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Aaaaarrrrrrrgggggghhhhhh! Why won't they leave us alone!

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Hello all

 

I am in some great need of help. Long story short after being on this forum for a while and trying to sort out our council tax account with the council (attempting to cut out the middle man) we still seem to be no further forward.

 

For all the info so far please see :

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/bailiffs-sheriff-officers/202862-bristow-sutor-council-tax.html

 

I've had some great help from you all but every time I think we're turning a corner the council put the mockers on it. I really need some help now! In order to pay the council what we owed them plus the bailiffs fees that we were happy paying I borrowed the money off my parents hoping that this gesture would send 'em packing but no! Yesterday we receive the latest letter from the council saying that we still have to pay the outrageous unfair van fee (that is technically not a charge according to a previous bailiff letter) of £450.

 

The fellow that we are dealing with at the council obviously doesn't have a conscience and can sleep well at night, well if he's reading this then 'you are making our lives a misery'. This is the only thing of the pub we have left to finalise. Everything that we had and owned went into the pub that we leased and we lost it all and he is still gunning for us for some reason. Most people would be reasonable that the debt had been paid off but not with this one. Why can't he just leave us alone. At this point I would even hazard a guess that he is in cahoots with the bailiffs otherwise why treat us like this? We both feel totally victimized by him, the council and the bailiffs they employ.

 

I'm in the process of sending everything to the LGO and am deciding whether I should take the bailiffs to the magistrates or county court because of the nature of the complaint. If Tomtubby could advise on this it would be helpful!

 

Where do I go from here? Apart from also taking this to my MP and local councillor I'm also thinking of Watchdog too! :o

 

Here are the latest letters for you to read through. (Had a problem with my computer - I will now post letters - 4.30 pm 2/9/09)

 

From council 14th Sept

 

Revenues & Benefits

P 0 Box 4749

SHREWSBURY

SY1 9GH

Contact:

Direct Tel:

Email:

Our Ref:

Date: 14th August 2009

Dear Mr Parks,

With reference to your e-mail and letter dated 10th August 2009, as requested, I would confirm the content of my e-mail reply dated 11th August as follows.

I would advise you that the Council has not changed the address contained in the Liability Order dated 20/10/2008. This order was obtained in respect of an amount of Council Tax which you and Mrs Kim Parks jointly owe for the relating to the period ended 27/09/2008.

In my letter dated 06/07/2009, I guided you to the relevant regulation which permits distress in this type of situation even though you no longer reside at the. It would clearly be unfair on the general body of taxpayers who do pay their Council Tax on time if the legislation enabled a debtor simply to move address to escape liability for arrears of Council Tax.

I have spoken to Bristow and Sutor regarding your second point and am advised that they have responded to you. They have pointed out that the "Schedule 5" attached to your e-mail has been amended by a subsequent update of the regulations.

Collection of this statutory local taxation will be delayed for a short period pending your recent formal complaints to the Local Government Ombudsman and the courts service.

If you wish to discuss this matter further then please contact the undersigned in the Council's Revenues Department on direct line .

Yours sincerely

Senior Recovery & Court Officer

Shropshire Council Revenues Service

 

 

 

Our reply:

 

By post and E-mail

Fao Mr

Senior Recovery & Court Officer

Shropshire Council

Revenues & Benefits

PO Box 4749

SHREWSBURY SY1 9GH

24th August 2009

Dear Mr

I trust by the time you receive this letter that you will be aware of the above account being paid in full. I also trust that any collection on your behalf will now cease.

As discussed previously, I am still pursuing the complaint against yourselves and the bailiffs you employ even though this account is now paid. This is so that your customers who are behind with their council tax are not treated with the same contempt and bullying tactics employed by yourself, the council who employ both you and other members of the Revenue department and the bailiffs chosen by the council to recover debts and for which whose actions you are totally responsible are brought to book and be made to reconsider any actions before pursuing the customers of the council. Do not forget that the council and all of its employees and subcontracted workers are servants of the people who employ them, that is to say we, the council tax payers.

