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Can someone please advise me whether I am being charged an excessive fee. I am dealing with a firm of bailiffs who are well known locally as unethical bully boys.

 

I received a liability order from my council having been late with some payments. Due to personal problems at the time I did not deal with the council as I should have done, so got contact from bailiffs.

 

I received notice of intention to levy distress from the bailiffs dated 17.11.08 of an amount outstanding of £480 plus £39.70 fee, total £519.70. They put the registration of my car on the notice (I no longer have this vehicle)

 

I had one week earlier on 10.11.08 made a payment online of £135 direct to the council, so the amount outstanding was actually £345 plus charge. The council had not informed the bailiff of the payment, but did so when I queried it.

 

Although I initially advised the bailiffs I did not want to deal with them, the Council advised me it was out of their hands and I would have to pay the bailiff.

 

I subsequently sent two cheques to the bailiffs for £135 on 24.11.08 and 29.12.08, and one cheque for £75 dated 7.02.09. I attached a note to the £75 cheque stating that I had not received advice of any amended charges from them relating to the revised amount owed, as I assumed that the £39.70 charge should come down to £34.30 based on standard scale.

 

I did not receive any response from the bailiffs about the charge. However, 10 days later on 17.2.09 I come home to find a notice of attendance to remove goods posted through my door, with a charge of £139.70 and demanding payment within 24 hours.

 

I have complained to the bailiffs querying why they had not responded about the charge and merely thought fit to turn up and add another £100, and how the £100 figure was arrived at. Their written response received today says that the charge of £39.70 is calculated on the amount of the liability order, even if I have made payments. They did not explain the £100 charge, merely saying that I have their scale of fees, but I cannot reconcile this amount.

 

This firm are well known for their bully boy tactics. I can accept the explanation that I still owe £39.70. Do I have grounds for further complaint to whomever that it was reasonable therefore to expect them to have advised me this when I sent the query with my last cheque, instead of turning up on the doorstep and demanding another £100.

 

I have had run-ins with them before a couple of years ago when I was going through divorce and business closure and struggling to pay my bills. At that time I was self-employed and they took my vehicle away and I had to pay a lot to get it back. I think I need to look again at what they charged me as I think the fees were excessive. In my experience they never contact anyone to give notice of amounts owed, they always just turn up with more charges added.

 

Their response to my complaint does not state why they did not respond to my note about the charge and they are still demanding £139.70 by 23rd February.

 

Advice on what to do would be appreciated please. I intend to make a complaint to the Council. Can they just add this extra charge on top of a charge without advance notification and should I pay it? What about my current vehicle - is that under threat now?

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I have put letter's on here that you could use, you DON'T have to pay the bailiffs and it's not law either to pay them so while your paying there fee's they will continue to harass you.

 

Don't pay them at all , pay the council concered online if you have to they never refuse payment. pay what you can afford.

 

I will get the letters for you

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Send this one to the bailiffs with you filling in your details

 

re: YOUR ADDRESS

 

YOUR COUNCIL appears to have instructed you to recover unpaid council tax from me.

 

This letter gives you notice that you are not being given peaceful entry to my home or to levy goods contained within and I will not be signing anything for you. This notice revokes your eligibility to charge a Walking Possessions fee or other fee relating to the handling of goods.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt as you demanded because it is unrealistic. I have sent an affordable payment direct to the council along with a written schedule of repayments.

 

Please be advised it is not a "criminal offence" for me to deny a bailiff entry to my property, the law says I have to settle the debt; it does not obligate me to do business with you. If you suggest to me otherwise I will automatically report you to the police and you may receive a criminal record.

 

I AM NOT REFUSING TO PAY THIS DEBT.

 

Meanwhile please provide me with a written breakdown of your fees you have demanded and put it through the letterbox and quietly leave the property. If your fees are found to contradict Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 I will automatically file a Form 4 complaint against you at your certificating court for attempting to defraud me under Sections 2 and 4 of the Fraud Act 2006.

 

This document was sent to you recorded delivery to the above address and a copy was sent to HEAD OF council tax Recovery Dept.

 

Please also supply me with a breakdown of the fee's you have charged me

 

 

Yours Faithfully

 

 

 

 

AND THIS ONE obviously fill in your details to the council and enclose a payment plan that you can afford for the ct you owe

 

Re: your details

On DATE I was visited by your bailiff collecting unpaid council tax who overcharged me with his fees. We were unable to reach an amicable resolve and the bailiff showed threatening behaviour and became vexatious in nature. I also received a letter stating I should pay WHAT THEY ASKED YOU per month to clear the debt which is unrealistic with my present financial state.

 

I now ask the council to:

 

a) Take the case back from the bailiff.

b) Accept my original offer to pay £10.00 extra of what I pay already 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.

 

If you fail to satisfactorily complete the above I will automatically escalate the complaint to the Local Government Ombudsman in=2 0fourteen days from the date of this letter.

 

Due to my circumstances I am unable to pay the debt as demanded by the bailiffs and I will make payment of £10.00 each week for 249 weekly installments with a final installment of £9.80 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 Recorded post in the meaning of Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978, Please pass this to the relevent person within your organisation.

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Thanks for your prompt response. I have paid all the Council Tax and liability order fee due. I am only concerned with bailiff charges now so don't have anything to pay to the Council.

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Sorry I should have made it clear in my initial post that the cheques I sent cleared the amount due under the Magistrates Liability order, but not the charge added by the bailiff. When I sent the final cheque I queried the bailiff charge as the amount due for council tax on the Liability order was incorrect, but instead of receiving the courtesy of a reply the bailiffs turned up just over a week later demanding another £100 on top under a notice of attendance to remove goods. This is what I complained about.

 

Their letter of reply stated their fee is based on the amount due under the Liability order regardless of any other amounts paid. If this is so then fair enough I will pay the £39.70. What I am objecting to is the additional £100 they have added on without any explanation, merely stating that I have their scale of fees. I do not know how they arrive at this figure or why I should pay it, unless this is what they call 'Reasonable costs and fees incurred'.

 

Does this mean that because I have paid the total due under the Liability order and the only thing outstanding is the separate bailiff fee they cannot now impose charges on charges even though they have levied on a vehicle which I no longer have?

 

My inclination is to pay the £39.70 and tell them to get stuffed as far as the £100 is concerned and complain to the Council about the actions of their agents. It might only be £100 and is small compared to some amounts people on this forum are asked to pay, but it is the principle and the unethical way they just turn up and demand more money without prior contact/response to my query.

 

They are the type of crooks who would come and take my current vehicle so I need to know what to do please.

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