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Due to an oversight - forgot to renew my wife's blue badged. We had a parking ticket issued last August. Okay, we should have dealt with it sooner but events have been somewhat hectic with heath issues and other things that have just meant that it was not treated as an immediate priority.

 

Anyway, a few weeks ago, my wife received a letter form Marston Group, requesting that we pay £80 plus a fee of £12.88 for sending the letter. This had to be paid in one lump sum - and the letter made it clear that no offer of instalments would be accepted.

 

Without any further letters, or any visit, a "Final Notice" was pushed through my door at around 6am this morning by a Mr Warlow, who I understand is a certified bailiff registered with Birmingham Civil Justice Centre. This notice stated that the total due is £320 - which means the sum of £217.12 has been added without any explanation.

 

Now my limited understanding of these issues is that a scale of fees applies, and that a "first visit" should be charged at around £25. Although I would dispute that any visit has even taken place as the notice was simply posted through the door without the person even knocking. How can delivering a notice be classed as a "visit"?

 

So, my wife then contacted Marston's and complained about this, and also reminded them that the car is a Motability car, and that she is therefore disabled. We also confirmed that we are on Tax Credits and she is on DLA, therefore the logical solution was to return the file to the court, and we duly contacted the local authority to discuss some resolution - although they have not yet got back to us.

 

We also reminded them of the Department for Constitutional Affairs Enforcement Guidelines regarding vulnerable people - and stated that we intended to make a formal complaint about the excessive charges added by Mr Warlow, and the circumstances of this "visit".

 

Anyway, Marston's sent a letter confirming that they had opened a complaint, and that they would respond when they had completed "stage 1". We were therefore shocked when we had an unannounced visit from Mr Warlow yesterday afternoon (5th Aug) to "discuss [her] complaint".

 

I told him that we would not discuss the matter on the doorstep and that the matter was now being investigated by Marston's and Derby City Council, and I closed the door. However, he refused to accept that, and continued to knock on the door and make loud comments on the doorstep that the matter must be discussed.

 

After a short time I answered the door again, and he said that he wanted to "sort things out" and asked what the complaint was about. I advised him again that the complaint was perfectly clear and that his office had a copy. He then wanted to take my wife's National Insurance and telephone numbers - which I refused to give, and again stated that we had no intention of discussing the matter on the doorstep.

 

He eventually left - interestingly without leaving any further documents.

 

A Form 4 is now winging it's way to Birmingham Civil Court Centre, a copy of which will also be filed with Derby City Council.

 

If Mr Warlow's visit was off his own back then it is an extremely serious issue - if it was made as a result of Marston's complaints process then it is of even more concern. I would certainly consider that sending the person about whom a complaint has been made to the complainers doorstep is clear harassment and intimidation.

 

His action in remaining stood at our door knocking and making loud comments (which could have been overheard by neighbours), after being clearly told that we were not prepared to discuss the issue, further compounded this harassment and intimidation. These actions cannot possibly be compatible with the Enforcement Guidelines relating to vulnerable people.


Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

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Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

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Go back to the beginning.

 

Have you had a Notice to Owner, Charge Certificate and Order for Recovery?

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Oh almost certainly - but I am not disputing that anything has really been done wrong until Mr Warlow got involved.

 

The original offence was due to an oversight - and we should not have taken our eyes off the ball however much other stress we were going through at the time - but such is life, and we are happy to pay the amount asked for by the court.

 

However we are not happy to pay unlawful and excessive charges on top - and we need time to pay.


Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CLAIM TO ADMIN, or our WEBMASTER - YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REPLY.

 

Advice given is purely my opinion, and is not based on any legal training.

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Some interesting developments.

 

Firstly, just to say that a Form 4 complaint was filed over this with Birmingham Civil Court. This was acknowledged on 10th August, so Mr Warlow had to respond to the court by 24th August.

 

So far Marston's have failed to respond to this complaint - apart from an acknowledgement that they have received it and will reply when they have completed their investigations.

 

Very strange then, that yesterday morning a "Warrant of Execution" arrived by second class post - whilst it is undated, the postmark on the envelope is Walsall 28/8/09, so it was clearly posted by Marston's.

 

The Warrant gives the "Amount due (including court fee and any adjudication costs)" as £80. It makes no mention of the charges that have been levied by Marston's, and Mr Warlow.

 

So, the question has to be asked as to why they have suddenly decided to send this Warrant out. Also, since they only served this on my wife (by second class post) last Friday - surely any sums that they have levied BEFORE the warrant was deemed served, cannot stand. Of course, that is notwithstanding the issues over the amount of the charges levied, and the question about whether a "visit" has ever actually taken place.

