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My OAP parents are being harrassed for £25k by bailifs.


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Hi, my first post, hopefully someone can give me some advice. Sorry it’s a long one...

 

Ok, my father who is now 71 used to be 'acting president' for a Working Mans Club (WMC) for a period of about 12 months, its a voluntary position in an organisation which is run by a committee of trustees and all users of the club are paying 'club members' (sorry if its already confusing, im not completely clear on the structure of the WMC myself).

 

He was just a regular in the club and a long term member, he was voted in to this temp position by the trustees, he accepted.

 

It was agreed throughout the trustees that new equipment was required and therefore they decided to enter into two leasing arrangements for this equipment.

 

The Secretary arranged and signed the leases (which state the hirer as the WMC) and my father countersigned the agreements with his position stated as well. This was back in 2008.

 

The club made regular payments for the next few months, in this time my father stepped down from his position and returned to being just a member of the club, not long after the club secretary also left her post.

 

Between the above and now, the club has new ownership and has been renamed. My father still uses the club.

 

About 3 weeks ago a bailiff knocked on my parents door stating that they had a court order to remove possessions to the sum of 25k... my parents were given paperwork to say the courts had ruled that my father and the ex secretary were liable for the non payment (and interest added) of the above agreements!! The lease payments were being made during the time my father and the secretary were in their positions but it seems that the club discontinued paying anything after that!!

 

But neither my father nor the ex-secretary have had a single letter, call or visit before the visit from the bailiff!!

 

But there has been a court hearing and ruling and we have not heard from anyone at any time until 3 weeks ago!!

 

My parents managed to get a stay of execution while they look into things... they got a copy of the agreements from the courts. Both agreements state that the hirer is 'the WMC' and my father’s signature is on both of them, along with the ex-secretaries. There are no other personal details on there of either my father or the ex-secretary. We are not even sure how they got the personal addresses.

 

We have an account statement for both leases that shows the clubs payments stop suddenly, and then there are letter costs, interest charges, non payment charges etc...

 

My parents do not qualify for legal aid, they can’t afford a solicitor. They have requested all courts notes as we cannot really understand the grounds on what the courts deem my father responsible and not the club itself... the courts have told us that we have to pay £80 just for the notes with a view to getting a new hearing.

 

I was hoping that someone might be able to shed some light on this matter for me? My parents do not need this kind of stress at their age... Do you think the finance company is just trying its luck? shouldnt they be harrassing the new club owners?

 

I just cant imagine signing an agreement on behalf of an organisation then leaving the company but still being personally liable for any eventualities on that agreement!!

 

Sorry this post is long, if you have any questions then please ask.

 

Thanks in advance for any help you can give, apologies if this should have been in a different forum.

 

Glenn

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Welcome to the site.

We have had a couple of these scenarios before.

Usually it is for Satelite TV /AV packages or music systems,which are often supplied at inflated prices.

There can be 2 or 3 parties involved,a broker/a supplier/installer and then the finance.

RBS were doing finance for lots of these agreements.

Sometimes the finance companies/banks will farm collection out to companies such as Daniel Silverman who tend to end up with a lot of these agreements and add on charges.

Have you actually seen copies of the agreements ?

In what capacity were they signed ? (what does it say after the name )

 

So it looks like the claim forms were served to the club and no one dealt with them so the Court gave Judgment by default.

So I assume that an application is being made to have the Judgment set aside to defend ?

Can you find out what names are on the claim form ?

Also has the club changed its name from when the agreement was taken out ?

Are the items/equipment listed in the agreement still in the club ?

It is likely that there will be a good deal of charges for missed payments/default notices etc.

I have seen one case in which the bank was asking for £8,000 and over £1200 of that was added charges and fees.

I think we need to have more info-also who filed the claim.

It is unusual for finance companies themselves to file claims,it is likely that they have assigned (sold the account)

There is normally a process of letters and requests too well before enforcement action-in some cases they will send collectors to try and repo the goods listed.

