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I wonder if someone can advise me. I had debt with the council tax for £360 because of defaulted payments. And a debt for £325 from previous years. Manchester city council set up an attachment of earning certificates and took £662 out of my salary last month in one fell swoop they were able to do this due to the fact that I had earned some overtime for the first time in months. I thought to myself ah well its paid now lets get on with things........ So I thought then today while I was at work my son called me to tell me that the bailiffs had been and that they were coming to seize my goods if I had not paid the amount owing in 24 hours.


I called them back and told them that there was some mistake as I had an attachment of earnings on last months salary but they were having none of it and said 24 hours or they will take goods. They said that they can enter my home even if I am not there and take goods. I asked for a breakdown of cost which work out at £375 of the previous debt, £200 for the van to come out and £100 for the court costs. working out at £670 that has to be paid in 24 hours I can do this. I dont have the money what can I do????



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Firstly, they cannot break into your home while you are not there and take goods ! it's standard practice for them to try and scare you witless by telling you this - they would need to get a judge to give them permission to do that and they would only get permission in exceptional circumstances.


You need to get in touch with the council first thing in the morning and find out what is going on. Make sure you keep all your doors and windows locked and if you are at home when they call do not open the door.


It sounds as if there has been an error made by the council.

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My advice is based on my opinion and experience only. It is not to be taken as legal advice - if you are unsure you should seek professional help.

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Hello Ellen


Thank you once again for replying, they have stated that they have the powers to do so as they are from the magistrates and they have a magistrates liability warning and a distress warrant. Does that matter?



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They don't have the power to do break in, call the council this morning, and ask what is outstanding? Also ask what fees have been added. If you can pay pay the council today on their automated system or if you can record the call ask to pay on the phone , they will probably refuse on the phone. Make sure you get the persons name who refused.


So they have said that they will charge you £200 for a van to come out, what a bunch of jokers...just call council and see what's up

My respect to people who post regularly and help people out on here. Without your help alot of wrongs would have been committed.

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As others have said they cannot break in for Council tax at this stage if at all, so what they have a "Liability" from the magistrates? these are basically orders the council grants itself at a magistrates court , they then hand it to bailiffs who are restricted as to what they can charge, so become creative with dodgy fees.



Contact the council and ask exactly what you owe. and remember you don't legally have to deal or communicate with a bailiff. if you do make sure you can record the calls as bailiffs have memory loss about what waws said on the phone.

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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Thank you all so much for your advice, it is really helping to make me feel better. I have taken the morning off work to sort this mess out. I rang the council this morning and they have said that the attachment of earnings is for the full year of 2011/2012 and that the money owing is for last year 2010/2011 so in total I owe them £325 how have the baliffs arrived at £653???


The council have also said that they cant (wont) take the debt back. Please help I havent got £325 to pay the council in full



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and that the money owing is for last year 2010/2011 so in total I owe them £325 how have the baliffs arrived at £653???


The council have also said that they cant (wont) take the debt back. Please help I havent got £325 to pay the council in full - they can but choose not to




There is no law that says you have to deal with or speak to a Bailiff.. Providing the bailiff has not been inside your home or otherwise made a levy on your belongings outside - most notably a car - then he is powerless. he has no automatic right of entry nor can he force entry if he has not gained entry previously, any threats of locksmiths, police, arrest, imprisonment etc are just that - he can do none of them. You should also write to them - no phone calls - and find out exactly what they have charged in fees. here's an example you can use, adapt as you see fit & send initially by email followed by a copy in the post - please not this will not stop him attending in the meantime:



My Name

My Address



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"


You will have to start making payment however & the easiest way is via online banking, Council website or automated phone. If doing this you will have to make an allowance for any lawful Bailiff fees and pay regularly - £10 every Thursday for example. In the meantime keep your doors locked at all times, windows firmly closed & hide the car. If he calls speak to him through the letter box or an upstairs window & try to record the conversation. He doesn't need water for his pills, to ring his sick granny etc.



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