I also feel that it should be pointed out that you assume rather a lot about my situation without attempting to try to understand it fully. I am not a pariah, as you seem to suggest in your last letter. I have always made every attempt to ensure that the council tax bills are paid fully. Had it not been for several decisions made by Central Government, this council, North Shropshire District Council and the local Market Drayton Town Council, I and my wife would still be enjoying the fruits of our labour and paying you what was required of us. Be aware that this letter along with other documents have been forwarded to the ombudsmen, my Westminster MP, my local district councillor and posted to every consumer forum available to me.

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

The council's following reply:

 

Revenues & Benefits

P 0 Box 4749

SHREWSBURY

SY1 9GH

Contact:

Direct Tel:

Email:

Our Ref:

Date: 27th August 2009

Dear Mr Parks,

Thank you for your e-mail dated 24th August 2009 and I acknowledge receipt of your payment of £182.00 towards the above. I would confirm that Bristow & Sutor have been advised.

My previous correspondence has dealt entirely with the facts of this matter. I would respectfully suggest that you are mistaken in your belief that I am making any assumption about your situation. Local authorities are creatures of statute whose actions are closely prescribed by law. Collection and enforcement of the arrears of Council Tax which you owe has been carried out strictly in accordance with The Council Tax (Administration & Enforcement) Regulations 1992. I would refer you to

regulation 52(4) which provides that partial payments should clear the costs and fees first before being credited to the outstanding Council Tax.

Therefore, an amount of £450.00 remains outstanding, collection of which will be suspended for a short period pending the anticipated receipt of an inquiry from the Local Government Ombudsman.

If you wish to discuss this matter further then please contact me in the Council's Revenues Department on direct line 01743 256115.

Yours sincerely

Senior Recovery &Court Officer

Shropshire Council Revenues Service

 

 

 

Any ideas? This is really hacking me off.

 

Will post copy of letter to LGO when I've done it.

Edited by gallygaskins
Neded to post letters too.

'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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This is the letter I've sent to the LGO today. (I'm also taking my complaint to my MP, my councilor and the council chairman.)

 

Fao Complaints

Local Government Ombudsman

PO Box 4771

COVENTRY

West Midlands

CV4 0EH

27th August 2009

Dear Sir/Madam

Re: Collection of Council Tax by Bailiffs on behalf of Council (District Council)

I have made a formal complaint to both Council and Bailiffs in respect of their collection of council tax that was due for last year and the outrageous charges that they are attempting to collect on top. I am also in the process of making a claim against (bailiffs) through the courts regarding their excessive fees.

My complaint is two fold as it concerns both parties and the overall responsibility of Council that they are negating to use. Enclosed are copies of all paperwork that has passed between myself and the two other parties so that you can peruse the argument, however there are questions that have been left unanswered and as a result I feel as though I am being victimized and persecuted by both Council and (bailiffs) for instances that have happened and were beyond my control.

As you will notice from the correspondence enclosed, my wife and I ran (business) in. We did so for 5 and a half years somewhat successfully until such times and reasons beyond our control it no longer became a viable business and we left at the end of January 2009. I myself was declared bankrupt at the beginning of 2007 after another business dealing we had went sour. From that moment on I was an employee and had nothing whatsoever to do with the running and ownership of the business; that was dealt with by both my wife and my mother in law. Both have since been declared bankrupt as the economic situation and pubs falling out of favour as a viable business to own never allowed them to sell the lease in order to gain anything back from the business. Everything that I, my wife and my mother in law ever put into the business was lost, including money that was borrowed from my wife’s grandmother who has since passed away. However, for the last six months we have been continually hounded by Council on such matters ranging from the council tax for this year let alone last year and we haven’t occupied the flat since September last year; the business rates; the premises license and its subsequent renewal; and asking us for a copy of a report from the local fire officer who was called in by the council’s licensing officer.

Over these past six months I have battled with the Council and (bailiffs) over the Council Tax account for last year and the extent of the bailiff’s charges that have been applied to the account, in particular a van fee of £450.

Here are the questions I would like answered.

1. I have received a final demand for payment but I have never received a liability order for this debt. Suddenly the bailiffs turn up at my new address, why?

2. Why, after being continually asked to do so by me, have the Council not considered my request for me to deal directly with them? I believe it is my right to do this and they can not decline such a request.

3. It also seems pertinent that they choose this moment to tell me that even by paying them directly I still pay off the charges set by the bailiffs first. How so?