Its strange that no one dealt with any letters.

Can you answer the questions posed above,and give the names of all those involved if you have them;

 

1.The Bank/Finance Company

 

2.The supplier/installer.

 

3.The company who brokered the deal.

 

4The name of the Bailiff firm.

 

5.Whether any of the equipment is still on the site.

 

6.The condition and whether there is anyone at the club who is aware of any problems with the leased equipment.

 

(I know of one case in which the supplier failed to update the sports card package as was required which meant that the services were not available)

 

I think there needs to be copy statements made available too.

 

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Suggest your father and the secretary at the time, put in an application to set aside the CCJ asap, but to do this you need a copy of the judgement. Speak to the court about whether you need to do 1 set aside each or a joint one. The set aside is on the basis of not having been issued with the court claim and therefore were unable to defend. Also being named as defendents for a claim, where you were just in temporary roles within a working mans club, where the contracts with the original creditor, where with the working mans club, not individual members of the board of the club.

 

What Insurance did the club have at the time your father was a trusteee. Was there any form of legal cover, which might help him ? Also he should look into who was responsible for the accounts at the time. Is there an accountant and/or solicitor that was used by the WMC at the time, who may be able to help.

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I forgot to add too,are either of the agreements regulated under the Consumer Credit Act ? What was the total amounts for each one ?

I am fairly sure that typically most of these are,therefore there should be protection under the act.

Have a happy and prosperous 2013 by avoiiding Payday loans. If you are sent a private message directing you for advice or support with your issues to another website,this is your choice.Before you decide,consider the users here who have already offered help and support.

Advice offered by Martin3030 is not supported by any legal training or qualification.Members are advised to use the services of fully insured legal professionals when needed.

 

 

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This matter may be subject to Trustee Law. I am a charity trustee and there are rules that apply to contracts entered into by trustees. Was the WMC registered as a charity or a friendly or a provident society by any chance?

 

Usually, a trustee is liable for any debts that were incurred and and remain unsatisified from when they were serving as a trustee. However, once they relinquish their status and duties as a trustee, liability is then truncated for any debts incurred after they leave office.

 

The OP states that his father and the former secretary both ensured lease payments were made during their periods of office, but those who took over failed to maintain them. One other thing that has to be remembered with trustees is that they are all jointly and severally liable whilst in office.

 

My gut-feeling is that the leasing company has treated this as a commercial matter and have hired a legal professional who is familiar with Commercial Law, but not with Trustee Law. I agree that Set Aside is an immediate priority and that an explanation needs to be forthcoming as to why the OP's father received no court papers. This could come back on the leasing company and the current trustees of the WMC.

Edited by old bill
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If it was subject to a trust, then as per oldbill, leasing company have dealt as if Commercial, and they may be digging a hole in terms of ultimate liability. Set aside and as a first action a stay against the enforcement should be obtained.

We could do with some help from you.

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Apologies, I`ve deleted my original answer.

Read and posted in haste, given the size of the debt , I`ve assumed this has gone to an HCEO rather than a court bailiff

Edited by sweep1
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What is most important is that we know what the status of the WMC was when the OP's father was chairperson. Trustee law does lay down a lot of conditions on trustees, bute it also provides some protections. Could the OP please post this information up as set aside and stay of execution need to be applied for as a matter of priority. If the judgement and writ have been obtained wrongfully, then an order to strike-out may need to be sought instead.

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Dates and exact terms of the Trust and the trusteeship will be key I believe - once the matter is set aside. Trust law can be complex and the terms of the Trust matter a great deal.

 

A word of caution - do not confuse Trustee Law with Trust Law. The two are quite separate from each other. In the case this thread deals with, it is likely that Trustee Law applies, in which case, order to strike-out may be more appropriate than set aside, or both may be appropriate.

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Hi all, firstly I would like to say thanks for your support so far. My parents today applied for the case to be Set Aside and have provided additional information as to their position in this situation in hope that the case is thrown out.

