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Good Afternoon everybody,

 

I am very new to this although as a consequence of my own problems recently with Equita i have found myself on this forum many times trawling posts of people experiencing similar problems which is comforting.

Although i do not now owe any monies to Equita for council tax i have however be constantly harrassed since last September by various bailiffs for the same account which unfortunately culminated recently in a bailiff turning up at my door and basically forcing his way in (albeit our door had been opened by the wife) to collect monies he said were due to Southampton City Council.

The full length version of events since last September can probably be put on hold but needless to say i have received visits and letters even though we were paying £268 per month. It seemed that even when we were paying regularly they still did not stop harrassing us.

 

To cut a long story short we had a letter in May from Equita which said we owed £236. This came at the same time as receiving a court summons for this years bill so i went along to the local council tax offices who explained that i could pay them directly what they believed to be owed to them from the £236 Equita were chasing which was £204.00. I paid this amount by debit card directly to SCC who in turn by all accounts notified the bailiffs dealing with the case. I subsequently received further letters in early July from Equita and the bailiff saying monies were outstanding. On each occassion i contacted SCC who confirmed that the payment of £204.00 had been received and eac time i called the bailiff dealing with the case had been notified once again.

 

On the 20th July whilst relaxing at home with a rare day off from work the bailiffs arrived demanding £385 which they subsequently reduced for some reason to £257.90. The bailiff did not want to hear my story nor did he want me to confirm that i had paid this account so i ended up borrowing the money from my mother in law.

 

I have since logged two complaints, one of which they have responded to by way of saying that they had dealt with the case correctly. I have also used the template i have seen appear on the forum for requesting a computer screenshot and full breakdown of charges to which they have also recently responded saying that this is indeed a subject access request and does incur a £10.00 pay as a screenshot has been requested.

 

In essence i feel so angry a being treated this way and paying what i believe to be unnecessary charges i am lookinhg for help if possible in reclaiming these.

 

I am sorry this is a long winded first post but believe me the full story since last September is even longer and more damning against Equita.

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

 

NigelC

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hi NigelC welcome to gag

 

I just wanted to say welcome as i am about to go out so don't have time to reply to your thread properly

 

if you have not received a reply by the time i get back i will look in again and reply

 

in the meantime can you post up the letters you have sent and the replies you have received

and have a look on the council web site to see if they employ capita to administrate the council tax (they own equita)

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Hi Hallowitch, thank you for your reply.

 

E-mailed online complaint to Equita 22.07.10 - acknowledgement received approx 14 days later.

Official response dated 16th August received 18th August.

 

E-mailed further complaint online 2nd August after further harrasment from Equita as the bailiff in question thirteen days after receiving £257.90 had neither notified the office nor paid any monies to Equita. explanation requested and no ackwolegement or response received as yet.

 

Sent a letter registered post to Equita using the template i have seen on the forum requesting a full breakdown of charges accrued on this account since September 2009 and received a letter last week saying "The information regarding case screenshots does indeed mean that this relates to a subject access request and therefore the £10.00 fee does need to be paid"

 

That its thus far and just wondering what to do next????

 

Thank you again, i just wish i had found this site long ago before i became a victim of their obscene bullying!!!

 

Nigel

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Hi Hallowitch

 

I forgot to mention that Capita are indeed employed by Southampton City Council

 

Nigel

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do you know the amount of the liability order (confirmed by the council)

have you ever received a notice of seizure of goods and inventory from the bailiffs this notice would be given to you if they have been in your house to levy goods(or pushed through the door if they have levied on a car)

do you how much you have paid off this debt in total

 

is there only 1 liability order being collected by the bailiffs

Edited by hallowitch
more info

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Hi Hallowitch,

 

My understanding is that back in September there were two liability orders in force.

 

Bill 11 - 2008 £519.00

Bill 12 - 2009 £1254.56

 

I have calculated that in total since this farce started in September i have paid £2371.00 as shown below.

