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Paid council tax direct, bailiff charging fees, what are their rights?


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Hi There,

 

I had some outstanding council tax (CT) which ended in a liability order (LO) being raised,

 

I was unaware of court action (and have complained formerly to council), in the meantime bailiffs were instructed.

 

Once I was aware of the LO I paid the CT and court costs in full, directly to the local authority.

 

Their Bailiffs (Equita) now trying to charge £250, which is only slightly less than the debt council tax and court fees.

 

The Bailiff only came to my house once before I paid, I was not in. Obviously did not actually collect the debt.

 

From what I can see online, they can only charge £24.50 for a visitation, no idea what the additional cost is,

I have requested a breakdown which has not been forthcoming. £250 is a 920% inflation on the above charge.

 

My understanding is that the LO is for the CT and court fees, so once they have been paid in full, the LO is no longer valid / live.

 

That being the case, I'm I right in assuming that they have no way to enforce their fees unless they take me to the small claims court?

Edited by Terraferma
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Send them a letter demanding a full breakdown of their fees. It sounds like a rogue bailiff who is inventing charges such as the infamous 'enforcement charge'

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Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

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Send them a letter demanding a full breakdown of their fees. It sounds like a rogue bailiff who is inventing charges such as the infamous 'enforcement charge'

 

Thanks for your reply renegadeimp.

 

I've already done this and offered to pay £24.50 both via email and in writing, had no response in the past 5 days.

 

My question is, if say I pay £24.50 on their website and write to them saying I consider the matter settled in full, what can they do about the remaining fees they're trying to charge?

 

What is the legal status if I refuse to pay?

 

Can they enforce?

 

Would they need to go to small claims?

Edited by Terraferma
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I am of the view that until the bailiff company confirms the name of the bailiff who visited [and put to strict proof it was him or her] and where they are certificated, that they are not entitled to be paid.

Many bailiff companies send out any old office wallah [non certificated] to hand deliver several payment demands in the area. I see no reason why one should pay for those visits.

 

In your case, there is no way the bailiff company would take you to Court when they would have to justify a demand for £250 to the Judge.

 

That is not to say that still won't come round to try and get some sort of fee from you.

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Get back in touch with your LA and add to your existing complaint that they failed to inform you of legal action, that they are solely responsible for the actions of their lap dogs, and unless they call them off, you will seek legal advice with a view of taking the council to court and suing them for harassment.

 

If your LA, can't or won't do as you say then take it to the LGO for them to investigate.

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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Any bailiff company collecting council tax can use the issued liability order to collect and enforce for their legitimate fees even if you pay the council directly.

I say legitimate because equita are underhand in their method of collection, next paragraph is a copy and paste from previously given advice :-

 

equita company policy is to not employ 1st call bailiffs and send letters through the post charging for letters as though the visit has been made when it hasn't.

They send 1st visit through the post £24.50

They send second visit through post £18

They then add the levy fee and whatever the van fee is for the council they are acting on behalf of add this to the debt and send that through the post as well in the hope the charge payer doesnt cotton on about the fees

Only then if it still isnt paid will they send a bailiff out

 

What you need to do find out is the times and dates of each visit, i say each visit because they are charging fees as though they have visited and levied on goods, call equita, ask them what is on the inventory on the levy, if its goods owned by you ie a vehicle this would go some way to prove their fees are more justified, but if there is no levy or if the levy is on a vehicle parked nearby but nothing to do with you then the fees can be challenged

None of the beliefs held by "Freemen on the land" have ever been supported by any judgments or verdicts in any criminal or civil court cases.

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Thanks everyone for the helpful response.

 

Any bailiff company collecting council tax can use the issued liability order to collect and enforce for their legitimate fees even if you pay the council directly.

I say legitimate because equita are underhand in their method of collection, next paragraph is a copy and paste from previously given advice :-

 

equita company policy is to not employ 1st call bailiffs and send letters through the post charging for letters as though the visit has been made when it hasn't.

They send 1st visit through the post £24.50

They send second visit through post £18

They then add the levy fee and whatever the van fee is for the council they are acting on behalf of add this to the debt and send that through the post as well in the hope the charge payer doesnt cotton on about the fees

Only then if it still isnt paid will they send a bailiff out

 

What you need to do find out is the times and dates of each visit, i say each visit because they are charging fees as though they have visited and levied on goods, call equita, ask them what is on the inventory on the levy, if its goods owned by you ie a vehicle this would go some way to prove their fees are more justified, but if there is no levy or if the levy is on a vehicle parked nearby but nothing to do with you then the fees can be challenged

 

So you're saying that if I now left my window open, they could get in and try to take goods for their fees under the liability order that has been satisfied?

