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Hi

 

We stupidly fell into arrears with two years of council tax. The oldest bill is being paid to the council on a monthly basis as agreed with them. We have not defaulted.

 

The one for this year is being dealt with by Rossendales. To cut a long story short for the time being they visited us at home and put a letter thru the door asking for a payment of £300 to enable us to pay by installments. We contacted them and advised them we did not have this and contacted the council tax dept to ask for help. After a few days Rossendales agreed to us paying £100 per month in return for completion of a form requesting income details. This form was completed and returned. We did not complete the other form which had "walking possession agreement" half way down it. We then paid Rossendales monthly as agreed.

 

A few weeks ago we got another letter from them stating that we had to pay the balance in full within a number of days.

 

I contacted them by email to query this when we had not defaulted on our payments.

 

11 days later they finally replied stating that there had never been a re payment plan agreed and they said we had not sent the form back to them. I now know I should have done this via recorded mail. Due to the delay in them replying and because I did not want to fall into arrears I paid them the months payment that was due.

 

The email reply told us to contact the bailiff "with the van" as this was who is now dealing with our case.

 

We called him, and explained. He informed my partner that we face prison and that they will take our car.

 

Today he turned up again and put another letter thru the door. This one states Bailiff Removal and wants payment due in full within 24 hours. He has written our car number plate on the letter and increased the amount by £300. This balance is just written on the letter.

 

We have been in contact with the council today and they are asking us to pay the Bailiffs another £150 today, and to fill in and complete new forms. They said our account will be on hold for 24 hours to allow for our payment and we must send the forms back within five days! Our problem is we are on a very tight budget, do not have this extra £150 and to be honest have no proof that this time they will stick to this arrangement. We asked the council to take the debt on and they say the won't and we asked for something in writing to say we can pay by installments and they say they wont give this either.

 

Sorry if this is a ramble. I am right now really scared and feeling really stupid. We thought we had this bill under control and in the last 24 hours its gone this far!

 

Can anyone offer any advice as to what we can do now? Or do I just give them the car which we think is actually worth more than the debt?

 

Please please can anyone help?

 

Ric and Julie

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Giving the bailiff your car will do nothing, he'll give you 10-quid for it. Follow this advice http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/bailiffs-sheriff-officers/169360-help-bailiffs-coming-print.html and make up the following letter and keep it handy by a window.

 

[DATE]

 

BY HAND

 

Dear Bailiffs.

 

Re: Your Reference

 

[NAME OF] Council appears to have instructed you to collect unpaid council tax.

 

This notice directs that you are not being given entry to my home or to levy goods contained within and your entitlement to charge a Walking Possessions fee stands revoked. Please be advised that if your fees are found to contradict Regulation 14(2) or Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 and you may be liable for criminal prosecution under the Fraud Act 2006. Without corresponding with you further I will also automatically file a Form 4 at court.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt in whole and will make payment of £[AMOUNT] each month for [NUMBER OF] monthly instalments direct to the council.

 

These are the only payments I can afford and allows me to pay future council tax liabilities without falling into arrears. Please be advised it is not a "criminal offence" for me to deny a bailiff entry to my property and it is an offence to threaten me with breaking and entering with "locksmiths".

 

Please provide me with a breakdown of your fees, put it through the letterbox and quietly leave the property.

 

Yours Faithfully

 

 

 

YOUR NAME

 

and send this to the council - tweak as needed. Pay them direct where possible.

 

Council Tax (Enforcements) Department

Invincible Borough Council

Address 1

Address 2

Address 3

Postcode

 

[DATE]

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Re: [YOUR NAME & ANY REF]: Visit by your bailiff on [DATE]

 

I have had an opportunity to seek advice and I write on the understanding that case law has ruled an authority is liable for its bailiffs.

 

On [DATE] I was visited by your bailiff collecting unpaid council tax. We were unable to reach an amicable resolve and the bailiff showed threatening behaviour and became defensive and vexatious in nature. He made unrealistic demands of money which are way beyond my means.

 

I now ask the Council to:

 

a) Take the case back from the bailiff.

b) Accept my original offer to pay £[AMOUNT] a week to clear the arrears

c) Pay me a reasonable compensation for my inconvenience and for my efforts in seeking discovery of information and

d) Receiving an over-zealous bailiff acting for you making unrealistic demands of money and defrauding me with his fees.

 

If you fail to satisfactorily complete the above I will automatically escalate the complaint to the local government ombudsman in fourteen days from the date of this letter. Please treat this letter as Stage 1.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt as demanded by the bailiffs and I will make payment of £[AMOUNT] each month for [NUMBER OF] monthly installments with a final installment of £[AMOUNT]. This may seem a long time but it's all I can afford and allows me to pay future liabilities without falling into arrears. I confirm I am not refusing to pay this debt.

 

This letter is delivered by Royal Mail and I deem it to be served on you by the ordinary course of post in the meaning of Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978. It is your responsibility and in your own interests this letter is handed to the relevant person within your organisation.

 

Yours Sincerely

 

[NAME]

Enc 1st payment.

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