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Council Tax - Buchanan Clark and Wells. Advice needed.

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Hi everyone, I'm new here and looking for some advice.

 

Recently I went to the council tax office in Glasgow to pay money that was owed to them. When I arrived I was informed that the account had been passed over to Buchanan Clark and Wells. This was the first time I had head this - there was no prior notification from Glasgow City Council. The woman at the desk told us we could not pay her for the account as it had been passed over.

 

We have since received a letter from Buchanan Clark and Wells demanding payment for the entire year from April to April, this amounts to around £1200. They have also removed, as far as I can see, the 25% discount that we received from the Council tax on the basis that there was only one non-student in the property.

 

While there were 2 monthly payments outstanding (the last payment we made was at the start of May) and I'm kicking myself for not having gone before to the office. It seems massively unfair that we have had the entire account passed on to debt collectors. This sum that they are demanding, therefore includes 10 months' worth of payment that we do not owe Glasgow City Council-as the bill runs to next April.

 

I don't want to have to pay Buchanan Clark and Wells at all. I don't want to have to deal with them. I don't want to have to pay their 10% fee on top of the total sum especially when our 25% single adult discount has been reduced, and we would have to pay this 10% extra on the entire account including the 10 payments that are not outstanding.

 

The issue is further complicated by the Council Tax account being in the name of one of my flatmates, as he is the main person on the lease. He is in out of the country at the moment so we can't, as we are not the named debtors, discuss this with Buchanan Clark and Wells without his permission. It was always stupid that he was the only name that the Council Tax would accept as the account holder - we tried to get this changed, he is a student so doesn't need to pay the Council Tax...but that's another story.

 

I have seen a few posts on the forum about this delightful firm, so I hope some people know how to deal with them.

 

Any advice on how to proceed with these people would be greatly appreciated. I am happy to provide further information if it is required.

 

Many thanks.

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a DCA chasing council tax........

weird.

ok well unless they have merged with a bailliff company they certainly cannot add any charges nor interest.

and the demand for the full amount is std practice, but only typically after the council have go a liability order, has that been done?

 

for now, i'd pay the council via internet banking, they can't stop you doing that!

do you get your mates mail at the flat?

any council letter to him not opened?

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Thanks dx,

 

In response, no there has not been a liability order issued. That is a summons to a magistrates' court right?

 

We do get his mail, there is nothing from the council unopened, we open it when it arrives because it doesn't really concern him as he doesn't have to pay.

 

How much would you suggest paying the council? - The two outstanding months?

 

And should we stay in contact with Buchanan Clark and Wells and inform them that this is what we intend to do?

 

I want to be able to deal with the Council again though, can I force the retransferral of the account to them?

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well if you can afford it, just bring it up to date.

 

can't see what if anything a DCA can do to you

they cannot add charges nor interest

 

debt mate, what debt? ignore them.

 

i'd just pay to date if you can, let the dust settle, then in a week or twos time, have a chat with the council, i bet it will all be forgotten!.

 

you are the second person on here that has said councils are now using DCA's, can't see the point meself.

 

a DCA has no LEGAL POWERS at all.

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Thread moved to Scotland Forum.


 
 

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South Lanarkshire Council put their non-payment of council tax out to BCW. Is this a worrying new trend?

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South Lanarkshire Council put their non-payment of council tax out to BCW. Is this a worrying new trend?

 

no

a dca can do stuff all about it!

 

i think its not a worry its a good thing.

 

gives the debtor a bit more time to sort the issue before a real bailiff start adding imaginary fees.

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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no

a dca can do stuff all about it!

 

i think its not a worry its a good thing.

 

gives the debtor a bit more time to sort the issue before a real bailiff start adding imaginary fees.

 

dx

 

Yes, but how many people will fall for their typical agressive harassing cough-up-or-else tactics? I've dealt with DCAs and Sheriff Officers/Messengar at Arms, and I'd rather deal with a SO/MaA any day. Give them the info you must give them under the law, propose payments you can afford, and they leave you alone.

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it's not bcw that's added the 10% surchage it's the council. that's what the add for the summary warrant.

 

bcw cannot either take away the 25% reduction, if it has disappeared then the coucil have taken it away.