Ok, I will try and answer your questions the best I can based on information I got today from my father and the ex-secretary... however I am finding it very difficult to get any concrete info on the Working Mens Club in question, no one seems to know really whether it is a Trust or indeed a Commercial organisation, its ownership or management seems very hazy.

One thing I would point out, there seems to be assumption here that my father was a Trustee, in fact he wasn’t, neither was the ex-secretary whom I will name as Jackie from here on, but I understand that the club did have Trustees. My dad was just a member, he then became a Committee Member (voluntary, basically wore a badge and helped move along punters at closing time), he was requested to sit in as acting president for a period of time... Jackie's role was Club Secretary which was a paying job.

  • The club in question was the Dagenham Working Mens Club, it has been taken over in 2012 and is now called DWMC2. It suffered bad financial difficulties and nearly closed prior to two investors taking over and refurbishing the place this year.
  • The Finance Company in these two agreements is Bank of Scotland Leasing.
  • The Leasing Companies are Tower Leasing and Admiral Leasing.
  • We dont know the name of the installer.
  • The bailiff is from HCE (High Court Enforcement)
  • I do have copies of the agreements which were sent to us from the court, although one of these agreements is barely legible as the print is very bad (my father has requested another copy).
  • Agreement 1 (Tower):
  • The form title is 'Hire Agreement Regulated by he Consumer Credit Act 1974'
  • The Hirer is stated as Dagenham Working Mens Club.
  • In box asking for 'signature', both Jackie and my father has signed.
  • In box asking for 'name printed' only Jackie’s name is there with her title in brackets beside her name.
  • In box asking for position my father has wrote his name with no position stated, so they haven’t filled the form correctly.
  • there is a section called 'Declaration for exemption relating to business (it says something in brackets to do with Consumer Credit Act but I cant quite read it. the paragraph under it says something in terms of 'we understand that we will not have the benefit and remedies that would be available under the consumer credit act if this agreement were regulated under this act' it is too difficult to read after this but im not sure if they have waived their rights to this protection... there is no signatures in this section... sorry I cannot really read this section very well.
  • The next section is the Direct Debit instruction to the bank. Here in the box - 'Name of Account Holders' it has been written in 'Trustees of Dagenham Working Mans Club'. Jackie and my father have signed it.
  • There is a statement of account for the agreements which shows regular monthly payments were made from Aug 08 until May 09. Both my father and Jackie had left by then. Then there are no more payments but charges continue until Apr 10 and the final arrears show as £11,192.00 which inc settlement charge of £8079.00. (there are 'letter' and 'collection' fees stated in the statement).
  • Agreement 2 (Admiral, trading name of Universal Leasing)
  • Same form title as agreement 1.
  • Hirer is named as Dagenham Working Mens Club.
  • Both my father and Jackie have signed and both have put their printed names and titles in the correct location. They also appear to have a witness signature.
  • No mention of a waiver of Consumer Credit Act on this agreement.
  • Statement of account is supplied, it shows regular payments were made between Sept 08 until June 09. no more payments made after this date but charges continued until March 10. Arrears ended at £4,587.78 inc settlement fee of £3,445.36 (there are 'letter' and 'unpaid DD' fees stated in the statement).

Ok so that’s the two agreements.

The agreements were sent to us on the 3rd Sept 2012 with a letter from HCE (High Court Enforcement), It states 'Bank of Scotland Equipment Finance Limited' v (1) Jackie (2) my father. It then goes on to say please find enc agreement. Please contact our office ASAP to discuss how this matter will be discharged. Thats about it, there is no data stating what their claim against my father is based on.

Other info:

  • Leased Equipment was still on site when Jackie left (after my father stood down) but that would have been before account went into arrears. im not sure if it is still there.
  • No problem or fault with any of the equipment that we know of.
  • Jackie seems to think the club was registered either as commercial or provident but she is not 100% sure (sorry i know this doesnt help much).
  • There was apparently no insurance cover or legal representation at the club at the time of the agreement. There was another person who did look after the accounts though, I wonder if we should contact him to get his take on what occurred post June 2009?

