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Bailiffs charges for collection council tax debt


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Hi, a friend of mine has been paying the bailiffs £100 per month for council tax arrears. They do not have walking possession. When she asked the council how much was now outstanding, the debt had gone down by only £645 yet sha has paid the bailiffs £900. The council told her she will have to take it up with the bailiffs. The bailiffs said they had kept £335 for 'adminsitration charges'!

 

I told my friend to stop paying the bailiffs and pay the council direct at the one stop shop (I hope this is good advice!) . But how can she challenge the costs the bailiffs have already kept as surely they are excessive, particularly as she has been paying by standing order, so the actual costs of collection will be close to zero.

 

I can find lots of advice about costs for visits, letters etc, but nothing about what they charge for colelcting an 'administering' colelction. ANy advice is welcome.

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First off how many times have the bailiffs made a visit?

Have they been into her home and levied on items?

If so what have they levied on?

There is no administration charges. What a bailiff can charge for is £24.50 for the first visit where no levy has been made.

£18.00 for a second visit if no levy has been made. Cannot charge for further visits.

They cannot charge a visit fee and a levy on the same day.

What your friend needs to do is request from the bailiff company a written explanation of all charges that have occurred to date plus what you have paid.

You are right in suggesting she pays online to the council, it is best to make them aware that this is what she is doing.

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Your friend needs to do a few things and can do some of this over this weekend and the rest can be done first thing Monday morning.

 

The Council

On Monday morning she needs to ring them and ask the following:

1 - how many Liability Orders do they have against her

2 - how much each one is for

3 - how much is still outstanding

4 - what periods of time each one covers

5 - the dates they were passed to the Bailiffs

I have used the plural in case there is more than one.

 

For future payments she is better off paying the Council direct through their website or automated phone service. This will no doubt rub someone else up the wrong way but so what. She should ensure that she lives in Fort Knox for the forseeable future. If the Bailiff has not been able to levy or seize any goods then the most she can have been charged is 1st Visit fee £24-50 & 2nd Visit fee £18-00, total £42-50 - this is the maximum regardless of how many visits they may have made. Is she sure no levy has been carried out particularly on a car outside, has she ever had a Notice of Seizure posted through the door?

 

The Bailiff

She needs a breakdown of the charges they have applied. Here's a sample letter, use and adapt at will - send a copy first by email today or Sunday and on Monday put a copy in the post sent by 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 she has the name of the Bailiff she should also to check to see if he is actually Certificated and legally able to collect the debt. The link to doing this is in the stickies above. The name should also show and agree with the name of the Company he works for unless it is blank and therefore he may be self-employed. If self-employed she will need to ask the Council whether they allow their contractor - the Bailiffs - to sub-contract, if it shows a different Company then the chances are his Bailiff Bond is invalid and he cannot legally collect. Bear in mind that the list is not always 100% accurate.

 

What paperwork if any has she been given by the Bailiff? The Council cannot fob this off telling her to deal solely with the bailiffs, they are 100% responsible for all the actions the Bailiff. To force further action and response she should seek the help of her local Councillor, she can in my view contact them up until 9pm 7 days a week - it would be a good idea to show them this thread if possible. Any refusal or reluctance and contact the Leader of the Council.

 

Hope this helps

 

PT

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PT has once again beaten me to providing good advice. Well done PT! The only things I would add are:

1. The council will accept direct payments made on-line - specify what the payment is for.

2. The council will for the moment deny they cannot take the debt back - they are lying, but that's what they'll say.

3. The bailiffs will be horrible, cheating liars. Do not let them in under any circumstances - even a toe through the door gives future rights to force entry.

4. The council are vicariously liable with the bailiffs. This means they are responsible for ensuring the bailiffs carry out their enforcement fairly, lawfully and with legal charges. I bet they haven't!

5. Once we get the debt back to the council (only pay them - the bailffs will threaten all sorts, maybe including forcing entry or prison, but don't communicate with them. Full stop.) then we tackle the charges and call the council to account for their liability.

 

Good advice PT!

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Sorry I haven't replied earlier. Thanks for all your replies - they are extremely helpful.

 

The bailiffs did visit once, but my firend did not allow them in, let alone sign walking possession.

 

The worse thing about this, in one sense, is the complete indifference to this matter by the council officials - they just washed their hands of it, saying you will have to take it up with the bailiffs. A visit to the local councillor may indeed help - assuming the councillor gives a monkeys. If he does, he, and other councillors have got to be made aware of what's going on in the counicl's name, let alone the fact that council tax revenue is being siphoned off by these leeches (Marstons, btw) especially when councils need all the money they can get!.

