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Council Tax Debt with CCS Enforcement Ltd


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Hi Rae,

I took a look at the letter that you suggested and amended it as necessary. Please let me know what you think? Who should I address this to at the council, any ideas? And should it go in the post rather than an email, or both? Letter is below

 

Dear Sir

 

Reference number:

 

I am writing with regard to the above account relating council tax arrears of £X.

 

It would appear, from advice that I have received, our circumstances are classed as 'vulnerable' according to the National Standards for Enforcement Agents.

 

The reason for this is that I have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) and severe depression, both of which I am currently being treated for. TMJ disorder is a medical problem related to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. This can cause severe facial pain including headaches, dizziness, ear pain, pain in the facial muscles, jaw joints and dull, aching pain in the face. Stress is one of the things that can influence TMJ symptoms by making people more likely to grind their teach, clench their jaw, or tighten their jaw muscles. There is very little treatment for this other than pain relief and anti-inflammatory medicines.

 

I will be contacting my GP in order to obtain evidence of my medical condition for you. This evidence will be forwarded under separate cover at the earliest opportunity.

 

In the meantime, please visit the following site for further information:

 

http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Temporomandibular-Joint-Dysfunction-and-Pain-Syndromes.htm

 

As the current situation and difficulty in maintaining the payment plan is having an aggravated and detrimental affect on my health, I am requesting that it is returned to the initiating Local Authority. Doing so would allow me to address the issue rationally, without fear and further stress, whilst putting in place an affordable and sustainable payment plan.

 

I also believe that my husband is would be classed as ‘vulnerable’ according to the National Standards for Enforcement Agents, as he not employed on a permanent basis and as such his earnings are not guaranteed.

 

I would be grateful if you would please confirm safe receipt of this letter.

 

A copy of this letter has also been sent to XXX Council for their information.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Etc, etc…

 

Hi there,

 

I sent copies of the above letter (with amendments as suggested) to the Bailiffs and then with necessary amendments to the Head of Revenues at the local council.

 

The bailiffs (CCS Enforcement Ltd) sent me an email stating that they noted all the information that I have sent over but that they must advise that our action will continue unless they are instructed to by their client (the local council). I have not yet heard anything from the council. Now not sure what to do next. I can't afford to pay at the end of the month as paying £346 for the last 3 months has bled me dry. I am concerned that I wont get a reply from the council and that if I don't pay the bailiffs at the end of the month, I will get another visit from them in due course. What an earth do I do?

 

Any advice much appreciated.

 

Best wishes

MadAboutTennis

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Hi madabout,

In the first instance, continue with gathering medical evidence to support your claim.

It might be a good idea to involve your local councillor. The council, ultimately, are in charge and the bailiffs are their contractors. However, under the National Standards bailiffs should return a case to the council where it is evident that a vulnerable person is involved. The least they could have done is put your case on hold pending medical evidence.

I would allow seven days before thinking about chasing the council. However, your local councillor doesn't have to wait...

Best wishes.

Rae.

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Hi there,

 

I sent copies of the above letter (with amendments as suggested) to the Bailiffs and then with necessary amendments to the Head of Revenues at the local council.

 

The bailiffs (CCS Enforcement Ltd) sent me an email stating that they noted all the information that I have sent over but that they must advise that our action will continue unless they are instructed to by their client (the local council). I have not yet heard anything from the council. Now not sure what to do next. I can't afford to pay at the end of the month as paying £346 for the last 3 months has bled me dry. I am concerned that I wont get a reply from the council and that if I don't pay the bailiffs at the end of the month, I will get another visit from them in due course. What an earth do I do?

 

Any advice much appreciated.

 

Best wishes

MadAboutTennis

 

Maybe they should be reminded about this, it is just as much their responsibility as it is the Council's to adhere to these situations.

 

"

Vulnerable situations

 

 

  • Enforcement agents/agencies and creditors must recognise that they each have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially excluded are protected and that the recovery process includes procedures agreed between the agent/agency and creditor about how such situations should be dealt with. The appropriate use of discretion is essential in every case and no amount of guidance could cover every situation, therefore the agent has a duty to contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations where there is potential cause for concern. If necessary, the enforcement agent will advise the creditor iffurther action is appropriate. The exercise of appropriate discretion is needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also the enforcement agent who should avoid taking action which could lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour."

