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Hi There,

 

This all started about 2 and a half years ago, when i received a letter from Equita saying that a bailiff was dealing with my unpaid council tax [which I had unknowingly accumulated at a previous address] I rang the bailiff and he told me I had to make a 100 pound payment, before they could set up a monthly plan, during the phone call he told me that he should be doing this at my house, and could I give him the colour of my front door and house type etc for his forms, I did this, made the payment, and had agreed to pay 40 pounds a month, I made payments quite regularly, but on occassions missed a couple, received the usual "threatening" letters, phoned the office, made 2 catch up payments and they re-set the 40 a month plan...this has happened a few times over the last couple of years and I have made up the payments and continued, on 1 occasion I had a direct debit set up, but it was returned due to me having insufficient funds as it seemed to be taken on a different day to which I had specified [another story i guess]. When I spoke to Equita, they told me the balance, and i'm sure it should be less than they are stating.....seems to have been going up rather than down!!

 

I fell behind with payments again, and this time I recieved this letter...

 

FINAL NOTIFICATION

 

DEAR MR F

 

MAGISTRATES LIABILITY ORDER DATED: 01/06/2009

FOR OUTSTANDING: COUNCIL TAX

DUE TO: NORWICH CITY COUNCIL

 

WE ARE IN POSSESSION OF A MAGISTRATES LIABILITY ORDER WHICH, IN THE ABSENCE OF PAYMENT, ENABLES EQUITA TO SEIZE YOUR GOODS AND SELL THEM AT PUBLIC AUCTION IN ORDER TO DISCHARGE THE ABOVE DEBT.

 

To date you have failed to settle the outstanding amount. As we have been unable to levy distress upon your goods and effects the matter may now be referred back to our instructing client who have the power to apply to the court for a warrant of commitment to prison against you.

 

In order to stop this course of action we require payment in full immediately.

 

END OF LETTER

 

1. they haven't been able to levy distress as no bailiff has ever been to my house!!!

2. who is the instructing client?? Norwich City Council or the magistrates court???

3. what in reality happens if it is referred back to the instructing client???

 

So i get on the phone to Equita, to find out exactly what is owed and to hopefully re-set the payment plan, I am told the figure is £136 remaining, I asked how yet again it seems to have gone up, I was told there have been charges added for breaking the agreement, there was money added for the direct debit getting returned, I stopped the person and asked if I could have a full break down of the payments and charges, he told me that once the debt was settled I would receive a receipt with the full break down, When I asked again he repeated the same thing, He told me the best he could offer me was to give me until the 20th of April to make payment in full. I agreed. But now on reflection I am pretty sure I have been ripped off and that the payments I have made so far to them would have covered the original debt and any, if applicable charges. I am now not in a position to make the full payment by the 20th, and not sure that even if I was I would make it given what I have since read about Equita and the charges they wrongly add!!!

 

So my questions are:

 

1. who would i contact to find out the amount of the original sum owed..Norwich City Council??

2. how do i get a full breakdown of the payments and charges from Equita?

3. am I entitled to see them before making any further payments?

4. what in reality would happen if I haven't made the payment of £136 by the 20th April

5. if i manage to get a breakdown of payments and charges from Equita, what charges are they legally allowed to add on?

6. if they have added lots of bogus charges, and the total of those added to my payments exceeds the original amount owed + any legit charges, am I entitled to claim any back or do I still need to pay the £136??

7. should i be worried about what action they can take when they haven't received payment by the 20th??

 

 

sorry for so many questions but I am a bit worried about this as well as angry!!

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So my questions are:

 

1. who would i contact to find out the amount of the original sum owed..Norwich City Council??

You ring and ask the following:

1 - how much the original LO was for

2 - the period of time it covered - Councils are known for charging for somewhere after you have moved!

3 - how much is still outstanding

4 - can they access Equita's account and give you a statement of monies paid & charges

2. how do i get a full breakdown of the payments and charges from Equita?

Write to them - see below

3. am I entitled to see them before making any further payments?

