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HCEO Regulations - What they say about fees.


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Guest DebtWeary

Yet the HCEO Regulations for Reg 12 still says:

 

"For any matter not otherwise provided for, such sum as a Master, district judge or costs judge may allow upon application."

 

When and how does this actually take place? As I asked before, is this a case of the HCEO company making a blanket claim which will allow them to charge under this rule? Or does it have to be done every time a Writ is issued and so each fee claim has to be assessed?

 

I have asked Sherforce to explain this one to me and so far have had no reply.

 

The fact that they have blatently charged me for Walking Possession Agreement signing and for Valuation where nothing of the kind has taken place, suggests that they would have no qualms about sticking all their outrageous fees under Rule 12, and hoping that no-one subjects them to close scrutiny.

 

There doesn't seem to be any other piece of legislation governing the charging of HCEO Fees, if there were I am sure Sherforce and the like would quote them chapter and verse.

 

The main questions remain unanswered - how DO they explain the charges they make given the wording of the Regulations??

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Yet the HCEO Regulations for Reg 12 still says:

 

"For any matter not otherwise provided for, such sum as a Master, district judge or costs judge may allow upon application."

 

When and how does this actually take place? As I asked before, is this a case of the HCEO company making a blanket claim which will allow them to charge under this rule?

 

Yes

 

Or does it have to be done every time a Writ is issued and so each fee claim has to be assessed?

 

No

 

 

I have asked Sherforce to explain this one to me and so far have had no reply.

 

No surprise there

 

The fact that they have blatently charged me for Walking Possession Agreement signing and for Valuation where nothing of the kind has taken place, suggests that they would have no qualms about sticking all their outrageous fees under Rule 12, and hoping that no-one subjects them to close scrutiny.

 

That's certainly what appears to happen. From what I understand the majority of fees/charges are loaded before anyone even leaves the Office!

 

There doesn't seem to be any other piece of legislation governing the charging of HCEO Fees, if there were I am sure Sherforce and the like would quote them chapter and verse.

 

The main questions remain unanswered - how DO they explain the charges they make given the wording of the Regulations??

 

They don't as they get away with more than what is challenged

 

 

PT

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Guest DebtWeary

Thanks PlodderTom, since you say that HCEOs make some sort of blanket application to a court, then I would assume that there must be a public record of this somewhere? Sherforce haven't provided me with any such evidence.

 

How would such an application be worded? "Your Honour, we wish to apply for costs under Regulation 12, so please can we charge anything we like?!". Surely there must be some scrutiny here? Did they really employ some clever legal person to make the application at the outset in such a way as to make it legal to charge the stupid amounts they do?

 

There is still the matter of other charges made which the regulations clearly state can only be applied IF goods are actually sold. How often does this actually happen? Not a lot I would say. How often do the HCEOs even get inside a property to assess whether there is actually anything saleable there? Again, not often.

 

I have been looking on the following website of another HCEO website, there are a number of articles written by an HCEO:

 

http://www.highcourtenforcement.net

 

Makes for very interesting reading. One articles weighs up the benefits of using HCEO enforcement against CCJ enforcement. One passage says:

 

"HCEOs earn their fees from the defendant, but only when they collect. If the Enforcement Officer is unable to collect, basically, he doesn’t get paid. Their collection rates are significantly higher than that of the County Court Bailiffs who receive a salary and no financial incentive to collect."

 

Now there's a clever bit of jiggery-pokery! He is saying that they can lay claim to having collected the debt, and to thus heap all their charges onto the Debtor, simply by delivering the Writ. They haven't carried out any enforcement, levied on nothing, yet they seem to interpret the rules to mean that's all they have to do.

 

Yet the actual regulations do NOT say that.

 

Another thing that affects me personally, is I originally applied for a set aside on my CCJ which was transferred to a Writ because they had my name wrong. The judge threw it out. Here's what our article writer says:

 

"Use correct name for the defendant

A case can become unenforceable if you don’t have the defendant’s name 100% accurate, for example, putting down ABC Services Ltd when the correct name is ABC Services UK Ltd, or ABC Services when it should be ABC Services Ltd (or vice versa).

Even spelling their name incorrectly, whether for a business or and individual, can ruin your chances. However, the good news is that it is easy to check the correct business name. Companies House offers a free Webcheck service for limited companies.

If the defendant is an individual and you want to be sure you have the correct person, it is possible to run a trace on them. This is normally done for a small fixed fee."

So in my own case, they couldn't actually enforce the Writ anyway. The District Judge I saw had it wrong. I guess the High Court might see it differently.

This whole area needs to be studied properly. The more you look, the more you realise just what thin ice these HCEOs are skating on!

