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Vehicle removed and High Court enforcement debt increases by over £1,000 following bad advice on social media site.

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I have mentioned before on the forum of the dangers that debtors face when they visit popular 'social media' sites and apply to join 'closed groups' that claim to offer advice to anyone who has received a letter or a visit from a bailiff.

 

These sites profess to help debtors. Don't be fooled. In the case of this particular thread, the social media site page in question has one aim only and that is to ensure that payment is never made to a bailiff. That is their overriding aim.

 

Debtors joining these 'closed groups' wrongly believe that what they post remains a secret. It does not. Almost all bailiff companies, debt collection agencies, mobile phone providers and banks etc are members of these groups and can recognise the debtor immediately from the documentation frequently exhibited.

 

Yesterday was one of the most serious examples of appalling bad advice from inexperienced members of the public that ultimately led to the debtors vehicle (worth £4,000) being taken by a High Court Enforcement Agent.

 

The poor and inaccurate advice also led to the debt increasing by well over a £1,000.

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As mentioned above, the debt being enforced is a judgment that had passed to a High Court Enforcement Agent to enforce. It is important to mention that enforcement of these debts is different to that of unpaid council tax arrears or court fines etc. The fees scale is also different.

 

Anyone advising members of the public regarding enforcement of these debts should ensure that they are familiar with item 7.3 of the Explanatory Memorandum supporting the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014. This states as follows:

 

While the fee structure applies across debt streams, there are two separate fee levels – one for High Court Enforcement and one for non-High Court Enforcement, with the High Court level containing higher fees. This reflects the findings in the 2009 independent report that High Court Enforcement has a higher cost base due to the personal responsibility of a High Court Enforcement Officer (who has writs addressed directly to them) and the fact that they enforce higher value debts.

 

The personal liability of the High Court Enforcement Officer has also necessitated the need for High Court enforcement to have first and second enforcement stages with the associated fees.

 

The fee structure for High Court cases also
introduces an incentive to enter into, and adhere to, an affordable controlled goods agreement.

 

Unless a debtor pays in full at the compliance stage,
the enforcement agent is obliged to visit the debtor in every High Court case
in order to take control of goods, thereby triggering the first enforcement stage.

 

If the enforcement agent is then unable to enter into a controlled goods agreement
(and has to take control of goods in another manner) or a debtor defaults on a controlled goods agreement,
the enforcement agent will be under an obligation to remove goods
and therefore the second enforcement stage fee will also apply.

 

For non-High Court debt there is no such obligation and therefore we have introduced an incentive to enter into an agreement without taking control of goods at the (earlier) compliance stage which avoids triggering the enforcement stage with its larger fee.

 

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1/pdfs/uksiem_20140001_en.pdf

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Background:

 

It would seem that the lady had an unpaid county court judgment from a electricity supplier. Most importantly, she confirmed that her husband had been dealing with the matter and that he was supposed to have made payment towards the debt over the weekend. The debt at the time of the visit was approx £2,200.

 

High Court officers attended and secured her vehicle by applying a car clamp. The regulations are clear in that if an immobilisation device is applied, the vehicle cannot be removed for a minimum of two hours. In that time, the debtor took to 'social media'.

 

The lady was told by those advising her that she was from a 'vulnerable household' (she has two children who receive Disability Living Allowance). This again was wrong advice.

 

Events over the next 3 hours resembled 'mob culture'. There were almost 500 posts made. The advice given was awful:

 

She was advised to complete a 'Vulnerable Household' template letter and send it to the enforcement company.

 

She was was told to contact the county to seek a 'Stay'. An email was drafted for her. From what she had posted, the contents of the email were untrue.

 

She was told to complete an EAC2 complaint regarding the High Court Enforcement Agent.

 

The lady was clearly distressed and it was plain to see that she was spending hours texting messages back and forth to the 'social media' page.

 

The inaccurate advice that she was being given lead to the visit becoming very tense indeed. Police were called and 4 Police riot vans attended (an additional 'undercover' van also attended).

 

Crucially......she posted that the High Court enforcement agent asked her to sign a Controlled Goods Agreement. She was told in no uncertain terms, by those 'advising' her that she should refuse to allow the officer into her home (to complete a Controlled Goods Agreement). This was a serious mistake by those advising her.

