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Marston Group Ltd - Relentless Bailiff

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Guest Challenger1

Good afternoon all.

 

I'd like to firstly explain my current situation, unfortunately, it may take a while.

 

Last year 2011 I was convicted of driving without adequate Motor Insurance. Although there were what I felt, litigating circumstance I refrained from attending the court myself and pleaded guilty by post. I also forwarded a means listing to assist the court when deciding their fine amount. The court completely ignored my means form and fined me £350 with the usual and expected licence penalty points.

 

I appealed the decision and attended 'High Court' hearing. The judge accepted that the litigating circumstance surrounding my conviction when provided with documentation. Whilst he acknowledged that driving without insurance was not within my character and a genuine error we moved swiftly on to the fine. The judge claimed that the court had not received my means form but listened to what I had to tell him.

 

I'm a recently discharged bankrupt who is not in receipt of any benefits, I rely solely upon my partner for financial support. The judge moved to his chambers to discuss the matter with his colleagues also sat at the bench with him. He returned and accepted my appeal reducing the fine to £115 that he clearly stated my partner would have to pay for me! I asked that the payment be made in two parts and he also accepted this offer. I left the court.

 

Approximately one month later I received a final steps notice. When the document came through the door and I saw it was from the courts I assumed it was instruction of how to pay the fine and when, not a final steps notice! Upon receipt I called the court and paid £65 with a view to paying £50 one month later. The next month was simply not a good month to pay, living out of my partners overdraft is not how I anticipated my financial predicament at this stage in life. Perhaps its pride or a simple case of sensitivity but I did not feel so compelled to ask my partner to pay considering her own levels of stress concerning our financial predicament. I naively figured it simply best to await the next month in the hope we would have enough to pay.

 

Less than one month later and the first communication from Marston Group arrived. It requested payment of the £50 fine plus £85 charges for the letter. I embarrassingly called my parents as asked for a £50 loan. I paid the £50 fine 'to the courts' the same day I received the letter. I also emailed Marston Group to ask if I could pay by instalment. Their reply email simply stated “We regret that we are unable to enter into long-term payment arrangements”.

 

The court replied with what I expect a usualletter stating that they had received payment for the £50 but advised that there was still a distress warrant against the account with - you guessed it 'The Marston Group'I then launched my dispute campaign: I wrote a complaint to the courts, I wrote a letter of complaint to Marston Group and I wrote to my MP and CC'd him in with my letters of complaint. My MP wrote a letter to the court also.

 

The Marston Customer 'Care' and Complaints team member replied quoting Part 52 but it is my understanding that this subsection would only be relevant should a Bailiff have already taken control of goods? So, I wrote them again and to my wrong doing I did not send the letter via recorded mail. My second complaint was therefore never granted a level up to stage two of their complaints procedure.

 

I had been awaiting further communication from my MP at this stage but none arrived. Simply put, the court has failed to respond to either of our complaints.

 

Last Friday we received a Bailiff visit from Marston Group. A Mr X. I was out of the house with a friend visiting the job local job centre and running some errands. My partners son (14yrs) was home alone sick from school and answered the door. X asked if anyone was home. He did what we have always requested of him, pretended someone was home and closed the door whilst he tried to call me. (I m,issed the call) he at this point simply thought it was someone with a package for me so he return to the door and told him that I was in the shower. X then got agitated and said 'oh! he's in the shower is he' 'I have a warrant of execution here and I need to see him now'.

 

My partners son, at this time not knowing anything about what was going on closed the door and locked it (Good lad!) X then opened the letterbox and shouted that he had a warrant and he was going force entry within the next few minutes if the boy did not go and see him at his van. X repeatedly tried the door handles and kept banging on the doors. After some twenty minutes X posted a card with serial number claiming amount outstanding was now £300 and a removal notice.

 

When I returned home a little over an hour later my partners son was understandingly in a state of shock from the ordeal. and despite my reassurances it has taken him a few days to calm down.

 

Over the weekend I have spent my time researching as best I could and here are the list of things I have now committed myself to.

 

- Filed a letter of complaint to the Chief Superintendent in relation to the child and the vulnerable call. I have also raised issue with 1. Threat to Cause Criminal Damage, Section 2(1), Criminal Damage Act 1971 & 2. Threatening Letter, Section 1(1)(a)(ii), Malicious Communications Act 1988.

 

- I have complained to the court 'again'

- I have complained to Marston Group again

- I have CC'd my MP into everything and requested that he now raise the matter with the Parliamentary Ombudsman

- I have filed a 'Credit Fitness' report/complaint to The Office Of Fair Trading citing the following breaches of legislation

 

(i)Physical/psychological harassment 3.7 (i) (j) (o) (q)

(ii)Deceptive and/or unfair methods 3.9 (f) (k)

(iii)Unfair or Improper Business Practices 3.1

(iv)Charging for debt recovery 3.10, 3.11 (a) (d)

(v)Debt collection visits 3.13 (a) © (f) (g)

 

- At my partners request I have placed a removal of right of implied access notices in front and rear property windows.

