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This is my first post an I am in need of help please.

I have stupidly fallen behind in my council tax payments and have received a letter from Equita bailiffs stating that a liability order has been granted by the magistrates and they require the sum by return of post. What does this mean?

 

I contacted my local council - Liverpool City Council and they told me the case had been passed on to the bailiffs. I called Equita and they told me I had to phone the bailff himself to which I did on Friday night but he told me he wasn't working and shoulf call back on Monday.

 

I would be extremely grateful for some advise please as I can't afford to pay the outstanding debt of £400 and am very worried about what might happen.

 

thanks

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This is my first post an I am in need of help please.

I have stupidly fallen behind in my council tax payments and have received a letter from Equita bailiffs stating that a liability order has been granted by the magistrates and they require the sum by return of post. What does this mean?

 

I contacted my local council - Liverpool City Council and they told me the case had been passed on to the bailiffs. I called Equita and they told me I had to phone the bailff himself to which I did on Friday night but he told me he wasn't working and shoulf call back on Monday.

 

I would be extremely grateful for some advise please as I can't afford to pay the outstanding debt of £400 and am very worried about what might happen.

 

thanks

 

 

How much is the Liability Order for, and what does the letter say?

 

The bailiff is an accomplished liar, cheat, and, bully so do not believe a word he says. If you talk to him on the phone, make sure you can record the call as they forget what they have said easily.

You do not have to let him in no matter what he tells you, as no entry = no levy. If you have a car move it a fair way away from your house.

 

Above all try not to worry, as this is early days much can be done to help the situation. Others with more extensive knowledge will be along soon


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Many thanks for your reply.

 

The liability order is for £400.79, and the letter states -

"A Liability Order has been granted by the Magistrates. We therefore require the sum of £400.79 by return of post. Failure to discharge this debt will result in our bailiff calling without further notice to enforce the order by seizing your goods...

 

It then says please contact our office with my proposal for discharging the debt.

 

I can't affor to pay this in full until the end of this month.

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Many thanks for your reply.

 

The liability order is for £400.79, and the letter states -

"A Liability Order has been granted by the Magistrates. We therefore require the sum of £400.79 by return of post. Failure to discharge this debt will result in our bailiff calling without further notice to enforce the order by seizing your goods...

 

It then says please contact our office with my proposal for discharging the debt.

 

I can't affor to pay this in full until the end of this month.

 

You could offer full settlement by the end of the month , but bailiffs will likely call anyway to bump up their fees in the meantime,

you could try the council again with your offer as there is no law saying you have to deal with a bailiff.

 

Is there any illness or benefit entitlement that could make you or anyone in the family vulnerable under the National association of Enforcement Agents 2002 Guidelines?:

 

Vulnerable situations

 

 

  • Enforcement agents/agencies and creditors must recognise that they each have a role in ensuring that the vulnerable and socially excluded are protected and that the recovery process includes procedures agreed between the agent/agency and creditor about how such situations should be dealt with. The appropriate use of discretion is essential in every case and no amount of guidance could cover every situation, therefore the agent has a duty to contact the creditor and report the circumstances in situations where there is potential cause for concern. If necessary, the enforcement agent will advise the creditor iffurther action is appropriate. The exercise of appropriate discretion is needed, not only to protect the debtor, but also the enforcement agent who should avoid taking action which could lead to accusations of inappropriate behaviour.
  • Enforcement agents must withdraw from domestic premises if the only person present is, or appears to be, under the age of 18; they can ask when the debtor will be home - if appropriate.
  • Enforcement agents must withdraw without making enquiries if the only persons present are children who appear to be under the age of 12.
  • Wherever possible, enforcement agents should have arrangements in place for rapidly accessing translation services when these are needed, and provide on request information in large print or in Braille for debtors with impaired sight.
  • Those who might be potentially vulnerable include:
    • the elderly;
    • people with a disability;
    • the seriously ill;
    • the recently bereaved;
    • single parent families;
    • pregnant women;
    • unemployed people; and,
    • those who have obvious difficulty in understanding, speaking or reading English.

     

quoted from: http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/infoabout/enforcement/bailiffs/standards.htm#part10

 

take a look here for some general pointers

 

http://www.advicenow.org.uk/advicenow-guides/consumer-and-money-problems/dealing-with-bailiffs/if-you-get-a-letter-from-bailiffs-html,619,FP.html

 

I'm sure stalwarts like hallowitch, ploddertom. and others will be around soon with more advice.

 

Above all try not to worry Caggers are here to help


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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Thanks again Brassnecked.

 

I do hope the stalwarts you mention offer some help also, I havn't slept a wink since receiving the letter.

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Is the sum of money mentioned confirmed as that owing by the Council or is it the Bailiffs best guess figure?

 

PT


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Thanks for your reply

 

The sum I owe the council is £376.29.