 

As outlined in item 7.3 of the above Explanatory Memorandum, if a Controlled Goods Agreement cannot be entered into, that the enforcement agent is under an obligation to remove goods....and that the second stage enforcement fee will also apply.

 

The lady was sitting in her vehicle most of the time. She was told by the police and enforcement agents that she could be prosecuted for obstructing the enforcement agent (which is correct). Those advising her should have told her to get out of the car. They did not do so. After a few hours, the police smashed the car window and she was removed from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the car pound. She was informed that the debt had increased by over £1,000 .

 

If she had of signed a Controlled Goods Agreement (as outlined in the Explanatory Memorandum) the fees would have only consisted of the enforcement stage one fee (of £190 plus vat). She was also have retained the use of here vehicle.

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Thank you for drawing this to my attention, TT. However, I am finding there is abuse of the High Court enforcement process by utlities and it is not isolated cases either. Steps are being taken to identify the main and repeat offenders. If a debt is over £5,000, fair enough as the law requires the debt to be transferred to the HC for enforcement, but there are what appears to be an increasing number of cases of commercial creditors using the HC enforcement process for debts below £5,000 and, alarmingly, under £1,000. Where the enforcement process is being used as a form of punishment for being in debt, with the passage of time, this brings the process into disrepute. Utilities need to remember ECHR and the Human Rights Act 1998 applies to them whether they want to beieve it or not and can be unforgiving if a court makes a Section 7 judgment or order against them.

 

Also, it is known that EAs have set up false/bogus FB profiles, joined the social media site and posted misleading or distracting comments which then results in the "wrong" information you mention. This, sadly, is the reality. If the enforcement industry is that concerned their bottom line is being affected by intervention to curb malpractice, unlawful behaviour and, in a small number of cases, criminal behaviour, then the industry needs to take a long, hard look at itself and remove those who give the industry a bad name.

 

As for EAs enforcing Writs, my understanding where the alleged debt is not against a business, the same rule applies that applies to WoCs, that is, peaceable entry only, not barge way in as can be witnessed on episodes of "Can't Pay? We'll Take It Anyway".

 

It has also come to attention that professional trolls have been at work on these particular pages. One member spotted a professional trolling business's posting style and knew the location of the firm's trading address. The posts this trolling business had made disappeared very rapidly once they realised they had been rumbled. However, it wasn't fast enough to initiate regulatory action.

 

I would urge caution as to pointing the accusing finger at the social media site members where comments on its pages are concerned as not all of what is posted is put there by members. Some of the comments are the work of professional trolls and rogue elements within the enforcement industry.

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Most of the recklessly stupid advice on the social media site is posted by their regular members and admins. This tsunami of idiocy dwarfs any influence by alleged "professional trolls and rogue elements" on the fringes.

 

And of course, one ironic effect of the social media site etc encouraging people to defy and obstruct ordinary bailiffs is that creditors may now more frequently feel it is necessary to transfer recovery to the High Court. Good luck with your "steps are being taken" but I see no reason why they should not do so. If a debtor will not engage in any reasonable attempt to meet their liabilities, the law rightly provides a method of escalation.

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Thank you for drawing this to my attention, TT.

 

It has also come to attention that professional trolls have been at work on the social media site pages. One member spotted a professional trolling business's posting style and knew the location of the firm's trading address. The posts this trolling business had made disappeared very rapidly once they realised they had been rumbled. However, it wasn't fast enough to initiate regulatory action.

 

I would urge caution as to pointing the accusing finger at the social media site members where comments on its pages are concerned as not all of what is posted is put there by members. Some of the comments are the work of professional trolls and rogue elements within the enforcement industry.

 

Thank you for your response OB. Unfortunately, I only viewed the page after the lady's vehicle had actually been removed. If I had of seen the page earlier, I would certainly have called you.

 

I am aware of the allegations about 'professional trolling' (and the supposed company). However, that does not change the fact, that the lady received appalling bad advice. Given that the debt was one being enforced via the High Court, if a Controlled Goods Agreement could not be set up, then the enforcement agent is under a legal obligation to the creditor to remove goods. There are no two ways about it. She was told not to let an officer into her home or to sign any documentation and that is fact....and that advice has cost her dearly.

 

As you will know, I was given access a couple of years ago permitting to answer queries on the social media site. Unfortunately, I was booted off the site after about a month because I committed the mortal sin of suggested to a lady that she should set up a payment arrangement with a bailiff.