- My parttner has emailed Marston Group stating that she is the sole Tenant for this property and has been for some twelve years plus. She has warned Marston Group that any attempt to subvert or rebuke her notice will result in an invalid levy which will result in a Form 4.

 

Yesterday whilst I was away from the house again printing documents and posting al relevant informations X visited again this time leaving a FINAL NOTICE !

 

Now I'm worried! I moved in with my partner directly after Bankruptcy with nothing other than my clothes and a few unvaluable personal posessions. Everything of value in this house is hers. What more can I possibly do?

 

Any advice in relation to this matter will be greatly received.

 

Thank you for taking the time out to read my thread.

Edited by ims21
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Someone will look in on you soon.


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I am sorry but as I am at work I cannot read all of your post right now. Can you confirm that you had paid the full amount of the fine BEFORE a visit had been made. Also, are Marston Group enforcing the warrant just for their fees?

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Guest Challenger1

Fine was paid on the day I received first Marston letter. So answer to question: YES fine was paid BEFORE any visit & so in-turn Marston Group are effectively just about to enforce for their fees alone.

 

Enforcement Officer X also claims via hand written info on back of removal notice (Fri) "Rejected Court payment - Transferred + balance reduced"

 

Final notice claims that upon the next visit the fees will be for £600 to also include Enforcement & Removal costs. On back of Final Notice(Mon) Your notice on the window does not apply to a magistrates distress warrant (Criminal matter not civil)"

 

Court letter states: Your recent payment has been credited against your fine - (in which case the fine was settled) However the court letter does continue - The authorised enforcement agent has been informed. They will deduct the amount you owe from the amount outstanding on the warrant.

 

Thanks

 

Winds me up; On the Final Notice where the officer should tick the box to say when he's coming back, i.e. Evening, Morning, After 7, Weekend - X just placed a question mark next to them. This was one of the breaches of legislation I raised with the OFT. So, I have no idea when to expect him and life is pretty much on stand still. I've even had to refrain from attending a doctors appointment today with my partners relative for whom we care for.

Edited by Challenger1

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Guest Challenger1

Hello again, sorry to be bumping this topic but I'm becoming increasingly anxious in relation to the imminent visit I've been promised. It would really be a big help if someone could shine a little light on how to act if/when X turns up at the door again. I appreciate we each have lives away from forum threads.

 

'If' it looks like X is about to force entry then of course I will open the door but other than that, is there any point in speaking with him through the window or is simply best left with the paperwork I have submitted left, right and centre.

 

I'm just really confused to be honest. So much mixed information on the internet. Some forums tell people that they can't force entry 'even for a distress warrant', it must be peaceful and others say that they have every right. Would be absolutely fantastic if someone who understands much more than I could give some firm advice to follow. Everything I have done has been taken from forums and websites all over the place.

 

Thanks again for any assistance/advice anyone may be able to give...

Maybe stop my brain ticking all night again. :)

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Yes they have a right of forced entry but to do so is usually reserved for persistent offenders who treat this as a game. He should also have an order from the Court allowing this to happen.

 

You say the fine is paid but they (Marstons) say payment refused, you do need to see what state your fine is at, phone the Court or otherwise do you have proof your last payment was actually made - bank statement or similar.


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Guest Challenger1

Hi ploddertom,

 

Thanks for your reply at such a late hour. My partner has just checked her internet banking and the payment is clearly listed:

 

04 Oct 12 HMCOURTS-SERVICE.G CD 1362 DEB £50

 

I also have the letter from the court dated 04th Oct 2012 - stealth1.org/court-receipt.png

 

They clearly state that the amount has been credited to the fine which would therefore take it to £0.0

 

I will call the court first thing and ask what is the status of the fine.

 

Surely (In my eyes, anyway) any amount outstanding on the warrant is contracted between the court and Marston. Not myself and Marston. So, the part I don't understand, how can the court then justify forceful entry on a property if there is no fine! Baffled, bemused & bewildered.

 

Thanks again! I will get details of fine state and post, my guess (Hope) is they say that there is not one. - Perhaps I should record the conversation.

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Thanks for that. When did you get your letter from Marstons? Prior to this did you receive a Further Steps Notice from the Court? I appreciate you may have answered these previously but it helps us all to go over them again a little.


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Guest Challenger1

The court never sent any notice of who to pay, when to pay or where to pay. I received nothing in writing to say that my fine had been reduced after appeal. 'Nothing' Then out of the blue, one month after appeal, the first and 'ONLY' letter I received from them in relation to the fine was a further steps notice.

