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Urgent help with Marsden Group Bailiffs at the door


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Hi I wonder if anyone can help me, I was a sole trader, recruitment consultant, I entered into a monthly payment plan with Monster at my business address, I had to cease trading in December due to my pregnancy and notified Monster that I would not be using the account from that date. I also gave up my office and the company ceased trading. It appears that Monster have applied for and gained a High Court Writ for the outstanding monies as I had to pay a full year - I didnt know they had done this as they had been sending the paper work to my old office address. This afternoon someone from Marstons Group turned up a my house whilst I was out and spoke to my husband on the drive. They handed him a letter and asked lots of questions which he refused to answer. When I opened the letter it says they have come to take goods to the value of the debt. To be honest I dont have anything of any value - I have my personal laptop but due to my business failing I no longer have a car (our family car is owned by my husband and its just an old picasso worth around £1000). I am on the mortgage at our house but we have very little equity. I am really worried that they will come and take the tele etc (although it is over 9 years old)

 

Now I know about the debt I would happily pay a little off each month but to be honest due to the failure of my business I stupidly have approx £32K of credit card debt I am at the moment trying to arrange a payment plan for so it would only be a token amount. I have now secured a job with a salary of £9800 a year and my husband is being very good about paying the majority of our household costs - I am trying each month to contribute around £350, but he pays for the balance of the mortgage, bills, food etc. Can anyone help me with what to do in the morning, I am obviously going to have to ring them but can anyone clarify where I stand re our possession in the house? Can they take our washing machine and things?

 

Any help would be much apprciated I feel so sick in side :-(

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Guest Happy Contrails

If the documents were sent to an old address then contact the court and ask to have the order set aside. That will stop enforcement. In any event the business has ceased trading and had no assets the debt is unenforceable. If the creditor has claimed you owe the money under false pretences e.g. you cancelled the agreement, then the debt can be disregarded.

 

Marstons are very big on high fees, so use this letter template to keep them occupied while you contact the court.

 

Make your car safe. If a bailiff turns up at your house, hand this to him through an open window

NEVER open the door

NEVER confirm or admit your name and address

Say you can’t answer any questions

 

To: [NAME OF BAILIFF]

 

BY HAND

 

[DATE]

 

Dear Bailiffs,

 

Re: Your visit to [1st LINE OF ADDRESS]

 

Someone appears to have instructed you to recover a debt from me however, as I have already cleared all debts therefore no money is due as far as I am aware.

 

This letter gives you notice that you are being denied peaceful entry to my home or to levy goods contained within and I will not be signing anything for you. This notice revokes your eligibility to charge a Walking Possessions fee or other fee relating to the handling of goods.

 

Please be advised it is not a "criminal offence" to deny a bailiff entry to my property, if you suggest otherwise I will report you to the police under Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 and you may receive a criminal record . Meanwhile please provide me with a written breakdown of your fees and the debt along with who instructed you, and put it through the letterbox.

 

A bailiff who dishonestly charges for work that has not been done will be committing an offence under the Fraud Act 2006. Section 2 of the Act specifically describes a person dishonestly makes a false representation and intends, by making the representation, to make a gain for himself or another, or cause a loss to another, or expose another to a risk of loss therefore, if no satisfactory refund is made to me within 24 hours from now I will automatically file a complaint to police under the 2006 Fraud Act and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. If you have charged VAT on unlawful fees then you may be reported for VAT fraud and your documents will be given in evidence. If you are certificated, a Form 4 will be filed.

 

This document has been passed to you by hand and a photograph of you standing outside reading it has just been taken as proof of delivery. I now ask that you quietly leave the property.

