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    • Hermes lost parcel.. Read more at https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/422615-hermes-lost-parcel/
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    • Oven repair. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/427690-oven-repair/&do=findComment&comment=5073391
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    • I came across this discussion recently and just wanted to give my experience of A Shade Greener that may help others regarding their boiler finance agreement.
       
      We had a 10yr  finance contract for a boiler fitted July 2015.
       
      After a summer of discontent with ASG I discovered that if you have paid HALF the agreement or more you can legally return the boiler to them at no cost to yourself. I've just returned mine the feeling is liberating.
       
      It all started mid summer during lockdown when they refused to service our boiler because we didn't have a loft ladder or flooring installed despite the fact AS installed the boiler. and had previosuly serviced it without issue for 4yrs. After consulting with an independent installer I was informed that if this was the case then ASG had breached building regulations,  this was duly reported to Gas Safe to investigate and even then ASG refused to accept blame and repeatedly said it was my problem. Anyway Gas Safe found them in breach of building regs and a compromise was reached.
       
      A month later and ASG attended to service our boiler but in the process left the boiler unusuable as it kept losing pressure not to mention they had damaged the filling loop in the process which they said was my responsibilty not theres and would charge me to repair, so generous of them! Soon after reporting the fault I got a letter stating it was time we arranged a powerflush on our heating system which they make you do after 5 years even though there's nothing in the contract that states this. Coincidence?
       
      After a few heated exchanges with ASG (pardon the pun) I decided to pull the plug and cancel our agreement.
       
      The boiler was removed and replaced by a reputable installer,  and the old boiler was returned to ASG thus ending our contract with them. What's mad is I saved in excess of £1000 in the long run and got a new boiler with a brand new 12yr warranty. 
       
      You only have to look at TrustPilot to get an idea of what this company is like.
       
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    • Dazza a few months ago I discovered a good friend of mine who had ten debts with cards and catalogues which he was slavishly paying off at detriment to his own family quality of life, and I mean hardship, not just absence of second holidays or flat screen TV's.
       
      I wrote to all his creditors asking for supporting documents and not one could provide any material that would allow them to enforce the debt.
       
      As a result he stopped paying and they have been unable to do anything, one even admitted it was unenforceable.
       
      If circumstances have got to the point where you are finding it unmanageable you must ask yourself why you feel the need to pay.  I guarantee you that these companies have built bad debt into their business model and no one over there is losing any sleep over your debt to them!  They will see you as a victim and cash cow and they will be reluctant to discuss final offers, only ways to keep you paying with threats of court action or seizing your assets if you have any.
       
      They are not your friends and you owe them no loyalty or moral duty, that must remain only for yourself and your family.
       
      If it was me I would send them all a CCA request.   I would bet that not one will provide the correct response and you can quite legally stop paying them until such time as they do provide a response.   Even when they do you should check back here as they mostly send dodgy photo copies or generic rubbish that has no connection with your supposed debt.
       
      The money you are paying them should, as far as you are able, be put to a savings account for yourself and as a means of paying of one of these fleecers should they ever manage to get to to the point of a successful court judgement.  After six years they will not be able to start court action and that money will then become yours.
       
      They will of course pursue you for the funds and pass your file around various departments of their business and out to third parties.
       
      Your response is that you should treat it as a hobby.  I have numerous files of correspondence each faithfully organised showing the various letters from different DCA;s , solicitors etc with a mix of threats, inducements and offers.   It is like my stamp collection and I show it to anyone who is interested!
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Yes I am intending to make a FOI Act request to challenge these costs but have been so busy on other projects that I haven't had a chance to do this yet.

 

Every time somebody posts on this thread I am reminded of this and start to feel quite guilty about not getting round to it.

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  • 1 month later...
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dear militant customer... i have read your post with interest & great admiration! keep it up! these council are true conmen! i wish i had the energy and balls to do what you are doing!!! however unless you continue all your efforts will be for nothing!

 

do you know what on a practical level is required to take this issue to ECJ?! I would be prepared to put in some money for this and if another few caggers do the same maybe a real case could be undertaken!

 

keep up the very good work!!! i feel that the councils are simply stealing from us common mortals!

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  • 4 weeks later...
Yes I am intending to make a FOI Act request to challenge these costs but have been so busy on other projects that I haven't had a chance to do this yet.

 

Every time somebody posts on this thread I am reminded of this and start to feel quite guilty about not getting round to it.

 

I have read this entire thread last night with INTEREST !!

 

In the first place I post only on the bailiff section and until last night I had no idea that this section existed !!!