 

First contact from Marston Group Letter dated 01st Oct but received on the 04th October - the day I paid.

 

Thanks

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I would argue the point they did not give you the necessary information you required to pay the original fine. As for Marstons, in my view if you have to pay there is only the £85 they could ask for and not a penny more.

 

There is an agreement between HMCTS & Marstons allowing them to charge these fees. There is nothing to say you actually have to and it may be worth asking what regulation allows them to do so, it may not even be enforceable.


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Guest Challenger1

Great. Always good to get a fresh angle/perspective on things. I will draft a couple of letters in the morning.

 

Cheers ploddertom, good night.

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Guest Challenger1

Good morning all,

 

Just recorded a telephone conversation with the court - *Confirmed that, in her words

 

Court Staff Member: "The amount outstanding with the court is settled but there is still an amount outstanding with the bailifs"

Funny way of putting it. I then asked,

Me: "So the fine is settled then"

Court Staff Member:"YES"

 

I then asked why I was never informed of who to pay, when to pay and how to pay and only ever received a further steps notice. She gave two answers.

 

Court Staff Member: "When you left the court you knew you had to pay the amount"

Me: "I don't deny that fact, but it does not answer my question, I was never told who to pay, how to pay or when to pay"

Court Staff Member: "when you got your first letter in January, before you appealed, there would have been instruction of payment on the back"

Me: "But they were two different courts, One was a Magistrate, the other, the high court."

 

I repeated my initial question;

Court Staff Member: "I can't tell you whether any other documentation was ever sent or not"

 

Convenient....

 

Line of the day ' "The amount outstanding is settled" ...

 

Great to know you can trust that the court employs highly trained and concise staff.

Edited by Challenger1

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Did you think to ask what Rule/Regulation requires you to pay the Bailiffs? Would be interesting to hear that answer.


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That conversation if it also contained the answer to ploddertoms question above would be good in any Complaints sent to Court Manager and MP.


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Guest Challenger1

OK, just called them back and recorded again.

 

First chap said he could not possibly answer that and that I would need to speak with his supervisor. He put me through. I asked the supervisor "What rule or regulation requires me to pay a bailiff"

 

She couldn't answer!

 

"I'm not legally trained to answer that question, I would need to ask one of our legal advisor's but they are all in court today"

 

She took my number and said she can't promise it will be today but that it would probably be tomorrow. She just kept saying, if I could just explain... Waffling on about my case, why warrants of distress come about, why I got one etc. I kept saying, I'm fully aware of all that but it does not answer my question. Crikey! they like telling you what you already know.

 

We shall see what tomorrow brings in terms of an answer to this question. My phone is set to auto record all calls so I will have it all backed up.

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Guest Challenger1

Just got an emailed reply from the OFT:

 

Consumer Credit Act 1974 (the Act)

Complaint against: Marston Group Limited Licence No: 0333059

 

Thank you for your email of 26 November 2012 in which you complain about the company above (Marston Group).

 

I understand that Marston Group have been pursuing you for an outstanding debt and you raise numerous concerns with regards to unfair and intimidating debt collection practices employed by this trader. For instance, I understand that on one occasion a Mr X visited your home and threatened your partner’s fourteen year old son, who was at home alone, that he would forcibly enter the property.

 

In your email you helpfully set out the ways in which you believe that Marston Group have breached OFT guidelines on debt collection, and these have been duly noted.

 

I can confirm that the business you mention holds a consumer credit licence. Under the Consumer Credit Act, holders of consumer credit licences must be fit and competent to do so and the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has a duty to monitor the fitness and conduct of all traders who hold such a licence.

 

As you are aware, the OFT has issued guidance to consumer credit licence holders engaged in the debt collection industry. The guidance is intended to ensure that debt collectors treat individuals fairly. Non-compliance with this guidance will call into question the fitness of licence holders and applicants.

 

We have therefore recorded the details of your complaint, and we will consider this alongside any other complaints we have received with a view to any consumer credit licensing or other action we may decide to take. If we do take any action against this trader we may need to contact you again in the future. Unfortunately, we cannot disclose any details about any action we may take, due to legal restrictions on the OFT relating to disclosure of information.

 

While we are very sorry to hear about the difficulties you have been experiencing with Marston Group, you may be aware that the OFT has no authority to become involved in individual disputes between consumers and traders so we cannot advise you directly in this matter.

 

Should you require assistance with your individual circumstances, you may wish to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). FOS can help with most complaints about consumer credit products and services if the consumer has failed to satisfactorily resolve the matter directly with the consumer credit licensee itself. FOS can be contacted at:

 

The Financial Ombudsman Service

 

Thank you again for writing to us and bringing this matter to our attention.

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Guest Challenger1

Hi all,

 

Just called the court again, as they failed to call back as requested.

