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I have an ongoing arguement with Rossendales about their fees.

Basically, I dont want to pay them if I can get away with it.

The original problem was council tax which has now been paid in full direct to the council, but Rossendales obviously dont like this, so they are chasing their fees.

The first and second visit fees have been paid (£24.50 and £18.00) ages ago. They have already refunded me nearly £100 because they got their fees wrong nearly 2 years ago.

So...a couple of questions.

I read in a thread a while back that no-one is obliged to pay bailiff fees....is this right?

They are chasing van attendance £110 and levy £46. Is a levy valid if a walking pos. is not signed by me? And is the type of vehicle they use a factor, because they certainly didnt visit with a van.

Thanks,jed

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I am not 100% sure and someone more knowledgeable than me will be along but I think the levy is valid if someone "responsible" signs the walking possession agreement.

 

hb

Edited by honey b
typo
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On the bailiff fees generally:

 

For me TT dictated a letter, which said that if one tenders the amount of a Warrant of Execution before seizure, then the bailiff's right to distrain on goods ceases, citing Bennett v Bayes (1860) -- ie the bailiff cannot then use the warrant to pursue their fees.

 

But that specifically cited that payment had been made before levy, which would appear to be different from your case, where it is alleged that a levy had indeed been made.

 

More learned heads probably need to chip in on this....

 

 

On the "attendance to remove" fee

-- which I am assuming relates to the same bailiff visit as the claimed levy -- I think you have a good case to recover this, but I would expect Rossendales to fight it to within 24 hours of any court date, and indeed they probably do have an arguable case in court, though not necessarily one that would succeed.

 

At the heart of things is the wording of the SI which establishes the fee scale for bailiffs collecting council tax. The critical line comes from Schedule 5 of SI 773 of 1993, a table of charges for each of the various activities:

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 1993

 

"For one attendance with a vehicle with a view to the removal of goods (where, following the levy, goods are not removed): Reasonable costs and fees incurred".

 

(The prescribed fee scales have been amended by various subsequent legislation, but this line remains).

 

The question is what it means.

 

The National Consumer Debtline glosses it:

"For one attendance with a vehicle with a view to recover goods after the levy has been made under this heading"

 

wording which our own TT repeats, on her own site, which apparently the system won't let me link to, at

"Bailiff Advice Online"/admin.php?action=access&f id=53

clarifying the detailed wording of the schedule as

D. For one attendance only with a vehicle with a view to the removal of goods (but only after a levy has been made (ie: where Walking Possession has been signed.

 

This view also naturally follows if one parses the bracketed clause, quite naturally, to mean "where the goods were not removed at the conclusion of the levy".

 

It is also the view taken in the London clamping case, Culligan v Simkin and Marston's. That was for Enforcement of road traffic debt, rather than council tax debt. The Enforcement of Road Traffic Debt regs do not contain this phrase. However the judge based one strand of his opinion on a council tax case, and took the view that similar principles apply to bailiff action for all types of debt -- specifically, that "removal" and "levying" were different stages of bailiff action, so that the meter could not start running for actions connected with removal until a valid levy was in place.

 

This also makes logical sense. Bailiffs can only charge "reasonable" costs (being both actual and necessary costs). Since they were already there to levy, for which their fees are fixed and have been paid, then there is nothing they have done subsequently that has incurred any additional cost that needs to be defrayed. Therefore there should be nothing chargeable.

 

This should dispose of their charge. But if that is not enough, you can also argue, in alternative, that since they did not come in a van, this shows that they had no serious intention to remove, so on those grounds additionally any claim to have been attending to remove is spurious.

 

The proper use of an "attendance to remove" charge is when they have genuinely made a new attendance to remove, but, through no fault of their own, have been unable to gain access to the property.

 

 

However, lawsuits are crapshoots. Anything can happen. Given even half a suggestion, judges can go way offline into inexplicable pastures of their own. And since "attending to remove" is so much more profitable to Rossendales that "levying", you can expect them to throw everything at it.

 

You should therefore also be sure to demand Rossendales explain how their charge is "reasonable". Be prepared, with counter-argument and counter-evidence, to knock down their figures; and if they don't offer any rationale, seek for their charge to be dismissed on those grounds alone.

 

Anyway, that's how it seems to me; but I'm interested to see what more seasoned heads, who've been around these issues longer, have to contribute.

Edited by JH101
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I am not 100% sure and someone more knowledgeable than me will be along but I think the levy is valid if someone "responsible" signs the walking possession agreement.

 

hb

 

Thanks for your reply.

No one has signed a WP.

jed

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They are chasing van attendance £110 and levy £46. Is a levy valid if a walking pos. is not signed by me? And is the type of vehicle they use a factor, because they certainly didnt visit with a van.

Thanks,jed

 

Just because you haven't signed a Walking Possession does not invalidate a levy - it only means they can't charge the WP fee of £12. You state a levy fee - what goods did they levy on - it may be the goods could be exempt from seizure in which case the ATR Fee & Levy fee can be removed in total.

 

PT

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Thanks ploddertom and tomtubby for your replies.

The bailiff levied on goods while we were out, but the only goods levied on were garden furniture that he could see from outside the garden and are probably not worth half the amount they are wanting. They have not been in the house and have not levied on anything else.

Thanks again

jed

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