Yes

4. what in reality would happen if I haven't made the payment of £136 by the 20th April

The bailiff will get grumpy

5. if i manage to get a breakdown of payments and charges from Equita, what charges are they legally allowed to add on?

Wait & see what you get back

6. if they have added lots of bogus charges, and the total of those added to my payments exceeds the original amount owed + any legit charges, am I entitled to claim any back or do I still need to pay the £136??

You will be entitled to a refund

7. should i be worried about what action they can take when they haven't received payment by the 20th??

Not at all

 

For a breakdown of chages send them something like this, adapt as you need and send initially by email followed by a copy in the post.

 

"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"

 

PT


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Ok few things to point out here

 

did you leave the property the unpaid council tax relates to in the middle of a financial tax year (you may owe less council tax)

 

as there no levy on goods the bailiff fees can only be £42.50 no charges can be added for making payments. missed payment. failed standing orders . sitting outside your house waiting on you answering the door. ECT

 

bailiffs fees for the collection of unpaid council tax are set by legislation

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement)Regulations 1992 (amended)

Regulation 45 schedule 5 charges connected with distress

 

If the bailiffs refer it back to the council they will go for

you paying them direct

an attachment of benefit's

an attachment of earnings

committal proceedings (if you wilfully refuse to pay cant really see it in your case as you have been paying)

 

you need to get in touch with council

ask how much the liability order is for

the time period it relates to ( month as in June July august through till march )

the amount outstanding

(do this by e-mail/recorded delivery letter also)

 

you need to send Equita an e-mail and recorded delivery letter asking for a breakdown of your account(template on here )

add that you also want a list of payments made to include the amount of payment and the date of payment

 

Also Send a copy of this to the head of revenues at the council and ask them to put it on your records for future reference

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Thanks for that, If the council cannot provide me with a breakdown of payments received, should I not make anymore payments to Equita until I receive the information I am requesting from them?? And once I know what is owed, if any, should I make the payment direct to the council?? If I do that how do I then get Equita off my back? or go about getting a refund if I am indeed entitled to one?

 

Thanks again

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Ok few things to point out here

 

did you leave the property the unpaid council tax relates to in the middle of a financial tax year (you may owe less council tax)

 

as there no levy on goods the bailiff fees can only be £42.50 no charges can be added for making payments. missed payment. failed standing orders . sitting outside your house waiting on you answering the door. ECT

 

bailiffs fees for the collection of unpaid council tax are set by legislation

The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement)Regulations 1992 (amended)

Regulation 45 schedule 5 charges connected with distress

 

If the bailiffs refer it back to the council they will go for

you paying them direct

an attachment of benefit's

an attachment of earnings

committal proceedings (if you wilfully refuse to pay cant really see it in your case as you have been paying)

 

you need to get in touch with council

ask how much the liability order is for

the time period it relates to ( month as in June July august through till march )

the amount outstanding

(do this by e-mail/recorded delivery letter also)

 

you need to send Equita an e-mail and recorded delivery letter asking for a breakdown of your account(template on here )

add that you also want a list of payments made to include the amount of payment and the date of payment

 

Also Send a copy of this to the head of revenues at the council and ask them to put it on your records for future reference

 

Do you mean a copy of the letter I send the bailiff asking for a breakdown, or a copy of the letter that I get back from Equita??

 

In the meantime while I await this information, do I ignore any "threatening" letters and phone calls from Equita?

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Thanks for that, If the council cannot provide me with a breakdown of payments received, should I not make anymore payments to Equita until I receive the information I am requesting from them?? And once I know what is owed, if any, should I make the payment direct to the council?? If I do that how do I then get Equita off my back? or go about getting a refund if I am indeed entitled to one?

