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Hi

 

I have an old debt from a previous address - I'm not really querying the debt but there are some interesting and challenging and frustrating issues around it.

 

I contacted my LA in the summer to clear off all my outstanding council tax debts. I had come into some money and wanted to end the saga.

 

I asked them to give me a figure for all the outstanding debts. They gave me one amount which I paid.

 

Subsequently my wife - same address - received a set of letters asking for payment of another amount.

 

Now, I was amiss to not challenge this at the time but I genuinely thought it was an oversight as I had asked for all amounts to be included when I paid in the summer.

 

Turns out my wife's is a separate amount that they would not have included at the time of the large payment because of the Data Protection act.

 

This amount has now gone to Bristow and Sutor.

 

I called the LA and asked them to repatriate the debt internally in order to avoid BS costs and they refused to do so. I complained that as I had acted in good faith towards them in the summer by clearing all outstanding debts it would be reasonable for them to do the same for me now. It fell on deaf ears.

 

More to the point Bristow and Sutor were demanding £54 weekly to clear their debt (now compounded to £650 from the original £570 owed to the LA).

 

I told them I can't afford that amount and they eventually reduced the weekly amount to £36.

 

I can't really afford this either but the BS rep told me I had no right to a minimum payment as the debt was legally enforceable.

 

Is there anything I can do?

 

Mike.

 

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Hi

 

I have an old debt from a previous address - I'm not really querying the debt but there are some interesting and challenging and frustrating issues around it.

 

I contacted my LA in the summer to clear off all my outstanding council tax debts. I had come into some money and wanted to end the saga.

 

I asked them to give me a figure for all the outstanding debts. They gave me one amount which I paid.

 

Subsequently my wife - same address - received a set of letters asking for payment of another amount.

 

Now, I was amiss to not challenge this at the time but I genuinely thought it was an oversight as I had asked for all amounts to be included when I paid in the summer.

 

Turns out my wife's is a separate amount that they would not have included at the time of the large payment because of the Data Protection act.

 

This amount has now gone to Bristow and Sutor.

 

I called the LA and asked them to repatriate the debt internally in order to avoid BS costs and they refused to do so. I complained that as I had acted in good faith towards them in the summer by clearing all outstanding debts it would be reasonable for them to do the same for me now. It fell on deaf ears.

 

More to the point Bristow and Sutor were demanding £54 weekly to clear their debt (now compounded to £650 from the original £570 owed to the LA).

 

I told them I can't afford that amount and they eventually reduced the weekly amount to £36.

 

I can't really afford this either but the BS rep told me I had no right to a minimum payment as the debt was legally enforceable.

 

Is there anything I can do?

 

Mike.

 

Thanks

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Mike, firstly well done for managing to clear the older debts. In relation to this one, I am assuming that the letter you have received from Bristow & Sutor is a Notice of Enforcement. If so, as long as a payment arrangement is set up during the 'compliance stage' (this is the date given on the notice by when payment or a payment arrangement must be set up) then the bailiff fees will be limited to £75.

 

When it comes to a payment arrangement, most companies will readily agree payment terms over 3 months with a maximum of 6 months. However, they would have to be guided by the terms outlined in their contracts with the local authority. Most importantly, the majority of local authority clients usually insist that any payment arrangement should be one that sees the debt cleared BEFORE the new council tax bills are sent out at the beginning of April. The reason being that by clearing the older debts there is less chance that the new bill will default.

 

In your case, the reduced payment of £36 will see the debt cleared in approx 18 weeks which is the end of March and would be in accordance with the wishes of the local authority.

 

If you really can afford such a sum I would suggest that you try to get their acceptance to a smaller amount of say, £25 per week. Most importantly, you need to ensure that a payment arrangement is set up before the compliance period ends (as otherwise, the debt will increase by £235) and a personal visit being made.

 

Please do post back to let us know how you get on.

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Mike, firstly well done for managing to clear the older debts. In relation to this one, I am assuming that the letter you have received from Bristow & Sutor is a Notice of Enforcement. If so, as long as a payment arrangement is set up during the 'compliance stage' (this is the date given on the notice by when payment or a payment arrangement must be set up) then the bailiff fees will be limited to £75.

 

When it comes to a payment arrangement, most companies will readily agree payment terms over 3 months with a maximum of 6 months. However, they would have to be guided by the terms outlined in their contracts with the local authority. Most importantly, the majority of local authority clients usually insist that any payment arrangement should be one that sees the debt cleared BEFORE the new council tax bills are sent out at the beginning of April. The reason being that by clearing the older debts there is less chance that the new bill will default.

 

In your case, the reduced payment of £36 will see the debt cleared in approx 18 weeks which is the end of March and would be in accordance with the wishes of the local authority.

 

If you really can afford such a sum I would suggest that you try to get their acceptance to a smaller amount of say, £25 per week. Most importantly, you need to ensure that a payment arrangement is set up before the compliance period ends (as otherwise, the debt will increase by £235) and a personal visit being made.

 

Please do post back to let us know how you get on.

 

BA, the OP is saying that B&S are refusing to lower the amount from £36 - the excuse they are giving for this, and it sounds like utter rubbish is "The debt is legally enforceable" so erm, they would lower it if the debt was NOT legally enforceable, and thus the Debtor was not actually obliged to pay?? :madgrin:

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