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Hi everybody, I'm new here.

 

I had a court fine dating back to 2009, and I had been paying it back until 2010, when I stopped paying due to financial difficulty. The fine relates to a road traffic incident.

 

I got back into contact with the court in September 2012 and they wanted the full balance of £340 paid there and then, they stated that I hadn't paid in a long while, which I appreciate, but I couldn't pay in full then. So I wrote to the court asking for some time to get together the money and was trying to hold them off.

 

I finally had all the money together around Christmas, this being at the same time I received a letter from a bailiff company, who wanted an extra £300 from me.

 

I paid the bailiff £350 earlier this month with an agreement to pay off the remainder in a couple of weeks, but I have since found out about bailiffs being unclear about what they are charging for. They have added £300 to the balance, making it £640.

 

I don't have the initial letter from the bailiff, but in a follow up letter, they say that they will add £215 to my account for a 'field visit'.

 

However, I've read somewhere that they can charge £85 for a letter and £215 for the field visit. This equals £300. Is this true? If so, how would I go about only paying what I truly owe? I want to clear the debt, but paying less would help me out greatly.

 

I've read that they can only charge reasonable fees for the work they carry out. Does £300 constitute reasonable?

 

Please help in whatever way you can, sorry if this is unclear, it is somewhat rushed.

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

Some of the forum guys seem to be around today, so I expect they'll be along later with advice for you.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Sorry, reading back on that, the figures may be confusing.

 

The balance on my original debt stood at £340.

The bailiff added £300 to the debt, making it £640.

 

I believe the £300 is broken down to £85 for a letter and £215 for a field visit as I have read.

 

The balance with the bailiff currently stands at £290, having paid £350.

 

Thanks Honeybee.

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Just to add, they haven't made a field visit as I made an agreement with them within the time frame set out by them. They were threatening a field visit (at a cost of £215) in the letter.

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I did hear that the fees charged are set on a local scale between the magistrates and the bailiff and to phone the magistrate to find out what these fees are, but having done so, the magistrates told me they cannot dictate what the bailiff charges as they're a private limited company and that would be "unfair", they also said that there is guidance, but whether the bailiff follows that guidance is up to them.

 

So basically, the court are pushing me into the hands of the bailiff, and I can guarantee what they will say if I need to phone them.

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For Magistrate Court Fines there is an agreement between HMCTS & the Enforcement Agencies for them to add £85 as an initial admin fee for each case they take on, if they make a visit to you they add an extra £215 - no visit no fee. Any monies you pay must pay your fine first with the Bailiff getting paid at the end. As they have not yet made a visit then all you should owe at present is £75.


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Thank you Ploddertom,

 

And with the Magistrates denying this is the case, how would I go about only paying £75 and them accepting this is the case?

 

Do I need to take a firmer stance with the court? Don't really want to contact the bailiff until next week (When I can pay the balance) as despite having an agreement to pay at a later date, I don't want them getting on their high horses, making a visit and charging the £215 'because they can' if you know what I mean.

 

What are my next steps?

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There is another scenario to this.

 

The agreement on charges is only between the Bailiffs & the Courts. You could therefore ignore the Bailiff - the fine is now paid in full and he may find it hard to enforce for his fees alone. Or keep schtum and pay the balance of what is left owing when you have it.


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Just been in contact with the bailiff and they say the court are aware of their fees, so the court lied to me.

 

They also said that the £215 was charged because they made a visit to a property I left in September 2011, and they made the visit in October 2012. They got the address from the court, but on their website, they say that the initial £85 covers 'tracing'. May I also note that the court had sent little postcards saying they know where I am to my current address.

 

So they have made a visit, but to a property I haven't lived in for well over a year, and I'm on the electoral role.

 

They did say that I could challenge the £215, but what is the liklihood of that going my way?

 

It's all a bit messed up. Sorry about that.

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Can the bailiff charge extra fees from now on even though I've paid them an amount which exceeds the original court fine?

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Just been in contact with the bailiff and they say the court are aware of their fees, so the court lied to me.

 

They also said that the £215 was charged because they made a visit to a property I left in September 2011, and they made the visit in October 2012. They got the address from the court, but on their website, they say that the initial £85 covers 'tracing'. May I also note that the court had sent little postcards saying they know where I am to my current address.

 

So they have made a visit, but to a property I haven't lived in for well over a year, and I'm on the electoral role.

 

They did say that I could challenge the £215, but what is the liklihood of that going my way?