 

September 2009 - £105.00

November 2009 - £748.00

January 2010 - £264.91

February 2010 - £264.06

March 2010 - £264.06

April 2010 - £264.06

May 2010 £204.00 - Paid directly to SCC to clear what they said was outstanding from an Equita letter in May stating outstanding balance to be £236.00 so assuming charges of approx £32.00 remaining.

July 20th 2010 - Paid to bailiff at home £257.90??? No breakdown of what i was supposedly paying for and have not received anything since.

 

When they attended the property on the 20th July they did complete a form 7 - notice of seizure and inventory of goods however i did not sign anything.

 

The breakdown on this is as follows

 

Amount owing penalty notice/council tax/non domestic rates - £51.40

Bailiff costs - £206.50

 

Total Bill - £257.90

 

How can i owe £51.40 if i paid all outstanding monies directly to the council and subsequently the bailiff in question had been notified that payment had been received in full on three occassions yet he still attends???

 

I have kinda been wondering as to whether or not this is a case of mis representation as he knew he nothing other than potentially ficticious charges to collect.

 

Thank you again for the help.

 

Nigel

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I also forgot to mention that i called Equita on 2nd August stupidly to follow up on my initial complaint and was obviously speaking to the call centre. The chap i was trying to speak to said that he would put me through to the bailiff dealing with the case. I tried to explain to this numpty that there was "no case" however he put me through anyway. I then spoke to a bailiff that i had dealt with previously and he explained that he was making a visit on me the following morning to collect outstanding monies. I explained to him that i had paid a bailiff some 13 days previously and that i had a receipt to prove this which he accepted.

 

Three days after this i received a further enforcement notice which i ignored.

 

Sorry just a bit more info...

 

Nigel

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almost there one more question then I'm sorted

 

do you know if on the bailiffs first visit he was collecting both liability orders

 

 

and can you confirm that you had 00 balance against both liability orders in May 2010 after you paid £204.00 direct to the council

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When they attended the property on the 20th July they did complete a form 7 - notice of seizurelink3.gif and inventory of goods however i did not sign anything.

 

The breakdown on this is as follows

 

Amount owing penalty notice/council tax/non domestic rates - £51.40

Bailiff costs - £206.50

 

Total Bill - £257.90

 

 

this question is just out of curiosity rather that anything else what goods did the bailiff levy

 

 

in my opinion you have been well and truly taken to the cleaners I'm therefore not surprised that equita are reluctant to provide you with a breakdown of fees

Edited by hallowitch

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Hi Hallowitch,

 

My understanding is that they were collecting against one liability order only as the £748 paid at the end of November basically cleared the first liabilty order. They did however not show this as a payment on a recent correspondence which i found was odd. They showed the September payment and then nothing until January??? I do however have proof of this payment which was made by debit card. The debit card payment came about because when i made the initial payment at the end of September i agreed to set up a direct debit of £264.00 per month commencing 1st November as i get paid the second last day of each month so it made sense, however Equita attempted to take payment on the 28th October which was obviously returned unpaid. The account was then passed onto another bailiff who basically said that he would give me until the end of November at which point i would have to pay Octobers missed payment in addition to November's and December's which would clear trhat particular liability order.

 

Ironically the very day i made the debit card payment they also collected a direct debit payment which was subsequently refunded. At this point the bailiff said he would allow me to have a peaceful xmas and would contact me sometime in January to set up a new payment plan for the remaining liability order, however Equita took a further payment from my account on 28th December which appears from them as a payment on 2nd January.

 

The goods listed on the form 7 were

 

Dunlop Golf Clubs

Panasonic TV (on HP)

Sky HD Box

Panasonic Sound System (on HP)

 

Sorry another long winded reply and i really do feel like i have been well and truly taken to the cleaners which is why i intend with the help of you wonderful people of getting back what these bar stewards have theifed from me.

