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Seat belt fine and Marston, but we paid!


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Evening Caggers!

 

Hoping some of you lovely people can help as you have in the past and I'll try and keep it as short as possible.

 

Last year partner got fine of £30 after being stopped with no seat belt. Silly idiot did nt pay it.

 

Got some re-directed mail earlier this year from the Magistrates Court outlining that the amount he had to pay was now £255. He then received a letter from Marstons saying he now had to pay them. He then went on to the website as listed on the Court Order, he logged in, the Court saying he owed this amount so he paid online.

He phoned Marstons and explained that he had already paid them, Marstons asked him to prove this so he sent them copies of his bank statement proving this.

 

A few weeks later a cheque was sent back from the Court for the amount he paid. After talking to the court they said he had to pay Marstons and thats why the cheque was sent back. He immediately returned the cheque stating that he had paid and it had been accepted and that was the end of the matter, copying Marstons in to it.

 

Once more a cheque has been returned with a letter asking him to write to the Finance Officer of the court if he disputes what is happening. The people who now live in the house the mail has been redirected from have now received a letter saying a bailiff had visited (He hadnt knocked on the door!) and he now had to pay Marstons £500!

 

So what to do next? We still have the second cheque which hasnt been cashed and we have no intention of doing so but will send it back. We intend writing to the Finance Officer and Marstons, but what to put in it? We also feel extremely justified that we should not have to pay any of Marstons costs being as, as far as we are concerned having paid the fine off! Any clues?

 

Thanks chaps!

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I would recommend searching similar court fine threads, look out for contributions from a guy called 'fork-it'.

 

I have to admit, i initially thought his assertions were just too good to be true. I am naturally a skeptic; but it seems people have had success implementing his 'theory' and i am very glad to stand corrected.

 

See what you can find - unless he appears here first..........

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Thanks guys

 

NOA? Is that Notice Of Action or the like? From Marstons?

We havent had any letters entitled that, the first one just said that he now had to pay them as the distress warrant had been passed to them. HMCS insist they now have nothing to do with it and Marston say they are unable to contact HMCS and talk to them. Always amusing when they say this on the phone and then you get a letter saying 'we have been in contact with', or 'we have been informed that'

Perhaps I'll try our MP as well!

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Sorry! NOA is Notice of Assignment.

 

When a debt changes hands you should effectively receive a goodbye from one and a hello from the new one. This is your notice of Assignment. There are two types of assignemnt Equitable where the DCA is effectively just collecting the money for the original creditor, but has no power; the other is an Absolute Assignment where the DCA buys the debt with all its Rights and DUTIES (very important word!) and they effectively become the original creditor.

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You need to complete the following Statutory declaration, get it sworn before a solicitor or commissioner for oaths (usually £5) and deliver it for the attention of the Court Manager at the Magistrates Court that issued the fine. That will stop the bailiffs.

 

 

 

I: [NAME] residing at [ADDRESS AND POSTCODE]

 

DO SOLEMNLY AND SINCERELY DECLARE THAT:

 

I have already paid the fine issued by the [NAME OF] Magistrates Court following an offence on [DATE] for [NATURE OF OFFENCE] for the amount of [AMOUNT] and all liabilities have been discharged. The reference number for this case is: [CASE REFERENCE]

 

AND THAT:

 

Notification of this fine first came to my attention on [DATE] when a bailiff from [NAME OF COMPANY] came to my home. He was in possession of a distress Warrant dated [DATE IF KNOWN] and that he required a sum of £[AMOUNT].

 

I genuinely and lawfully do not owe the money being claimed.

 

I make this solemn declaration under Section 7 of the Statutory Declarations Act 1835 believing the same to be true.

 

DECLARED AT:

 

SIGNED:

 

DATE:

 

 

 

Before me:

 

Solicitor/Commissioner for Oaths:

Professional property investor and conveyancer

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If you've paid and not cashed their cheque I can't see how they can lawfully enforce it. There is no statutory power to refund payment just to allow bailiff enforcement to proceed.

 

They have not assigned the debt to Martstons. If they had there would be no power of distress, and Marstons would have to sue in the county court. This is a case of Marstons acting as the court's agent, who do have the power of distress: but not if they've been paid, and they cannot levy for the fees alone.

 

A statutory declaration is a possibility, but I think there is a 21 day time limit from first becoming aware of the conviction.

Post by me are intended as a discussion of the issues involved, as these are of general interest to me and others on the forum. Although it is hoped such discussion will be of use to readers, before exposing yourself to risk of loss you should not rely on any principles discussed without confirming the situation with a qualified person.

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What can I say but that you lot are stars! :grouphug: I will get the statutory declaration done tomorrow or tonight if the solicitors are open and take it to the court tomorrow. It will have to be tweaked though as we have never seen the Distress Warrant. All the letter said was that:

 

he hadnt paid an outstanding magistrates fine and an officer attended to arrange removal of goods.