 

there are a few ways you can deal with this but would have to be the person named on the CT bill. you can apply for a time to pay order for the whole amount:

 

Download form | free legal help from Govan Law Centre, Glasgow, UK

 

you need the second form.

 

once this has been filled in and returned to the court you need to call them and see if bcw have accpeted the offer, if not then it will go to a hearing for the judge to decide the amounts.

 

 

the named perosn on the bill will nede to apply for this and also they would need to deal with the council and ask why they have removed the 25% reduction.

 

to be homest there is nothing you can do to deal with this until your flat mate returns except in the meantime you can make a payment online through billpayment to you local council direct to reduce the amounts

 

https://www.billpayment.co.uk/scripts/index.asp

 

ida x

Edited by IdaInFife
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forgive me for being a bit thick here, but if your flat mate is the only one named on the Council Tax demand and he's a student and therefore exempt how can they be pursuing him for non-payment?

 

BCW are muppets carrying out the councils requests (for a fee) so its the Council who are the villains here. I'd be going down to George Square to speak face to face to a council tax clerk and clarify this. Either you're on the council tax register in which case you should be able to deal with this, or you're not on the list so they shouldn't be asking your student flat mate for payments at all.

 

If you remember that Glasgow has the largest unpaid council tax deficit in the country, you start to understand these mad decisions as the finacial staff try to reduce their outstanding balance. This link may help to explain things a little.

 

www.http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/7125582.stm

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Looking for similar stories to what's happening to me, I found this site and decided to join to share my pain with the idiots from Glasgow City Council.

 

I am also being pursued by BCW on behalf of the Council for what they called "an outstanding debt". Not quite... happens that instead of paying the exact amount they had requested in the installments, I have been paying one pound less for the past 4 months and have paid a couple of days late. All of a sudden, I get a phone call from BCW... These people call, expect me to confirm my identity but then don't tell me why they are calling me on behalf of the Council (plus, they called me at 5ish almost 6 as I was having my cuppa after home from work... nobody messes with my cuppa!!!!). Needless to say I went ballistic!

 

I called the Council and they claim there is nothing they can do and I *have* to pay BCW, that they sent me a letter in Sept and 's what is that. I tell her I didn't get the letter --she says I should take the letter issue up with Royal Mail. She makes a point of telling me that the Council Tax office does not work to suit me and I should pay what they want me to, when they want me to. I asked her the name of the person I can write to make a complaint about this and she doesn't give it to me. She says I must write to the office. Man, that made me mad!

 

I could not wait to the next day and went into the website to find out who the person to write to is. No clear name so I wrote an e-mail to the Council Leader. Not quite pleased with that because as with all bureaucracies in this world, there *is* someone in charge; they just don't want to tell you who it is. Anyway, my argument is that by passing my details to this DCA without contacting me first they have put me in an impossible position because all BCW want is money! Also, they have allowed me to continue paying and never said anything so they were happy to take my money and then decide to refer me to a DBA for four quid??? They are treating me like a council tax fugitive when in fact, I have never missed a month without paying Council Tax, which is not exactly the profile of your common tax evader. Moreover, that person I spoke to over the phone made it clear to me that she didn't care about what I was telling her.

 

Next day I get a reply from the office of this Leader guy saying they have passed the issue to the Head of Financial Services for response and action. In the meantime, I get a letter from BCW with the amount owed according to them (which includes 10% for something I can't remember). Later I received another phone call from BCW to verify I had received the letter --I told them not to call me, which they have continued to do, but now in the form of silent calls every morning at 9am and late in the afternoon (it only took some googling of the numbers to figure out it is them!).

 

Just today I received another letter from BCW (a notification of intention to take further action) saying they are now considering enforcing a summary warrant obtained by the Council and they describe what they will instruct their Sheriff Officers to do (basically, attempt to financially screw me in every way they can!!).

 

Anyway, as I have sent a letter to the Council, I am not entering in conversations with BCW. What I did do, was pay the 4 pounds I was short from previous months in this month's installment of the council tax so that technically, I am up-to-date. However, I wonder whether these people from the Council have taken my complaint seriously. I know I have... I am preparing for this thing like I'm going to war. I keep logs, receipts and copies of everything, and have already thought of what my next move will be in line with their formal complaints procedure!