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If they can fit through the window ( very slim chance as most bailiffs are fat messes), then technically they can say they have gained peaceful entry and start levying. This is down to an archaic and well out of date law, but unfortunately it is still very much in force.

Any advice i give is my own and is based solely on personal experience. If in any doubt about a situation , please contact a certified legal representative or debt counsellor..

 

 

If my advice helps you, click the star icon at the bottom of my post and feel free to say thanks

:D

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Thanks for your reply renegadeimp.

 

I've already done this and offered to pay £24.50 both via email and in writing, had no response in the past 5 days.

 

My question is, if say I pay £24.50 on their website and write to them saying I consider the matter settled in full, what can they do about the remaining fees they're trying to charge?

 

What is the legal status if I refuse to pay?

 

Can they enforce?

 

Would they need to go to small claims?

 

so what heap of fiction did you get back?

 

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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If it was not sent in a form similar to this, you should send this:

 

[YOUR ADDRESS]

[DATE]

 

 

To:

[Insert Name and Address of Bailiff Company]

 

Ref: Account No: 123456

 

Dear Sir,

 

With reference to the above account, I would be grateful if you could provide me with a breakdown of all charges incurred.

 

This includes, but is not necessarily limited to the following:

a the time and date of any bailiff action that incurred a fee or charge.

b the reason for the fee or charge.

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) at which the Bailiff(s) was/were Certificated.

e the date of certification.

f the initial balance, and any amount currently outstanding on the account

 

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,

 

Sign

 

[PRINT NAME]

 

 

Remember that with Council Tax fees, legitimate bailiff fees are paid first, before the council receive one penny. Thus if you owe £24.50 in fees and discharge what you believe to be your full liability, you will still actually have £24.50 outstanding on the LO, so the bailiff can still visit. It is very important therefore that you establish the legitimate fees which can be charged and pay these.

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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so what heap of fiction did you get back?

 

dx

 

the account was for three different amounts I was unaware of.

 

There are two liability orders,

one from 2012 and

one from 2013, with three different amounts of money

but they were all passed to the bailiff at the same time.

 

I was under the impression it was just one liability order from last year.

 

They charged the following.

 

Visit one: £24.50

Visit two: £18.00

Levy fee: c£30.00 each.

 

The first visit was to drop off the initial letter,

I was in and the bell was not rung.

They just hand delievered it, so no way of knowing it was a certified bailiff.

 

Second visit I was not in and they did not leave a card or any note to say they had been there.

 

Nothing was levied as I paid direct, curtains are always drawn, they have not been in my house.

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just to clarify

 

they have only charged the visit 1/2 fees ONCE not for all three?

 

and the three levy fees

 

did they actually levy on anything?

and were the goods on each levy DIFFERENT

 

they cant levy on the same goods for more than one LO I think

 

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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Sorry, to clarify: They are trying to charge the fees x 3, so the total fees are just over £230.

 

The first visitation was essentially a letter drop, the letter was generic made no reference to the outstanding amount or which liabiliy order they were enforcing, just said I should contact the bailiff (mobile and name given) and not doing so would be considered a refusal to pay. It had no signature on it from the bailiff, just a printed one from the back officer manager who generated it. Whoever delivered it did not ring the bell, they must have got access to the communal areas by following a resident in.

 

Given they made no attempt to speak to me, I consider this a letter not a visit to levy.

 

The second visit was at 7am and I was not in, the curtains were drawn so they couldn't peer in and list any goods. Nothing was levied, they had no access to my property. They left no card, I have no real proof a certified bailiff or anyone from equita actually came. The only reason I know is because I spoke to the bailiff on the phone.

 

I made a formal complaint to the LA that day, the account was put on hold, before it was live again I paid the outstanding debt to the LA directly.

Edited by Terraferma
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I would suggest paying for the 2 visit fees totalling £42.50 only and ask them to justify any further amounts in writing by normal postage. Advise them that the council tax has been paid in full and there is no longer any valid court authority to continue collection for their fees.

We could do with some help from you.

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The first visit was not to levy, it was just someone dropping off a letter. They didn't even ring the bell.

 

My thoughts were to say that at best, they could charge an additional £24.50 for the second liability order, assuming it is possible to charge multiple fees.

 

My understanding was they could not.

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The first visit was not to levy, it was just someone dropping off a letter. They didn't even ring the bell.