4. Why have they never acknowledged receipt of my first payment by postal order? It was crossed so that only the council could cash it, it was never sent back and the only acknowledgement I have had that they received and indeed cashed the order was in the last letter from them stating that the balance now due is £450.

5. Why are they not accepting their responsibility over the charges that the bailiff is setting and asking them to reduce them? After all they are wholly responsible for the actions and demands of a company they employ to recover monies due to them.

6. Costs have to be reasonable as set down in the regulations, how can either the Council or (bailiffs) consider a van fee of £450 to be reasonable? Especially when there are no costs involved as the bailiffs will own the van and employ the two staff they send out in it on a round of anywhere between six to ten visits a day. Even by Inland Revenue standards this is excessive as operatives using their own vehicles are only allowed to claim 40 pence per mile tax free. This means normal mileage of a 114 mile round trip from ... to ... would actually be worth around £45.

7. On all of the regulations that I have read it states that a van fee can only be applied to the account if goods have been removed and stored. My goods have never been taken or stored. (bailiffs) have suddenly sent a copy of regulations I or anyone I have taken advice from have never seen. Where have they got these regulations from? It needs clarification.

8. Also, regarding the van fee, in the letter from (bailiffs) dated 11th June 2009 they state that they cannot give me a break down of the van fee as it is not a charge. If it is not a charge, why are they charging it?

9. I also asked (bailiffs), in my letter to them dated 16th June 2009, for a written statement of how they deem their van fee to be reasonable. I have never received a reply regarding this query.

10. In my letter dated 5th June 2009, I asked (bailiffs) to provide me with evidence that demands were served and they had signatures from me to say that they could levy on my goods. They have never provided this evidence.

11. As the bailiffs have levied against my car I also have some queries there that have never truly been satisfied. How can they justify levying against a vehicle that

a. Does not belong to me as my father in law bought it from me before I was made bankrupt and has continued to allow me to use it? I was always led to believe that they could only seize goods that belonged to me.

b. If seized would cause me to become unemployed? My place of work is in the middle of the ... countryside, not on any bus route and certainly not easily accessible as it is 13 miles away from where I live. I am expected to work from 7.30 am in the morning and have no other means of getting to work. I’m sure any court in the land would take a dim view over such an act of seizure as how am I able to pay my bills, in particular my council tax if I therefore don’t have the means to do so?

As far as I am concerned I have paid the council that which I owe them for last years council tax, albeit somewhat hiked in my opinion as I unfairly have to accept responsibility for my wife’s proportion of council tax even when she is considered bankrupt to every other business and institution in the land. I have also paid the bailiffs fees that I agree with. So after due consideration of the facts, I trust you will instruct the Council to act as the responsible and occasionally reasonable body that they are supposed to be and inform them that they must instruct (bailiffs) to significantly reduce or quash their horrendous van fee and forego their levy on my car.

Yours sincerely


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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From briefly reading this post it would appear that the charge of £450 is associated with the previous "levy" made on a vehicle that is not owned by you.

 

As long as you have satisfied B & S that this vehicle is NOT yours then the "levy" AND ALL ASSOCIATED FEES must be REMOVED !!!

 

We have come across one other company that are charging an "attending to remove" fees of £450 and I am aware that details of this have been sent to the Ministry of Justice.

 

£450 CANNOT by any any stretch of the imagination ever be seen as "reasonable" charges. This is even more so by the recent Judgment by Distrtict Judge Avent where he refused to allow Marston Group at apply a fee of £100. Details of this legal case should be sent to both the council AND the LGO. Please contact me for a copy.

 

I would also suggest the you make an FOI request to the council for a copy of the Contract with B & S to see what charges the council have agreed that their AGENT can apply.

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I would also suggest the you make an FOI request to the council for a copy of the Contract with B & S to see what charges the council have agreed that their AGENT can apply.

 

send it today to information.request@shropshire.gov.uk

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Hi all

 

thank you so much for the information that you have given me however the link above does not appear to be working. Pink eeyore can you check and try again, please, if it's not too much trouble.

 

Just as an update, we're still fighting, hopefully Tomtubby's information, which I have requested today, will help us as well as our MP who has now encouraged us by wanting to assist us with our cause. I'll keep you all posted.

 

Many best regards to you all.


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Hi all

 

thank you so much for the information that you have given me however the link above does not appear to be working. Pink eeyore can you check and try again, please, if it's not too much trouble.

