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I have noticed that a firm of HCEOs seem to have added application costs in a writ of control to the debt.

Then the application fee is added in their charges (charging twice). As it is already added to the debt, it then also adds to their later stage fees, which are based on a % of the debt.

 

Could it be that most people dealing with them are struggling to manage the debts they have without perusing the details of these bills?

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Can you post back to let us have some additional background information. You refer to 'application costs' How much have you been charged.

 

The CCJ was a little short of £7k. On applying for a writ of control, the HCEO added £117.75 for "fixed costs on issue". This took the debt over £7k.

 

On his notice of enforcement, the HCEO started with the debt at over £7k ie including his "fixed costs on issue". He then added "enforcement costs incurred up to the date of this notice" for £117.75, thus adding it twice. Additionally he also added 7.5% of the debt in his first stage fee, effectively adding £8.81 to his bill, to which we then also add VAT, another £25.31.

 

The matter is with the regulating body, who haven't responded yet, they don't seem to be in a hurry to either.

 

I have a feeling this is a systematic error, as how many people chased like this are able to check the details. If an odd debtor has noticed and been refunded, then maintaining a systematic error is fraud.

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No, I was only 8 days late making the first payment on the CCJ, but they had nevertheless engaged bailiffs. The interest is listed on their notice of enforcement as £3.16, which also included their compliance fee, £90 with VAT. The fixed costs on issue have definately been entered twice. Given it is on pro forma, this looks to be a systematic error/fraud.

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This looks to be a systematic error/fraud.

 

Have you had a previous case where £111.75 had been applied twice? If not, then your reference to the charge being 'systematic error/fraud' is not correct at all.

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I'm in business, and would be mortified to have over charged a customer, it seriously affects confidence in you. To make such errors on pro forma documents, there is a box for every fee, strongly suggests this is not an innocent mistake. I could manually write out invoices and make the odd mistake, but when everything is in a box like this......Yes I do need to find others, that is why anyone reading this should check their figures carefully for the same mistake. How many people actually get a copy of the writ of control for example.

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I think that he may just be a matter of the documentation being misleading or poorly worded.

 

The transfer up fees etc.will be added to the debt which is given to the HCEO, however, it is recoverable out of costs.

 

I think you will find that when the debt is enforced, the application costs will be deducted from the sum owed.

 

Once the amount outstanding has been recovered, the application fees will be removed from the EA costs recoveries, and given to the creditor along with the sum under the court order.

 

The sum owed is of course due to the court(via the order), what we are considering here, are costs of his application, which is a cost of enforcement. section 62 TCE.

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The CCJ was a little short of £7k. On applying for a writ of control, the HCEO added £117.75 for "fixed costs on issue". This took the debt over £7k.

 

On his notice of enforcement, the HCEO started with the debt at over £7k ie including his "fixed costs on issue". He then added "enforcement costs incurred up to the date of this notice" for £117.75, thus adding it twice. Additionally he also added 7.5% of the debt in his first stage fee, effectively adding £8.81 to his bill, to which we then also add VAT, another £25.31.

 

Before the writ can be issued, the creditor (or his solicitor) must apply to the court for a certificate of judgment. The execution costs of £117.75 are added to the debt at this stage. In other words, the execution costs (of £117.75) are included in the writ before it is passed over to the relevant High Court Enforcement company.

 

I notice that you have stated that your query is now with the 'regulatory body'. I assume that you mean the High Court Enforcement Officers Association. Before taking your complaint to the HCEOA, you will be expected to go through the relevant enforcement companies complaints procedure. Have you approached them to ask why this fee appears to have been charged twice? If so, what was their response?

 

If the fee has been charged twice and is credited back, the interest of £8.81 will of course drop away.

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Have you had a previous case where £111.75 had been applied twice? If not, then your reference to the charge being 'systematic error/fraud' is not correct at all.

 

I have just noticed a typo error. I should have posted £117.75 and not £111.75.

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It will, however, show on any breakdown as costs, as it is not part of the judgment sum. I is a cost of enforcement.

 

This is, I think where the misunderstanding has arisen.

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Yes I do need to find others, that is why anyone reading this should check their figures carefully for the same mistake. How many people actually get a copy of the writ of control for example.

 

Since your post, I have looked back at fee breakdowns for 16 cases that I received enquiries about in the past couple of months, and in all cases, the execution costs have only been applied once.

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For further "clarity section 62 says this.

 

"62(1)Regulations may make provision for the recovery by any person from the debtor of amounts in respect of costs of enforcement-related services.

(2)The regulations may provide for recovery to be out of proceeds or otherwise.

