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Clarification Required Please - Equita


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Hi.

 

I have an agreement in place with Equita since May of this year. It covers the repayment of just short of 2k split over last years tax and half from the year before.

 

The reason I am so far behind is partly thru stupidty, partly thru my flatmate refusing to pay and a period out of work when foolishly I didnt claim anything. As my name is the first on the bill I was summonsed with a commital to prison in March 09. This I borrowed to pay for and have been playing catch up ever since. Im sure In the eyes of the council I am a serial non payer so I never get much joy from them despite me telling them of my woes.

 

Anyway this years bill was recently passed to Equita so I wrote to them telling them I already have an agreement which has been kept and that I can pay more in future to get the debt clear. I waited two weeks for a reply and then just got a standard letter acknowlidging it and telling me to phone the office ie a repayment plan. Believe it or not the guy I spoke to on the phone agreed my repayment was in order but this years bill I had to discuss with the appointed bailiff.

 

To cut a long story short this is what the bailiff advised. A)my previous agreement was null and void now. B) if I pay off the least amount of the three he will put me on a repayment plan of £100 per month for the other 2. That by the way is £60 short of what I offered. I questioned why the previous agreement was cancelled and he couldnt answer it. I questioned had a liability order for all three debts as the letter I got from him only mentioned the most recent. He couldnt answer. He then came up with some random figures of how my payments thus far had been allocated which caught him out.

 

On the basis of that I questioned why if the original amount of the least due was £830 in May (and he had told me £160 had been paid off it) why did he want £874? He also (surprise surprise)prefered cash and that I coudnt use my original paying in book as the agreement was cancelled. Im sure you can guess where over £200 had come from! - I told him I knew my rights and we both knew he couldnt add on fees but he rambled on about he can charge what he likes etc. I questioned him further and his words where I was insulting him, he threatened to see me this morning and hung up. There has been no sign of him today.

 

I have read the various tags on here so I am pretty sure of rights regarding fees, not opening doors etc. I wrote to Equita today telling them what happened and cc,d in the council. I asked if what the bailiff had said was true I can pay off the least amount and accept the £100 per month thereafter. I also advised them Iwould continue with my original payment plan until advised otherwise in writing. I also offered them a further amount to start the ball rolling with this years tax. I will duly now wait for the standard two weeks later reply from both parties that will probably dismiss every point I have raised!

 

My main concern is this. Because of my commital case in 09 (which is paid) I am seen as a non payer by the council. I have explained countless times that the other person on the bill is let off scott free, isnt harrased etc but they dont want to know. The last thing I need is for them to issue commital papers to me again. I read somewhere that one can refuse to deal with bailiffs and just paythe council instead? Should I do this? Or should I wait till they investigate my complaint and carry on with the agreement regardless to Equita and this years bill start paying direct to the council rather than waiting for Equita to agree a repayment plan? Confused? I am?

 

I look forward to any advice anyone may have.

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Do capita administrate your council tax

do the bailiffs have a levy on goods

as the debts were passed over at different times you will have visits fees for all liability orders

do you know exactly how much you have paid

do you know the amount of the liability orders

the bailiffs up to something you can be sure of that

 

if you receive no reply before your next payment make the payment using the paying in book you have then send both the council and Equita an e-mail informing them that as you have not received a reply to your letter you have paid as per agreement as you have still not received conformation in writing that this agreement has been cancelled and a new agreement is in place

Edited by hallowitch
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Hi and thanks for your reply.

 

My repayment agreement is for two debts. The oldest one was for £790. Equita added £33 making £823 in total. The other one was £1590.Equita added another £33 making it £1623.No baiiff has ever visited or levied on anything.Those figures also include liability fees. I have letters from them clearly stating these are the amounts owed and what the repayment plan is for. It also clearly states as long as this is kept up everything will be fine. I have paid £80 each month in total since May and have nothing from them to say its been cancelled because this years tax has been passed to them as well. Furthermore when I had the letter dropped through my door the other day it referred to this years tax and amount and nothing else so as far as I am concerned as long as i keep up my agreement the two old debts are fine. Its just this new one I need to negotiate but the bailiff seems to think he is in charge of all three and I have defaulted.

 

The bailiff came out with random figures of how my monies paid thus far where allocated but the one that raised the alarm bell was him saying £160 had been taken off £823 (ie making £663) but he wanted £874 .His reasoning was I had to clear the oldest debt then he would tie the other two together with a repayment of £100 per month. When i asked him how he worked out that 832 - 160 came to 874 he said it was his daily fees added!! - I told him that was illegal and thats when he put the phone down. Im not scared of dealing with Equita tho I could do without the hassle of wondering everytime the doorbell rings! Enfield Council hate me because of what happened in the past I know that but this is different. I have been paying it off (I made three payments to the council before May,s agreement with Equita) and quiet clearly told them I intend to do so until clear.So where do I stand? Any ideas now I have explained it some more?

 

Thanks for your help.