 

Again thanks to everyone here, it is reassuring that people can get the assistance and support of you all.

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The worse thing about this, in one sense, is the complete indifference to this matter by the council officials - they just washed their hands of it, saying you will have to take it up with the bailiffs.

 

It's annoying isn't it, especially when you've come across it so many times you know they are deliberately lying to you to try and teach you some sort of perverse lesson.

 

No point taking it up elsewhere, it won't get you anywhere. The councils are as bad as the bailiffs, but fortunately BOTH are liable!

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I can find lots of advice about costs for visits, letters etc, but nothing about what they charge for colelcting an 'administering' colelction. ANy advice is welcome.

 

There are no 'administering' fees that bailiffs can lawfully charge for collecting unpaid council tax.

 

Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

 

Ask the council to refund you all the fees you have paid less the statutory £24.50 bailiffs fee, and if you are fobbed off with excuses the ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene.

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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There are no 'administering' fees that bailiffs can lawfully charge for collecting unpaid council tax.

 

Regulation 45(2) of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992

 

Ask the council to refund you all the fees you have paid less the statutory £24.50 bailiffs fee, and if you are fobbed off with excuses the ask the Local Government Ombudsman to intervene.

 

Pretty much spot on I think, BUT (I may be wrong) I thought bailiffs could lawfully charge extra fees for levying on goods etc...

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Pretty much spot on I think, BUT (I may be wrong) I thought bailiffs could lawfully charge extra fees for levying on goods etc...

They can make a charge for a levy but they can only charge this when a levy has been made and they cannot charge a visit fee and a levy fee on the same day

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2. The council will for the moment deny they cannot take the debt back - they are lying, but that's what they'll say.

.

 

Hi Tingy, I have also been told by my county council that once the debt is with the bailiffs, it is out of thier hands and I can only deal with the bailiffs. The council will of course accept payments direct to them.

What therefore is the legislation, in existence that requires a county council to take back/manage an account once it has been handed to a bailiff? What would I be quoting in a written request to the county council to manage the account?

 

Regards TM2TU

DON'T LET THEM GRIND YOU DOWN!!!:nono:

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2. The council will for the moment deny they cannot take the debt back - they are lying, but that's what they'll say.

.

 

Hi Tingy, I have also been told by my county council that once the debt is with the bailiffs, it is out of thier hands and I can only deal with the bailiffs. The council will of course accept payments direct to them.

What therefore is the legislation, in existence that requires a county council to take back/manage an account once it has been handed to a bailiff? What would I be quoting in a written request to the county council to manage the account?

 

Regards TM2TU

 

Unfortunately there is no legislation. I think I said they would say they can't take it back - they always do.

 

What you need to do in the meantime is pay regularly as clockwork direct to the council for a good few weeks - don't alter the payment or miss any! If it hasn't been to court, and I don't think this has, ignore bailiffs, do not let them in. They will probably up their activity now, but you address this once you get the debt back to the council. You have NOTHING to say to them. If you think they may levy your car or anything park it out of the way and do not let them into your house at all. They are allowed to charge a total of £42.50 for two visits which must be on separate days. They can levy goods and the charge is dependent on the sie of debt. £24.50 for first £100 owed then 4% for remaining balance up to £450 then I'd have to look it up. They can also charge "reasonable" fees for attending with a van.

 

Ensure you keep ALL evidence and if possible recordings of bailiffs threats as they tend to drop themselves in it! Stay calm and do not let them in, even a toe gives them the right to break in in future. Meanwhile just keep paying the council for at least 4 weeks, and put your armour on for the bailiffs. Both council and bailiffs are liars as you have discovered, but don't tell them this - you want to get them back on your side.

 

Tingy

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Hi Tingy, many thanks for that. I have already made an initial payment to CC which will be followed by further monthly payments until the debt is paid off. The initial payment was made over the phone and I was given a payment reference number. I also informed the CC I would continue to make regular monthly payments of a specific amount which they have noted on my records. So far I have not had any visits from bailiffs. They have contacted me by letter asking for my proposals for paying the outstanding debt, but have ignored those proposals when submitted by recorded letter and have merely replied by threatening to send a van round to collect my property. They'll get no joy from me I happy to say! I will be contacting the CC again by way of a formal complaint against the bailiff company (equita) they have employed. Am I right in thinking the CC has a responsibility to ensure the bailiff company they employ conducts themselves in a proper manner and follows specific codes of conduct and practice?

 

Once again, many thanks for your help.

TM2TU

DON'T LET THEM GRIND YOU DOWN!!!:nono:

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