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    • Hermes lost parcel.. Read more at https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/422615-hermes-lost-parcel/
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    • Oven repair. https://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/topic/427690-oven-repair/&do=findComment&comment=5073391
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    • I came across this discussion recently and just wanted to give my experience of A Shade Greener that may help others regarding their boiler finance agreement.
       
      We had a 10yr  finance contract for a boiler fitted July 2015.
       
      After a summer of discontent with ASG I discovered that if you have paid HALF the agreement or more you can legally return the boiler to them at no cost to yourself. I've just returned mine the feeling is liberating.
       
      It all started mid summer during lockdown when they refused to service our boiler because we didn't have a loft ladder or flooring installed despite the fact AS installed the boiler. and had previosuly serviced it without issue for 4yrs. After consulting with an independent installer I was informed that if this was the case then ASG had breached building regulations,  this was duly reported to Gas Safe to investigate and even then ASG refused to accept blame and repeatedly said it was my problem. Anyway Gas Safe found them in breach of building regs and a compromise was reached.
       
      A month later and ASG attended to service our boiler but in the process left the boiler unusuable as it kept losing pressure not to mention they had damaged the filling loop in the process which they said was my responsibilty not theres and would charge me to repair, so generous of them! Soon after reporting the fault I got a letter stating it was time we arranged a powerflush on our heating system which they make you do after 5 years even though there's nothing in the contract that states this. Coincidence?
       
      After a few heated exchanges with ASG (pardon the pun) I decided to pull the plug and cancel our agreement.
       
      The boiler was removed and replaced by a reputable installer,  and the old boiler was returned to ASG thus ending our contract with them. What's mad is I saved in excess of £1000 in the long run and got a new boiler with a brand new 12yr warranty. 
       
      You only have to look at TrustPilot to get an idea of what this company is like.
       
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    • Dazza a few months ago I discovered a good friend of mine who had ten debts with cards and catalogues which he was slavishly paying off at detriment to his own family quality of life, and I mean hardship, not just absence of second holidays or flat screen TV's.
       
      I wrote to all his creditors asking for supporting documents and not one could provide any material that would allow them to enforce the debt.
       
      As a result he stopped paying and they have been unable to do anything, one even admitted it was unenforceable.
       
      If circumstances have got to the point where you are finding it unmanageable you must ask yourself why you feel the need to pay.  I guarantee you that these companies have built bad debt into their business model and no one over there is losing any sleep over your debt to them!  They will see you as a victim and cash cow and they will be reluctant to discuss final offers, only ways to keep you paying with threats of court action or seizing your assets if you have any.
       
      They are not your friends and you owe them no loyalty or moral duty, that must remain only for yourself and your family.
       
      If it was me I would send them all a CCA request.   I would bet that not one will provide the correct response and you can quite legally stop paying them until such time as they do provide a response.   Even when they do you should check back here as they mostly send dodgy photo copies or generic rubbish that has no connection with your supposed debt.
       
      The money you are paying them should, as far as you are able, be put to a savings account for yourself and as a means of paying of one of these fleecers should they ever manage to get to to the point of a successful court judgement.  After six years they will not be able to start court action and that money will then become yours.
       
      They will of course pursue you for the funds and pass your file around various departments of their business and out to third parties.
       
      Your response is that you should treat it as a hobby.  I have numerous files of correspondence each faithfully organised showing the various letters from different DCA;s , solicitors etc with a mix of threats, inducements and offers.   It is like my stamp collection and I show it to anyone who is interested!
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Reverend Paul Nicolson has local authorities really worried as he is "willfully refusing" to pay his council tax ! -WON


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Leicester City Council produce accounts to support its costs on a three year basis. It's surprising they don't include the Tea & Biscuit fund (although probably do incognito). There are far too many questionable figures to mention here, but one which gives the game away is where they include Officer's hourly rate, twice (presumably hoping nobody notices), shown around cell (H7) of the spreadsheet.

