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cwspellowe

Charles Anderson Earnings Arrestment, Scotland

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Hi all,

 

After a long drawn out saga

it's got to the point I feel I need to look for advice regarding Council Tax arrears,

and money owed to North Lanarkshire Council for the year 2013/14.

 

Long story short,

after coming into hardship in September last year we fell behind on Council Tax and

a Summary Warrant was produced for the arrears.

 

 

We contacted the Council and set up a payment plan for the remaining balance which was around £770,

including the statutory 10% penalty fee.

 

 

All was well for a couple of months but

we again began to struggle to the point we missed a payment

and almost immediately a Charge For Payment was delivered by the Sheriff Officer

along with a charge of £102 for his services.

Great. But business as usual.

 

We then contacted Charles Anderson who were pursuing the debt on behalf of NLC

and paid them a minimum of £30 per month for three months

as we were told as long as we made regular payments to the balance there would be no further action.

 

 

Our fault for not requesting a payment plan set out in writing, lesson learned again, but

 

 

after making three successive payments of £40, £30 and £40 (all we could afford at the time)

an Earnings Arrestment Schedule was produced based on the arrears of the Summary Warrant from September,

reflecting payments we made to NLC after the SW, the payments we made to Charles Anderson,

the Sheriff's costs and another £70 charge for the Earnings Arrestment.

 

 

The total due under the schedule stands at £560.

 

All sounds pretty straight forward, arrears dealt with by a debt collector followed by a batch Summary Warrant,

Charge for Payment and finally Earnings Arrestment, seems pretty by the book.

 

What confuses matters is our Council Tax bill for that year was in dispute

as my partner is registered disabled with a genetic condition she's had since birth.

The arrears were ongoing and we tried our hardest to continue to make payments while the bill was in dispute.

 

 

On June 24th, a day after the Earnings Arrestment was produced, NLC produced a revised bill for the 2013/14 year

which included a Disabled Relief adjustment and said "reason for amendment: change of banding",

meaning they sent us a revised bill with a total of £110.59 still outstanding

(which by the way, if we'd have had settled months ago when all this was going on,

we could have probably stretched and paid off instead of dealing with debt collectors, but that's a side note)

 

Having contacted Charles Anderson on Friday last week,

they said they would contact NLC to get the issue resolved.

I figured this meant the bill was going to be adjusted, but how wrong could i be?

 

They emailed me today to say they have spoken with NLC who confirmed, all payments so far taken into account,

the amount outstanding is £110.59.

 

 

They also said as a result, the Earnings Arrestment would still stand and they would enforce it with a view to reclaim the arrears and their fees.

 

Can someone please explain to me how this works?

We're off to speak with CAB on Wednesday on my next day off,

but in the mean time,

how can they enforce a Summary Warrant based on arrears that NLC has now confirmed in writing

through their adjusted bill for the year was, in fact, wrong?

 

 

Since our amount paid up to the date the Summary Warrant hasn't changed,

and the Council Tax bill was amended and the Disabled Relief backdated to the start of the year,

the SW therefore reflects an incorrect amount,

the 10% penalty would also be wrong based on the original arrears,

and the Charge for Payment and Earnings Arrestment were based on the Summary Warrant.

 

Charles Anderson are yet to reply to me questioning what their fees consist of,

as surely they can't confirm the change in arrears and still enforce the Earnings Arrestment for £560?

And if they did, surely that would imply their fees would have to make up the difference between the £110.59

both they and NLC have confirmed are the arrears and the £560 they seek through the Earnings Arrestment?

 

Tearing my hair out over this one.

My understanding is that the Summary Warrant should be deemed void

as the Council have backdated the Disabled Relief and effectively shot themselves in the collective feet?

 

 

I hope someone who knows more than me can explain this to me, and my legal position.

 

I'm not in any way trying to avoid paying the arrears,

I am however unhappy about the fact that Charles Anderson still want my work to pay them £560

based on the original outstanding arrears of £400, which has now been confirmed to be wrong.

 

Help please :)

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Hi, It is a bit confusing and you need to get clarification from the council itself.

 

1. How much is due for the entire 13/14 period ?

2. How much has been paid and remaining balance.

3. What date is the relief being applied from?

4. What date was the summery warrant issued?

 

 

On another note, has the wages arrestment been applied to your wages yet?

 

and for future ref if you ever rec a charge payment in future ALWAYS apply to the court for installments whether a payment arrangment is in place or not


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Oh and you maybe able to get some of this info online is you have registered for council tax online through you council website.