 

Thanks Again

 

Nigel

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grrrrrrrrrrrr i just wrote a long post and lost it all

 

will post it again tomorrow for you

the jist of it is the most you should have paid in bailiff fees is £42.50 bailiff cant charge multiple fees for collecting more than 1 liability order

and as there was no levy on goods before the debt was paid there can be no other fees

 

 

letters to the council need to be sent

1 to the complaint department

formal comlaint to Brad Roynon chief executive

and just for good measure a copy to Royston Smith leader of your council

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I concur with hallowitch, send a letter of complaint to the chief executive asap.

write what you owed and what you have paid.

You certainly have been 'shafted' by the bailiffs. looks to me that too many bailiffs involved all wanting a cut of the proceeds.

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Hi Hallowitch & Seanamarts,

 

Thank you both for your posts.

 

Hallowitch will you be re-posting what you couldny send yesterday.

 

I have started to prepare a letter to the CEO of the local council but have put a hold on it as it is already like "War & Peace" and i am only half way through it.

 

Hopefully you guys can offer a little more guidance.

 

Thank you

 

Nigel

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hi

 

when the bailiff arrived in September you had a combined debt of £1773.56

as there was no levy (form 7) and bailiff cant charge multiple fees when collecting more than 1 liability order

 

you total debt therefore was £1816.06

 

between September and April you paid in total £1910.09(how they allocated the payment is not your concern)

this gives you an overpayment of £94.03

 

because there are unlawful fees added to both accounts and bailiffs fees are paid first a

because the bailiff company allocated the November payment to account 1 which included unlawful fees

 

there is demand for £236 in may you paid

you paid £204 this payment left a nill balance against the liability orders and bailiff fees of £31.40 to pay

 

 

July form 7 for council tax debt of £51 .40 bailiff fees of £206 (this proves that there was no for 7 done previously against the 2nd debt as you cant levy twice for 1 years liability)you have receipt from the council with a nill balance in may a bailiff cant levy against there fees and a levy fee for a council tax of £51.40 is £24.50

 

 

in total you paid £2371.99

 

what you should have paid was £1816.06

overpaid £555 93 (give or take a few pence bailiffs can round up to the nearest £)

 

 

I would play this very carefully if i was you and send a subject access request to the council and Equita (you should not have to pay for council one

 

there is absolutely no question that there can be form 7 fees on the 2nd account before July

you have nill balance from council in may and your subject access to the council should show when they informed equita that you had a nill balance there July bailiff/Equita levies against bailiff fees

 

 

have you kept all letters from Equita and bailiffs

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Detailed Assessment Judgment of Throssell v Leeds City Council where the District Judge ruled as follows:

“Turning to the taxation it seems to me that notwithstanding the fact that there were three liability orders but one visit was made by one bailifflink3.gif and the maximum that the Council’s reasonable charges can be is the result of applying the formula contained in Schedule 5 paragraph 2 (1) (b) of the Regulations”

 

they cannot charge so many fees if only one visit is made

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Hi Hallowitch,

 

Thanks for the above.

 

I do have pretty much all of the letters i have received from both Equita and the bailiffs themselves.

 

So i now request a subject access request from both the council and from Equita??

So do i pay Equita now for the subject access request?

 

I'm guessing this whole process may take some time but hey i have plenty!!!

 

Should i put a hold on the letter to the CEO and local MP?

 

Thanks again Hallowitch

 

Nigel

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It depends on how much Argo you want to cause equita and the bailiffs

 

whatever you decide to you you will need at the very least a breakdown of your fees

I don't think you will get the full picture all you will get it a list with

 

debt 000000

1st visit 0000

2nd visit 0000

levy 0000

 

you wont get how payments were allocated dates of visits name of bailiff etc

 

 

 

 

I have been piddling around with the figures(i love figures ) and can guarantee you have been charged 2 visit Fess £42.50 a levy fee £42 and most possibly a van fee(this can be anything from £100/£150 and walking possession fee £12 if November payment went to pay the £519 debt (and we don't know how the payment for September was allocated)

