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Hoping someone can help.

 

I received a letter last week from Equita Baliffs regarding alleged non payment of council tax.

 

As I have been on council tax benefit since 2008,

I was convinced that they had made a mistake but

 

upon telephoning the baliff he confirmed he had a case file and advised me to contact Birmingham City Council.

 

This I did and proceeded to go round in circles. The benefits department said it was the responsibility of the council tax department and vice versa.

 

It appears that this is related to a matter dating back to 2010, when my council tax benefit was temporarily stopped

due to them apparently not receiving documentation from myself.

 

I attended court regarding this, stated my case and produced all correspondence and it was agreed that benefit should be backdated

and all court fees etc would be quashed.

 

I received a letter to this effect including an apology.

 

However it appears for reasons best known to BCC, there was a month where benefits were not paid.

They advised at the time that it was because it fell outside of the 6 month backdate period allowed,

even though I attended court in June 2010 and the period in question is 11 May - 11 June.

 

I wrote and telephoned on several occasions regarding this and have records of all correspondence,

and as I heard no more I presumed that the matter had been resolved.

 

The first time I realised that it had not was the letter from the baliffs.

 

I received no court summons, no liability orders, nothing.

 

I am now being told that because it was such a long time ago (their words) I need to write in and request a breakdown of benefits paid,

and even then they may not be able to do anything about it because of the time period.

 

No-one is prepared to put a hold on the case, no-one can advise me of what to do about the baliff demands.

 

I have been told if I pay and the case is resolved in my favour then any moneys I pay will be refunded, but I can't afford to pay in the first place!!

 

I spoke to the baliffs who said they would put a hold on the case for ten days,

but then I had a hand delivered letter 5 days afterwards advising they had visited to seize my goods and would be returning.

 

To add insult to injury, they have messed up this years benefit as well

- saying they have asked for additional information on my circumstances (which have not changed).

 

The only way I could stop this from also going to the baliffs was to agree to a payment plan of £70 a month - which I cannot afford,

but I was told it would go to baliffs any time and that was the only way to stop this.

 

They refused to consider any lesser payments even when I advised that I was a single parent on benefits,

and said that I would not be able to get a claim backdated as rules have changed re time periods.

 

I am absolutely terrified. I cannot get a answer from BCC and the investigation into this matter will take time.

I realize I could go to the ombudsman but again that will take time which I do not have with the threat of baliffs banging on my door any day.

 

I have all my doors and windows locked (not pleasant in this weather) and will not let them in,

but the fear is there and exacerbating existing medical conditions (I receive incapacity benefit although I am not registered disabled).

 

My two teenage daughters are similarily terrified - I have had to tell them what is going on so that they don't answer the door or leave it unlocked.

 

Any advice at all on what I can do to delay any baliff visits/action until I can get the council to investigate and respond would be most gratefully appreciated.

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Send in a Formal Complaint to CEO, Leader and MP. BCC has a severe Crapita infestation, as in the council tax department is run by Capita who own Equita. You do not have to let the bailiff in, and indeed it would be a VERY BAD idea to do so. Keep any car out of sight and deny him a levy and he is relatively powerless. I would contact your local councillor to explain to him how his council's agents are being stupid, and how ther council is 100% liable for any naughtiness by Equita, Also indicate this will be escalated through the complaints procedure to the Local Government Ombudsman.

 

Your IB/ESA what condition do you have, as you may well be vulnerable under the National Standards, and if so bailiffs should not be involved anyway

 

If the court awarded FULL backdating, then the council cannot restrict it to 6 months only imho. I would include that in any complaint

 

Other Caggers will no doubt be along soon to help, but this sounds like sour grapes from Capita as in well the debtor won, but lets get something from them anyway, as we are above God.

We could do with some help from you.

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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Thanks for the reply

 

 

I have written a formal complaint to BCC. Will certainly send copies to the others you have suggested, but it is the time delay that concerns me. I am on tenterhooks constantly watching the door and afraid to go out even into the garden to peg my washing out because of leaving the door unlocked for 5 minutes. I don't know whether to ring the baliffs again or not.

 

In answer to your question, I have a long standing stomach condition - which is aggrevated by stress, and also acute clinical depression. I am also a single parent, albeit with teenagers and not small children.

 

I just want the imminent threat of baliffs banging on my door gone while I sort out this with the local authority.

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Send evidence of the long term illness to council and bailiffs as I feel you are vulnerable under the National Standards, anything that is exacerbated by stress is serious enough to render someone vulnerble imho. But DO NOT LET THE BAILIFF IN.

We could do with some help from you.

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Have we helped you ...?         Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

 

If you want advice on your thread please PM me a link to your thread

 

The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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No they shouldn't - but they are!!!

 

I have telephoned BCC stating the vulnerability of the household (my 17 year old also has depression) but they will not speak to the baliff on my behalf. I am waiting to speak to them now - I am to ring back in a few minutes as he was tied up.

 

It is the possibility that they could turn up at any time that is exacerbating our conditions - I am in a complete state over this.

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Have you contacted your local Councillor(s)? If no do so now - in my view they are contactable 7 days per week up until 9pm, best initial contact is by phone.

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Thank you to everyone for your help.

 

Success of sorts.

I spoke to the baliff - who was actually human and decent!

A rare commodity I think.

 

I explained my circumstances and vunerability issues and he instantly agreed to withdraw the £200 baliff fees,

and told me if I took proof of my benefits to Equita HQ, they would set me up with a payment plan then and there.

 

He confirmed that this will withdraw and action/visits by himself.

 

So, I shall do this tomorrow and at least that will give me a stay of execution while the council get their arses

into gear and look into my formal complaint.

 

I shall still be referring the complaint to all and sundry,

but at least I have the tremendous relief of knowing that I won't be getting knocks at the door.

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It is a result of sorts. When you provide proof of your vulnerability do it to the Council with a copy going to the Bailiffs. If you send it to Equita alone then they will either say they did not receive it or issue it to another Bailiff. As said previously make your Councillor(s) aware of what is going on - you should not have to face this alone.

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and pay the council not the bailiff!

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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and ofcourse he'd be happy

 

he's spoofed you into paying him

so he can willy nilly add more fees

and you don't know about it.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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and pay the council not the bailiff!

 

dx

 

I tried to do that - BCC were not interested and just told me to deal with the baliff.

 

I realise I should not have to pay at all, but to be honest, if I can pay a few quid a week to know that I will now be having baliffs at my door at any time then I will. I have been assured I will have all monies paid refunded if the complaint is resolved in my favour - and I shall make sure it is. This course of action has bought me time to resolve the matter.

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and ofcourse he'd be happy

 

he's spoofed you into paying him

so he can willy nilly add more fees

and you don't know about it.

 

dx

 

Not spoofed at all. I am more than aware of what I need to do, this has bought me time to be able to do it, and peace of mind. That is invaluable.

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I tried to do that - BCC were not interested and just told me to deal with the baliff.

 

I realise I should not have to pay at all, but to be honest, if I can pay a few quid a week to know that I will now be having baliffs at my door at any time then I will. I have been assured I will have all monies paid refunded if the complaint is resolved in my favour - and I shall make sure it is. This course of action has bought me time to resolve the matter.

 

You may of course pay the Council direct via online banking, Council website or automated phone - just make sure you have the correct reference number. You may also pay cash at the Council offices & if it is refused then politely ask for the name & position of the employee - it will form the basis of a complaint against the Council as payments should not be refused.

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