 

Just as an update, we're still fighting, hopefully Tomtubby's information, which I have requested today, will help us as well as our MP who has now encouraged us by wanting to assist us with our cause. I'll keep you all posted.

 

Many best regards to you all.

 

 

Link is actually an email address so wont work unless you have it configured in a mail server. Just copy and paste in into your email address.

 

 

On another matter I generally thought that if you have been declared bankrupt then you dont owe anyone anything? Or am I complately incorrect?


My respect to people who post regularly and help people out on here. Without your help alot of wrongs would have been committed.

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have spoken to Bristow and Sutor regarding your second point and am advised that they have responded to you. They have pointed out that the "Schedule 5" attached to your e-mail has been amended by a subsequent update of the regulations

something for you to read regarding this

 

 

 

posted by martin 3030

 

announcement from ACEO (Association of Civil enforcement officers )

 

Fees Charged under Head H - Council Tax Following criticisms regarding the charging of fees under Head H to Schedule 5 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 this association sought legal opinion as to the legality of such charges.

This legal opinion unequivocally stated that the Fee under Head H of Schedule 5, 'where no sale takes place by reason of payment or tender' in accordance with section 45 (4) of the regulations, is perfectly legitimate and in accordance with the regulations. Furthermore, the fixed fee, currently £24.50, is recoverable regardless of the actual costs incurred.

ACEA fully endorses the right of its member companies to charge such a fee and strongly encourages the use of such incontestable statutory fees, where appropriate.

 

however legislation states if they are charging a levy fee and a walking possession fee they cant charge another fee on the day

 

schedule 5 section 45 (4)

 

(4) Where an authority has seized goods of the debtor in pursuance of the distress, but before sale of those goods the appropriate amount (including charges arising up to the time of the payment or tender) is paid or tendered to the authority, the authority shall accept the amount, the sale shall not be proceeded with and the goods shall be made available for collection by the debtor

 

posted by tomtubby

You need to ask this company to provide you with the statutory regulation that allows this fee to be charged. In addition you may wish to contact the locla authority to ask them to confirm whether they have agreed that their agents can charge this fee !!

 

It is simply not good enough for them to say that the Association of Civil Enforcement Agents thinks that it is OK to apply this fee. The ACEA represent BAILIFF COMPANIES !!!

 

ACEA have made this statement on the basis of opinion from a Barrister. HOWEVER....there were TWO legal opinions.(both of which I have read !!) .....and the second one CLEARLY confirms that a Head "H" fee CANNOT BE APPLIED. ACEA have ignored this one

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opps wrong thead

 

dx

Edited by dx100uk

..

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blimey what a mare. good letters though. I know it makes sense now, but if there is ever a strong case for contracting business under the protection of a Ltd company, this is it.

 

They won't get away with the van fee, and you're in the best hands here, so perservere and you will come out on top.

 

All the best.


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Thank you everyone.

 

Has anyone else got the details of the District Judge Avent's ruling on fees that are reasonable? Haven't had anything from Tomtubby yet (appreciate that they may be very busy) but I need something to send to the LGO this week to get to them by next Monday. I think I read somewhere that Marstons were asked to supply evidence that broke down their charge of £100 which they couldn't do, this means then that as Bristow and Sutor can't tell me what their fee relates to or how it is broken down then that too can be deemed as unreasonable - massively so. Can't wait to let my MP know, glad I at last seem to have some quite beefy support.

 

Hallowitch - the stuff that you've posted is very interesting, and I realise now that they should never have applied this charge. I've paid it too, the only thing I haven't now paid is the £450 van fee.

 

I've got the LGO letter to post up soon but want to read and digest it first before I post it. Its not too favourable at the moment but with the bit I have read it makes me wonder why the council themselves have never asked B&S why they have charged us so much. (It appears that if we don't pay it then they are still liable for it!)


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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found this hope it helps

 

 

 

In the Central London County Court - Case No 8CL51015 - Anthony Culligan (Claimant) v 1. Jason Simkin & 2. Marstons (Defendants). Before District Judge Advent 9th & 24th September 2008

 

Mr Culligan challenged the bailiffs fees & charges imposed by Mr Simkin and Marstons when levying distress and seeking to remove Mr Culigans car for non-payment of a Penalty Charge Notice issued by the London Borough of Camden.