 

Which means there is an additional charge of £24.50

Edited by adorno

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Update:

 

I have now spoken with the Bailiff directly, I was hesitant but when I phoned Equita they said I had to speak to somebody called Dave.

 

I phoned Dave and told him I could not pay the full sum and asked if he would be willing to accept monthly payments. The good news is he agreed but only if I pay a fee of £78 which will freeze the account untill the end of the month.

 

He is paying me a visit tomorrow so I can sign the payment agreement.

 

Have I done the right thing here? And what should I expect to happe tomorrow.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Update:

 

I have now spoken with the Bailiff directly, I was hesitant but when I phoned Equita they said I had to speak to somebody called Dave.

 

I phoned Dave and told him I could not pay the full sum and asked if he would be willing to accept monthly payments. The good news is he agreed but only if I pay a fee of £78 which will freeze the account untill the end of the month.

 

He is paying me a visit tomorrow so I can sign the payment agreement.

 

Have I done the right thing here? And what should I expect to happe tomorrow.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

Alert:evil:

Beware it may well be a walking possession order he wants you to sign which will levy on your goods, and allow him to load up the extra fees,

The bailiff will forget all about his telephone promise once he calls and you let him in.

 

I do not wish to alarm you but you should never let a bailiff in to your home voluntarily, it is like inviting the money vampire Count Suckyourcash in.

 

Others will be along with better advice soon


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The sum I owe the council is £376.29.

 

if I pay a fee of £78 which will freeze the account until the end of the month.

there is no such thing as a fee which will freeze an account Bailiffs cant freeze an account

Its a ploy to gain a levy on your goods DO NOT ALLOW HIM TO DO THIS

keep him out of you house

move your car away from your home do not park in the street until this debt is paid

lock your garage garden shed greenhouse

 

With no levy on goods the most this debt can ever be is

debt £376.29

1st visit fee £24.50

2nd visit fee £18

total debt with no levy £418.79

 

 

the bailiff is doing you no favours a levy fee on a debt of £376.29 is £37 a walking possession fee is £12 and can only be charged if you sign the WPA they may add a Hedder H fee £24.50 this fee is not allowed but is sometimes added (then you have to go through the hassle of getting it removed

 

you could be charged a van attendance on the day of the levy again this is not allowed however with a levy on goods they most certainly will find a way of charging the van fee

 

bailiffs have a very selective memory and anything said over the phone or in person is your word against the bailiff and councils always side with the bailiff So unless the bailiff writes on the WPA that a payment agreement has been made and writes the exact date/amount of this payment and the next one if you need to make more that one payment you will be charged a van fee anything between £150/£200

 

and if he refuses to write it (he will list your goods first )and you refuse to sign it you will still be charged a van fee within 5 days

If your payment is one day late you will be charged a van fee regardless of whose fault it is

 

you may not know you have been charged this fee until a bailiff turns up threatening to remove the goods levied

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adorno pay heed to hallo's advice, you do not have to let a bailiff in, you are in control, and Caggers, will help you to pay only such fees as may be legally owed.


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Also agree with hallowitch - nothing to gain by signing anything for a bailiff, or having anything to do with them -plenty to lose by signing

 

Not sure from your 1st post - did you get a letter warning you the liability order hearing was about to happen?

[known as a 14 day notice]

 

If not you do have grounds for a service complaint to the local taxation services

 

"This service user did not receive the 14 day notice. While accepting the local taxation services may have met their minimum statutory obligation in this regard, that this service user in this instance did not receive such advance notice, nor had any opportunity to reach settlement at that stage, represents a shortfall from the standards of the council's aspirational statutory obligations, inasmuch as they would prefer to provide service users with such advance notice prior to litigation.

 

Kindly ensure further enforcement activity is suspended pending resolution of this complaint, which would be facilitated by recalling the debt from enforcement."

 

send Royal Mail recorded delivery - keep the track n trace number

then if you get another bailiff threat - try to laugh - not easy I know - you have grounds for the next complaint stage

this is basically a "kick to the long grass" - the complaints process is multistage & gives you breathing space

to discover your options [very many] & get a plan

[which doesn't involve paying any more than the liability order specifies]

without being under imminent threat

 

You don't dispute the occupation? Good, check out the national debtline website, download all the factsheets you want

 

Q. Date of the liability order? [me being nosy]

although it is a factor - do check out my thread if you have the time

my advice is based on an ongoing dispute - I hit a council with a stage 1 complaint - they recalled the debt from....Equita

 

Good luck, good hunting [get some sleep!]

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Update:

 

I have now spoken with the Bailiff directly, I was hesitant but when I phoned Equita they said I had to speak to somebody called Dave.