 

Supervisor X would not speak to me and requested that I was transferred through to area manager X

 

Area manager X said that they have just received my letter of complaint. "Funny that, they have not responded to my previous complaint or letter from my MP" Now all of a sudden, after a phone call "They did" & what's more they have apparently responded too!

 

Area Manager X has said that she has covered everything in a reply sent to me today so she would not bother explaining over the phone as its all in the letter. I asked, does the letter also respond to my question in relation to which rule or regulation stipulates that I must pay the bailiff. She replied, 'YES it does'.

 

Will see what they have to say upon receipt of the letter.

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Guest Challenger1

A couple of other things, During the phone call above, at no point was I asked to provide my address. Is that a breach of data protection? Maybe not, because they did not really speak about my account specifically. Just to say a letter was in the post.

 

Ploddertom, you mentioned that I may be liable, or they could ask me for the £85. Is £85 a fair fee to charge someone for a letter? Thanks.

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A couple of other things, During the phone call above, at no point was I asked to provide my address. Is that a breach of data protection? Maybe not, because they did not really speak about my account specifically. Just to say a letter was in the post.

 

Ploddertom, you mentioned that I may be liable, or they could ask me for the £85. Is £85 a fair fee to charge someone for a letter? Thanks.

 

I wouldnt have said so at all. I understand that you can make claims against Mortgage companies for charging ridiculous fees such as though and they are only supposed to charge at cost.


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Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Guest Challenger1

Just received an emailed response from Marsden Group... It would appear that, out of the blue, everyone is starting to do things by the book!

 

Mail contained the following:

 

Thank you for your e-mail received the 27th November 2012. It is regretted that you were unhappy with our previous response.

 

Your complaint/enquiry will now be escalated to stage 2 of our Complaints Procedure. X the Complaints Team Manager will review the case and ensure all matters have been addressed and respond accordingly.

 

Does anyone think that the Bailiff will be back now I have got this acknowledgement (Or at least whilst the case in under complaint investigation) ?

Edited by Challenger1

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Guest Challenger1

Received a letter from the court this morning. Looks like the Bailiffs may be returning the debt to HMCS.

 

Would appreciate, those with better informed knowledge and understanding than I taking a look at the Law (Or the managers interpretation of it) within the letter, and letting me know your opinions on what has been stated.

 

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/107581975/court-reply.png

 

Also any advice in relation to what to do now. I have a complaint escalated to Stage two with Marston, I have my MP raising the matter with the Parliamentary Ombudsman and a complaint in with the Police superintendent. Do I, should I expect absolute conformation from the court that this matter has been dropped prior to writing to any/all of the above to request cancellation/retraction of my actions / complaints. (& Indeed, will the court even write to confirm this or is it up to me to find out) All advice much needed and welcomed.

 

Further to the above and 'should' this matter come to a close for me. Is there anything I should consider in terms of perhaps continuing to pursue certain complaints in order that I may somehow help others in the future.

 

Thank you

Edited by Challenger1

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I am sure those with more experience and knowledge of this situation will look in on you soon.

 

If it were me, I dont think I would want to cease following up any complaints. Even if the responses were that this matter has now been resolved - I think you need to follow through. .. just my opinion :)


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1: Making a PPI claim ? - Q & A's and spreadsheets for single premium policy -

HERE

2: Take back control of your finances -

Debt Diaries

3: Feel Bullied by Creditors or Debt Collectors?

Read Here

4: Staying Calm About Debt

Read Here

5: Forum rules - These have been updated -

Please Read

 

 

BCOBS

 

2: Does your Bank play fair - You can force your Bank to play Fair with you

3: Banking Conduct of Business Regulations - The Hidden Rules

4: BCOBS and Unfair Treatment - Common Examples of Banks Behaving Badly

5: Fair Treatment for Credit Card Holders and Borrowers - COBS

 

 

 

Advice & opinions given by citizenb are personal, are not endorsed by Consumer Action Group or Bank Action Group, and are offered informally, without prejudice & without liability. Your decisions and actions are your own, and should you be in any doubt, you are advised to seek the opinion of a qualified professional.

 

PLEASE DO NOT ASK ME TO GIVE ADVICE BY PM - IF YOU PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR THREAD THEN I WILL BE HAPPY TO OFFER ADVICE THERE:D

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Guest Challenger1
I am sure those with more experience and knowledge of this situation will look in on you soon.

 

Well I had hoped so citizenB but it would appear no one did :(

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Challenger, I am in a very similar situation and want to make a complaint against marsdens for using unfair collection practices and threatening behaviour, to retrieve their fees! (£300! which we knew nothing about until our car was clamped this morning) This has left us both (my husband also) unable to go into work. This is the result of a fine for driving through an amber light, of which we have already paid off the £500 fine to the courts...

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