 

Thanks again

 

I assume you know how much you have paid them to date. It will give you a guide as to the Bailiff charges by asking how much the Council have actually received. By asking the Council if they can access your account on the bailiffs website may give another inkling as to what they have charged and possibly when, compare this to any breakdown you receive from the Bailiff and you may have the beginnings of a new Enid Blyton story and it would indeed be intereting to see what they do. If you are at all worried about the payment you are due to make then by all means go ahead and do it, once paid you are safe in the knowledge you can sit back and collate all you need. Any monies subsequently overpaid may be reclaimed and for this you have 2 bites of the cherry as the Council are 100% liable for everything that happens.

 

PT


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UPDATE:

 

spoke to Norwich City Council [ncc] this morning, and they told me that the original liability order was for £546.45 including their court costs, they also told me that they were still owed £176.91 kind of made sense given that I was paying £40 a month and there is according to Equita £136.91 remaining...probably means Equita have not sent my last £40 payment to them yet....

 

Payments received by ncc from Equita:

 

29th June 2010 £80

8th July 2010 £41

5th Aug 2010 £37

3rd Sep 2010 £41

3rd Sep 2010 £39

8th Nov 2010 £40

13th Jan 2010 £40

7th Feb 2010 £8.04

 

Tot: £326.04

 

Payments made by me to Equita:

 

13th Jan 2010 £100

 

I have no record of these next 3 poss 4 payments unless i pay for bank statements..however while on the phone to Equita this morning, I was told that between the 13th of Jan and the 18th May [from where i have a full record of payments] there were 3 or 4 payments made...he wouldn't give me precise details, however it would be available if I request it in writing, which I am doing...so for arguments sake I will add these 3 / 4 payments that he was referring to.

 

payment 1 £41

payment 2 £41

payment 3 £41

18th may 2010 £81

31st may 2010 £41

25th Jun 2010 £41

14th Aug 2010 £41

17th Aug 2010 £41

8th Oct 2010 £41

15th Nov 2010 £41

11th Jan 2010 £41

 

so the total of the payments I have proof of is £468 + the £136.91 [they say I still owe] is £604.91

 

If I add just 3 of the 4 payments of £41 that I was told were made in the period I have no accounts for at present that is £468 + £123 + £136.91 is a Total of £727.91 and if it was indeed 4 payments it would be £768.91

 

Either way it would appear that I have been overcharged, wouldn't it???

 

Given that there has NEVER been any visits by bailiff's to my address, are they able to add any charges at all?? However my very first contact with Equita, was with a bailiff over the phone, who took my original payment of £100 and set up the monthly agreement, and as he stated to me, he should have been doing this face to face, but it would save him a journey, he asked for the colour of my door and house type etc......If they try to make out that this was one of their justifiable visits with a legit charge attached, how do I go about fighting this as any paper work obviously wont have my signature on it??

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unfortunately you supplied the 1st bailiff with the info he needed to put on his records (I give him the colour of my front door and house type etc for his forms, ) this will always be down to your word against his and they will believe him

 

you will be charged £24.50 1st visit fee and £18 second visit fee you wont be able to get them removed because of the above

 

by the looks of things you have paid this debt according to your own records however you need the payments made and fees added in writing and the fact that you still owe the council £176.91 means that you will still have to pay and reclaim it back

 

It also looks like Equita are charging a payment fee of £1 for each payment made this is not allowed

I would also say you have been charged a levy fee and van fees

 

up until now there is no levy as the bailiff has never entered your property

now that you are starting to ask questions they may pay you a visit to obtain the reg of your car if you have one be very very very careful where you park your car keep it well away from from your property

 

I would suggest to go to your council web site and make a freedom of information request ask for there service level agreement between them and Equita

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The 1st bailiff I gave details of my house to, took a card payment of £100, If we were face to face wouldn't I have had to sign something??

 

Not to worried about the car situation as I hire a car in 6 monthly blocks, so it's not my car or registered to me, thankfully!!

 

So what would you suggest?? do i wait until I receive the breakdown of payments and charges from them??

 

If it is the case and I have been overcharged by them, and given equita still owe ncc money, do I wait for this to go to court, and attend armed with proof of the illegal charges?? go to the council once I have the information and show them?? although when speaking to the council this morning, they kept saying I will have to take up any issues with Equita.