 

Her car had been clamped for an hour or so. The bailiff expressed his willingness to remove the clamp if she paid half the debt that day and the balance one month later. She admitted that she had received the notices from the council and the initial letter from the enforcement company. The advice from the social media site was to get the lady to complete an Out of Time witness statement !!! It was patently obvious that in signing that document, she was committing perjury. This was the lengths that the site would go to in order to ensure that payment was never made to a bailiff. I am afraid to say, that two years later, the advise given to all posters remains the same.......NEVER PAY A BAILIFF.

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Thank you for drawing this to my attention, TT.

 

However, I am finding there is abuse of the High Court enforcement process by utlities and it is not isolated cases either. Steps are being taken to identify the main and repeat offenders.

 

If a debt is over £5,000, fair enough as the law requires the debt to be transferred to the HC for enforcement, but there are what appears to be an increasing number of cases of commercial creditors using the HC enforcement process for debts below £5,000 and, alarmingly, under £1,000.

 

Where the enforcement process is being used as a form of punishment for being in debt, with the passage of time, this brings the process into disrepute. Utilities need to remember ECHR and the Human Rights Act 1998 applies to them whether they want to beieve it or not and can be unforgiving if a court makes a Section 7 judgment or order against them.

 

OB. surely you must know that if a judgment is over the amount of £600, that the creditors (in this case, the utility companies) can choose whether to have their judgement enforced via the County Court....OR, via a High Court Enforcement Agent.

 

Energy companies (who I have attended meetings with) report that County Court bailiffs have a very low success rate of collecting their judgements. Because the fee scale for High Court enforcement agents was significantly reduced in 2014, the High Court remains a popular route for enforcement of judgments.

 

Utility companies are fully aware of ECHR and the Human Rights Act and I would be extremely surprised if there was ever to be a 'Section 7' judgment made against them by the court.

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Most of the recklessly stupid advice on the social media site is posted by their regular members and admins. This tsunami of idiocy dwarfs any influence by alleged "professional trolls and rogue elements" on the fringes.

 

And of course, one ironic effect of the social media site etc encouraging people to defy and obstruct ordinary bailiffs is that creditors may now more frequently feel it is necessary to transfer recovery to the High Court. Good luck with your "steps are being taken" but I see no reason why they should not do so. If a debtor will not engage in any reasonable attempt to meet their liabilities, the law rightly provides a method of escalation.

 

You really do need to wake up, Anus.

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OB. surely you must know that if a judgment is over the amount of £600, that the creditors (in this case, the utility companies) can choose whether to have their judgement enforced via the County Court....OR, via a High Court Enforcement Agent.

 

Energy companies (who I have attended meetings with) report that County Court bailiffs have a very low success rate of collecting their judgements. Because the fee scale for High Court enforcement agents was significantly reduced in 2014, the High Court remains a popular route for enforcement of judgments.

 

Utility companies are fully aware of ECHR and the Human Rights Act and I would be extremely surprised if there was ever to be a 'Section 7' judgment made against them by the court.

 

I shall clarify, TT.

 

Utilities appear to be using the High Court court route as a default option, rather than as a last resort. There have been cases where the utility compay will not engage with alleged debtors and ploughs on regardless. In one case, an EA working for an HCEO hoodwinked the police into believing he was allowed to put his foot in the door of a domestic property for a non-commercial debt and push against the door. The police have now found out othewise and are not happy bunnies.

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I shall clarify, TT.

 

Utilities appear to be using the High Court court route as a default option, rather than as a last resort. There have been cases where the utility compay will not engage with alleged debtors and ploughs on regardless. In one case, an EA working for an HCEO hoodwinked the police into believing he was allowed to put his foot in the door of a domestic property for a non-commercial debt and push against the door. The police have now found out othewise and are not happy bunnies.

 

Some also use the court to allow a forced entry, and fit a pre pay meter, rather than use HCEO.


