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Diggydog

To n244 or not to n244?

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Hi there this is my first time posting on this forum, so please forgive me if I have missed anything important / misunderstood any of this but I have tried to find the answer to this myself and couldn't find anything which covers my specific circumstances.

So here goes...I will try to cut this as short as possible. About a month ago I received a note through by door from bailiffs in relation to four PCN's. I had not received any other paperwork in relation to this before this time, but I don't know why as my address has not changed.

Anyway having had a scoot around this forum I took the step of calling the TEC to check that the warrants were still valid, which they were, the latest expiry date being March of 2010. So I then submitted OOT stat decs in respect of each PCN. To my horror these were returned to me refused. I have no idea why and the letter that came with them said that they don't have to tell me why (really??)

So my only course of action now is to submit an N244 in respect of each ticket which will cost me the tidy sum of £300. I was just going to do this but having trawled the web again on this subject I am now more reluctant to do so. The reason for this being is that I have seen that these are often simply dismissed without a hearing or explanation and therefore I would just be throwing £300 down the drain. Is this true? Is there any point in submitting the N244? Also what exactly is the £75 for, i.e. is this the cost of a hearing so that if the N244 form is returned to me refused without a hearing then I get the £75 back or do I pay the £75 just to put the application form in and would therefore have to pay it even if I don't get a hearing?

The other concern I have with this is that I have read that even if I do get a hearing I will have to have a good reason for not having received the paperwork if the council states that they sent it. This confuses me a bit, how can I have a good reason for not receiving something? I don't know why it didn't get to me, it may never have been sent, got lost in the post, put through the wrong letter box, eaten by a crocodile at the Royal Mail sorting office...........eg I have no idea. As I don't really have a reason does this mean that I would lose at the hearing anyway?

I am in the process of getting the Council's statement of truth from the TEC which may or may not help me. I guess what I want to know is, is it worth my risking £300 to get these tickets back to stage one, or do I simply tell the bailiffs to get knotted (they will get nada from me) and wait for the warrants to expire?

Thanks all.

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First thing I would do is call the council and ask them to confirm the address the documents were sent to, including postcode. You should have been sent a Notice to Owner, Charge Certificate and Order for Recovery for each PCN - that's 12 pieces of correspondence in addition to the PCNs themselves.

 

Ask them also if they have any record of anything being returned undelivered by the Post Office.

 

If these have gone out to the correct address, and nothing returned to sender, in my view you have little hope of convincing the court that you were unaware of the PCNs. Not my opinion - I'm not casting any judgement - but you can see the difficulty you will have.

 

If they sent docs to the wrong address, then this makes the N244 more realistic, and if successful I believe you can claim costs and gat the £300 back. (Not 100 per cent sure of this though.)

 

If not, then you'll have to weigh up the gamble of an unsuccessful £300 action against what the bailiff is after.

 

Hate to say this, but telling the bailiff to get knotted is the worst thing to do. It's not optional in that sense - they can enforce payment. You're better off co-operating with them than ignoring them, because they'll just send more letters or pay a visit and you will become liable for the extra charges they will impose.

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Jamberson - thanks for the response. I take your point on the N244 front, which is why I ask the question. I am not convinced that I have a case either. Will have to mull that over but @£300 its quite a risk.

 

Re the bailiffs - as far as I am aware they can only enforce payment by a) gaining peaceful entry to my house (I won't let them in) or taking my car (its on HP so not an option either) therefore I am left wondering how they can possibly enforce these warrants. Am I wrong?

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Ultimately if you can ensure they are never allowed entry, then you might be able to defy them. I'll give you my thoughts, and maybe others will have comments too.

 

You can expect your car to be clamped/towed at least once, although you should be able to get it released without paying, as it's something they know they shouldn't do. (It will take up your time of course if this happens.)

 

You may also be pulled over by the police and required to prove to them that the car is on HP.

 

If you're going to do this, it might help to send them a letter by recorded delivery stating that the car does not belong to you and is on an HP agreement. They'll probably disregard it, but at least it's on record.

 

If they do manage to get in the house one time, I believe they can force entry from then on, so you'll have to make sure it's cast-iron that they can't get in. Keep windows closed when you're out.

 

I think if you are in arrears with council tax they can apply for an attachment of earnings, and lump in the PCN charges as well, which would enforce payment.

 

Be aware that the warrant lasts 12 months, but the debt continues to exist after this. 12 months isn't necessarily the end of it.

 

And meantime, everything they do will be added to the amount they are claiming.

 

I'm not trying to persuade you to pay them, but these are the sort of things you need to be aware of when deciding what to do. Good luck whatever you decide.

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I understand what you are saying, but there is no danger of them ever getting access. My car is also kept in a lock garage whenever it is not being used (mainly to stop the kids next door scratching it with their bikes) so I really don't feel I have any cause for concern on that front. Besides which I am fully aware of my rights as to what they can and can't do which they will be politely advised of should they persist.

 

The only other thing I would like to ask is I have today asked for a copy of the Council's statement of truth from the TEC. They told me that I have no right to see it and refused to sent it to me. The also stated that they would not tell me what name and address was on the warrants? I thought they had to give me this info? Is this right or not?

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Also sorry maybe I didn't make it clear this is decriminalised parking so nothing to do with the police. I am not in arrears with mu council tax either but I would be absolutely astounded to hear that a council could lump in PCN charges to council tax. Can I ask where you got that from as the two are entirely unrelated, although I must say (tongue in cheek) that councils clearly do think that PCN's are just another form of raising tax revenue.....

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Not sure if you have a right to see the statement of truth.

 

The bailiff would be the person to ask about the address on the warrants - the council would be the people to ask in relation to the address on the other documents, the ones which went out before the warrant was granted. They are probably the same, so either one should satisfy the question of whether the address is correct - I'd get it straight from the Council - where did they send the Notice to Owner?

 

Sorry if it sounded like I was being pessimistic. I don't want to discourage you from standing your ground.

 

I worked for several years within the system and the police can pull you over and (if the car was yours) impound it. Decriminalised or not - it happens.

 

And yes, a debt for council tax could be amalgamated and enforced through attachment of earnings. I've known it happen. Not an issue here though.

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Ask to see the warrant, check it is a proper court produced warrant, bailiffs are known to print their own. and check it does not quote out of date legislation.

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