 

Having said that, there is a further question about the service of the Warrant. County Court procedure clearly states that service of documents should be at least by First Class mail - so technically it may not even have reached us yet!

 

Anyway, yesterday an application went off to Northampton to have the Warrant suspended, and a request to pay by instalments. It will be interesting to see what happens next.


Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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________________________________

 

Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CLAIM TO ADMIN, or our WEBMASTER - YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REPLY.

 

Advice given is purely my opinion, and is not based on any legal training.

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Alan,

I am so sorry because I had not noticed this question and would have responded sooner.

 

Before responding at length can you please confirm something for me.

 

You say that the amount on the Warrant is £80. Can you confirm that this is the case because this would mean that Marston Group have NOT applied the legally required Court Fee of £5 for registering this debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

 

Can you then telephone the Traffic Enforcement Centre on 08457 045 007 ( they do NOT answer quickly !!) and ask them to confirm to you that a Warrant has been issued and you will need to also ask them to confirm the date that the Warrant was authorised. You will need the PCN number.

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Will do - cheers - although I have sent them a copy of the Warrant with the N245.


Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CLAIM TO ADMIN, or our WEBMASTER - YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REPLY.

 

Advice given is purely my opinion, and is not based on any legal training.

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You say that the amount on the Warrant is £80. Can you confirm that this is the case because this would mean that Marston Group have NOT applied the legally required Court Fee of £5 for registering this debt with the Traffic Enforcement Centre.

 

Yes - it says "Amount due (including court fee and any adjudication costs) £80.00"

 

Can you then telephone the Traffic Enforcement Centre on 08457 045 007 ( they do NOT answer quickly !!) and ask them to confirm to you that a Warrant has been issued and you will need to also ask them to confirm the date that the Warrant was authorised. You will need the PCN number.

 

It has been issued, and was authorised on 3rd July. As I noted above, it was not received until Tuesday (1st Sept).

 

 

 

I have now attached an edited copy of the warrant.

Warrant.pdf

Edited by alanfromderby

Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

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________________________________

 

Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CLAIM TO ADMIN, or our WEBMASTER - YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REPLY.

 

Advice given is purely my opinion, and is not based on any legal training.

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On the one hand I am disappointed - on the other hand the ball is now back in Derby City Council's court as I had expected it would be, and at least they are obliged to properly discuss the issue.

 

The court have accepted the explanation of the bailiff - however I am shocked that the judge did not question the fact that he has only provided generic paperwork with his submission - and the statement he has made to the court contains several things that are at a considerable variance with our version of events.

 

Clearly the judge has decided that my wife is a liar - and that Mr Warlow is a perfect human being that would never tell fibs. Since the judge has never met my wife, and has clearly decided he does not believe it to be necessary, I am at a loss to see how the Form 4 complaints process is supposed to be fair.

 

I am also amazed that the bailiff has been allowed to completely ignore the issue of the excessive fees in his response. The only reference to the charges was made in the submission by Marston's, and even that did not mention the amounts, it just noted that the fees were in line with legislation and that since the Warrant had been sent back to the court it was no longer an issue anyway.

 

Clearly the Form 4 system is geared in favour of the bailiff, since it does not have any process by which you can cross-examine the response that is made to court. The judge simply looks at the hundred, or so, words that you send in on the Form 4 - then he looks at the 100, or so, pages submitted by the bailiff and his employers.

 

It would seem then, that the only way of bringing these people to book is to ensure that the court gets swamped with complaints. It is only when they see a pattern emerging that there is any likelihood that a judge will treat your complaint seriously.

 

One final postscript - we have never denied that the offence took place, and we have never said that we are trying to avoid payment - just that we need time to pay, and wish to be able to discuss that with the Authority concerned as Marston's made it clear from day one that they would not agree to instalments. Yet the bailiff claimed that I had stated I should not have to pay this fine - and Marston's enclosed a copy of the above post as evidence of my admission that the offence had occurred. What this had to do with the bailiffs behaviour I don't know, but Marston's seem to be very well prepared for Form 4 complaints - just a shame that cannot put more time and resources into ensuring their bailiffs keep to the rules in the first place.


Alan, Derby, UK.

 

 

 

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING

EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 

 

 

 

________________________________

 

Sorry, but I cannot deal with your case by PM - please ask questions in your own thread. If you do not get a reply within 48 hours send a PM, with a link to the relevant thread, to any Site Team Member.

 

DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS ABOUT YOUR CLAIM TO ADMIN, or our WEBMASTER - YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A REPLY.

 

Advice given is purely my opinion, and is not based on any legal training.

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I have pm'd you.

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