 

Where and how would I go about starting to fight equita and reclaiming the money? **stressed**

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I have written a letter to ncc as follows, do you think I should add anything?

 

 

Simon

 

 

Dear Sir / Madam,

 

I am writing to you with regards to a debt Ref:council reference: 4*****48, relating to council tax owed by me relating to address.

 

You told me that the original liability order was for £546.45 including your court costs, by law, the maximum additional costs that could be added by Equita are £42.50 as there has been no levy applied to any of my posessions and a bailiff has never been to the property.

 

I am now in the process of disputing the amount of charges with Equita, and I believe that I have paid the debt owed to you in full plus the £42.50 they were entitled to add, and that Equita are using payments I have made, to settle bogus charges, before clearing the debt with yourselves. I have listed here a breakdown of payments made to Equita.

 

 

Payments made by myself to Equita:

 

13th Jan 2010 £100 debit card

 

I have no record of these next 3 poss 4 payments unless i pay for bank statements..however while on the phone to Equita this morning, I was told that between

 

the 13th of Jan and the 18th May [from where i have a full record of payments] there were 3 or 4 payments made...he wouldn't give me precise details, however

 

it would be available if I request it in writing, which I am doing...so for arguments sake I will add these 3 / 4 payments that he was referring to.

 

payment 1 £41 ---- awaiting breakdown of payments from Equita

payment 2 £41 ---- awaiting breakdown of payments from Equita

payment 3 £41 ---- awaiting breakdown of payments from Equita

 

18th may 2010 £81 debit card

31st may 2010 £41 debit card

25th Jun 2010 £41 debit card

14th Aug 2010 £41 debit card

17th Aug 2010 £41 debit card

8th Oct 2010 £41 debit card

15th Nov 2010 £41 debit card

11th Jan 2010 £41 debit card

 

The original liability order was for £546.45

Maximum charges Equita can add as no levy on goods is £42.50

Total: £588.95

 

The total of the payments I currently have proof of [although there are others] is £468, if I paid the £136.91 [they say I still owe] it comes to £604.91

 

[this means I would have overpaid, and the debt would be settled in full with monies owed to me]

 

 

If I add just 3 of the 4 payments the customer service rep at Equita told me were made in the period I have no accounts for at present, it would be:

 

£468

£41

£41

£41

 

Total: £591 [this again means that I have already overpaid, and the debt should now be settled in full and monies owed to me]

 

I have currently written to Equita requesting a full breakdown of payments made and charges added, I have been advised by the national debt helpline to make you aware of the situation, and ask that no further action be taken against me, should the case be returned to yourselves by Equita, while the matter is in dispute.

 

Many Thanks

 

Simon

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don't send that wait till you get the breakdown and don't admit that you have no proof of some payments

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Also sounds as if they will be adding card fees to your account which isn't allowed for in the Fee Scale. Will be interesting to see what comes back, give them time to hang themselves first.

 

PT


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UPDATE:

 

here is a copy of the letter I sent to Equita and the response that I received.....

 

From:

Simon Farrow

 

 

To:

Equita Limited

P.O Box 30,

Erith,

DA8 1ZJ

 

Ref: Account No: 1******5 council reference: 4******8

 

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.

 

And also a break down of all payments made by myself, Including date of payment and amount of payment starting from 13th Jan 2010, my initial payment of £100, and up until the present day, so I can cross reference with my receipts and bank statements.

 

I require this information within 7 days.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Simon

 

 

Response:

 

Dear Mr Farrow

 

Having looked at the case I note that no times of visits have been logged, however the dates logged for the visits are the 16.12.2009, 04.01.2010 & 05.05.2010. Whilst the report on each occasion indicates that no contact was made, you would have been left a letter.

 

Please find below a breakdown showing your current balance.