 

The Judgment goes a long way to clarify exactly what a Bailiff can charge for levying distress. Bailiffs have always sought to charge for fixing an immobilisation device by clamping a vehicle, and an attendance to remove. These charges in Anthony Culligan's case were £200 (£100 for the clamp and £100 for attendance to remove). The Bailiffs have argued that the Fee Regulations permit them to make a charge for levying distress (that is 28% on the first £200 demanded, and for removing goods, or attending to remove goods where no goods are removed, reasonable costs and charges). Bailiffs have claimed that the costs of putting on a clamp, etc. are costs to be included in attending to remove where no goods are removed, if payment is made before the vehicle concerned is removed.

 

 

 

 

DJ Avent, after considering Case Law and Statute, has found that the purpose of putting on a clamp is to "impound" the vehicle and is not part of the costs of removal. This is because:-

 

1. The Bailiff's obligation is to secure the vehicle, and the simplest and easiest way to do this is to "immobilise" it so it cannot be driven away. This is effectively the equal of impounding the goods.

 

2. The Fee Regulations provide for a distinction between the levying of distress and removal of goods. There is a gap between the two stages. The purpose of this "gap" is to allow the debtor to make payment of what is due after the first stage.

 

DJ Avent says at paragraph 50 of his Judgment:-

 

"Accordingly, in my judgment the bailiff should not and, as a matter of law cannot take any steps to remove goods until he has given the debtor a reasonable opportunity to pay what is due at the time of seizure. This being so I cannot see that Form 7 can or should include any costs of removal. Mr. Simkin included on the Form 7 he produced for Mr. Culligan the sum of £100 in respect of the immobilisation device. If, as the Defendants now argue, that was part of the removal expenses, it should never have been included in Form 7".

 

The District Judge went on to find that the application of the clamp falls within the act of levying distress and does not form part of the removal process, whatever the Bailiff's Contract with Camden says.

 

The Bailiff also charged Anthony Culligan £100 for the " reasonable costs " of removing the vehicle (although the vehicle was never actually removed) in that a tow truck was called and actually arrived at Anthony Culligan's home. Because the Bailiff produced no evidence as to how the charge had been arrived at he was unable to show that it was reasonable.

 

The District Judge in his conclusion says:

 

"I am also conscious that my findings in this case ... may have wider consequences and may cause problems for bailiffs because they will not be able to charge for immobilising a vehicle as a separate charge but must include it within the cost of levying distress. To do otherwise would, in my judgment, be unlawful... I would also add that if the Defendant or either of them in the light of this judgment now continued to apply such charges in the manner in which they have done up to now and, specifically, charge fees of £100 for applying an immobilisation device then that would amount to conduct which may well then found a legitimate complaint because in my judgment it would be unlawful....".

 

What this means in effect is that Bailiffs who continue to make unlawful charges may be guilty of misconduct and have their Certificates removed.

 

You should know however that Marstons obtained permission to appeal from the District Judge. His reasons for granting the permission were :

 

"The bailiff was following the practice in force for 15 years. No one has challenged the right to charge for wheelclamping before.

My decision that they cannot do so (at least to the extent that they have charged until now) not only affects the London Borough of Camden but also every Borough with de-criminalised parking.

 

Accordingly, it has significant local and possible National implications and that is a compelling reason why an appeal should be heard"

 

Finally, Camden now as a matter of urgency, need to revise their Contract with Bailiffs such as Marston, to take account of the District Judge's Judgment generally, and in particular to remove the authority to charge a fee for an immobilisation device over and above that provided for in the Statutory Fee Regulations.

__________________

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Thanks Hallowitch, I'll send this info on to the LGO, not that I think it will make any difference as far as they are concerned. I'm going to send it all onto my MP though and see what happens there, I'm not giving up without a fight.

 

Here's the letter from the LGO (all comments gratefully received from all of you out there in cag land!)

 

LGO5-10-09p1.jpgLGO5-10-09p2.jpgLGO5-10-09p3-1.jpgLGO5-10-09p4-1.jpg


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Guest Happy Contrails

Point 9 of the Ombudsman’s letter confirms the council did not comply with regulation 33/34 of the of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 by sending you a FINAL NOTICE.