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Hi all, sorry for going quiet on the matter. I was rather emotional when I typed it out and, having slept on it, decided to bite the bullet. I contacted Charles Anderson who advised me the total amount due was in fact wrong, however their correspondence read as follows:

 

Dear Sir

 

Thank you for your email.

 

We advise the following:

 

Arrears £110.59

Charge fee £102.10

Arrestment fee £62.84

TOTAL £275.53

 

North Lanarkshire Council reduced your account after our arrestment was served,

the arrestment will remain until the balance due above is paid in full,

at which point we will issue a letter to your employer confirming we are withdrawing from the arrestment.

 

Regards

 

Charles Anderson

 

 

So.. not quite as bad as the original £560, and having earned enough each month to settle the debt in full,

i assumed it would have been cleared after two months tops.

 

 

However, i've just been online to check my wage slip for this month knowing I had some overtime due to me,

and I found I barely made more than my basic wage, in fact £10 more.

And right down the bottom of the deductions column i see "EAS deduction - £198.60"

 

Not knowing what EAS Scotland was, I googled it, and was horrified to see it stood for Earnings Arrestment Scotland.

 

 

I checked back through my previous payslips and, sure enough, I see deductions from

the end of July,

the end of August and

the end of September. £177.99,

£156.03 and most recently £198.60.

 

In total i've, so far, paid £532.62 towards an earnings arrestment that should have been £275.53,

meaning i've overpaid by £257.09.

No wonder i've felt skint for a while now!

 

So now my conundrum is.. how do I fix this?

Presumably my employer still has the original Schedule and hasn't been informed the debt has been settled?

 

Thanks in advance, i'll make sure to stick around for any advice this time :!:

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Hi,

 

You will have to contact Charles Anderson as they were dealing with your account.


 
 

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

If in doubt, you should seek the opinion of a Qualified Professional.

If you can, please donate to this site.

Help keep it up and active, helping people like you.

If you no longer require help, please do what you can to help others

RIP: Rooster-UK - MARTIN3030 - cerberusalert

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Thanks, i figured that would be my next port of call. Is there any material I can read regarding the position i'm in now? All i could find was from the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 stating

 

(3)The sheriff, on an application by the debtor, the creditor or the employer, may make an order determining any dispute as to the operation of an earnings arrestment.

 

(4)Without prejudice to section 57(5) of this Act, the sheriff, when making an order under subsection (3) above, may order—

 

(a)the reimbursement of any payment made in the operation of the arrestment which ought not to have been made; or

 

(b)the payment of any sum which ought to have been paid in the operation of the arrestment but which has not been paid.

 

(5)An order under subsection (4) above shall require the person against whom it is made to pay interest on the sum to be paid by him under the order at the specified rate from such date as the sheriff shall specify in the order.

 

Worryingly it sounds like it could end up being a long drawn out process. Was kind of looking forward to that overtime too :x

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Sorry to double post, i've also found this in the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987

 

57. Failure to comply with arrestment, manner of payment and creditor’s duty when arrestment ceases to have effect.

 

(1)Subject to section 69(4) of this Act, where an employer fails to comply with an earnings arrestment or a current maintenance arrestment—

 

(a)he shall be liable to pay to the creditor any sum which he would have paid to him under section 47(1) or 51(1) of this Act if he had so complied; and

 

(b)he shall not be entitled to recover any sum which he has paid to the debtor in contravention of the arrestment.

 

(2)Subject to subsection (3) below, a creditor shall not be entitled to refuse to accept payment under section 47(1) or 51(1) of this Act which is tendered by cheque or by such other method as may be prescribed by Act of Sederunt.

 

(3)If a cheque tendered in payment under section 47(1) or 51(1) of this Act is dishonoured or for any other reason the method of payment used by the employer is ineffectual, the creditor may insist that the payment concerned and any future payment under that provision shall be tendered in cash.

 

(4)Where—

 

(a)the debt recoverable under an earnings arrestment is paid or otherwise extinguished;

 

(b)a current maintenance arrestment ceases to have effect under section 55(8) above; or

 

©the debt being enforced by an earnings arrestment ceases to be enforceable by diligence,

 

the creditor shall, as soon as is reasonably practicable, intimate that fact to the employer.

 

(5)Where an event mentioned in subsection (4) above occurs, any sum paid by an employer—

 

(a)under an earnings arrestment, in excess of the debt recoverable; or

 

(b)under a current maintenance arrestment, in excess of the sum to be deducted under section 51(1) of this Act,

 

shall be recoverable by the debtor from the creditor with interest on that sum at the specified rate.