 

Yours Faithfully

 

 

YOUR NAME

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Thank you so much for your quick reply - to be honest since I have got home and realised what has happened I have read an agreement I had from Monster and it appears that they are within their rights to charge me for the full year - it was just an informal agreement that they were allowing me to pay monthly but I had commited to a year's contract. If I had been aware that they were chasing for payment I would have tried to enter into a payment plan with them but I am perhaps a bit guilty of ostrich in the sand syndrome as I had my baby in February and have struggled with many things since due to the financial situation I found myself in with the failure of the business (the rest of it is credit card debt). To be honest I am in a real mess, I am terrified each day and it is now beginning to effect my relationship with my husband. What will they do if they realise I dont have assets high enough to pay back the debt? In all honesty all I own is my laptop which is about 4 years old and also my wedding and engagement rings which I didnt pay for but I suppose they are technically mine.

 

Should I move my childrens goods from the house? I would be devestated if my son returned from uni to find his wii gone.

 

I feel such a fool.... :-(

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Guest Happy Contrails

Bailiffs are not interested in chattels, its only to scare you into paying by threatening to clear your house out. He just wants as much money as he can get and move on to the next case.

 

DEALING WITH BAILIFFS ON YOUR DOORSTEP

 

 

1. ALWAYS! Keep your door LOCKED SHUT at all times. NEVER open the door to a bailiff - speak through a window or letterbox

2. ALWAYS! Hide your car - in the garage or park it well away

3. ALWAYS! Take a photo of the bailiff and his vehicle (better still use a video camcorder) and record everything

4. ALWAYS! Speak as little as possible to the bailiff

5. ALWAYS! Ask for his bailiff's certificate number

6. ALWAYS! Ask which court issued his certificate

7. ALWAYS! Ask for a full breakdown of his fees IN WRITING

8. ALWAYS! Ask who the creditor is (if you don't know)

9. ALWAYS! Pay using a credit card, avoid cash and debit cards if possible

10. ALWAYS! If you have grounds, get an appeal lodged immediately (parking tickets) - it stops enforcement

 

1. NEVER! Sign any documents handed to you by a bailiff

2. NEVER! Phone a bailiff (unless asking him which Court issued his certificate)

3. NEVER! Admit any debt

4. NEVER! Say or "confirm" your name address or date of birth

 

If you feel intimidated or threatened by a bailiff, call police on 999. Remember that door remains LOCKED SHUT until the bailiff is a safe distance from your property. You DO NOT have to open the door to police. If possible get EVERYTHING on video, it can be used in court: Example: YouTube - Rossendales Bailiffs

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Hi I wonder if anyone can help me, I was a sole trader, recruitment consultant, I entered into a monthly payment plan with Monster at my business address, I had to cease trading in December due to my pregnancy and notified Monster that I would not be using the account from that date. I also gave up my office and the company ceased trading.

 

Was your business address separate to your house?

 

It appears that Monster have applied for and gained a High Court Writ for the outstanding monies as I had to pay a full year - I didnt know they had done this as they had been sending the paper work to my old office address.

 

Do you know if this was a County Court Judgment initially that has been transferred up or did it start in the High Court?

 

This afternoon someone from Marstons Group turned up a my house whilst I was out and spoke to my husband on the drive. They handed him a letter and asked lots of questions which he refused to answer. When I opened the letter it says they have come to take goods to the value of the debt. To be honest I dont have anything of any value - I have my personal laptop but due to my business failing I no longer have a car (our family car is owned by my husband and its just an old picasso worth around £1000).

 

They may still try to take it.

 

I am on the mortgage at our house but we have very little equity. I am really worried that they will come and take the tele etc (although it is over 9 years old)

 

Now I know about the debt I would happily pay a little off each month but to be honest due to the failure of my business I stupidly have approx £32K of credit card debt I am at the moment trying to arrange a payment plan for so it would only be a token amount. I have now secured a job with a salary of £9800 a year and my husband is being very good about paying the majority of our household costs - I am trying each month to contribute around £350, but he pays for the balance of the mortgage, bills, food etc. Can anyone help me with what to do in the morning, I am obviously going to have to ring them but can anyone clarify where I stand re our possession in the house? Can they take our washing machine and things?