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Regardless of any issues you have had in the past with the Council you should as the previous poster has suggested find out from the Council the sums involved, you should therefore ring them ASAP and ask:

 

1 - how many Liability Orders there are against you

2 - how much each one was for

3 - how much is still outstanding on each one

4 - exactly what period of time each one covers

5 - when each one was passed to the Bailiffs

 

You do not have to deal with the bailiff if you do not want to. There is no law that says you have to speak to or deal with a Bailiff. Providing you have the correct Ref Nos you can pay the Council direct using their website or automated phone. As long as you keep the Bailiff at bay there is nothing they can do. If you decide to go this route make sure any vehicle you have is left a good 10 minute walk away and there are no other goods left outside. Eventually he will have to return your account to the Council and as long as you have made regular payments at regular intervals it will be difficult for any further action to be taken against you.

 

PT

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£790 for 08/09

£1590 for 09/10

£950 for 10/11

 

All these figures include liability fees/orders. I paid 3x£80 to Enfield Council in Feb/Mar/Apr then Equita took it over in May accepting £80 per month to them thereafter. I have kept up repayments and have heard nothing from them advising because this years bill has been passed to them our previous agreement becomes null and void. It was there bailiff who told me that.

 

As no bailiff has ever set foot in my home it is quiet clear the £200 he wanted was his deceit and fraudulent actions. Funny but he aint been back since I questioned it on the phone to him!

 

I wrote(recorded) and emailed them on Oct 27th. I have proof they received the letter. I asked for a breakdown of monies received and how it had been allocated. You will not be surprised to hear I have had no acknowledgement from them since! - I also complained to the council and asked for a breakdown from them. Again I await a reply.

 

On Nov 1st I paid my £80 as normal to Equita as well as a further £80 to Enfield Council (for this years debt as I offered originally to Equita before they sent someone out) I emailed them both to advise I had done this. Again I received a computer generated response from the council. Nothing from Equita. (Enfield council pathetically advised me earlier this year that once an account gets passed to equita any payments direct to the council aren't monitored. Pathetic I know!) I stated in my email again I had heard nothing regarding my complaint. Nothing saying my agreement was cancelled. And nothing regarding my offer to repay a further £80 per month to this years debt!

 

Thanks for clarifying the law regarding bailiffs. I feel like writing to the director of revenues of Enfield Council and advising them I have no intention of dealing with Equita anymore and that all future payments will be made to the council and that any further correspondence from Equita (as its the council who employ them ) will be treated as harassment.

 

I no that eventually it will be passed back to the council but I really can do without having to park a car around the corner etc and also sometimes I am not always at home and cannot tell everyone not to ever answer the door if I am out.

 

So should I write again or should I just wait and see what happens?

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It sounds as if you may have to write to them again. Here's a sample letter for a Breakdown of charges, use and adapt as you need, send it by email & post a copy via Royal Mail Signed For:

 

"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 breakdown of the charges.

 

This includes:

a - the time & date of any Bailiff action that incurred a Fee.

b - the reason for the fee.

c - the name(s) of the Bailiff(s) that attended on each occasion a Fee was charged.

d - the name(s) of the Court(s) the Bailiff(s) was/were Certificated at.

e - the date of the Certification.

 

This is not a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act S7 1998 so does not incur a fee of £10. You are obliged to provide this information.

 

I require this information within 14 days.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Ripped off customer"

 

If you know the name of the Bailiff have you checked to see if he is Certificated and to which Company, you can do this from here:

 

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

 

To help you with the Council I would contact your local Councillor ASAP, in my view this is permissible up to 9pm 7 days a week. If they seem reluctant or refuse then elevate to the Leader of the Council. Any complaints you may have should be put in writing and addressed to the Chief Executive of the Council, both letter and envelope should be marked "Formal Complaint" and delivered to the Council in person if possible.

 

If you have any more issues with the Bailiff then please click the little triangle to the left and ask to be moved to the Bailiff Forum, where others will also be able to offer further advice.

 

PT

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Thanks for the advice.

 

The council state quiet clearly on there website that a response to a complaint about the bailiiff will be 5 days. All other matters they quote a 10 day turnaround. It is now TWELVE days and counting. Not a word other than an acknowledgement from the council quoting there 10 day rule etc etc.

 

I will wait a couple more days for a reply from the council. With regards to your link about wether a bailiff is certificated or not. The first one to visit appears nowhere. The second one (who came out with the £200 story etc) does show but only when his licence was granted. There is no mention that he works for Equita.

 

I have taken your advice on board so thank you ploddertom. I may now request to move it to the bailiff section or leave it on here for 48 hours more and see what (if any) response I get from the council.

 

Thanks.

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Don't forget the days the Council are talking about will be working days - so 10 days is actually a fortnight then you have to allow for postage so it will be nearer 3 weeks. The online register isn't 100% accurate and you may need to ring the MOJ on 020 3334 6355 to ensure you have the latest details. If the 2nd one does not show as working for Equita, if his employer is shown as blank he may be working as a self-employed Bailiff, if it shows as another Company then that may mean he cannot collect on your debt at all. If you have a self-employed bailiff showing you will need to ring the Council and ask if they allow Equita to sub-contract - many do not.

 

A lot of Councils outsource their back office work now, including Council Tax - please be aware that one such firm is Capita and they just happen to own a Bailiff Company called Equita.

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