 

Our ref: 123456

Liability order dated: 01.06.2009

 

Debt: £546.45

Statutory Visit Fees: £42.50

Card Charges: £9.00

Bounced Direct Debit Fees: £31.96

 

Total: £629.91

 

Total Received: £549.00

 

Balance: £80.91

 

I can advise that Mr.Kent obtained his certificate at Norwich County Court granted on 23.03.2010

 

Please be advised that I have set an arrangement on your account for the remaining balance of £80.91 to be paid by 29.04.2011. Failure to adhere to this arrangement could result in further action and possible costs.

 

END OF LETTER

 

couple of questions....

 

1. The amount owed has dropped from £136.91 to £80.91....Hmmmmm wonder why??

2. Can they charge me for a bounced direct debit and the card payment fee's???

3. If they can't charge me for those, what legalities / law can I quote when I write to them again to contest it??

4. I asked for a detailed breakdown of payments made, yet I haven't received them??? can I ask again for a detailed breakdown?? are they obliged to give me one, if so what law can I quote when contacting them??

5. It would appear that on 2 of the dates I was "visited" Mr. Kent had not obtained his certificate?? Do I have any grounds to bring this up??? if so what and how?? "bearing in mind that they have never been to my address, although as someone mentioned it's my word against there's"

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Card Charges: £9.00

Bounced direct debitlink3.gif Fees: £31.96

 

not really got the time to reply properly the above fees are a no no because they are not in legislation

 

you need to phone the Ministry of Justice Public Register of bailiffslink3.gif on 020 3334 6355 to confirm if Mr kent was renewing his certificate on 23.03.2010 and if he was certificated to Equita prior to this date

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Thanks Hallowitch,

 

No one at that number until 26th April, however when you get a bit more spare time, could you explain to me how I fight those 2 charges they were not entitled to add on, what law / legislation to quote etc,

 

many thanks

 

Simon

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go on the council web site have a look for freedom of information

make a request for a copy of the service level and or contract with Equita regarding the enforcement of council tax

 

this is an extract taken from a local authority code of practise for the collection of council tax arrears you will probably find your council has something similar in theres

1.1 The bailiff firm shall not make any charges for the posting of letters or for receiving payments whatever method is used for making such payment.

bailiffs fees for the collection of council tax governed by legislation The council tax( administration and enforcement )regulations

regulation 45 schedule 5 charges connected with distress gives you the fee structure if not in regulation 45 schedule 5 they cant charge it

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

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Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for getting back to me, and I am pleased to see that the ammount owed has been reduced. There are a couple of things that I would like to bring to your attention, and which I am hoping can be resolved before any further payments are made.

 

1. You have included a charge of £1 for each of the card payments and £31.96 for a bounced direct debit fee. However having spoken to Norwich City Council, and discussed the service level agreement between Equita and NCC regarding the collection of council tax, It would appear that these charges are not listed on that agreement, and therefore should not have been added to my account. These fees are also not in legislation.

 

I have requested a copy of the service level agreement under the freedom of information act, and will be happy to forward you a copy of the agreement as soon as I receive it.

 

2. You advised that Mr. K obtained his certificate on the 23.03.2010 yet you listed 2 of his visits as being prior to this date on the 16.12.2009 and 04.01.2010. I was wondering if you could clarify this issue?

 

3. I also requested in my last letter a full breakdown of the payments I have made to Equita including the date and amount paid, I did not receive this breakdown in my last letter, just an amount. I am hoping that this matter can be resolved this time around.

 

I look forward to your response and once the matters are addressed I will respond appropriately.

 

 

Many Thanks

 

Sf

 

 

Do you think this should do the job??

Edited by simonf1975

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edit the post, and remove personal information if you could, other wiselooks OK, others will no doubt be along later


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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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Hi Simon 1975

you may need to edit post 13 as it has your full name

 

Leakie

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Hi Simon 1975

you may need to edit post 13 as it has your full name

 

Leakie

 

And the bailiffs name

 

BN


We could do with some help from you.