 

Any help would be much apprciated I feel so sick in side :-(

 

Although you knew about the debt did you know anything at all about Court proceedings? If not you may be able to have the Judgment Set Aside - it may be more awkward as you knew about the debt unless you dispute the amount claimed, in other words can you mount a defence. Enforcement of the Judgment by Marstons will carry on regardless, the only way to stop it is to apply for a Stay of Execution which you have to apply for through the High Court. You may be able to apply for a Variation Order which I believe lets you pay in instalments but stand to be corrected on this.

 

As costs and charges made by HCEO's can be horrendous you need to address the issue ASAP before they start to mount. Have they listed any charges already? If you cannot pay and do not have enough "goods and chattels" of your own that may be seized and sold they may apply for an Attachment of Earnings and may be able to go for a Charging Order on your property albeit just for your share.

 

Here is a list of some pointers as to what they can take or not:

 

"Are there any goods that the bailiff cannot seize?

Bailiffs (except bailiffs acting on behalf of the magistrate's court - see below) cannot seize the following goods:

  • tools, goods, vehicles and other items of equipment necessary for use by you in your employment, business or vocation;
  • clothing, bedding, furniture, household equipment and provisions as are necessary for satisfying the basic domestic needs of you and your family

Bailiffs acting on behalf of the magistrates' court cannot seize the following goods:

 

  • clothing, beds and bedding tools of the trade
  • basic domestic needs of the family would normally include fridge, cookers, freezers, but may not include video recorders, second TV's, jewellery, washing machines, stereos or microwave cookers.

Can I hide goods?

It is not unlawful for you to remove goods from your house or hide them before a bailiff visits unless the bailiff is distraining for rent. Remember that a bailiff, having gained peaceful entry, can return at any time and if s/he believes that goods have been removed or hidden prior to their visit, this is likely to happen. For what to do if a bailiff visit is imminent - see below.

What if the bailiff does seize goods that do not belong to me?

If a bailiff seizes goods that are subject to a Hire Purchase agreement, seek advice urgently. Goods on HP do not belong to you until you make the final payment, but there may be circumstances in which they can be seized.

If goods have been seized wrongfully, then the owner of the goods can apply for them to be returned. You will need to get further advice about this.

 

 

What should I do if a bailiff is about to visit my home?

Remember you do not have to let a bailiff into your house or flat. If you make sure that all doors and windows are locked, the bailiff will not be able to gain access to your home. If they cannot get in, they cannot lawfully seize goods. A bailiff may call a number of times to try and gain entry. Eventually they will return the warrant to the court or local authority if they are unable to gain entry, or you do not have enough goods to pay off the debt and fees.

Secondly, get the matter out of the hands of the bailiff and back to the county court, local authority or creditor. The next paragraph tells you how to do this.

If the debt is an unpaid county court judgment you can apply to the court to stop (''suspend'') the warrant and vary the instalments you were ordered to pay by the court. You can apply to do this on form N245, available from the court. The form asks for details of your income and outgoings with a few personal details such as whether you work. You will have to pay a fee at the court (currently £30), unless you are getting income support, income-based jobseeker's allowance or tax credits*. You may have to show proof that you are receiving these benefits.

(*You must have a gross annual income of £14213 or less and receive both working tax credit AND child tax credit, or working tax credit with a 'disability element' or a 'severe disability element'. Your tax credit award notice will contain this information)

The fee can also be waived if you are on a low income and payment of the fee would involve undue financial hardship. Applications for a fee reduction or waiver are dealt with entirely on an individual basis according to circumstance and there are no precise guidelines about when a fee should or should not be reduced or waived. In either case you must complete Form Ex160 and send or take it to the court with the N245.

Some county courts may refuse to suspend a warrant of execution until a walking possession agreement has been signed. This goes against guidance issued by the Lord Chancellors Department and if it happens to you seek further advice.