 

I phoned Dave and told him I could not pay the full sum and asked if he would be willing to accept monthly payments. The good news is he agreed but only if I pay a fee of £78 which will freeze the account untill the end of the month.

 

He is paying me a visit tomorrow so I can sign the payment agreement.

 

Have I done the right thing here? And what should I expect to happe tomorrow.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

There is NO law that says you have to deal with the bailiff, you can make your payments direct to the Council online

why pay him fantasy fees? Another thing to remember is if your payment gets "lost" in THEIR system (and you can read about how often that happens by browsing the threads on this forum) then they will be back and threaten to remove the goods on the levy unless you pay further extortionate fee's.

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The good news is he agreed but only if I pay a fee of £78 which will freeze the account untill the end of the month.

 

 

I see you have come up with the last Bailiff to appear on University Challenge - the £78 being a starter for 10 - different fees that is. Whatever you do DON'T be tempted.

 

PT


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Update part 2.

 

The bailiff didn't show up last night afterall. I phoned him and he told me he was having his dinner and could I call back this morning. I then phoned Equita and explained that I wasn't very happy with this situation and told them that I knew my rights and would not be letting the bailiff into my house under any circumstances, mentioning that I had sought advice from CAB.

 

I spoke to the bailiff dealing with my case this morning and he confirmed the initial payment of £78.50 has been accepted, and the payment plan would be £100 per month commencing on the 15th April.I have not had to sign anything.

 

I phoned Equita back and explained that any agreement had been made and asked what would happen now. The person I spoke to confirmed the agreement and said that I would still receive computer generated letters that I should just ignore as an agreement had been granted.

 

I then phoned Liverpool City Council and told them what had been arranged and they said that if the agreement has been granted then I should just make the payments untill the debt is resolved.

 

Still not sure what to make of this?

 

Thanks for the advice, it helped so much.

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I spoke to the bailiff dealing with my case this morning and he confirmed the initial payment of £78.50 has been accepted, and the payment plan would be £100 per month commencing on the 15th April.I have not had to sign anything

Is the initial payment coming of your council tax debt(bailiffs fees are recovered first from any payments made) or the fictitious fees that have/will be adding to your account

bailiffs do not do payment agreements without a levy on goods

does the £100 per month have to be paid by the 15th or on the 15th have you been given the information required to make the said payments

I phoned Equita back and explained that any agreement had been made and asked what would happen now. The person I spoke to confirmed the agreement and said that I would still receive computer generated letters that I should just ignore as an agreement had been granted.

Do you have this agreement in writing

you should not receive computer generated letters if you have an agreement in place with no default

these letters will be removal notices asking you to pay in full

 

I then phoned Liverpool City Council and told them what had been arranged and they said that if the agreement has been granted then I should just make the payments until the debt is resolved.

 

Liverpool City council should be able to look at your Equita account and know if this agreement has been recorded on your account also be aware you will not have been speaking to a direct employee of your council Most councils outsource there council tax and enforcement to agency's one of these being Capita who own Equita in most cases where Equita are the bailiffs of choice Capita administrate the council tax

Still not sure what to make of this?

 

regardless of said agreement Equita bailiffs will still be looking to levy goods don't be surprised if you have a notice of seizure pushed through your door levying your vehicle or any Vehicle that just happens to be parked near your home

 

Then again you may already have levy fees added to your account and you wont know until you question the fees then you may get a backdated notice of seizure put through your letterbox

Edited by hallowitch

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You are about to be stiched up...what is it you are unsure about?

 

You can make regular payments to the Council direct by using the online payment system so why leave yourself open to having to pay more than you owe?

 

Hallow has laid it out very clearly for you as to what the pitfalls are likely to be when dealing with a bailiff, you say you are still unsure...IMHO go with your instincts and if you have any doubts.............. then your instinct is telling you they are not to be trusted.

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Pay heed to hallow and wonkydonkey, Equita are as slippery as a bucketful of eels, they WILL levy on a nearby vehicle to justify charges, and post the notice through only when you query the charges.

 

Be very careful, as they will try to ensure you default on the agreement, even to deem a direct payment on the agreed date as late because they allow 3 days or whatever for clearance, allowing them to ramp up the fees.


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thanks for your replies. I certainly will take heed of all advice given.

 

i sent an email to Equita, however i couldn't find an email address apart from infoATequitaDOTcoDOTuk (sorry i can't post email addresses)

 

here's what i put:

 

"Dear Sirs,

I refer to your letter dated 7th March 2011 informing me that your company has been instructed by Liverpool City Council to enforce a liability order against me, in respect of Council Tax owing on (my property address)

I have spoken with the bailiff dealing with my case - Mr ######## - this morning by telephone at 08:47am, and he has agreed, having taken an initial payment of £78.50 which I paid on 14th March 2011 at 13:27pm, to me paying monthly payments of £100 to be paid on the 15th day of the month. The first payment of £100 is to be made on April 15th 2011.