 

My thoughts were to say that at best, they could charge an additional £24.50 for the second liability order, assuming it is possible to charge multiple fees.

 

My understanding was they could not.

 

Yes I don't think they can charge multiple fees. I have seen a few LGO reports quoted on here saying they could not charge mutiple fees on the same visit.

 

What constitutes a visit ? I think they will argue that dropping off a letter was their first visit.

 

Up to you whether you pay the £42.50 for the 2 visits or the £24.50 for the one visit. But send the bailiffs a letter by recorded delivery and advise that you will continue a complaint through the council and LGO if necessary.

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

 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

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Well, a visit needs to be from a certified bailiff and they need to show you ID and give you the opportunity to check the register that they are certified. Otherwise they have no legal power or right to levy anything. And they can only charge for a visit from a bailiff.

 

If you are not there, they are legally required to leave a note to say they have called, they did not do this on the second call.

 

On the first visit the letter has one single line from a biro, anyone could do, I would argue very hard that it should be a proper varifiable signiture, otherwise they could pay some minimum wage person to go around posting the letters with no intention to speak to you or levy goods but charge you a fee for attendance to levy. Which is I suspect exactly what they do.

 

The onus is surely on them to prove to me that a bailiff attended. If it was a certified bailiff, why not sign it in a way they could later prove rather than a single line.

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I am of the view that until the bailiff company confirms the name of the bailiff who visited [and put to strict proof it was him or her] and where they are certificated, that they are not entitled to be paid.

Many bailiff companies send out any old office wallah [non certificated] to hand deliver several payment demands in the area. I see no reason why one should pay for those visits.

 

In your case, there is no way the bailiff company would take you to Court when they would have to justify a demand for £250 to the Judge.

 

That is not to say that still won't come round to try and get some sort of fee from you.

 

Just to clarify, they can only charge the statutory visitation fees for a certified bailiff coming to levy.

 

Do you know what part of the law states that, I want to include in my complaint.

 

Thanks,

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going to deep. certified or otherwise

in this instance makes no odds

 

keep your complaint SIMPLE

 

they CANNOT charge multiple fees for multiple LO's - END OF!!

 

as PT has indicated

 

£42.50 is the MOST you MIGHT have to pay

 

contact the council with your complaint

 

THEY ARE RESONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF BAILIFFS ACTING UPON THEIR LO's

 

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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Report Equita to trading Standards and OFT, also they are nortorious for illegal frontloading of fees for work not done. you owe max £42.50 as has already been said, any more and they would have to justify their fees possibly in court, they would not want to do that!

We could do with some help from you.

PLEASE HELP US TO KEEP THIS SITE RUNNING EVERY POUND DONATED WILL HELP US TO KEEP HELPING OTHERS

 

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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Equita appear to have changed how they charge and now seem to front load all fees on receipt of instructions from their client.

 

When challenged over this they claim to say that these are only potential fees that may be charged.

 

This appears to be an instruction from their management in that the bailiff is instructed to do so which may make it hard to make a complaint against the individual Bailiff.

 

Complaints therefore should be directed at the issuing party and direction made to similar complaints so that it cannot be seen to be just a one off.

 

For what it's worth complaint should also be made to both Civea & MOJ on the basis they are trying to deceive those they visit.

 

It is unfortunate that there does not appear to be a way of finding out how many are being deluded by this and paying up.

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At least I am in the lucky position to challenge their fees before they've been paid,

 

i.e. they're not holding all the cards by with-holding the debt from the LA in order to get their fees first.

 

Sorry for ignorance, but what is: Civea & MOJ?

 

It's also worth noting, the local authority have said on several occasions, the fees are between me and the bailiff.

 

They again in their formal response to my complaint said I would need to complain to equita if i disagreed with the fees.

 

Is that correct,

 

do they not have a duty of care that their subcontractors act in a fair and legal way?

Edited by Terraferma
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Civea Civil enforcement association

http://www.civea.co.uk/

 

M O J Ministry of justice

http://www.justice.gov.uk/

 

All local authority's are responsible for ALL actions of their bailiffs

their are several local Government ombudsman reports confirming this

http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?399419-Paid-council-tax-direct-bailiff-charging-fees-what-are-their-rights/page2

 

As a rule when the bailiff firm is Equita or Ross & Roberts Capita are usually the councils back office provider to administrate and enforce council tax (when you phone your council you could be speaking to a capita employee ) Capita own 2 firms of bailiffslink3.gif Equita and Ross & Roberts

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