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Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) decision....Bailiff fees refunded.

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I mentioned yesterday on the forum that since the new regulations came into effect in April 2014, the Local Government Ombudsman has dealt with 304 enquiries relating to a council tax complaint that involved bailiff enforcement, and 418 enquiries relating to a penalty charge notice (including congestion charging) that involved bailiff enforcement.


The following decision has just been released and again, another local authority has agreed to refund bailiff fees an Out of Time witness statement has been accepted at the Traffic Enforcement Centre.


The following is an extract of the decision.


Bury Metropolitan Borough Council


Mrs X complains the Council failed to refund bailiff costs and the parking fine following the decision of the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC).





4 The Council issued a penalty charge notice (PCN) to Mrs X. It says Mrs X did not either appeal the notice or pay the fine. The Council continued to take action to recover the outstanding amount which resulted in bailiffs visiting Mrs X’s property.


5 Mrs X says the first time she knew of the PCN was when the bailiffs visited. She says she panicked when the bailiffs attended and so paid the fine in full. Afterwards she decided to challenge the recovery as she had never received the PCN. Mrs X made a late appeal to the TEC. Her appeal was upheld.


6 The bailiff sent a cheque to Mrs X for £310 on 17 February 2016. This was the return of their fees following the decision of the TEC. The Council retained £82 which is the original penalty charge of £50, £25 for the non- payment before the Council sent a charge certificate and £7 for the debt registration.


7 The Council says it has retained this amount because it did not form part of the TEC decision. It says at no time has Mrs X challenged the PCN and so it is still valid.


8. In response to my enquiries the Council says it will reissue the Notice to Owner to Mrs X. This will give her the opportunity to challenge the original PCN. If it is found the PCN was not correctly issued the Council should make a further refund.



Final Decision:



My decision is the complaint will not be pursued further. The return of the bailiff fees has provided a remedy for most of Mrs X’s complaint. When we spoke on the telephone previously, she said this is what she was seeking. In addition the Council will now reissue the Notice to Owner which gives Mrs X the right to appeal the PCN if she considers it was wrongly issued. I consider this provides a suitable remedy for Mrs X’s complaint so I will not pursue it further.




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