The purpose of this letter is to request email confirmation of the arranged payment terms on my account. I would be grateful to have the agreement in writing detailing the payment dates, the amount to be paid by this date, and an itemised statement of the account that clearly shows what charges have been added and what for, as you are required in statute to supply this information.

I am aware that under the Council Tax Administration & Enforcement Act 1993 (as amended), you can charge a first visit fee of £24.50 and a second visit fee, if necessary, of £18.00. No further visit fees can be imposed.

I should also point out that I am fully aware of my rights as made clear by the Citizens Advice Bureau, and that I will not allow a bailiff to enter my home peacefully to levy on my goods.

 

I would be grateful if you could confirm receipt of this email and confirmation also that payment terms have been agreed. I am copying this letter to Liverpool City Council and requesting that it be filled with my account

Yours Faithfully"

I await their response

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The first payment of £100 is to be made on April 15th 2011.

 

I would be grateful to have the agreement in writing detailing the payment dates, the amount to be paid by this date,

 

you have contradicted yourself you have put on April 15th then by this date you need to be 100/% sure as to when they want the payment and send it 5/7 days before the due date if they say by the 15th not on the 15th and get your method of payment sorted ASAP

Expecting the bailiff to phone you or answer his phone to you on the 15 to take payment is a NO NO

 

however lets wait and see what if anything they send you if you don't receive a reply within 7 days send it again

 

I would also send a copy by e-mail to the revenues department of your council

 

with a simple note saying something along the lines of

 

please find attached copy of e-mail sent to your contractors Equita on (date) i request this e-mail be added to my account information for future reference

 

now that you have asked for a breakdown of fees MOVE YOUR CAR bailiff have been known to drive past an address and note the reg of any car on a drive or in the street near to your property then put a notice of seizure through your door after they match up the date the levy fee was added

 

as long as they don't levy your car you will be OK

do you know the date of the liability order

did you get a letter from your council informing you that bailiffs will be sent to collect this debt

you should have received this 14 days before Equita were involved

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thanks for your replies. I certainly will take heed of all advice given.

 

i sent an email to Equita, however i couldn't find an email address apart from infoATequitaDOTcoDOTuk (sorry i can't post email addresses)

 

here's what i put:

 

"Dear Sirs,

 

I refer to your letter dated 7th March 2011 informing me that your company has been instructed by Liverpool City Council to enforce a liability order against me, in respect of Council Tax owing on (my property address)

I have spoken with the bailiff dealing with my case - Mr ######## - this morning by telephone at 08:47am, and he has agreed, having taken an initial payment of £78.50 Have you established if this is a payment toward your Council Tax or is it a cleverly disguised fee for the setting up the said repayment plan? which I paid on 14th March 2011 at 13:27pm, to me paying monthly payments of £100 to be paid on the 15th day of the month. The first payment of £100 is to be made on April 15th 2011.

 

The purpose of this letter is to request email confirmation of the arranged payment terms on my account. I would be grateful to have the agreement in writing detailing the payment dates, the amount to be paid by this date, and an itemised statement of the account that clearly shows what charges have been added and what for, as you are required in statute to supply this information.

 

I am aware that under the Council Tax Administration & Enforcement Act 1993 (as amended), you can charge a first visit fee of £24.50 and a second visit fee, if necessary, of £18.00. No further visit fees can be imposed.

 

I should also point out that I am fully aware of my rights as made clear by the Citizens Advice Bureau, and that I will not allow a bailiff to enter my home peacefully to levy on my goods.

 

I would be grateful if you could confirm receipt of this email and confirmation also that payment terms have been agreed. I am copying this letter to Liverpool City Council and requesting that it be filled with my account

 

Yours Faithfully"

I await their response

 

Caggers on here are pretty savvy about little details......most have been victim to the finer points.

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Have you established if this is a payment toward your Council Tax or is it a cleverly disguised fee for the setting up the said repayment plan?

 

I was assured that the payment of £78.50 would be payment towards the council tax debt.

 

i don't own a car, and i don't have any possessions in my back yard.

 

Surely if they levy on a neighbours car that's illegal?

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......Surely if they levy on a neighbours car that's illegal?

 

adorno,

 

There is just one thing you have forgotten to take into account; you, me or any other member of the public who breaks the law are prosecuted. This is not the case for acts of illegality which originate from council tax enforcement.

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They will tell you that they only need to suspect a vehicle is owned by the debtor to qualify as a reason to carry out a levy. Only after. often when the debtor disputes ownership do they carry out a DVLA search, even then they will ask the true owner to show evidence they do infact own the vehicle and not the debtor and often it is only then tey will remove the charge.

 

If you find that unbelievable then take a look around the forum and see just how frequently this crops up.

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