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Certainly doesnt read to me as if its a blanket approach

 

I see it as them having to apply each time they charge a debtor

 

PT, can you show some examples or other evidence that shows the HCEO's just make a blanket application to charge a certain amount for their fees (such as "debtor advice", etc)

omnia praesumuntur legitime facta donec probetur in contrarium

 

 

Please note: I am not a member of the legal profession, all advice given is purely my opinion, if in doubt consult a professional

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If a High Court Enforcement Officer claims from you any Miscellaneous fees, the law requires him to make an application to a judge to be allowed, but he no such authority from Judge and tries to obtain money then the High Court Enforcement officer commits an offence under Section 40© Administration of Justice Act 1970 because he is falsely representing himself to be authorised in some official capacity to claim or enforce payment. Section 2 of the Fraud Act 2006 also applies because it is fraud by false representation. A debtor being charge such a fee can contact police and show them this advice and a copy of the Enforcement Officers document.

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Guest DebtWeary

There has to be a public record somewhere which actually shows an HCEO making such an application? I agree that without such a grant from a court, then this is fraud - it has to be.

 

I find it hard to believe that this practice of charging under Rule 12 is so widespread and so apparently misused that the parties guilty of doing it are doing so wilfully and in full knowledge of its illegality. Yet in the absence of any evidence to the contrary, that's exactly what seems to be happening.

 

Yes it would seem that it must be a matter for the police to investigate as they would be equipped to poke and probe wherever they see fit and hopefully come up with the truth.

 

Nintendo your template letters are great, the more of us who use them and really push for police action, then the more likely the whole can of worms will get opened.

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There has to be a public record somewhere which actually shows an HCEO making such an application? I agree that without such a grant from a court, then this is fraud - it has to be.

 

Not necessarily, because it might be a closed hearing. If the HCEO fails to show the costs order, then the debtor has no legal obligation to pay it.

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It was always my understanding that a HCEO can charge their fees only if they manage to make a levy.

 

Also watch out for any dubious creditors trying to use the High Court for the enforcement of Consumer Credit Act regulated agreements, it's not allowed at all.

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It was always my understanding that a HCEO can charge their fees only if they manage to make a levy.

 

 

They can under Schedule 3, but the prescribed maximums are very limited. The legislation otherwise only provides for 'actual and reasonable costs'.

 

I would interpret the actual & reasonable costs clause in the legislation, the HCEO is unable to use this clause for making a gain for himself or another.

 

I appreciate a Police officer from Essex force officially said in a letter, this allows the HCEO "to charge whatever fees he sees appropriate" and "with no set limit on their charges". I think he was looking at Regulation 12 and not realising an application for a costs order is needed.

 

Any other fees not prescribed do need an application to a Judge for a costs order under Regulation 12

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They can under Schedule 3, but the prescribed maximums are very limited. The legislation otherwise only provides for 'actual and reasonable costs'.

 

I would interpret the actual & reasonable costs clause in the legislation, the HCEO is unable to use this clause for making a gain for himself or another.

 

I appreciate a Police officer from Essex force officially said in a letter, this allows the HCEO "to charge whatever fees he sees appropriate" and "with no set limit on their charges". I think he was looking at Regulation 12 and not realising an application for a costs order is needed.

 

Any other fees not prescribed do need an application to a Judge for a costs order under Regulation 12

 

Appreciate that!

 

I was going in on the angle that if a HCEO cannot make the levy (e.g. if people keep their property secure and hide their vehicles etc) then the HCEO cannot charge a thing.

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I would agree with that, but its not how the fees making up a typical bill from an HCEO works.

 

Its admin related fees £350, attending fee £250, Porterage where no goods have been moved £249 etc. The legislation doesnt provide for any if this and can only be a Regulation 12 but without having a costs order. The word 'misc' fees on the document indicates the HCEO might be trying to use Reg 12 and hope the debtor doesnt know a costs ordewr is needed.

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I would agree with that, but its not how the fees making up a typical bill from an HCEO works.

 

Its admin related fees £350, attending fee £250, Porterage where no goods have been moved £249 etc. The legislation doesnt provide for any if this and can only be a Regulation 12 but without having a costs order. The word 'misc' fees on the document indicates the HCEO might be trying to use Reg 12 and hope the debtor doesnt know a costs ordewr is needed.

 

This is such a great thread and I'm grateful for the work being done here. V.useful.

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The interpretation of what happens is the key to all this. Some companies put all their charges down before the HCEO has even left the office to attend the Debtor. Management fees, Valuation fees etc all under this Misc heading, the same as when they attend they claim to have seized all your goods and chattels which now belong to the HCEO. All you see at the bottom of a sheet is the total you have to pay on the spot.

 

They work on the principle:

a - you don't know

b - you won't challenge

c - you'll pay up just to get rid

 

If you then decide "whoa that was a lot for a small initial sum" the first approach is for a breakdown of all the fees charged. Only then can you see you have been charged all these Misc fees and fees for work not done. Next step is to challenge and submit SAR as opposed to asking for statement. The SAR should include the Field Officers report - does it tally with what happened, more importantly you should also get an "activity report" which lists everything that happened since the file was opened - it includes times and dates of when charges were applied.

 

If you then challenge and possibly even allege you have been defrauded for work and fees that were never done you could end up in front of a Master in the High Court - some fees may be allowed or lowered and others thrown out. In extreme cases the whole lot may be thrown out or conversely it may go against you.