 

2011-12 calculation

 

Here they calculate the hourly rate at £13.94 (including 25% employment cost) then justify doubling that figure to £27.88 because they consider the cost of employing staff to cover for the non-recovery work while staff are dealing with recovery work to be fair game, cell (H11).

 

They even account for (A73) the interest lost for instalments not paid within one month. This would be more acceptable if they also included the interest gained through the early payment they receive for withdrawing instalments and demanding the remaining outstanding balance as a lump sum.

 

Their latest accounts: 2013-14 calculation

 

It was suspected that Leicester City council were falsifying accounts by doubling the number of staff hours (therefore expenditure) attributable to recovery work in order to justify its court costs imposed on householders issued a Council Tax summons.

 

The authority has replied to a query (and others) regarding this odd accounting practice which in my eyes has confirmed that these matters warrant a criminal investigation.

 

Regarding this it states in it's response:

 

"
We have a fixed number of staff for billing and processing work and whilst they engage in recovery tasks that “
gap
” has to be filled. This has to be an additional cost attributed to recovery as staff duties have transferred from their normal work
.

The expenditure incurred by the council in respect of filling the "gap" is not attributable to recovery. This cost is attributable to everyday billing and processing work. The council (by sleight of hand) has doubled its expenditure for the purposes of justifying higher costs. It is inconceivable that highly remunerated executive officers responsible for sanctioning this would not be aware the accounts were being falsely represented.

 

The judgment defining dishonesty used in criminal prosecutions is the court of appeal case (R v Ghosh [1982] EWCA) from which a test to define dishonesty was developed requiring two stages. The first, an objective test, where a jury would be required to decide if an act was one that an ordinary decent person would consider to be dishonest and the second, a subjective test where a jury would need satisfying that the accused must have realised that what he was doing was, by those standards, dishonest. The second test (subjective) is not applied if objective test fails

 

The judgment of the Court that is material to the test is as follows:

 

In determining whether the prosecution has proved that the defendant was acting dishonestly, a jury must first of all decide whether according to the ordinary standards of reasonable and honest people what was done was dishonest. If it was not dishonest by those standards, that is the end of the matter and the prosecution fails.

 

If it was dishonest by those standards, then the jury must consider whether the defendant himself must have realised that what he was doing was by those standards dishonest. In most cases, where the actions are obviously dishonest by ordinary standards, there will be no doubt about it. It will be obvious that the defendant himself knew that he was acting dishonestly. It is dishonest for a defendant to act in a way which he knows ordinary people consider to be dishonest, even if he asserts or genuinely believes that he is morally justified in acting as he did.

 

Clearly a properly informed jury as to the facts of the case would have no difficulty establishing the objective test. Similarly, there can be no doubt that even if executive officers of the council held genuine beliefs that their actions were morally justified, they must realise that ordinary people would consider them to be dishonest.

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Well yes they would Outhlawla, and a jury would probably convict.

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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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Outlawla,

 

Thank you for updating the thread. I have not spoken with the Reverend for a few weeks. The route that he is going (ie; with the external auditor) is the correct route and there are a quite a number of similar investigations ongoing with other local authorities regarding other fees. There are many significant developments right now.

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Outlawla,

 

Thank you for updating the thread. I have not spoken with the Reverend for a few weeks. The route that he is going (ie; with the external auditor) is the correct route and there are a quite a number of similar investigations ongoing with other local authorities regarding other fees. There are many significant developments right now.

 

If the DA finds in favour of the council, looking at the content of the Reverend's letter there is something seriously amiss within the system.

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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Unsure which council this relates to, but suspect either Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet.

 

A real eye-opener though...(page 7)

"
Council Tax – costs recovered

 

....
All the time the Revenues division is successful in maintaining a high collection rate for council tax and getting more council tax payers onto direct debit, then the number that get into arrears and subsequently face summons or liability order costs tends to reduce.

 

The high collection rates and earlier direct debit dates means the city council’s cash flow is enhanced substantially, resulting in additional investment interest receipts. However, the offset against this is that the anticipated level of receipts from court costs did
not reach the target
and a shortfall of £52k exists
.