Further notice prior to removal of goods is not legally required

In certain circumstances there is power to enter propert using reasonable force to execute a Magistrates Court Warrant.

And the face that the fine and fees is now £533, up from the original fine of £255

And it was undated

 

I will also write a letter to the Enforcement Office telling them they have no statutory power to refund a payment in order to allow bailiff action to continue.

I will also write to Marstons telling them the same, we have already written to them telling them as far as we are concerned the matter is closed but they've taken no notice!

 

Edited to say that the letter from the Accounts and Enforcement Unit states that Marstons are working on behalf of them and all enquiries are to be made to them

Edited by Emma1973
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he hadnt paid an outstanding magistrates fine and an officer attended to arrange removal of goods.

Further notice prior to removal of goods is not legally required

In certain circumstances there is power to enter propert using reasonable force to execute a Magistrates Court Warrant.

And the face that the fine and fees is now £533, up from the original fine of £255

 

They can only enter a property with force, AFTER they have gained 'Peaceful' entry to the premises, Provided a copy of the Warrant then a "Notice of Seizure, which will include an inventory of goods seized, and then entered into a "Walking possession agreement" with the debtor, who signs the agreement.

 

They CANNOT force entry to a property to remove goods that they have not taken 'Legal Possession' of.

 

So yes, when these circumstances have taken place, and you haven't paid....they can break in. It is an offence in Bailiff Law for an enforcement officer to exaggerate there powers. Send a letter of complaint. You are also entitled to request a complete breakdown of all there charges.

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Thanks Debbie, but I believe that because its a Magistrates fine they can actually break in and take the goods as opposed to other CCJ's and liability orders such as council tax.

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"Thanks Debbie, but I believe that because its a Magistrates fine they can actually break in and take the goods as opposed to other CCJ's and liability orders such as council tax."

 

'They' the bailiffs have no such power, though they like to imply they have.

 

The court has the power to order forced entry in very exceptional circumstances. The latest figures I've heard are 28 forced entries in one year, and only 10 in another (i don't know what years this applies to).

 

You should view that in the context of £1.5 billion in outstanding court fines.

 

A quick analysis of the figures suggests that most magistrates courts have probably never authorized a forced entry! (360 magistrates courts, 28 or 10 instances per annum)

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In addition, word 'straight from the horses mouth' suggests that they would never authorize forced entry for such an offense.

If you had been convicted of a violent offense and escaped jail by the skin of your teeth, then, you might have something to worry about.

 

Also look here: http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?225944-Marston-Bailiff-CEO-magistrates-fines.

 

Look at 'Happy Contrails' post. I believe he was also a serving magistrate at the time he wrote that post ( post #10)

Edited by Thegreenpimpernel
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Thanks Debbie, but I believe that because its a Magistrates fine they can actually break in and take the goods as opposed to other CCJ's and liability orders such as council tax.

 

As the law stands, for a civil offence, forced entry is not permitted unless they have taken 'Legal Possession' of goods. Any threat contrary to this is a breach of Bailiff Law.

 

Bailiffs & Terms of Entry

Peaceful Entry

You will or should be given 7 days notice for any bailiff action to allow you a final chance to reach settlement.

Remember: You do not have to allow a bailiff into your home or premises. Bailiffs cannot use force to gain initial entry to a property. Walking in through an unlocked door or climbing in through a window without causing damage in classed as peaceful means.

Forced Entry

A bailiff is not allowed to force their way past you at your door for unsecured debts. However once inside the bailiff has the power to break or gain forceful entry to any internal locked doors or cupboards.

If a bailiff gains peaceful entry to your property the bailiff can then gain forceful entry on subsequent visits for the same debt.

Denied Entry

By refusing the bailiff entry indefinitely, the warrant relating to the debt will return back to the courts. The court will then take other means to settle the debt, such as an attachment of earnings order or stopping the money directly from your benefits.

 

debs

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Magistrates Court Fines

For certain types of fines for example parking fines, speeding fines and TV licence fines, bailiffs do have the power to break into your home to take your goods even if they have not been into your home before. You must, therefore, treat a Magistrates Court fine as a priority debt because you could be sent to prison if you default on payments and, although very rare, this does happen.

For this reason it is no longer safe to try to avoid bailiffs coming into your home by refusing to let them in for the collection of the fines mentioned above.

However, contrary to popular belief this does not include the recovery of Council Tax debts

It is worth stressing that although they have the power, it is VERY rarely used.

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Thanks for all your help chaps but I think we've gotten away from the issue a bit! Our main issue is that our money was accepted to pay the fine and double checked when we called them to say we had paid it via the telephone but they keep refunding the cheque and insisting we have to pay Marstons.

 

We've now written to the Fines Officer to get him to agree that they accepted the payment and waiting to hear from our MP, anything else people can think of?

 

Emma

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So are they returning the cheque so Marstons can charge a fee that really is due from HMCS?. as if they are collecting a fine for the court the debtor is not liable for the fees?

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