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Bristow & Suitor help required 're: fees - Urgent


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Hi again guys...had an old Council Tax bill that was passed to Bristow & Suitor for collection, I missed them originally when they called but I had made a payment that day to the council that covered the debt....I then received a further letter through the post regarding their £24.50 fee that needed to be paid...I didn't think anymore about it until 2 bailiffs knocked on my door this morning now requesting £42 as they have added another £18 on for calling!! Can they charge fees on top of fees only once the LO has been paid in full?? I told them I couldn't pay on the doorstep so he just posted a letter through but tried to pressureme into paying him there and then. Any advice would be great.

Lisa x

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Bailiffs collecting Council Tax are able to collect for 2 visits only, unless you owe council tax for more than 1 year, they can charge you for two visits per year. The first visit fee is £24.50, the second is £18.00. Are you paying this in the morning?

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If they have no levy, then yes the £42.50 is all that is payable.

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The problem with Council tax is that Bailiff Fees are allowed to be deducted first, meaning if you owe £200 & pay the Council the £200 then £24-50 could be taken for a 1st Visit Fee meaning you had actually only paid £174-50 which leaves an amount outstanding the Bailiff can enforce against & if he calls again then that goes up another £18-00.

 

I think unfortunately in your case the fees are payable, unless you can argue with the Council or involve your local Councillor.

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Lawfully the bailiffs can charge the fee. As Ploddertom says above, bailiff fees are deducted first from a CT debt, so although you thought you'd paid in full, the fees still needed covering. The bailiffs made a second visit to collect their fees so charged for doing so. You could argue it, but for the sake of £18 and having the bailiffs off your back personally I'd pay it and be done with it.

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Lawfully the bailiffs can charge the fee. As Ploddertom says above, bailiff fees are deducted first from a CT debt, so although you thought you'd paid in full, the fees still needed covering. The bailiffs made a second visit to collect their fees so charged for doing so. You could argue it, but for the sake of £18 and having the bailiffs off your back personally I'd pay it and be done with it.

 

Regulation 52(4) of SI 1992/613 provides that payments are allocated first in respect of the fees and charges, but that would only be practical if enforcement was in-house.

 

Councils claim that their bailiff contractors come at nil cost to the taxpayer, therefore it's likely to be conditioned in their contracts that only payment above what is owed in Council Tax will be passed on to the bailiff firm when payment is made to the council. If they did otherwise, i.e., allowed the bailiffs their fees from payments which didn't entirely cover the debt (including an element of fees), the taxpayer would be losing out.

 

In these circumstances it's likely that local authorities will insist that the bailiff fees need paying, but in reality, if they've only received payment in respect of the debt, they're unlikely to pass the fees onto the bailiff contractor.

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Absolutely outlawla, and I'm very aware you know the rules inside out. What I was saying is that personally, for the sake of the extra £18 I'd rather pay the bailiffs and get them off my back once and for all. It is, of course, entirely up to the OP.

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