 

As our business specialises in advising debtors on all matters relating to a bailiff visit, the matter of summons costs is of great concern and you have clearly uncovered some facts that a few of us in the industry have been looking at with interest for many months.

 

Have you had a response from your SAR request?

 

If not, PLEASE send me a PM.

 

You may be interested to know that Lord Lucas raised a Parlimentray Question on this very subject recently in the House of Lords and the response from Lord Mc Kenzie of Luton dated 6th November 2009 is below:

 

 

 

Lord Lucas (Conservative)

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of charges of around £100 made by certain local authorities when obtaining liability orders in respect of council tax debts; under what circumstances £3 is charged for such an order from a county court; and whether they propose to review the situation.

 

 

Lord McKenzie of Luton (Parliamentary Under-Secretary (also in the Department for Communities and Local Government), Department for Communities and Local Government; Labour)

No assessment has been made. It is a matter for local authorities to decide what level of costs to charge. Regulation 34 (7) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 allows local authorities to charge reasonable costs incurred by the authority in obtaining a liability order to the debtor.

Local authorities enforce council tax through the magistrates' courts only.

Edited by tomtubby
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What do I need to ask in my Freedom of Information Request?

 

I was thinking about asking how the £68 figure has been calculated. Anything else I should add to the letter?

 

 

 

 

I would be specfic in asking about how the costs had been calculated and that it is believed that the costs should be actual losses that the council (in this instance) had occured..8)

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What do I need to ask in my Freedom of Information Request?

 

I was thinking about asking how the £68 figure has been calculated. Anything else I should add to the letter?

 

Just like with the banks, I bet you don't get an answer to that.

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militantconsumer - good work

'rise like lions after slumber, in unvanquishable number, shake your chains to the earth like dew, which in sleep had fall'n on you, ye are many, they are few.' Percy Byshse Shelly 1819

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Hi Millitantconsumer,

Just thinking about the questions you should ask:-

 

1) What are the fixed costs associated with arriving at this charge. they should be enumerated?

 

2) What are the variable costs, Officer grades and time involved?

 

3) What are the economies of scale in dealing with 2,000 defaulters as opposed to 1?

 

4) What staff training cost is involved in training staff to take a sympatheyic and understanding approach to defaulters during a time of recession?

 

Suggest you try these for starters

 

Good luck Carningli

 

4)

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Hi Millitantconsumer,

Just thinking about the questions you should ask:-

 

1) What are the fixed costs associated with arriving at this charge. they should be enumerated?

 

2) What are the variable costs, Officer grades and time involved?

 

3) What are the economies of scale in dealing with 2,000 defaulters as opposed to 1?

 

4) What staff training cost is involved in training staff to take a sympatheyic and understanding approach to defaulters during a time of recession?

 

Suggest you try these for starters

 

Good luck Carningli

 

4)

 

I would also be asking for a copy of the breakdown as supplied to the Magistrates Court to support their last request for an increase in the fees.

 

In addition, you could ask them how many members of staff are employed in the recoveries section (collection tax @ business rates department).

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  • 2 weeks later...

[---------------------------------------------------------------------

Wow what a story. I was gripped!! Well done militantconsumer, I admire your committment to something you strongly believe in. I don't want to go back over old ground too much, but it appears to me that in the lead up to your Jack Nicholson 'you can't handle the truth' moment in court, you weren't given very clear advice as to what constitutes a good defence against the Liability Order being granted and you concentrated on the apparent unfairnes of the whole system which, as you correctly state, the Magistrates cannot do anything about.

 

If you could have cast doubt on the documentation you were issued, i.e. being issued witha joint notice for a period of time when only you were liable for payment, this would have made the Magistrates think twice about granting the Order as they could have considerd the notice defective. It sounds like the Council just added your girlfriends name to your account when she moved in with you instead of ending your single account and setting you up with a brand new joint account which is what they should have done. You could have argued that you were happy to pay what you owed, but only when a correct notice was issued and this would mean withdrawing the summons.

 

The Council has to prove that documentation was correctly issued and I think they got away lightly with having to prove this.