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Utilities appear to be using the High Court court route as a default option, - that is their choice - rather than as a last resort - usually because all other options have failed. There have been cases where the utility compay will not engage with alleged debtors - again because other options have failed - and ploughs on regardless. In one case, an EA working for an HCEO hoodwinked the police into believing he was allowed to put his foot in the door of a domestic property for a non-commercial debt and push against the door. The police have now found out othewise and are not happy bunnies. Very few Police Forces have any knowledge of Bailiff matters + of course there is still the Regulation that states a Constable must assist a HCEO going about his duties

 

It is unsurprising that any Utility Co will sit back and wait, as has been said the County Court Bailiff is too slow & ineffectual which may come back to bite them in the long run if the powers that be decide they are no longer needed. Looking at what is suggested by BTATB - yes I used to go on there but asking questions was a sin - then it is little wonder if they treat everyone with the same brush when it comes to enforcement. Those that take advice there appear to be of the Won't Pays & realistically deserve what they get. BTATB needs a major change - starting with getting rid of the surplus Admins who do not have a clue what they are talking about.


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The problem With the site and their admin is that they encourage members to not pay for things like Water and TV licence

 

They reason that water falls out of the sky, And is a basic human right, And the BBC are all pedos

 

I think that the admins have a responsibility to advise the members of the folly of such advice

 

Every day on their group there are people being taken to court by utility companies and taken to court for no TV licence

 

And this is for Old Bill

 

As admin of this site you need to start telling people what they need to hear, Not what they want to hear, People that refuse to pay will face some kind of sanction eventually, Often that is bailiffs, You telling everyone that they are right and the bailiffs are wrong and going to lose their jobs does not help

 

Don't tell people that have had cars towed that you will get their cars back for them when you can't, And then ignore them when they shout for you

 

And most importantly, Thanks to you, They all think that if a police officer assists a bailiff, They will go to prison for 14 years thanks to Section 26 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015 that you bang on about

 

Please link on this page 1 case of a police officer going to prison for assisting a bailiff

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Having seen this post, I joined a group with just under 63,000 members. Some of the advice is bordering on criminal, what's touted from the pinned post is absolutely scandalous, here's an excerpt......

 

" No recommending CAB, Stepchange, CAP, IVA’s or DRO’s – Don’t do it. They aren’t what they seem, and to be honest, any advice they can give we can give too. "


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Most of the recklessly stupid advice on the social media site is posted by their regular members and admins. This tsunami of idiocy dwarfs any influence by alleged "professional trolls and rogue elements" on the fringes.

 

You really do need to wake up, Anus.

 

Insulting me doesn't really answer the point. Is Colin11 correct above, when he refers to you being an admin member of the irresponsible, inaccurate and harmful group? Is that why you are making excuses for them?

Edited by honeybee13
Name of group removed.

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now that IS funny..:lol::lol:

 

I think 2nd to BA he'd be as popular to them as trump is to the world


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Is Colin11 correct above, when he refers to you being an admin member of the irresponsible, inaccurate and harmful BTBAB group? Is that why you are making excuses for them?

 

Yes, Old Bill is indeed one of the trusted members of the site's admin team and has been for about two years. In his favour, I would say that he is not a prolific poster. Nonetheless, given his status, he cannot argue that he has some responsibility to ensure that the advice being given, does not make the debtors position worse than it was before they joined that group.

 

Telling debtors never to pay a bailiff is a mistake (in particular if their car has been taken into control)

 

Telling debtors that if they ignore correspondence from a bailiff the debt will be handed back to the council is a mistake...the council will merely refer the account to another enforcement agency.

 

Telling debtors not to contact CAB, Stepchange, National Debt Line etc is a mistake.

 

Telling debtors never to sign a Controlled Goods Agreement is a mistake. The alternative, (as in the case on this thread) will be that the goods are removed.

Edited by honeybee13
Site name removed

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Every now and then, i realise why I post on this forum.


DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES TO COLD CALLERS PROMISING TO WRITE OFF YOUR DEBTS

DO NOT PAY UPFRONT FEES FOR COSTLY TELEPHONE CONSULTATIONS WITH SO CALLED "EXPERTS" THEY INVARIABLY ARE NOTHING OF THE SORT

BEWARE OF QUICK FIX DEBT SOLUTIONS, IF IT LOOKS LIKE IT IS TO GOOD TO BE TRUE IT INVARIABLY IS

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The lady was sitting in her vehicle most of the time. She was told by the police and enforcement agents that she could be prosecuted for obstructing the enforcement agent... After a few hours, the police smashed the car window and she was removed from the vehicle. She was informed that the debt had increased by over £1,000 .

 

It's hard to have sympathy for someone who ignores the instructions of a uniformed police officer instead believing a random stranger on social media!

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