PT

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OK stop right there.

 

This is council tax arrears, so hang on in there and I will explain how you can deal with this.

 

1. Stop paying the Bailiffs as they have not gained a walking posession order.

2. Make payments to your council online.

3. Never phone the bailiff company, correspond in writing only if you have to and DO NOT sign any letters you send.

4. Write to the bailiff company requesting a screen shot of your account and a complete breakdown of their charges.

5. Lodge a formal compalint with your council addressed to chief executive and title it formal complaint. Make the complaint regarding your council's unfair treatment of you and your family and your inability to pay. make it clear you have never refused to pay.

6. Be prepared for the long haul and don't give up.

7. Keep your home secure at all times.

8. Never let a bailiff (thug in a suit) cross your doorstep.

9. Park any vehicles you own away from the house, or put them in the garage.

 

You are now in the snakepit and the vipers normally win, but sometimes us weasels actually win. I did by doing all of the above.

 

Rgds,

 

Calvi36

 

Hi everybody,

I have now written to both the Bailiff company and the local authority (Head of Revenues and Benefits) requesting that the debt be returned to the local authority due to my TMJ and depression possibly placing me in the vulnerable category of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents. I have also been in touch with my local councillor to request that he takes up my case with the council as well.

 

However, in the meantime, as Calvi36 suggests, I would like to write to the bailiff company requesting a screen shot of your account and a complete breakdown of their charges. Does anybody have a letter template/example for this.

 

Any advice/help much appreciated.

 

Best wishes,

MadAboutTennis

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However, in the meantime, as Calvi36 suggests, I would like to write to the bailiff company requesting a screen shot of your account and a complete breakdown of their charges. Does anybody have a letter template/example for this.

 

Any advice/help much appreciated.

 

Best wishes,

MadAboutTennis

 

"From:

My Name

My Address

 

To:

Acme Bailiff Co

Bailiff House

 

Ref: Account No: 123456

 

Dear Sir

 

With reference to the above account. Can you please provide me with a Statement of my account including Computer Screenshot. This is not a Subject access requestlink3.gif under the data protection Act S7 1998 so does not incur a fee of £10. I also require the name of the attending Bailiff and the name of the Court he was Certificated at. You are obliged to provide this information.

 

I require this information within 14 days.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Ripped off customer"

 

Adapt this to suit yourself.

 

PT

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"From:

My Name

My Address

 

To:

Acme Bailiff Co

Bailiff House

 

Ref: Account No: 123456

 

Dear Sir

 

With reference to the above account. Can you please provide me with a Statement of my account including Computer Screenshot. This is not a Subject access requestlink3.gif under the data protection Act S7 1998 so does not incur a fee of £10. I also require the name of the attending Bailiff and the name of the Court he was Certificated at. You are obliged to provide this information.

 

I require this information within 14 days.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Ripped off customer"

 

Adapt this to suit yourself.

 

PT

 

 

Thanks, PT.

 

I have also just contacted the council to find out how much the original liability order was for. The original debt was for £1734.71 plus £100 in court charges totalling £1,834.71. However, on the original letter from the Bailiffs they stated that the total due was £2,072.21. They only visited once and didn't gain entry, so I believe the only charge for a 1st visit should be £24.50? That is a difference of £213. Is the bailiff charging incorrect fees? I am going to send the letter, requesting a copy of my account, etc. But if they are charging incorrect fees, what do I do?

 

I have just spoken to the council, and I am waiting for an email to confirm, but they have requested the case be put on hold and no further action be taken from the bailiffs pending a completed income and expenditure sheet and payment offer.

 

Any further advice much appreciated.

 

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... I have just spoken to the council, and I am waiting for an email to confirm, but they have requested the case be put on hold and no further action be taken from the bailiffs pending a completed income and expenditure sheet and payment offer...

 

Well, that's a positive start.

I'm afraid I need to leave it to others to advise on the fees etc.

Good luck and best wishes.

Rae.

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I believe the only charge for a 1st visit should be £24.50? That is a difference of £213. Is the bailiff charging incorrect fees? I am going to send the letter, requesting a copy of my account, etc. But if they are charging incorrect fees, what do I do?

