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Hi Folks,

 

I've been lurking here (as an unregistered user) for a while, but never posted before. I guess I figured so long as I ignored my council tax debt, it would magically go away. It hasn't.

 

Today, when I arrived home, I found a hand delivered "Notice of bailiff having visited" from Phoenix Commercial Collections, stating that I have 24 hours to come up with £302.25, or to let him take the few items of worth I have in my house, and likely, my car.

 

I don't have all the paperwork to hand, but, the backstory is something along these lines:

 

I moved house from London (Tower Hamlets) in 2009, up to Hertfordshire, and as a result had an outstanding council tax debt of ~£300. After several months, Phoenix contacted me to say that if I didn't pay it, they'd send bailiffs around to collect, so, I called them and arranged to pay half in March, and the latter half in April. This brought the outstanding debt to £151.25. Of course, paying them meant that all my other budgeting was screwed up, and that meant that by the time April rolled around, I couldn't afford to call them and pay the other half of the debt, so, figuring that they'd at least be happy that I'd payed them some money, I forgot about it.

 

On May 4th, I got a letter from them saying that the arrangement had been broken, that I had £151.25 outstanding, and that I had to pay it "by return of post" to avoid further bailiff action. I stupidly ignored that too (it's not that I don't want to pay it, I'd love to. I'd just like to be able to eat and go to work every day slightly more.)

 

So, back to today, this letter states:

 

I have called today to collect the sum of £302.25, being the amount now due in respect of Council Tax owing to London Borough of Tower Hamlets.

 

AS YET, I HAVE NOT REMOVED ANY GOODS.

 

I will, however, be returning on or after 24 HOURS (no definite time can be given) when I will expect to collect the sum, as quoted above, or remove sufficient goods and chattels to cover the outstanding balance when sold at public auction.

 

ANY FURTHER COSTS INCURRED IN THESE PROCEEDINGS WILL BE ADDED TO THE ABOVE AMOUNT AND BECOME PAYABLE BY YOU AS THE LAW DIRECTS

 

Even if I wanted to, right now, I have exactly £0 to my name, so I'm unable to pay them within 24 hours. That said, I don't understand why the amount has gone up by £151 between them sending me the broken arrangement letter, and this guy delivering this. I could probably afford to pay £151.25 when I got paid, if I forgo MOTing my car, and continue walking to the train station (2 miles), but, there's no way in hell that I can afford to just fork out £302.

 

I tried calling Phoenix, and was told to call the bailiff and that they wouldn't talk to me. I tried calling him but just got voicemail, and I assume his response will be 'yes, well, that's fine, just let me in so I can take your laptop away' (which would rend me unable to work and likely mean I lose my job).

 

I totally understand that I've brought this on myself, but, I honestly don't know what to do about it, and receiving this letter has sent me into panic mode. :( Any help anyone can give me would be massively appreciated.

 

-Amy

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Somebody will advise you further, but from somebody has been there and come through the other side without the bailiff taking my stuff thanks to the good people on here.

 

In the mean time, PARK YOUR CAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME, AND DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO ANYBODY YOU DON'T KNOW AND KEEP YOUR WINDOWS SHUT!

 

Don't mean to alarm you, but bailiffs are a special breed of sneaky characters (polite version).

 

Don't worry. Help is at hand x


:razz:ALWAYS REMEMBER, IF YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO YOUR SITUATION, YOU ARE MORE THAN CAPABLE OF GETTING YOURSELF OUT OF IT

WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE DCA's!!!!!!!!!!!

 

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH UPLOADING YOUR IMAGES THROUGH PHOTOBUCKET CLICK HERE

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Somebody will advise you further, but from somebody has been there and come through the other side without the bailiff taking my stuff thanks to the good people on here.

That gives me hope. :)

In the mean time, PARK YOUR CAR AWAY FROM YOUR HOME, AND DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO ANYBODY YOU DON'T KNOW AND KEEP YOUR WINDOWS SHUT!