 

Anyway, reading many of the posts not only on the Scottish forum but generally on this site, I don't feel like I'm alone fighting the forces of evil!

 

L

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The 10% will be the standard summary warrant costs.

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The most important fact seems to be missing here. How much do you think you owe and how much do BCW say you owe?

 

The biggest issue is to discover if there are any discrepancies in the two figures and if there are, point them out pronto!

 

In my admittedly limited experience, BCW do not get involved for £4 debts, they're hardly worth picking up the phone for. There has to be something more to this and you need to find out what that is.

 

Are you paying tax by instalments or arrears? If its Council Tax instalments, surely they are collected by Direct Debit so the amount collected is in the hands of the Council.

 

Until you get to the bottom of that you won't achieve very much.

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I don't know if this applies in your case but if you do not pay the exact instalment amount and there are CT arrears on other year's accounts, the payments will go to these debts first. This is because the computer system has to find somewhere to place the payment. If it doesn't match the instalment profile it will then credit the oldest debt. In this scenario one's current year liability is not being met and that is why BCW may have been passed the debt.

 

If you are paying a couple of days late this would not normally be a problem as most councils will normally build in ten days or so grace. Any more than that and recovery action will start.

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Hi again everyone!

 

I am not paying in arrears, I am paying by instalments (not by direct debit though; I pay by hand with the CT card they give you to pay at the post office or the bank). Over the phone, the unhelpful woman from the Council Tax said to me that it was because of the £4 pounds that the account had been passed to BCW. She said that I had paid £1 short in the last couple of installments. Plus I had paid late.

 

I said to her that I acknowledged having paid late by a couple of days on some occasions and now that she had said to me about the £1, I would have to agree to that since she worked there. I did say though that it seemed harsh since I wasn't obviously avoiding paying the council tax which is what the involvement of a DCA would suggest. That's when she said that the CT office did not work to suit me and that they wanted me to pay the amount they said, when they said. She mentioned something about it being automatic through the system and there was nothing she could do.

 

@rickyd, I know what you mean... however, since I'm paying by instalments, and I have all my receipts, I know what I owe and it is not what they say. I owe the rest of the instalments (that would be from December 2009 to April 2010). I have not engaged in any dialogue with BCW as I refuse to talk to them since I have communicated with the Council (my argument is that they council did not send me the two reminders they are supposed to send... the people from Shelter told me they should). However, I won't lie, I find it unsettling that BCW have sent yet another letter even when I am challenging this alleged debt with the Council itself.

 

@ray_gamba, I doubt I'll be carrying other year's debts. At the advise of a friend, in every property that I have lived I ask for a letter from the Council at the end of each tax year that states that I do not have any outstanding council tax debts for that year. I have done this not to safeguard myself from councils but to safeguard myself as a tenant. I have that letter from last year. However, I find interesting what you say about the grace period; from my conversation with the council tax office unhelpful woman I got the impression there is no such thing with this office.

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In this case you're quite right to ignore BCW, keep on dealing with the council and try to catch up your payments as that will give them nowhere to go.

 

I'm still bemused at the council engaging BCW for £4.00, I know they have massive CT debts but J*sus, this looks really desperate.

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And so things are looking good... a reasonable solution has been proposed by the Council. Got a reply today by post and must say I'm impressed. The person in question took their time to reply in great length and detail.

 

To summarise, the letter explains why the account was passed to BCW and though not explicitly stating it, it is the case that the £4 alongside the lateness in payment were the reasons. It literally reads "as no payments had been received to your account on time, the account was then passed to BCW for collection". I wonder what they're doing to get the money from all those people who owe it since the 1990s!! They also claim they sent a reminder notice, which I challenge because I did not receive it *but* as what they propose is reasonable, I don't intend to make an issue of it.

 

The proposal is to eliminate the Statutory Penalty and withdraw BCW's intervention if I set up a direct debit to pay for the reminder. Seems very fair to me, especially because the amount I will pay is the one that according to my records I owe so no complaints there.

 

As for unhelpful council tax woman, the letter apologises for the poor service I felt I received and makes a point of telling me that they are properly trained in communication skills and so on and so forth... --maybe they are... unhelpful council tax woman was good at communicating to me that she didn't give a fcuk!

 

But a positive outcome, reached quickly and amicably so I'm pleased.

 

L

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