 

 

personally i think they will try to give you as little info as possible there are an awful lot of discrepancy on your accounts even allowing for legal fees it doesn't add up

 

 

some of this is down to Equita and some of it is down to the bailiffs

 

Take the July bailiff it was equita that sent him to collect the debt you and i know this was £31but was it equita or the bailiff that up it to £51

did equita know at the time it there was a nill balance on your account you bet your life they did

the bailiff added £206 in unlawful fee thats down to the bailiff

 

 

I would start by sending a formal complaint to Chief executive regarding the fee for you account details

send a copy of the letter you sent and a copy of the reply from Equita

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If I may butt in with my tenpennorth.

 

I think for what has gone on so far I would do as HW says and SAR the Bailiffs first, get the info hopefully sorted before tackling the Council. If there is an overcharge then it is a simple matter to get that back from them. When you have everything in chronological order it should be easier to work out.

 

PT


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Evening Guys,

 

On the response letter back from Equita i received recently they show the following.

 

Debt - £1324.56 - SCC advised recently that Bill 12 (2009) Liability order was for £1254.56

Statutory Visit Fees - £425.50

Unpaid Direct Debit Fee £63.92 for 04.05.10 & 03.06.10 - agree with May's but Bailiff notified 28.05.10 of nil balance.

Levy Fee £51.00

Attendance Fee - £110.00

 

TOTAL - £1591.98

 

PAYMENTS

 

23.09.09 - £105.00

05.01.10 - £264.91

03.02.10 - £264.06

03.03.10 - £264.06

07.04.10 - £264.06

04.05.10 - £204.97 - Returned unpaid

03.06.10 - £236.93 - Returned unpaid

13.07.10 - £171.99 - Paid to Council - The actual amount paid to council was £204.97 which matches what was expected on the 04.05.10 and this was paid to council on the 28th May not 13th July has advised by Equita.

 

They also fail to mention anywhere that there was the bill 11 (2008) liability order. £748.00 paid by debit card to bailiff 02.12.09.

The Bill 11 Liability order for 2008 was as advised by SCC for £519.00.

 

Why would Equita collect a payment in September and leave me alone until January which they obviously did not.

 

I intend to request from both Equita and SCC a full breakdown of charges and will keep everyone informed of progress.

 

Thanks again chaps....

 

Nigel

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Just re-read my last post and the Statutory Visit Fees should read £42.50 not £425.50

 

Sorry:madgrin:

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Debt - £1324.56 - SCC advised recently that Bill 12 (2009) Liability order was for £1254.56

£70 of a difference are you sure this the amount of the liability order and not just the council tax outstanding the council add charges for the liability order and £70 add to the council tax would be about right

 

Statutory Visit Fees - £425.50 chocked on my coffee when i read that pity its a typo

there should be date/time of each visit name of bailiff

Unpaid direct debitlink3.gif Fee £63.92 for 04.05.10 & 03.06.10 - agree with May's but Bailiff notified 28.05.10 of nil balance

the regulations don't allow for a unpaid direct debit fee

 

 

Levy Fee £51.00

what goods did the bailiff levy what date/time was the levy name of bailiff that did the levy

 

Attendance Fee - £110.00

again date time name of bailiff

 

Why would Equita collect a payment in September and leave me alone until January which they obviously did not.

 

so they can justify a van fee

 

i see no mention of the £255 40 you paid in July

 

and there is no mention of debt no 11 because you have been charged van / levy /and 2 visit fees

 

 

13.07.10 - £171.99 - Paid to Council - The actual amount paid to council was £204.97 which matches what was expected on the 04.05.10 and this was paid to council on the 28th May not 13th July has advised by equita

 

there is every possibility that the council (capita) have sent the payment to equita on that date why they have only sent £177.91 i have no idea except that it gives Equita an excuse to call for unpaid council tax and use this to claim the £31 bailiff fees you did not pay (however there should not have been any fees for this visit as all fees under the regulations had already been charged ) and then some

I would send a subject access request to Equita i reckon it will be well Worth the £10 fee and as i said before you are going to struggle to get the full picture from them

they simply cant have a levy on goods before the July levy for this debt

 

I would also subject access request the council i don't think you will have to pay for this as most councils don't charge but if they do i would pay it

Edited by hallowitch

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Hi Hallowitch,

 

Bailiff levied goods on 20th July at approx 10.30am

Goods levied were golf clubs, Panasonic TV & theater system.

