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I received a judgement from the courts saying I owed council tax to Mendip Council. I immediately started paying £30 per week every week to the council via my bank account.

 

Yesterday Equita turned up demanding the full amount PLUS £260 in charges for delivering the letter by hand.

 

I rang the council asking if they would consider asking the bailiffs to back off as I am paying them weekly. The bloke on the phone aknowledged I was paying regularly but said that the debt now belonged to Equita and that once I paid the council all monies I was paying the council were forwarded onto Equita.

 

Given that people are being advised to pay the council direct on here, rather than pay the Bailiffs, what exactly is the situation, as if I am paying the council directly and they are forwarding the money to Equita, it seems very very odd that Equita then have to send that money back to the council.

 

Can someone clear up what happens when I make payments directly to the council, and why, if what the man is saying is true, that money is being sent to Equita when its sole purpose is to clear off the arrears of council tax not pay Equita bailiffs ridiculous amounts of charges.

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The "person" from the Council is talking through his a**e. The chances are the"person" is not even a Council employee but from a company called Capita who administer most of their back office functions. In turn Capita own 2 Bailiff Co's one of whom happens to be Equita - do I need to say anymore. If you ring again ask if it is a Council employee you are speaking to or that of a private company, then ask to be transferred to someone in authority - Head of Revenues for example and ask the following questions:

1 - how many Liability Orders they have against you

2 - the dates they were obtained

3 - the addresses they were for

4 - the period of time each covers

5 - how much each one was for

6 - how much is still outstanding

7 - the dates they were passed on for enforcement

8 - the dates & amounts of any payments


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Equita appear to be fron tloading all fees these days so you should ask for a breakdown of the fees they are demanding. Here's an idea of what to send and best done 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"


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Plodderton, a quick check on google revealed this :-

 

http://www.mendip.gov.uk/NewsArticleM.asp?id=SXEB0-A7810470

 

It would appear that Capita are in fact running the administration of council tax on behalf of Mendip Council. Therefore, from what the bloke told me on the phone, the debt has been "sold" to Capita who have then passed it onto Equita for collection. Capita have of course taken all my payments ( which I assumed were going to the council ) and then passed them onto Equita, which amounts to basically keeping the money themselves and allowing Equita to charge me ridiculous amounts in charges.

 

I am not disputing the debt, hence the reason I am paying it at a rate I can afford, and the bloke on the phone gave me the exact figure that was owed in council tax up to date, which tallies with my figures.

 

It just scares me that people are being advised to pay the council direct when Capita could be administering the account on behalf of the council and they think they are paying the council when in fact they are not.

 

I am stuck now because the bailiff is threatening to remove goods and I simply cannot afford more than I am already paying. I offered the bailiff ( on the doorstep ) the same per week and he simply laughed and said "you need to wake up... if you think £30 per week is going to be enough.. You need this cleared off in 3 months as per government guidelines"

 

I could maybe skip other bills and manage to clear off the council tax alone if I needed to, but that would be pointless IF the monies I paid to the council are simply given to Equita and they just use those funds to pay the bailiffs first and the council debt never gets cleared.

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Equita are owned by Capita.

Mendip Council outsources debt recovery to, er, Capita!

 

I think you might have been misinformed by the monkey BUT I would rattle your Councillor(s) and your MP as the purpose of the exercise is to raise revenue for the council, not Crapita.

 

Any good local journos?

 

More specific advice will follow I'm sure 'cos I can't for the life of me work out the how or the why of a Council entering into such a stupid arrangement and what legal basis, if any, it can operate upon.

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Smouk, I have done a check and all council tax enquiries via telephone are to Capita and not the council, therefore they are not just running the debt recovery, they are administering the entire council tax collection on behalf of the council. Not only do they pass on those in arrears to themselves and whamming on huge charges, they are in fact acting AS the council when anyone rings to make enquiries or make payments.

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If it were me I would carry on as you are, if they want to play pass the parcel with your cash then that is up to them, you are paying in good faith. I actually tend to think they are just spinning you a yarn. As has been suggested involve your local Councillor(s) and tell them what you said here, with a bit of luck it should be light blue touch paper and retire. May make a good story for the local press.


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Thanks for your replies. A quick check on Google has revealed this

 

http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/images/stories/pdfs/bi_capita.pdf

 

Capita are most definitely using Equita as a money making exercise, under the guise of acting on behalf of the council. They have been given a license to print money and no one can do a thing about it.

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Thanks for your replies. A quick check on Google has revealed this

 

http://www.catherinesmyth.co.uk/images/stories/pdfs/bi_capita.pdf

 

Capita are most definitely using Equita as a money making exercise, under the guise of acting on behalf of the council. They have been given a license to print money and no one can do a thing about it.

 

 

I remember that article; it's the one where the senior fraud investigator of Northamptonshire police appeared to be on some sort of brown-paper-bag deal to dismiss allegations of fraud.

 

Whatever happened, it makes the following a very ironic statement from the Crown Prosecution Service, particularly the last paragraph:

 

 

 

This afternoon, Andrew Penhale, deputy head of fraud at the Crown Prosecution Service, said the amount of money involved was 'staggering'.

 

He said: 'Behind all the technical financial jargon in this case, the question for the jury was whether Kweku Adoboli had acted dishonestly, in causing a loss to the bank of $2.3bn. He did so, by breaking the rules, covering up and lying. In any business context, his actions amounted to fraud, pure and simple.

 

'The amount of money involved was staggering, impacting hugely on the bank but also on their employees, shareholders and investors. This was not a victimless crime.