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Unsure which council this relates to, but suspect either Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet.

 

A real eye-opener though...(page 7)

"
Council Tax – costs recovered

 

....
All the time the Revenues division is successful in maintaining a high collection rate for council tax and getting more council tax payers onto direct debit, then the number that get into arrears and subsequently face summons or liability order costs tends to reduce.

 

The high collection rates and earlier direct debit dates means the city council’s cash flow is enhanced substantially, resulting in additional investment interest receipts. However, the offset against this is that the anticipated level of receipts from court costs did
not reach the target
and a shortfall of £52k exists
.

 

Very interesting document from East Kent Housing. This is a COMPANY controlled by 4 local authorities. I wonder which actual body (ie EKH or the local authorities) actually issues the Liability Orders....

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Unsure which council this relates to, but suspect either Canterbury, Dover, Shepway or Thanet.

 

A real eye-opener though...(page 7)

"
Council Tax – costs recovered

 

....
All the time the Revenues division is successful in maintaining a high collection rate for council tax and getting more council tax payers onto direct debit, then the number that get into arrears and subsequently face summons or liability order costs tends to reduce.

 

The high collection rates and earlier direct debit dates means the city council’s cash flow is enhanced substantially, resulting in additional investment interest receipts. However, the offset against this is that the anticipated level of receipts from court costs did
not reach the target
and a shortfall of £52k exists
.

 

Surely setting a REVENUE RAISING TARGET for income from enforcement is if not wholly unlawful or downright illegal, is morally and ethically repugnant and egregious?

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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For the life of me I still cannot understand the reason WHY the matter of these 'costs' has not been settled under a Statutory Instrument. In Wales, the amount that can be charged by way of summon costs/liability order costs is enshrined in statutue law and is capped at a total of £70 and this statutory regulation was put in place 3 years ago !!!!

 

Interestingly, if a creditor wished to take legal proceedings in the county court against a debtor and the debt was under £1,000 the court fee payable is also £70.

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For the life of me I still cannot understand the reason WHY the matter of these 'costs' has not been settled under a Statutory Instrument. In Wales, the amount that can be charged by way of summon costs/liability order costs is enshrined in statutue law and is capped at a total of £70 and this statutory regulation was put in place 3 years ago !!!!

 

Interestingly, if a creditor wished to take legal proceedings in the county court against a debtor and the debt was under £1,000 the court fee payable is also £70.

 

Perhaps government are scared to close a lucrative revenue earner for the cash strapped councils.

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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For the life of me I still cannot understand the reason WHY the matter of these 'costs' has not been settled under a Statutory Instrument. In Wales, the amount that can be charged by way of summon costs/liability order costs is enshrined in statutue law and is capped at a total of £70 and this statutory regulation was put in place 3 years ago !!!!

 

 

The problem I see with the Welsh amendment is that it's flawed in at least three obvious ways:

 

1. The overall cap on the costs being £70 is too high

 

2. Although the wording of the amendment implies that there should be one level of costs in respect of instituting the summons and further costs added if the application for liability order is made, it is open to interpretation and local authorities will interpret it to their own advantage with Magistrates no doubt backing them.

 

3. Local authorities are going to impose the maximum, but not just the maximum for obtaining the liability order but the maximum £70 for instituting the summons.

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The problem I see with the Welsh amendment is that it's flawed in at least three obvious ways:

 

1. The overall cap on the costs being £70 is too high

 

2. Although the wording of the amendment implies that there should be one level of costs in respect of instituting the summons and further costs added if the application for liability order is made, it is open to interpretation and local authorities will interpret it to their own advantage with Magistrates no doubt backing them.

 

3. Local authorities are going to impose the maximum, but not just the maximum for obtaining the liability order but the maximum £70 for instituting the summons.

 

 

Especially as unemployment is high in Wales, and the £70 is nearly all a weeks JSA for a single person before bedroom tax, and reduction of any Council Tax relief is factored in to take say 20 quid off the claimant leaving but £50 to live on and pay all bills, travel to job interviews etc.