 

Bailiff name was Brian O'Shaunessey (nasty piece of work) - If only he wasny 2 foot taller and 20 stone heavier tha me!!!!

 

Nigel

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Hi Hallowitch,

 

Bailiff levied goods on 20th July at approx 10.30am

Goods levied were golf clubs, Panasonic TV & theater system.

 

Bailiff name was Brian O'Shaunessey (nasty piece of work) - If only he wasn't 2 foot taller and 20 stone heavier tha me!!!!

 

Nigel

 

www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/CertificatedBailiffs/

 

well Ive checked the bailiff register and cant find him the list is not always 100% so phone

Ministry of Justice Public Register of bailiffslink3.gif on 020 3334 6355 to confirm if he is certificated if he is ask date

company he is certificated to

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the levy in July cannot come to £51 as the outstanding council tax was less than £100 because the payment to equita was £177.99 leaving a difference of 26.01 against the liability order a levy on this would be £24.50

a van fee can only be charged following a valid levy not on the same day

 

and had the bailiff charged a levy at the start a Debt of £1324.56 would incur a levy fee of £61

 

Bailiff fee should be quite simple if its done properly

they fall under The council tax (administration and enforcement regulations )1992(amended)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1992/613/contents/made

http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/docs/Enforcement_Agent_Charges.pdf

45.Distress

5

Charges connected with distress

 

and the distress for rent rules 1988

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1988/2050/contents/made

Fees, Charges and Expenses

 

10. No person shall be entitled to charge, or recover from, a tenant any fees, charges or expenses for levying a distress, or for doing any act or thing in relation thereto, other than those authorised by the tables in Appendix 1 to these Rules.

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Good Afternoon Everyone!!!

 

Just thought i would update as to where i am currently regarding this whole episode.

 

I have sent a subject access request to both Equita and to Southampton City Council and as yet have not received he breakdown of charges requested from either party.

 

In the meantime a couple of weeks ago i wrote a formal letter of complaint to SCC for the Chief Executives attention. I was notified that the complaint would have to go through their normal complaints procedure. I wrote to express disapointment that the CEO would not be handling the complaint personally and received a response from the PA to the CEO to say that he would be monitoring the progress of the complaint.

 

I received a response from SCC on 16th September explaining that they had taken up the issue with Equita as they can confirm that all liability regarding CT had been paid at the end of May as stated and confirmed that both Equita and the Bailiff in question had been notified of this on a number of ocasions including the very day the bailiff attended.

 

They say in their response that Equita had recorded my direct payment to SCC on 27th May as £177.99 and not the £204.97 actually paid. This was obviously the ruse for the bailiff to apply even more additional fees and collect any outstanding fees.

 

They go on to say that the overpayment of £32.98 has subsequently been credited against this years CT bill which i can confirm, however they seem to think that this response should satisfy me.

 

I replied requesting the complaint be taken to stage 2 and cited the reasons for this also listing in chronological order the timeline of events since September 2009.

 

I received in the post today from Equita a cheque for £161.00 which is clearly the Levy Fee and Attendance fee charged to me on the 20th July when Bailiff attended.

 

I could now do with some further advise as i do not think this is acceptable. From talking with you guys online it seems fairly clear that they have overcharged me much more than the £161.00 they are thinking i will accept.

 

Some advice and guidance would be greatly appreciated as to what i should do next. Do i send the cheque back to Equita??

 

Thanks

Nigel

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