See section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978.:

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1978/cukpga_19780030_en_1#pb2-l1g7

Where an Act authorises or requires any document to be served by post (whether the expression “serve” or the expression “give” or “send” or any other expression is used) then, unless the contrary intention appears,

Evidence to the contrary is in point 9 of the ombudsman letter because it says in respect of your previous address

Ask the ombudsman the council must comply, of disclose what grounds the council does not need to comply.

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Thanks Happy Contrails. The information has now been passed to the LGO along with that on unreasonable fees.

 

Here is the letter I sent the LGO this morning:

 

Local Government Ombudsman

The Oaks No. 2

Westwood Way

Westwood Business Park

COVENTRY

CV4 8JB

3rd November 2009

Your ref:

Dear

I must say that I am not entirely happy with your response to my complaint. However, I believed that it was your remit to decipher if the council have acted inappropriately and as such, as I see it, you consider Shropshire Council to be above any such reproach in this matter. This I cannot accept.

In point 9, you considered the issue of ‘Enforcing the Liability Order’ at my current address. It may be correct in Mr Edwards’ view that they have complied with Regulation 45 of Part VI of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. However, the council has not complied with either Regulation 33 or 34 of the same Regulations where we should have been served with a Final Notice and Liability Order at our new address. The law is very clear that these two items are served on us before any such recovery action takes place. The term serve is defined by Section 7 of the Interpretation Act 1978 and this never happened. We were never in receipt of these documents before Bristow and Sutor began their action upon us.

In point 10, you considered the issue of the ‘Van fee’. You stated and wrongfully assumed that we knew we had three months to take the bailiffs to court over their charges. A question? How did you come to this conclusion? We have never known about this. No-one, and now I am making an assumption, i.e. the bailiff or the council have never told us that we have that right. I also assume that that information would be in their complaints procedure. We asked for a copy of this procedure from both the bailiff and the council and never received any response. Therefore, how can you say that we have not acted as we should? If we had had this information at the time then we most certainly would have done exactly that. Surely this non-action on the part of both the bailiff and the council should be considered inappropriate by yourselves; if they had both complied with our request and therefore given us this information as part of their complaints procedure we would have gone to court and this whole mess would have been sorted out months ago.

I would also like to point out, in response to point 10, where you completely dismiss it because you believe it to be a matter for the court to decide, that I do not agree with Mr Edwards’ response that just because we would not pay that charge would make the Council ultimately responsible for it. Why? Surely if they consider it to be unreasonable and ‘over the top’ then they would not pay it themselves. It is not enough to just say that they would become liable for it. They are the ones who have signed an agreement with the bailiffs and the bailiffs only act on their behalf in order to collect outstanding revenue. I do not consider this to be any explanation as to why we are liable for a fee that a) is unreasonable; b) cannot be broken down into what it consists of by the bailiffs; and c) by the bailiffs own admission is not even a charge.

The evidence that I am in receipt of concerns this unreasonable charge that has been made by the bailiffs, Bristow & Sutor. A precedent has been set by case law, in this matter it concerns Culligan v Simkin and Marstons, in September 2008. In this case District Judge Avent asked of Marstons how exactly their £100 fee was made up. Marstons, the bailiffs in this case, could not tell him how the charge was made up so he overruled it saying that this was unreasonable. Please answer me this? How can the bailiffs and the council, after knowing this case law exists, still not consider £450 to be unreasonable? Not only that, and to point it out again, they cannot break down this charge and they do not even consider it to be a charge. I’m sorry, but as far as I can see it, the council are acting inappropriately by allowing their bailiffs to charge this fee. After all, it is the responsibility of the council to know how their bailiffs are not only acting but what they are charging. They also have the power to overrule them if the council believe the bailiff to be acting inappropriately on their behalf. I would also like you and the council to consider that just because this order was sanctioned by the now defunct North Shropshire District Council it does not merely suggest that Shropshire Council can now just wash their hands of the situation and allow it to continue in this manner.

As this matter now seems to be coming to an end with you I would like to point out that my MP, Mr Paul Farrelly, will now be taking up these matters on my behalf from this moment onwards. He has been sent exactly the same information as you have earlier received and copies of your letter as well as my reply to you today have also been sent to him. I ask that you let the Council know this situation as I still consider this charge to be in dispute.