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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The relevant statutory instrument has been discussed on this thread a few times. It is here:

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/wsi/2011/528/made?view=plain

 

I believe that this was done following a request from the Welsh government. Because the Welsh assembly cannot pass the SI, it gets sent to the government in Westminster to agree and to put through. Most SI's are not actually voted on as such. They just go through on the nod at the end of a days business, if no MP objects.

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Surely setting a REVENUE RAISING TARGET for income from enforcement is if not wholly unlawful or downright illegal, is morally and ethically repugnant and egregious?

 

Local authorities are bound by law with regards the level of costs they impose for Liability Order applications, both in Council Tax and Business Rates (NNDR) cases. The law does not permit them to set the level, or manipulate the composition, to either act as a deterrent or provide additional income. As the report more than implies, this is what it is doing by setting monetary targets for the generation of court costs income.

 

Even the Ministry of Justice admitted having a distorted view that court costs could be used as a deterrent. It did, however, acknowledge in a half-hearted way that they probably shouldn't be exploited for this purpose.

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I believe that this was done following a request from the Welsh government. Because the Welsh assembly cannot pass the SI, it gets sent to the government in Westminster to agree and to put through. Most SI's are not actually voted on as such. They just go through on the nod at the end of a days business, if no MP objects.

 

The following explains the background (courtesy of Outlawla):

 

http://www.assemblywales.org/Laid%20Documents/SUB-LD8430-EM%20-%20The%20Council%20Tax%20and%20Non-Domestic%20Rating%20(Amendment)%20(Wales)%20Regulations%202011%20-%20%20EXPLANATORY%20MEM-25022011-211281/sub-ld8430-em-e-English.pdf

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The following explains the background (courtesy of Outlawla):

 

http://www.assemblywales.org/Laid%20Documents/SUB-LD8430-EM%20-%20The%20Council%20Tax%20and%20Non-Domestic%20Rating%20(Amendment)%20(Wales)%20Regulations%202011%20-%20%20EXPLANATORY%20MEM-25022011-211281/sub-ld8430-em-e-English.pdf

 

Ah thanks, so it is obviously a devolved matter and can be passed by the Welsh assembly.

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Ah thanks, so it is obviously a devolved matter and can be passed by the Welsh assembly.

 

They will get upset as they are now the Welsh Government not Assembly any more.

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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Great Yarmouth Borough Council's Public Consultation says it all:

 

Have your say on change

 

Section C – How could the borough council save money?

 

The questionnaire (last question on page) is asking the public how willing they would be for the council to increase 'summons costs' as a measure for saving money, or plugging a hole in its finances.

 

Ranging from Very willing to Not at all willing:

 

To increase the fees for court summons for people who have not paid their council tax - estimated extra income £26,000

 

 

 

 

Interesting. If the majority agreed to the increase and the Council complied, that should drop them straight in excrement since they are broadcasting the fact that they are

increasing the summons costs not because of an increase in dealings with the Court but to pay for shortfalls in the Council's business in general. This is totally unlawful and

epitomises many Councils' attitude to costing Court summons.

 

There appears something to back-up the consultation (likely to be an after thought).

 

In association with it there's another calculation supporting court costs, though it makes a convincing case to argue that the regulations are not being complied with. Whilst all the calculations have in one way or another provided such evidence, none have been so cut-and-dried as this one.

 

It doesn't require a legal expert to see from the spreadsheet that inappropriate expenditure (liability order costs) have been front loaded to the summons.

 

Though perhaps not so obvious are the costs attributable to work involved after the court case which are incorporated unlawfully into the summons costs. Included in the almost £400,000 are post liability order activities such as making attachments of earnings/benefits, dealing with arrangements and administration costs in referring cases to bailiffs.

 

Again it doesn't require legal knowledge to interpret from the regulations which state that incurred costs are allowable only up until obtaining the liability order, that expenditure after that has been incorporated into the costs.

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