How far away do I need to park it? Are they able to do DVLA lookups on vehicles to figure out who owns them, and, should I assume that since he's been here already, he's probably already checked out all the cars that were here? I'd drive it to my friend's place in Cambridge if it had an MOT, but, that ran out at the beginning of the month, and I've been waiting to have enough cash to be able to get that done - until then, I can't really drive it anywhere without risking a fixed penalty. If just parking it away from my home is sufficient, then I'll drive it around the corner.

Don't mean to alarm you, but bailiffs are a special breed of sneaky characters (polite version).

I used to have a friend whose son was a bailiff... he always kinda creeped me out (he's being chased by bailiffs atm though, so I guess karma works). This would be my first ever experience with one though, which is kinda good going for someone who handles finances as badly as I do!

Don't worry. Help is at hand x

Thank god for the internet and the wonderful people who are on it. :)

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As far as I know he has to do a levy on the goods he will take before he can take anything. Thats why people say park your car well away from your house. Remember, you dont have to let a bailiff into your house so keep the doors and windows locked and talk to him through the letter box. Dont let him trick you into letting him, i.e. 'I need the toilet' or 'can I use your phone to ring the office?' Dont open the door even 1inch.

jed

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I am going to keep bumping your thread until somebody helps you. I had council tax/bailiff probs which were sorted with the help of the C.A.G. but my circumstances were different and I don't want to give you any bad advice. x


:razz:ALWAYS REMEMBER, IF YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO YOUR SITUATION, YOU ARE MORE THAN CAPABLE OF GETTING YOURSELF OUT OF IT

WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE DCA's!!!!!!!!!!!

 

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH UPLOADING YOUR IMAGES THROUGH PHOTOBUCKET CLICK HERE

IF I HAVE HELPED YOU OR MADE YOU SMILE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CLICK MY STAR

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So, back to today, this letter states:

 

 

 

Even if I wanted to, right now, I have exactly £0 to my name, so I'm unable to pay them within 24 hours. That said, I don't understand why the amount has gone up by £151 between them sending me the broken arrangement letter, and this guy delivering this.

 

Wouldn't be too surprised if this is illegal bailiff charges. They can charge you for sending one letter and 2 visits MAXIMUM providing no goods are levvied upon and no walk-in possession is made. Course someone who knows the exact figures better than me can comment on that.

 

I could probably afford to pay £151.25 when I got paid, if I forgo MOTing my car, and continue walking to the train station (2 miles), but, there's no way in hell that I can afford to just fork out £302.
I would highly recommend speaking directly to the Council. Bailiffs can extend deadlines, they just don't like it. But if you can get a Council Official to demand an extension over the phone it does help a lot. They also accept arrangements of monthly payments but, again, they don't like doing it.

 

I tried calling Phoenix, and was told to call the bailiff and that they wouldn't talk to me. I tried calling him but just got voicemail, and I assume his response will be 'yes, well, that's fine, just let me in so I can take your laptop away' (which would rend me unable to work and likely mean I lose my job).
Phoenix are being ignorant, the account is for Council Tax and they were the ones who passed it over, therefore it is still their responsibility. At no point should you let a bailiff in! I cannot stress that enough, I've watched enough Bailiff documentaries to know all it takes is a foot in the door or an open window and that's legally classed as "peaceful entry". If you are contacting the bailiff I wouldn't trust voicemail - I've left many voicemails to various bailiffs over one matter and I often got a "I never received that message" crap, so I started leaving voicemails, making a note of when I left that voicemail and calling back AGAIN.

 

I totally understand that I've brought this on myself, but, I honestly don't know what to do about it, and receiving this letter has sent me into panic mode. :( Any help anyone can give me would be massively appreciated.

 

-Amy

I've not been on the forum long, but the help I've received is immense, especially with the developing problems I had with a bailiff company. You're talking to the right people :)

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bump


:razz:ALWAYS REMEMBER, IF YOU GOT YOURSELF INTO YOUR SITUATION, YOU ARE MORE THAN CAPABLE OF GETTING YOURSELF OUT OF IT

WITHOUT THE HELP OF THE DCA's!!!!!!!!!!!