 

These fees no doubt were at some stage designed with a few things in mind and knowing the mindset of some of the Companies now they are exploiting every avenue to screw money out of the Debtor.

 

Someone has asked if I can provide proof of any of the above. Yes I can and have at present sight of at least 4 different cases where this has occurred using more than 1 company. I am however not prepared to name names as some of these still have outstanding issues with the Companies concerned and I would not wish to jeopardise their future chances.

 

This is another matter that needs to come under close scrutiny in any review of enforcement activities.

 

I am not a Bailiff, HCEO, Solicitor or anything connected to these professions. I did once work as a Bailiff for a very reputable company but that must have been nearly 20 years ago. My only interest is to see Justice served properly and to try and help those in need.

 

PT

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The interpretation of what happens is the key to all this. Some companies put all their charges down before the HCEO has even left the office to attend the Debtor. Management fees, Valuation fees etc all under this Misc heading, the same as when they attend they claim to have seized all your goods and chattels which now belong to the HCEO. All you see at the bottom of a sheet is the total you have to pay on the spot.

 

They work on the principle:

a - you don't know

b - you won't challenge

c - you'll pay up just to get rid

 

If you then decide "whoa that was a lot for a small initial sum" the first approach is for a breakdown of all the fees charged. Only then can you see you have been charged all these Misc fees and fees for work not done. Next step is to challenge and submit SAR as opposed to asking for statement. The SAR should include the Field Officers report - does it tally with what happened, more importantly you should also get an "activity report" which lists everything that happened since the file was opened - it includes times and dates of when charges were applied.

 

If you then challenge and possibly even allege you have been defrauded for work and fees that were never done you could end up in front of a Master in the High Court - some fees may be allowed or lowered and others thrown out. In extreme cases the whole lot may be thrown out or conversely it may go against you.

 

These fees no doubt were at some stage designed with a few things in mind and knowing the mindset of some of the Companies now they are exploiting every avenue to screw money out of the Debtor.

 

Someone has asked if I can provide proof of any of the above. Yes I can and have at present sight of at least 4 different cases where this has occurred using more than 1 company. I am however not prepared to name names as some of these still have outstanding issues with the Companies concerned and I would not wish to jeopardise their future chances.

 

This is another matter that needs to come under close scrutiny in any review of enforcement activities.

 

I am not a Bailiff, HCEO, Solicitor or anything connected to these professions. I did once work as a Bailiff for a very reputable company but that must have been nearly 20 years ago. My only interest is to see Justice served properly and to try and help those in need.

 

PT

 

WOW PT Your summary is absolutely spot on

and exactly what happened in my case

 

HCE has not yet answerred any of the questions about when and how do HCEOs apply charges that show on the first visit even before showing the debtor the writ

Comments from the other side please HCE and others

 

onlyme and many many more

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I did once work as a Bailiff for a very reputable company but that must have been nearly 20 years ago.

 

Was that Madagans or Jefferies & Pennicott? Early names in decrimimilised parking, fines and council tax enforcement, oddly enough they actually did set their fees to the rules and not a penny more.

 

Could be why J&P went bust.

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Was that Madagans or Jefferies & Pennicott? Early names in decrimimilised parking, fines and council tax enforcement, oddly enough they actually did set their fees to the rules and not a penny more.

 

Could be why J&P went bust.

 

Never heard of those but the Company was of a similar ilk.

 

PT

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Was that Madagans or Jefferies & Pennicott? Early names in decrimimilised parking, fines and council tax enforcement, oddly enough they actually did set their fees to the rules and not a penny more.

 

Could be why J&P went bust.

 

A friend told me that J&P folded because of eight million pounds dissapearing:shock:

don't know how true it is,but they have no reason to lie.

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  • 7 months later...
That's what it looks like to me, unless there is some legal trickery that is used to get around it.

 

Incidentally, I have been unable to access the HCEO Association website for a few days. Perhaps they are having to hastily re-write it!!

 

http://www.hceoa.org.uk/

 

 

Not working today either as Im trying to sort a little matter with them!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I would let you all know that in my case with HCEO I paid the creditor direct, this week and included payment for the LEGAL fees HCEO were entitled, despite their demands for £700!

 

Yesterday I received a letter from them stating I was quite right in the fact they were not entitled to the near £700 as no levy was made. A clear example that no one should be bullied by these people.

 

Would be gratefull if anyone could advise who I should pass copies of the letter demanding excess fees and letter admitting they were not entitled to them.

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I am in the process of preparing an article on High Court Enforcement Officers fees which I will be sending to the moderators tomorrow and asking that they post it in the STICKY section. This article SHOULD provide your answer!!

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I am in the process of preparing an article on High Court Enforcement Officers fees which I will be sending to the moderators tomorrow and asking that they post it in the STICKY section. This article SHOULD provide your answer!!

 

Thanks tomtubby I will keep an eye out for that.

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