 

(6)Without prejudice to subsection (5) above, where a creditor has failed to comply with subsection (4) above the sheriff, on an application by the debtor, may make an order requiring the creditor to pay to the debtor an amount not exceeding twice the amount recoverable by the debtor under the said subsection (5).

 

Highlighted the bits I presume are relevant. Hopefully I speak to Charles Anderson and they say "Ok, we made a mistake, here's your money back", but what would you deem a reasonable timescale for them to repay, and by what means? And what would the specified rate of interest be?

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I'd hope after you have a word with Charles Anderson they will pay you back promptly, couldn't tell you how they would pay you or what the interest would be.


 
 

Any advice I give is honest and in good faith.:)

If in doubt, you should seek the opinion of a Qualified Professional.

If you can, please donate to this site.

Help keep it up and active, helping people like you.

If you no longer require help, please do what you can to help others

RIP: Rooster-UK - MARTIN3030 - cerberusalert

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OK, hit my first hurdle. I contacted Charles Anderson who say that the last payment they received from my employer was on September 23rd for the £156.03, and that they withdrew the arrestment on the 24th. The overpayment at that point of £58.49 was apparently passed on to North Lanarkshire Council.

 

The wages at work are processed on the 16th of the month, for payment on or before the 26th. This means that the payment of £156.03 was processed on the 16th of August, yet Charles Anderson claim they did not receive that payment until the 23rd of September.

 

The £198.60 has still come out of my wage this month, as the wages had already been processed for this month by the time Charles Anderson withdrew from the arrestment. Who the hell has my money?

 

I'm on hold to payroll at the minute to get their side of the story but something doesn't add up. Why would it take a month for a deduction from my wage to reach Charles Anderson? And why have they sent the overpayment to North Lanarkshire Council? And more worryingly, I'm near enough £200 down on this month's wage and noone seems to be able to tell me who has the money.

 

At the minute it would appear I need to claim the £58.49 overpayment from August back from North Lanarkshire Council, and the £198.60 it would stand to reason is "lost in the system" until the end of September going by previous example.

 

So so stressed.

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Another update. Got off the phone to payroll, they haven't received an instruction that Charles Anderson have withdrawn from the arrestment and as far as they are concerned they will continue to make deductions.

 

They also informed me that deductions are not paid to third parties until the 19th of the following month which explains the delay for Charles Anderson receiving the payments.

 

It doesn't however answer how I'm going to get back the £198.60 from this month or the overpayment sent to North Lanarkshire Council.

 

Back to Charles Anderson to hurry along them cancelling the Arrestment I suppose..

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Yes, go back to CA and advise your work has confirmed there has been no notice of stop on the EAS.

 

Also any overpayment is paid back to the council and is normally added then to any current years council tax.

 

Are you up to date on the current years council tax?


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Yep, council tax this year is all up to date. With the disabled relief we qualify for, the overpayment of £250 basically covers three months worth of council tax. Which is far from ideal, because we're not in a position financially to pay three months up front.

 

Spoke to payroll again today, they have confirmed that they finally received the cancellation notice this morning so they will stop making deductions. However they also said the £198 deducted this month has been processed to go to CA who they also confirmed would pay the amount on to the Council. They would not entertain paying me the money and insisted this money was to go to CA, and that there was no way they could stop the payment.

 

So the situation is, thanks to CA not telling work the arrestment amount had changed, we've now had no choice but to pay the council upfront without being given a choice, putting even more financial strain on us, and causing us to fall behind on other payments. We've been told by the council we can appeal the overpayment and apply for a refund but it's unlikely and if it were granted, a cheque would be issued, and the time it takes to do that there'd be no point as the council tax for the next month would be due by then.

 

Surely there must be something we can do? CA are clearly at fault here by causing the overpayment? I acknowledged the debt and accepted it would need to be paid, and that money would be tight during the arrestment, but now we're even worse off than before?!

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As long as your current years are up to date i dont see why you cannot recalim the overpayment.

 

You need to put a letter in writing to the head of finance for council tax for your local council (you should get these online quite easily)

 

Keep your letter short and simple.

 

State due to CA error too much has been taken and the next payment. Advise them you are already in financial difficulties and this has put you into more and that you are unable to meet your other priority payments due to this shortfall and invite them to send you a cheque and please remember to send recorded delivery.


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