Yours sincerely


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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I can't believe it! I come home today to find two letters from Bristow& Sutor demanding money, one relating to the £450 costs that are still outstanding as above with both mine and my husbands name on and one in just my name (and I have been declared bankrupt remember) for the Non Domestic rates on the pub for this year being 2009/10. We left the place in Jan 2009! I've sent them a letter back telling them to refer them both to the official receiver. Any suggestions anyone? The Non-domestic rates (i thought) were sorted out. But no, the council is obviously enjoying themself. And as far as we, the LGO and the MP the £450 is in dispute. What are these b******s playing at?

 

Hopefully, my MP is going to have a field day.


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Guest Happy Contrails

Non Domestic rates on the pub ....

 

I have been declared bankrupt....

 

The Non-domestic rates (i thought) were sorted out...

 

 

If this is a pub then its not council tax and the legislation I quoted above does not apply. (re: serving a final notice and a summons to appear before the court).

 

If you are bankrupt, and you declared the debt the bailiff is trying to collect on your Form 6.28, then you must pass all bailiff paperwork to the official receiver. The receiver then contacts the bailiff.

 

If the pub is a business and you are a director then you personally are not liable, the company is.

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HI Happy Contrails

 

There are two issues: the council tax is payable as we lived above the pub. Our issue with that is the costs of £450 for a van fee that B&S are trying to charge us. And they have been chasing my husband because even though I was declared bankrupt he is still considered liable for the debt, in full if the council decides so. This charge is in dispute although B&S obviously don't believe it still is. Their letter is dated the 30th October, several days before the LGO gave us an extension to get our views across by this Friday the 6th Nov.

 

The other issue concerns the non domestic rates for 2009-10. We left in Jan 2009, obviously before the new financial year for such things (and in 2008-09). As I was declared bankrupt my name was taken off the non-domestic rates bill. They left my husbands on initially and tried to claim from him (they generously adjusted the amount by half because we hadn't been trading and the property was obviously empty) but as my husband was an employee and not a partner then they agreed that Paul wasn't liable either. Now all of a sudden a letter turns up from B&S in just my name demanding these rates again. We weren't a limited company (I sometimes wish we had done it).


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Guest Happy Contrails

You seem to have a lot of fee irregularities with your bailiff, you need to have the council clear them up. They are liable for their bailiffs.

 

Find out from the council how much is owed in business rates, then calculates the fees. The law prescribing bailiffs fees for collecting unpaid business rates is Regulation 3© of the Non-Domestic Rating (Collection and Enforcement) (Amendment and Miscellaneous Provision) Regulations 1993 and The Council Tax and Non-Domestic Rating (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006, broadly speaking it provides

 

1st Visit £24.50

2nd Visit £18.00

Sum recovered up to £100 - £15.00

£100 to £400 - 4%

£400 to £1500 - 2.5%

£1500 to £8000 - 1%

£8000 and above Quarter of - 1%

 

Find out how much council tax is owed. The law prescribing bailiffs fees for collecting unpaid council tax is the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 and provides £24.50 for a first visit. He can charge a further £18 for a second visit (if genuinely made). No other bailiff's fees can lawfully be charged if a bailiff has not moved your goods in a vehicle and you have not signed any document consenting to a levy or a walking possessions agreement (currently a flat rate of £10).

 

Contact the insolvency helpline and establish whether or not, you are liable to pay these given you are bankrupt.

 

Also, can you be very specific whether or not the council actualy sent you a final notice and a summons to appear before the court for each debt owed to the council before a bailiff was instructed.

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Thanks, but that again isn't the issue. The issue is why are the bailiffs (i.e. the council) now chasing me for a debt (over £2.5k) that a) shouldn't exist because my liability ended when we shut up the businees in January 2009, before April 2009 when this bill is dated, b) that shouldn't be i n my name because I have been declared bankrupt and c) broken a dispute agreement that LGO set - the LGO gave us until the 6th Nov to respond to their correspondence. These letters from B&S are dated 30th October. As far as I can see someone is playing silly b*****s!


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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As an addendum to my query above (non domestic rates), I don't actually have any paperwork with my name on. That is, no bill, no reminder, no final demand, no liability order, no successful liability order with the court letter, etc, etc. I take it that this should all have been sent to me before this demand from the bailiff?