 

'The CPS Central Fraud Division are pleased to have brought this case so quickly to conclusion, with the trial opening one year to the day after the case was reported to City of London Police. This is a tribute to the hard work and dedication of the whole prosecution team.

 

'People who commit fraud, in any walk of life, should know that the scale and technicality of a case is no barrier to bringing it to justice. At the heart of any complex fraud is a simple notion of dishonesty which is something that we can all understand.'

 

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If it were me I would carry on as you are, if they want to play pass the parcel with your cash then that is up to them, you are paying in good faith. I actually tend to think they are just spinning you a yarn. As has been suggested involve your local Councillor(s) and tell them what you said here, with a bit of luck it should be light blue touch paper and retire. May make a good story for the local press.

 

I am happy to keep paying, however when they wham on £240 a time in charges, then its going to take me a lifetime to pay off the debt. How can I settle the bill with the council if they wont accept my payment, and are giving hte money to Equita via Capita. When I make payments its not going to the council, its going to Capita.

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Fcumred, bailiffs lie and overcharge.

If you send off that letter of Ploddertom's to the Bailiff company asking for a breakdown of their fees, I suspect you will see a vastly different figure.

 

In the meantime, donot let them into your house and do not leave widows or doors unlocked as they are allowed to enter them.In addition if you have a car, keep it well

away from the house and lock up any garden furniture so they cannot effect a levy on any of your goods. Then carry on paying the Council.

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Fcumred, bailiffs lie and overcharge.

If you send off that letter of Ploddertom's to the Bailiff company asking for a breakdown of their fees, I suspect you will see a vastly different figure.

 

In the meantime, donot let them into your house and do not leave widows or doors unlocked as they are allowed to enter them.In addition if you have a car, keep it well

away from the house and lock up any garden furniture so they cannot effect a levy on any of your goods. Then carry on paying the Council.

 

Thats my whole point.. I have been paying the council but they are not receiving it because the bank account the money goes to belongs to Capita and they in turn are sending it to Equita.

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https://ip.e-paycapita.com/AIP/itemSelectionPage.do?link=showItemSelectionPage&siteId=255&languageCode=EN&source=AIP

 

this is the link you use to pay the council tax online. As you can see from the link above, you are not paying Mendip council, but paying Capita.

 

There is no way of paying the council direct, you are paying the company they use to run it, who in turn are not paying the council as I thought they were, but in fact paying Equita.

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If a bailiff turns up at my house to levy on goods, and I refuse to let him in, can he then levy on something as stupid as the potted plants I have in my garden. If he then does that, is he by law entitled to force entry to sieze goods that are not listed on the form he has to leave.

 

More importantly, if a bailiff were to gain access to the property and he levies against items, are those the only items that he can forcibly gain entry to recover. I haven't let him in, and certainly don't intend to do so, however I want to be sure that he can't levy against my prize Fuschia, then come and kick the door down and take away my 32" TV..

 

As I said, most probably a stupid question, but I just want to make sure I know where I stand.

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Well they can certainly try but there is history on the Bailiff who levied on a doormat, the Council were heavily criticised for allowing this to happen & it was overturned. If he has not gained entry to your home then there is no way he can force entry - he will have you believe he can and the paperwork will state they can remove in your absence, but this is only for the likes of a car, expensive garden furniture & the like outside. Just make sure he cannot gain entry to the home, If he knocks & you answer make sure if you go outside to lock the door behind you.


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I think this raises very controversial issues that need close scrutiny.....can a council simply opt out of its overall responsibilities for the collection of Council Tax?

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The outsourcing fad is still going strong - witness all the talk of "Easy-Councils" where the council merely acts as a point of procurement. In Cornwall, well in bed with Crapita on the revenues and benefits side, there was a big initiative to outsource almost everything else to BT....and the CE used to work for....? Yup! You guessed it, BT! Before them he worked for Serco.

 

Given that a business case can seemingly be built to justify almost any contractual arrangement without flagging up a conflict of interest then I wouldn't be surprised if the silly Burghers of Mendip had contemplated such a route. I will be surprised, not to say appalled, however if they have actually gone and done it.

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When two bailliffs turned up at my house within 48 hours, both demaning huge amounts of money, I read the advise given on here, and wrote to the bailliffs firms in question, and asked them for clarification of fees applied to my account.

 

Well as you can imagine, the bailliffs had added on massive amounts which are not on the list of fees they had applied to my account. In both cases they had added on about £260 in fees, and rather stupidly, neither of them had left as list of fees applied to the account, a clear breach of the guidelines they apparantly are supposed to adhere to.

 

What I want to know is, is it worth contacting BOTH the councils involved and showing them how the bailliffs are adding on excessive amounts of totally unenforcable fees, in the vain hope that I won't know the law and therefore will just pay them without question.

 

I have reached agreements with one of the bailliffs firms on a repayment plan, and it was only once I'd questioned the fees that they agreed on a plan. Prior to that they were insisting on full payment and that had to go to the bailliff with any fees that him coming to my house would incur.

 

Councils are 100% liable for the actions of bailliffs, and therefore if the bailliffs are proven to be lying, would it be worth pointing this out to the head of revenues at both councils and pointing out the actions the bailliffs are taking which are wholly illegal and unjustifiable.

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What debt are the bailiffs chasing ?


If i have helped in any way hit my star.

any advice given is based on experience and learnt from this site :-)

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The fees that a bailiff may charge are DIFFERENT for each type of debt being enforced.

 

Without knowing which debt was being enforced it is difficult to provide advice. Also, did a bailiff ever "levy" upon any goods (for instance...a motor vehicle) parked outside of your home.

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