If bailiffs are collecting unpaid council tax it is often difficult to negotiate instalment payments with the bailiff or the local authority until the warrant is returned or withdrawn from the bailiff. However, you should try to negotiate instalment payments with the local authority and encourage them to withdraw the warrant from the bailiff. It is important to make clear that although you are unwilling to let the bailiff in, you are willing to make instalment payments at a rate that you can afford."

 

 

Hope this helps.

 

 

PT

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If the documents were sent to an old address then contact the court and ask to have the order set aside.

 

That will stop enforcement.

 

With this you have to apply for a Stay to the High Court

 

In any event the business has ceased trading and had no assets the debt is unenforceable.

 

As a Sole Trader you are personally liable for the debts of your business.

 

 

Would never really question HC on his comments but feel he may have overlooked these two.

 

PT

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I ran my business from an separate address than my home (although for the last month before I ceased trading I did work from home).

 

I have never received any documents about the court action so I have no idea whether it was in the county court to begin with but the letter left today says "In the High court of justice Queens bench division" Claimant Monster World Wide Ltd T/A monster.co.uk , Defendant *********rcing

 

I have received a High Court Writ against you in respect of the above matter, made up as follows

 

Judgement Debt £4196.28

Judgement costs £187.00

Excecution Costs £101.75

Interest to 80/02/05 £114.33

Officers fees £541.33

Total Levy £5140.68

 

In addition interest will continue to accrue at 8% per annum on the full amount of the judgement debt and costs until payment in full. A walking possession fee of 25p per day may also be charge where we go into possession of any goods.

 

In the event that you cannot pay my officer in full, in cash immediately then he is required by law to formally seize sufficient of your goods to satisfy this debt.

Please be warned that we are required to enforce a writ without delay and unless the debt is paid quickly arrangements will be made to complete the Execution.

 

Should I take off my rings? I would be heartbroken to lose them? How do I prove what is my husbands and what is mine? I do have an ipod which was a gift and that is about it to be honest.

 

I am so so scared, also the lock on our garage is broken should I get a pad lock?

 

Thanks

 

Jane

Edited by Georgesmum
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Hi Jane, have you tried to ring national debtline? They may beable to give you solid advice quickly and then you could use this forum for further advice.

Im sure someone who knows about this will come along soon but try ringing national debtline also.

 

Sorry i cant help more but just remember your not alone in this situation and people have managed to sort things out. Dont worry too much x

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I ran my business from an separate address than my home (although for the last month before I ceased trading I did work from home).

 

That's OK as I was wondering if it was attached.

 

I have never received any documents about the court action so I have no idea whether it was in the county court to begin with

 

From the size of the Judgment it would appear that it was initially a CCJ that has been transferred up to a High Court Writ. As you were never given an opportunity to defend yourself in the first place you should apply for Set Aside - Form N244 available online or from your local Court. Fee is £75 and must be returned to the Court where Judgment was initially made. In your case you do not know where this is, you can find out by:

Contacting the Claimant

Asking Registry Trust but a fee is payable

As the CCJ will already have been registered a "free" search of a Credit Refence Agency will turn it up.

 

but the letter left today says "In the High court of justice Queens bench division" Claimant Monster World Wide Ltd T/A monster.co.uk , Defendant J B Resourcing

 

Maybe an idea to remove your details from this

 

I have received a High Court Writ against you in respect of the above matter, made up as follows

 

Judgement Debt £4196.28

Judgement costs £187.00

Excecution Costs £101.75

Interest to 80/02/05 £114.33

Officers fees £541.33

Total Levy £5140.68

 

In addition interest will continue to accrue at 8% per annum on the full amount of the judgement debt and costs until payment in full. A walking possession fee of 25p per day may also be charge where we go into possession of any goods.

 

In the event that you cannot pay my officer in full, in cash immediately then he is required by law to formally seize sufficient of your goods to satisfy this debt.

Please be warned that we are required to enforce a writ without delay and unless the debt is paid quickly arrangements will be made to complete the Execution.