 

IF YOU NEED HELP WITH UPLOADING YOUR IMAGES THROUGH PHOTOBUCKET CLICK HERE

IF I HAVE HELPED YOU OR MADE YOU SMILE, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CLICK MY STAR

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I think you need to call Tower Hamlets to work out what is going on. It's notoriously impossible to get proper answers out of bailiffs.

 

The fees they are allowed to charge you are controlled by statute. If they don't manage to "levy" any goods of yours, the most they charge you is £24.50 for a first visit, and £18 for a second visit. If we're being charitable, then they've forgotten to take account of the first £150 you've already paid. If we're not, then they're trying it on.

 

Assuming you're right, and what you actually previously owed was £151.25 (and assuming there are no penalty clauses in your installments agreement - I don't know whether such a thing would even be legal), that would mean you should now owe no more than £175.75; and if the bailiff comes back and you again don't let him in, it could rise to £193.75

 

As others have said, he can huff and he can puff but he cannot blow your house in. (Unless you are (a) living in a house of straw, (b) living in a house of twigs, or © let him in / leave a window open).

 

 

Your main worry at this point is the car. If he finds it (or if a numberplate-reading van finds it on the street), he can levy it, and then your problems escalate.

 

Levy fee would be £24.50 + 4% of 52.21 = £26.59, but unless you pay up immediately at that point he can start charging "reasonable" fees to remove it (or he may claim to have "attempted to remove" it) - these will never be straight; he will try to inflate them as much as he can; and if you want to see your car again you will have to pay up, and then consider whether you can afford to sue him later.

 

So, let's hope he doesn't find your car.

 

Your first move should be to ring Tower Hamlets, and find out exactly what they think you owe and why. If they can't get it directly from their computer, they should be able to get the information by telephone from Phoenix while you hold the line. It can be a lot easier to get them to get information out of a bailiff company than you could ever manage yourself.

 

Then try to persuade them to put the bailiff activity on hold, just until you can pay them at the end of the week.

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Thanks guys, I'm feeling a lot less worried. I definitely won't let the bailiff in either, should I be around next time he calls. Car battery is currently charging (it went flat after standing for 2 weeks =[), and I'll move it somewhere away from my house tomorrow morning.

 

How does getting in touch with the council work? I've been gone from their area for 7 months now, and they were never a particularly helpful bunch...

 

In terms of the excessive charges that seem to have been applied, how do I go about actually getting some sort of statement from them? As I said before, I'm happy to pay Phoenix directly, and, assuming I can get them to a point where they'll accept payment from me, I'd be fine with paying by standing order or something (hell, at this point, I'd pay the £151 just to get them off my back). Am I best served ignoring all contact from the bailiff, and writing some sort of letter to them explaining that I *do* want to pay, but, I can't afford their demands, and would like to fix things some how?

 

Totally can't put into words how much I appreciate all your help, and huggys_boss, you're officially my hero. :)

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Aaah! Thanks JH101. I'll call Tower Hamlets tomorrow, and see what they can do to help. I assume it's TH that I need to get to put the bailiff activity on hold; if I succeed in doing that, then once I've been paid, I should just need to call TH and pay them over the phone?

 

Thanks so much!

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They more than likely will refuse it via phone your best bet would be to use the automated service online that way nobody can refuse and tell you its with the bailiffs the charges placed are wrong before they can charge you anything they have to of visited you

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If you can afford to pay what was outstanding and not what they are now stating then pay it, best way is straight to the council via their online facility, then you have a reciept. Email bailiff company that this is what you have done with a JPEG of the reciept.

The charges that they have added are wrong, they cannot charge for a letter and can only charge for two visits if any have been made.

Have you had any visits at all and have you had a notive to say that they have done a levy.

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