NOT responded to their request for 'confirmation' of my name, postal address and contact number.


Anyone else had a similar experiece, or have any advice?

Edited by Poor-Credit Borrower
Slight grammatical amendment
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Advice is to go to this link and read it... Marstons are well out of order, as is their client and together we can seriously hurt their profits.


Bankfodder (who started this wonderful site) set this link up



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This is certainly very serious indeed and I assume that Bank Fodder has addressed correspondence to John Marston.


It must however be remembered that all bailiff companies are "agents" of the relevant local authority that instructs them and as such the local authority is wholly responsiblty for any acts or ommissions of agentls under their control. It is therefore useful to also address compaints o the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO).

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  • 1 month later...

Hei I have been reading this and theres some very smart people on here. I incurred a motoring offence fine and due to being ill and unable to work i couldnt pay it, when i was in a position to pay some money i called the court who informed me that they had sent it to some people called marstons, I called them and they said they had no notifaction of the fine but as soon as they did they would be in touch, 3 days later i got a letter from them telling me i owed an original £230 and now an extra £50 put on by marstons. I didnt have the money so I just started sending them postal orders for £25 every week, after 5 weeks i was taken into hospital so couldnt pay for a couple of weeks I started back to work last week and started sending the postal orders again, on Monday this week marstons sent some man to see me who met me as i was leaving the house for work, he told me that the cost of him calling was £175 so from an original bill of £280 i have paid off £150 leaving a balance of £130 now he tells me I owe them £355 he says he can enter my house even if im not there, no one from this company has ever been in my house they have taken no levy the man himself was a bit aggressive, i told him the only way he getting into my house was to break in he went away and posted a marstons removal notice through my door with his new amount on it, does anybody know if i really have to pay this extra money he has put on any advice would be great



best regards to all

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