Thanks again, please ask further questions if needed.

Glenn

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Hi all, sorry i meant to say that i have also searched the net for any public records that may give us some indication as to how the Club is registered... but i cannot find anything of use. The current web site is dwmc2.co.uk

 

Thanks again

 

Glenn

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Hi

 

Thanks for the update now does your father or jackie know if there was any insurance cover for the club at the time.

 

Were the Committee Members Including your Father and Jackie not given copies of there roles as Committee Members and the Rules.

 

Also this link to the History of the Club although its from the dwmc2 that took over from previous DWMC that Father and Jackie were part of may be of use: http://www.dwmc2.co.uk/#History

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";A word of caution - do not confuse Trustee Law with Trust Law"; What ! ! ! never seen a text book on "Trustee Law" and it is a phrase unknown to Halsbury's. There is no branch of law called "Trustee Law";. Alastair Hudson's site is worth a look for those interested in making a start. Or Halsbury's on Trusts of course, which lays out Trustee liabilities.

Edited by lamma
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";A word of caution - do not confuse Trustee Law with Trust Law"; What ! ! ! never seen a text book on "Trustee Law" and it is a phrase unknown to Halsbury's. There is no branch of law called "Trustee Law";. Alastair Hudson's site is worth a look for those interested in making a start. Or Halsbury's on Trusts of course, which lays out Trustee liabilities.

No most law boks are based on Trust, and Trustee law will likely be something contained therin, as in liabilities and responsibilities of a trust trustees so to speak.

We could do with some help from you.

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H.C.E. is mainly a Private Company who advertise collection of amounts over £600, there has been talk before that the name can be mis leading as they may only be normal Bailiffs services but not actual County Court Bailiffs, if I remember correctly.???

 

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It appears the club were members of the WMCIU. Is it worth seeing if they can help ? Perhaps the clubs association details were registered ? Or they can offer help with such problems ?

 

http://www.wmciu.org.uk/

 

Benefits of Membership

These (amongst others) are:

 

  • Advocacy and defence of clubs in the legislative and other public spheres.
  • Legal and other advice for clubs.
  • Use of its convalescent home.
  • Assistance in legal proceedings where matters of club principles are involved.
  • Assistance in educational work.
  • Day, spring, summer and autumn schools.
  • Indoor and outdoor competitions in every area.
  • Admission to other Union Clubs under reciprocal conditions.

We could do with some help from you.

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";A word of caution - do not confuse Trustee Law with Trust Law"; What ! ! ! never seen a text book on "Trustee Law" and it is a phrase unknown to Halsbury's. There is no branch of law called "Trustee Law";. Alastair Hudson's site is worth a look for those interested in making a start. Or Halsbury's on Trusts of course, which lays out Trustee liabilities.

 

That's strange, Lamma, because, as a charity trustee, I have to comply with the Trustee Act as well as the Charities Act. And the charity I am involved with is not a trust. We may be at cross-purposes here. If the WMC was charitable/benevolent organisation, the Charities Act and certain parts of the Trustee Act apply.

 

If the OP's father was not a trustee, something very odd is going on because the trustees are liable for debts, not the members, unless the WMC was a company limited by guarantee, in which case, members are liable for a set sum, usually one guinea (£1.05) or as otherwise stipulated by statute.

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Nothing strange about that at all as the name of an Act does not create a branch of law. I suggest you consult Halsbury's on Trusts. I agree that something odd is going on in this case. We need to know what documents were signed by the poster's father - if any. The set of documents, for the Trust and the Club may clarify things - or they may complicate things if they were poorly drafted. The key question is how does any purported liability arise if at all. Only the documents will tell us. At the moment we do not even know the nature of the Trust.

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