 

On the flip-side, the £3 you were quoted would be what the Magistrates Court charges the Council for every complaint laid before the summons is issued (so the Court would have made an easy £6k) so this is not the amount it costs to produce the summons despite what the Council bod told you. When you actually received the summons, you have incurred x amount of costs, and then a further amount once the Liability Order was granted. The whole point of your post was how to get back at the Council. I don't think a FOI request is the correct way (by the way you could have done it for free at whatdotheyknow.co.uk) as the reply as to how the costs are justified will only annoy you. It will probably give you details of costs involved in IT staff having to produce the notices, office staff checking them, the machine packing them with x amount built in for pro-rata maintenance costs, time spend producing complaint lists and having them signed by the JP's prior to the hearing, issuing the summonses etc etc etc. The summons costs do supplement the Council Tax income for the Council and as it is treated as a separate income, it doesn't have to be spent on Council services unlike Council Tax itself so I personally would ask the Council how much cost income they have accrued and what they spent it on. Finally, with an attempt to be fair to all parties, the Council issue a bill at the start of the year with all of your instalments listed so if you refuse to go on DD, the onus is on you to remember to pay (which of course you know) and although you refuse to pay by DD, there is the DD guarantee scheme which is very good and every Council has to adhere to it so your mistrust of DD may be more deeply rooted. Also, most Councils issue at least 2 reminders (although the law says they only have issue 1) so it does appear to be a case of overzealousness on the part of your Council. Anyway, time to put my feet back up my desk, dunk another digestive into my Council-paid-for coffee, practice my most obnoxious beauracratic voice especially reserved for 'customers' , and dream of the day I collect my golden finaly salary pension. ;)

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  • 3 weeks later...

It's all true - councils are using court to make cash.

 

Just had a letter from my district council regarding an offer I made to repay an arrears - they refuse to enter into a repayment arrangement until a liability order is applied for, which is the event that generates the £65 for them.

 

This can't right -- can it?

 

LA

;)

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Welcome to the debate LA,

There should be no requirement for your District Council to seek a liability order, if you are willing to enter an arrangement to repay arrears. Councils have been advised by central government to enter into arrangements in these difficult times, provided future payments are not jeopardised. In this situation advise both your loal District Counsellor and Member of Parliament.

Carningli

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Welcome to the debate LA,

There should be no requirement for your District Council to seek a liability order, if you are willing to enter an arrangement to repay arrears. Councils have been advised by central government to enter into arrangements in these difficult times, provided future payments are not jeopardised. In this situation advise both your loal District Counsellor and Member of Parliament.

Carningli

 

But that is only a guideline and wont make them any money so expect a summons for liability order as the first approach.

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Dear LA

I take Coniff's point, but the important aspect to you is not to get involved in any more cost than necessary. I forgot to mention that you could also seek advice from the Citizens Advice Bureau and if you need to borrow an instalment or two try your local Credit Union.

 

Carningli

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Welcome to the debate LA,

There should be no requirement for your District Council to seek a liability order, if you are willing to enter an arrangement to repay arrears. Councils have been advised by central government to enter into arrangements in these difficult times, provided future payments are not jeopardised. In this situation advise both your loal District Counsellor and Member of Parliament.

Carningli

 

Is the above provided in any document?

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Is the above provided in any document?

 

There is this:

 

On 2nd July the Government published a consumer White Paper “A Better Deal for Consumers: Delivering Real Help Now and Change for the Future”.

 

It says: Councils have discretion to agree a payment arrangement with any taxpayer to enable them to clear arrears. They can also, and frequently do, make such arrangements instead of pursuing formal enforcement measures."

 

 

 

There is also:

 

Citizens Advice and the Local Government Association (LGA) have pulled together best practice on the collection of council tax arrears and developed this good practice protocol to help local authorities.

 

(Notice that it's to help councils not the tax payer).

 

The best they come up with is:

 

Publicising debt advice contact details on council tax notices.

Producing literature addressing any likely concerns debtors may have on bailiffs and enforcement. Information should cover charges bailiffs are allowed to make by law, how to complain about bailiff behaviour and how to check bailiff certification.

Promoting different payment dates within the month as options available to council tax payers. This can allow people to budget more effectively for council tax when they have the money.

Consider the level of debt (inclusive of liability order fees) before bailiff action is taken.

 

There is absolutely nothing on helping the person in trouble.

 

Attached is the White Paper. It seems to be more wind than action.

file52072.pdf

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Did I mention that, around the same time as all this was going on, the company I was working for got behind on its business rates and received a summons from the same local authority as me?

 

The company agreed a payment arrangement and, guess what, the Council dropped the "costs".

 

Why would they do this for a local business but not a local resident?

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  • 1 month later...
there is the DD guarantee scheme which is very good

 

Very good on paper. A whole load of hassle over many months, in the handful of cases I have heard about.

Halifax (current accounts, credit card, old mortgage, secured loan)

thread here

 

MBNA (three credit cards)

thread here

firstdirect (a current account, two mortgage accounts, old loans, old credit card)

they've sold my current account. thread here.

 

Royal Mail

Claim issued by former employer Royal Mail, thread here.

I counterclaimed and won. They paid in full.

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