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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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Go can any one help I have a debt with council tax for 177.00 equita sent me a letter sayin I now owe 201.50as they have sent a letter.This Mornin I woke up to a letter outside my door sayin to call and pay in full. After ringin the bailiff dealing with my case he said I could not pay with a payment plan and the debt had gone up 176.00 and was now 377.00 he would be out Thursday again! Can he take my car? It's my moms! Also are these charges correct and why can't I pay by playment plan I'm willing to pay i

. I only work part time and have a 2 year old and am single parent please help someone

Edited by Lisajane24

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Go can any one help I have a debt with council tax for 177.00 equita sent me a letter sayin I now owe 201.50as they have sent a letter.This Mornin I woke up to a letter outside my door sayin to call and pay in full. After ringin the bailiff dealing with my case he said I could not pay with a payment plan and the debt had gone up 176.00 and was now 377.00 he would be out Thursday again! Can he take my car? It's my moms! Also are these charges correct and why can't I pay by playment plan I'm willing to pay i

. I only work part time and have a 2 year old and am single parent please help someone

 

Click on the link underneath to start your own thread.

 

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/newthread.php?do=newthread&f=168

 

PT


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can anyone help please

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can anyone help please

Lisa follow the link above so you can start a thread of you own, it saves confusion. :D

people will then come along with some advise on what you can do.

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well after sending this letter...

 

Dear Sir,

 

Thank you for getting back to me, and I am pleased to see that the ammount owed has been reduced. There are a couple of things that I would like to bring to your attention, and which I am hoping can be resolved before any further payments are made.

 

1. You have included a charge of £1 for each of the card payments and £31.96 for a bounced direct debit fee. However having spoken to Norwich City Council, and discussed the service level agreement between equita and NCC regarding the collection of council tax, It would appear that these charges are not listed on that agreement, and therefore should not have been added to my account. These fees are also not in legislation.

 

I have requested a copy of the service level agreement under the freedom of information act, and will be happy to forward you a copy of the agreement as soon as I receive it.

 

2. You advised that Mr. K obtained his certificate on the 23.03.2010 yet you listed 2 of his visits as being prior to this date on the 16.12.2009 and 04.01.2010. I was wondering if you could clarify this issue?

 

3. I also requested in my last letter a full breakdown of the payments I have made to equita including the date and amount paid, I did not receive this breakdown in my last letter, just an amount. I am hoping that this matter can be resolved this time around.

 

I look forward to your response and once the matters are addressed I will respond appropriately.

 

 

Many Thanks

 

Sf

 

this is the response....

 

dear mr

 

with regards the issues you have raised:

 

the card facility for individuals to pay by card is completely voluntary. The processing of card payments does however carry a minimal charge. This has to be verbally relayed and agreed with the caller prior to the transaction being processed. If the caller does not authorise the transaction they are welcome to use any of the other payment methods available. The service charges for payments made by card are deemed to make a separate verbal contract agreed between ourselves and the payee, and as such are lawful and not returnable.

 

The administration charge of £31.96 is incurred once a failed direct debit instruction is updated to the case. This fee represents the additional processing work involved when this occurs and is a standard fee separate to those quoted in regulations.

 

please be advised that the last certificate granted by Mr K was indeed in march 2010, however that has no bearing on the visits made to your property prior to this date as the file had been dealt with by another member of our external team.

 

your current balance remains at £80.91 and I would urge you to settle this immediately if further bailif action, and possible costs are to be avoided.

 

I trust the above is of assistance.

 

yours sincerely

 

equita limited.

 

 

so where do I go from here??

 

as yet they still haven't provided me with a full breakdown of payments I have made, despite requesting it twice [are they trying to hide something???]

 

it seems they didn't give me the full information regarding the bailiff that dealt with the case...

 

do i carry on fighting this or just roll over...if i'm to fight what do i come back at them with?

 

As you can see from previous posts, the amount they say I have paid them is more than the original liability order..so in theory the only thing remaining is their "fee's" can they still chase and harass me for these and add more charges??

 

your help required again,,many thanks simon.

Edited by simonf1975

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