 

you are correct in your assumption that your bailiff fees should only be £24.50

when you receive your statement of account from the bailiffs you question the fees

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi all,

 

First of all thanks to all of you for your great advice ;).

 

I wrote as suggested to the Bailiffs and the Council requesting that the debt be returned to the local authority due to my TMJ and depression possibly placing me in the vulnerable category of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents. The Council came back and requested a statement of income and expenditure which I provided them along with an offer of a payment plan which they have subsequently accepted.

 

At the same time, I received a letter from CCS Enforcement Ltd, providing me with a statement of my account and a breakdown of their fees and charges. To my surprise it had listed a Levy Fee of £74 and Attendance / Van at £121. This was a complete surprise to me as their bailiff never entered the property and therefore was unable to make a levy of goods and did not make a subsequent visit with van to recover the goods on the stated date in their account records. As they had already taken this amount of £74 plus the first visit fees of £24.50 (which I concurred with), I wrote to them with the below letter requesting a refund….

 

CCS Enforcement Services Ltd

 

Dear Sirs

 

 

Bailiff Reference No…..

 

I am writing concerning the above account and your recent response to my request for a statement of my account including a breakdown of your fees and charges including a computer screenshot.

 

From your records, I note that your fees breakdown accordingly:

X date Visit 1 fee at £24.50

X date Levy fee at £74.00

X date Attendance / Van @ £121.00

 

Your bailiff never entered the property and therefore was unable to make a levy of goods and did not make a subsequent visit with a van to recover the goods on the [stated date] as stated. I, therefore, believe that your above fees are incorrect. I also note from your records that an amount of £99.50 has been deducted from my first payment of £347.00 making a total to the client of £247.50.

 

I refer to The Council Tax Administration & Enforcement (Amendment) Regulations 2003, which clearly states that amount you should have charged me for the first visit was £24.50 (as listed above).

 

Because there was no levy of goods made and no attendance on the [stated date], I believe you have overcharged me by £74.00. If you think my calculation is incorrect, please provide full details with evidence, failing which, I require a refund of these fees by close of business on the [seven days from receipt of letter].

 

Due to the seriousness of the matter, unless I receive from you either: an adequate explanation why you believe that my calculation is incorrect, or a refund of the fees as stated above, I intend to issue proceedings against your company for the recover of my fees.

 

I will be providing a copy of this letter, together with your response to the Head of Revenues and Benefits at the [relevant authority] for their information.

 

Yours faithfully

 

****

 

I received a very quick response from their Customer Services Dept (I addressed the letter to the Complaints Manager as directed) stating that they had spoken to the bailiff concerned regarding my query and that he was adamant that he did indeed conduct a levy as claimed, although due to the time elapsed between the date of levy and date of my query, he was no longer able to provide supporting statements. Therefore, they were willing to refund the levy fee of £74.

 

Clearly, whilst I appreciate this offer, I am a little irritated by it. I appreciate that bailiffs are not always the most professional in the world, but feel that if a company has an account on an individual then they should have a complete set of files on that account including ALL documentation as an evidence base for what action they have taken. Had I not have requested a statement of my account and breakdown of their fees I may not have noticed and lost that fee or indeed have incurred more fees that were clearly incorrect. Despite their refund, is it worth complaining, because I do think that it is appalling practice and in my mind goes to prove that bailiffs rip you off and act very unprofessionally. Is there a route for these sort of complaints, is it worth complaining to the authority on whose behalf they were acting on originally? Any suggestions welcome, as I don’t want them to get away this, despite the offer of the refund, which naturally I will take!

 

Anyway once again many thanks for all the advice that has got me back into a more sustainable position.

 

Regards

MadAboutTennis

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I think that rates as an excellent result and in the absence of anything stronger will raise a large Nescafe to you.

 

As for the point you make on the levy fee supposedly charged I can only imagine that was the best story they could come up with for a blatantly fictitious levy. If you do write back to query it I would suggest you ask if the said appointed Bailiff is related Capt. WE Johns - he also told a good story.

 

PT

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Hi madabout,

In the main, good news. I am so happy you are relieved of some stress [bailiffs] and that the council are accepting a payment plan you feel is sustainable. :)

What a surprise they couldn't find a copy of a legally binding levy...

Best wishes.

Rae

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