 

Should I take off my rings? I would be heartbroken to lose them? How do I prove what is my husbands and what is mine? I do have an ipod which was a gift and that is about it to be honest.

 

I am so so scared, also the lock on our garage is broken should I get a pad lock?

 

Yes

 

Thanks

 

Jane

 

PT

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Thanks all I am going to ring the debtline tomorrow morning, I think they have a section for small businesses so will try to talk to them. The bloke from Marstons said I should ring them first thing or they will be back, I dont think I will until I have got advice from the debt line or should I ring them and explain the situation first thing too? My husband has just arrived home from work and has pointed out that they cannot take neither my children or my life from me and we will get through this, I do feel a little better with his support but I cannot see me sleeping tonight :-(

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Its the shock of it all isnt it, just dont let them in and follow the advice you have been given so far. I wouldnt phone the bailiffs just get sound advice on what to do next and only talk to Marstons office via recorded delivery. Remember you dont have to let them in, move your car away from your home so they cant seize it.

You need to get a Stay of Execution from the high court.

 

Stick with this forum, lots of people have been where you are now and saw the light at the end of the tunnel :) x

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Just a thought, due to my experience last week with Marstons, I've found out a HIGH court bailiff does not need to be certified, so dont ask him what his number is or he'll take great pleasure in telling you he's a high court officer and doesn't need one, I think its Marstons as a whole that holds the certificate. We offered £5 a month to Marstons they said no its not enough, we pay it anyway direct to creditor. They cant have what you have not got or what isnt yours. You do need to take the advice given and keep your house secure at all times. Good luck, I know exactly how you feel.

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Thanks everyone, this morning I have spoken with the National Debt line and they have advised me to apply for a stay of execution and also a variation in the payment instalments - I have spoken to Marstons directly and they have asked me to send my payment plan to them to put to their client. I once again spoke with the national debt line and they said to do that but also register with the court for the stay of execution and variation. I have filled in the court forms and am just about to go and send them recorded delivery; the national debt line felt that Marstons were unlikely to agree to my £30 per month offer and that the sooner it was going through the courts the better. The good news is I have spoken to them about a debt management plan for the rest of my debt - I was horrified when I actually listed it all :-( I cannot believe that I have let it get this far just by being to pig headed to give up on my company sooner.... Oh well lesson learnt and hopefully we can now go forwards. I filled in a budget planner with the National Debt Helpline and have sent that with my application for a variation. I just wondered if anyone could tell me what happens if the court doesnt agree to this offer?

 

Thanks

 

Jane

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Guest Happy Contrails

If the court refuses a reasonable offer of payment then it is vexatious. Contact the Parliamentary Ombudsman and file a complaint against the court.

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In the event that you cannot pay my officer in full, in cash immediately then he is required by law to formally seize sufficient of your goods to satisfy this debt.

Please be warned that we are required to enforce a writ without delay and unless the debt is paid quickly arrangements will be made to complete the Execution.

 

Should I take off my rings? I would be heartbroken to lose them? How do I prove what is my husbands and what is mine? I do have an ipod which was a gift and that is about it to be honest.

 

Fortunately the meaning of "seize" is not as draconian as that, despite what Marstons would like you to think. They can't take anything at all from within your house unless you let then enter "peaceably" the first time, or leave your doors unlocked or windows open. Be warned, he will tell you all kinds of crap to get in and handing him the letting suggested by HC is an excellent idea. If there is a car parked outside he will have taken the registration to check with DVLA. If it is in your name move it away quickly.

 

The important thing is to apply to have the judgement set aside as you did not receive the summons. Make sure you apply for a stay of execution as well.

 

From the other debts and circumstances you mention, you might want to consider either an IVA or bankruptcy, either of which will let you draw a line and move on with your life.

 

Good luck!

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Pleased to see you have acted quickly and that things are already moving, please keep us updated with events.

 

PT

 

I agree with that, glad you have started to get things sorted, do let us know how it goes and good luck :)

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