 

It's all a bit messed up. Sorry about that.

 

If that is the case I would be tempted to tell the Bailiff a phrae he is quite used to hearing!

 

Remember Lesson No 1 - Bailiffs Lie - then go to Lesson 2

 

Lesson 2 - go to Lesson 1


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Can the bailiff charge extra fees from now on even though I've paid them an amount which exceeds the original court fine?

 

He will no doubt try but in my view as the fine is now paid - have the Court informed you that they have received their monies from the Bailiff - then there is nothing he can hold against you as a lever.


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Thanks for the excellent advice so far Ploddertom and it is very much appreciated.

 

So if I pay the extra £70ish which I believe is all I should reasonably owe now (For the first stage of the distress warrant = £85) and write a letter explaining why (Court sent them incorrect information, even though court knew my new address) I wont be paying and write a letter following a similar tone to the court, explaining their mistake which led to the £215 charge, is it likely that the £215 will be waivered? Honestly, this isn't my fault and I smell wrongdoing on the part of the court, who have, in kind words, been very difficult to deal with.

 

All I want to do is sort this and to be perfectly honest, it's not how I ever imagined, but the bailiffs have been more reasonable and helpful than the court fines department.

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the courts give the bailiff company all the infomation on debt, cost, address so you should ask the court those questions

 

85 admin includes trace and other assosiated costs in administration

 

however if a visit has been made to the property on the warrant of distress to an old address, the 215 will be added, its up to you to argue with the court proving you gave the court your most current address for them

just changing it on the electorol role is not enough

did you inform the court?

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I informed them in a telephone call that I no longer lived at my old address (Whether I gave my new address, I wont lie, I don't know) but the court already knew my new address, so I may not have told them over the phone on the presumption that they had been sending me little postcards to my new address for a couple of months before I phoned, reminding me of the debt.

 

Will that be good enough?

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The fee of £85 does include tracing as I would advise calling Marston Group to make it clear that you had contacted them within the right time frame and that you should therefore not have to pay for a personal visit.

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Thank you tomtubby. I've got a couple of letters to send out in the morning detailing the circumstances of the events.

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An update on my situation.

 

I've been to the CAB office (10 days ago) and they've written to the bailiff who want the money today and have been hassling my partner. The bailiff haven't yet responded to the letter from the CAB.

 

Today, I phoned the court to ask whether my money had been received (It has, in full) and I went on to ask what address they had for me.

 

The lady at the court responded by saying they had my new address in June (Court passed on to bailiff in September) and they gave the bailiff my current address. She added that the bailiff changed my address to my old address and only changed it back in December. Therefore, from my point of view, this is at the very least, an immoral practice to extort more money (Charged £215 for a visit at old address) from me. Going to the CAB office to explain the new circumstances and try and speak with the bailiffs from there.

 

Ohh, I forgot to add, I recorded this latest information.

 

What do you think?

 

I'm considering writing a lengthy letter to my local Trading Standards informing them of what has gone on. Other people will have been duped into paying more given this practice.

 

Is there any way they are going to get me to pay this disputed £215 now?

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I don't think that Trading Standards will touch it. These bailiffs will be contracted by the courts to collect the fines, so you should make a complaint to the court manager responsible for the bailiffs in the first instance. It is up to them to make sure bailiffs don't employ dubious practices to increase the fees. As they have tried to collect a fee for a visit to an old address, then they can forget about that one. They will probably say it was an innocent error and they will waive.


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An update on my situation.

 

I've been to the CAB office (10 days ago) and they've written to the bailifflink3.gif who want the money today and have been hassling my partner. The bailifflink3.gif haven't yet responded to the letter from the CAB.

 

 

they cant respond, under the DPA, unless you in writing or on a recorded phone call to them, give an express3rd party authorization to a named person at the CAB

 

Is there any way they are going to get me to pay this disputed £215 now?

the debt will be passed back to the court as unenforced in full as the full balance has not been paid with the balance of £215 i think you said

the courts will make a decision on weather to re-issue a warrant for this amount, and it is proberbly very likely as the courts have their money but the contrator to the court has not, the courts dont like this, weather the fee has been applied rightly or wrongly is a different matter and you would have to make representations to defend yourself in court

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Thanks Unclebulgaria,

 

Considering I'm waiting back on a response from them, can they take any action whilst it is in dispute? Also, can they come around and charge me £215 again for doing so, considering the fine is paid?

 

Sorry about this. Your help is much appreciated.

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