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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the council cant send in the bailiffs without a liability order

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That's what I thought, Hallowitch and there is nothing here from Shropshire Council. Seeing as they know where we live I can't understand why any of the items mentioned above haven't been 'served'?

 

I'm waiting to speak to my MP, don't want to rush into this like a bull in a china shop besides pressure from all three parties, i.e. MP, official receiver and LGO might make them back off a bit first. And as I'm seeing things a bit clearer again today I'm ready to keep fighting them. I'll keep you posted.


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Hi all :(

 

Just came home to this letter for B&S:

 

BS6-11-09.jpg

 

 

This is what I'm thinking of sending back:

 

Dear Sir/Madam

 

Thank you for your letter dated the 6th November 2009. However, this is not correct. And will be fought. Firstly, we ask that you separate the two accounts. As one is Council Tax and one is Non Domestic rates each should and have be dealt with separately.

 

Council Tax - £450

This account has been ongoing and is included in my wife's bankruptcy. There are letters that deal with this and as such the only person who can be made to pay for this is myself. However, you and the council are both aware that this account is in dispute. We are still awaiting a response from the Local Government Ombudsmen regarding this matter and as he gave us until the 6th November 2009 to reply to him for his further consideration, how can you demand repayment of this account with your letter dated 31st October 2009. You and the council, should have both awaited a response from the LGO and seeing as we do not yet have one then how can you justify taking this action.

 

 

We would also like you to know that our MP, , is looking into this case and will be acting on our behalf. Please remember that we consider this van fee charge of £450, which according to yourselves is not even a charge, to be unreasonable and as a £100 pound fee laid down by the Marston Group was deemed to be unreasonable by District Judge Avent in Aug 2009 and is now case law, then you have absolutely no right to charge this figure.

 

Non-Domestic Rates - £2515.90

We believed this account to be sorted out. Firstly, you are not allowed to include myself on this account as I was an employee i.e. I had nothing to do with the business. I suggest you get clarification of this from the council as they sent me a letter telling me exactly that. Secondly, as we discarded the business on the 27th January 2009, i.e. we were no longer trading as of this date, that is where my wife’s and my mother in laws liability ends. The lease was surrendered and all liability for the empty property is now due by the freeholders of the business, Newperties Ltd. The council are already aware of this and we again suggest that you go back to them to find out this information. What next? We get a bill for next year’s non-domestic rates and the following years? No, our liability has ended and you have no further right to claim anything against a business that died and was buried on the 27th January 2009, long before the non-domestic rates bill that you are trying to demand on behalf of the council.

 

Furthermore, I would also like to point out that you cannot just claim for things when you want to. There has to be a series of events leading up to this point. In this case a bill with my wife’s name on it, a reminder with my wife’s name on it, a final demand with my wife’s name on it, a liability order with my wife’s name on it and a letter from the council to say that they have the courts backing to collect this money owing with my wife’s name on it. We both find it particularly strange that not only one item of the above list has never found its way to us, but that all of them have never found their way to us! It is not enough to say that you have them, they have to be served upon us and as such they have never been. Again, I suggest you go back to the council and find out from them exactly what is going on and remind them of their liability.

 

As far as you are concerned, you will not be allowed access onto our premises to gather goods to the value and we most certainly will not be signing any of your paperwork. We are also seriously considering taking you and the council to court for putting us through so much stress, all we want to do is put that part of our lives behind us and your actions are not allowing us to. We would also like to mention that yet again, you and the council have both acted unlawfully, inconsiderably and highly inappropriately.

 

Both of these accounts are considered in dispute. Please note well, not only has a copy of this letter been sent to the council but also to the LGO and our MP. Your correspondence has also been sent too.

 

Yours sincerely

 

 

 

What does everyone think? Anything else we can put in here?

Edited by gallygaskins

'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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Have you considered making a Freedom of Information request to the council for a copy of the agreed fee scale provided for in the signed Contract between the local authority and Bristow & Sutor ???

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No, but I will now. I shall put in my letter to them today regarding the above. Thanks Tomtubby.

 

Did you also get my request for more info relating to the Marstons case?

 

Does anyone else have any suggestions regarding these bailiffs/council etc?


'I'm Tyrannosaurus Gally, and I'll have any financial institution for breakfast!'

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