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Crazy Diamond

Intrigued by "council tax enforcement" company and its legality, experts required, please!

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This letter arrived to my address today, and as it was the right surname, I didn't pay attention further and opened it.

 

When I saw it was apparently from Council Tax, I thought "now what?" and then on reading further, the penny dropped that it wasn't addressed to us nor had anything to do with us at all. Fishing expedition? Oh yes, I think so...

 

Anyway... I was just going to send the letter back with a terse "you got the wrong person, naff off", but out of curiosity, I examined said letter a bit closer, and then decided to scan it for your perusal.

 

You see, there are a few things bothering me here; the fishing expedition I can handle, BUT it seems to me that these people are misrepresenting themselves and lying to the person:

 

1st of all, it says they are "authorised to recover council tax by the council". Says who? Where is their authority?

 

Then it says a liability order was granted... but no LO number is quoted, not on this page nor any other and in fact in the next page there is a blank next to the "court hearing" (this isn't me deleting it, there was nothing there).

 

Then there is the "you may be liable for a fine of up to £1000...". Again, says who? They're not bailiffs, they're not the council, is is an offence to refuse to give perfect strangers all your financial information on the basis of "we say so" and a badly photocopied official council logo?

 

Finally, the last page against refers to the Liability Order and the duty to supply the information... but carefully doesn't specify to whom said info needs be supplied.

 

In short, it all sounds very fishy. I would even have discarded at a [problem] full stop, but the company's own website (ok, no proof of anything as such, I know) seems to show them as semi-legitimate "service providers" to a few local authorities.

 

I don't know, I smell a rat, RLP or PPC style... people pretendign to have more authority than they really do, skirting around the truth to try and bully people into paying without questioning...

 

What do you guys think?

 

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You will probably find your answers within

The Local Authorities (Contracting Out of Tax Billing, Collection and Enforcement Functions) Order 1996

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1996/1880/contents/made


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I dont seem to be able to find anything linking them to London Borough of Croydon.

 

I guess you need to contact the Council themselves !


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God no, not my problem as it were! I'm sending the letter back with a terse "cease and desist" and that's as far as it goes, I was just intrigued as to whether this was another con trying to convince poor souls to pay where they don't have to, that's all. Remember that's how it started with debt collectors and the likes of RLP, pretending to have rights over us when they didn't. Maybe I'm just paranoid. (which does't mean they're not all up to no good!)

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Crydon have contracted Northgate to deal with aspects of council tax billing and collection - the regulations have been posted earlier - and empowered to act as an agent of the council and can undertake any tasks of council tax billing and collection that the council allow them to.

 

It appears that a Liability Order has been granted against the named party for non payment and presumably somewhere along the line they believe that person may be resident at your address. Returning the letter indicating the person is not at your address should suffice.

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Crydon have contracted Northgate to deal with aspects of council tax billing and collection - the regulations have been posted earlier - and empowered to act as an agent of the council and can undertake any tasks of council tax billing and collection that the council allow them to.

 

It appears that a Liability Order has been granted against the named party for non payment and presumably somewhere along the line they believe that person may be resident at your address. Returning the letter indicating the person is not at your address should suffice.

 

Thanks, yes I completely understand the reason of how and why it's happened.

 

My niggles are really about the legality of the way it is done.

 

As you say, it "appears" that a LO has been granted... yet there is no LO number on the letter anywhere.

It would "appear" that Croydon have sub-contracted the company, yes, but it is unclear what exactly are the company's boundaries. If there is no LO for example, are they not breaking the law by saying there is and trying to coerce the person in paying?

It's all very well the council sub-contracting, but does the sub-contractor have any actual right to threaten a FINE for refusal to give the info to them, a private contractor?

 

Do you see what I mean? Like when one gets a letter from a DCA that says that they are collecting a debt on behalf of x company but really bought it wholesale for pennies, when they say they "might" take one to court, that they "could" obtain all kind of charging orders and what not when really they can do no such thing unless they comply with a whole load of regulations but they just try to bully people into paying. That's what I'm driving at.

 

Anyway, thanks for all the answers, I think I'll just let it go for now as I have enough problems of my own to deal with at the moment. (none of them to deal with council tax for once, lol)

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