 

(3)The amount recoverable under the regulations in any case is to be determined by or under the regulations.

 

(4)The regulations may in particular provide for the amount, if disputed, to be assessed in accordance with rules of court.

 

(5)“Enforcement-related services” means anything done under or in connection with an enforcement power, or in connection with obtaining an enforcement power, or any services used for the purposes of a provision of this Schedule or regulations under it.

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Also the regulations say

 

Disbursements recoverable from the debtor

 

8.—(1) The enforcement agent may recover disbursements from the debtor only in accordance with this regulation and regulations 9, 10 and 11.

 

(2) The following disbursements are recoverable provided that they are reasonably and actually incurred—

 

(a)the cost of storing goods which have been taken into control and removed from the premises or highway;

(b)the cost of hiring a locksmith to gain access to premises when using reasonable force to enter them in accordance with Schedule 12, and to secure them thereafter;

©court fees in relation to any applications made by the enforcement agent in relation to the enforcement power which are granted.

(3) The disbursements referred to in this regulation and regulations 9 and 10 may be recovered out of proceeds

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The point is that it is only the sum adjudged can be collected as the principle, everything after that is a cost of enforcement.

 

This is what section 62 and the regulations say.

It is not to say that the full amount including fees and costs cannot be included in the writ, they can( as they are in magistrates court warrants.). But costs are not part of the sum due under the TCE.

It makes no difference to who gets what but may be confusing to someone who is not familiar with enforcement, like yourself.

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This all goes to show how what should be straight forward rules can be more invovlved. I made a complaint to the firm, and promptly got a response which I rejected, so it has now been passed to the HCEOA.

My main issue was receiving a letter on June 14th, (though dated June 6th) the notification, with the threat of further action on the 17th. I phoned the firm straight away, pointing out I had already made a payment directly to the claimant and offering to maintain the CCJ amounts.

That should have stalled any further action, pending acceptance by the claimant (which he isn't obliged to.) No further communication was received, but the first stage visit (and bill) was made on the 19th.

The late arrival of the letter perplexed me, but then they frank their own mail (in other words it may not have entered the postal system until later than the postmark.

The firm deny recieving a call from me, however I made a recording of it, now sent to the HCEOA. Naturally when one gets suspicious about two potential acts of dishonesty, one looks deeper. In their response they sent a copy of the writ of control, so the £117.75 was added in there and again on their enforcement notice - definately double entry.

The trouble is the bailiffs, to use the old fashioned term, have little incentive to resolve cases at the notice stage, as their pay day starts on enforcement. I detect more than a little arrogance here, as if how dare anyone challenge us. At the moment the onus is on the debtor to prove contact was made and when, not the bailiff.

The overpayment wasn't in my original complaint, the firm are now treating that as a complaint (apparently) and are "looking into it". I will be all ears for the response and keep you posted.

The debt has been paid, ironically it got to the stage it did because I had been hoping to do that on this particular problem, rather than make an arrangement.

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Thread tidied and off topic personal attack posts removed...apologies to Time Traveller .

Lets try again... thread now open.

 

Andy

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The firm deny recieving a call from me, however I made a recording of it, now sent to the HCEOA.

 

The overpayment wasn't in my original complaint, the firm are now treating that as a complaint (apparently) and are "looking into it". I will be all ears for the response and keep you posted.

 

The debt has been paid, ironically it got to the stage it did because I had been hoping to do that on this particular problem, rather than make an arrangement.

 

Thank you for providing a more detailed explanation of your complaint.

 

I have always found the High Court Enforcement Officers Association to be very fair indeed. Hopefully you will have the same opinion. In any event, please do keep the thread on here updated with their response.

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Yes thanks for the response, and as you say it is not a simple process.

 

If this is indeed an overpayment, it may be that it is something we need to watch for other cases.

I still have a feeling however that it is due to the nature of the way costs are recovered and there has been a misunderstanding rather than a purposeful act, but I suppose we will see.

 

I apologize for the nonsense earlier and my part in it and hope you keep us up to date.

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I have had contact from the firm's solicitor, who says he is drafting a response to the HCOEA, the regulating professional body, let's hope there is a will to clean up this "profession". I have used bailiffs myself in the past, not an easy job. I used Marstons, and must admit I was initially fustrated with progress, they seemed by the book and of course one sees bailiffs pulling all sorts of stunts on TV.

 

I had a lady customer, detached house in Kent countryside, not in her name, Range Rover, not in her name and house full of antiques, including ours (she only had to return them for settlement.) You could say she was fairly bailiff hardened, but I was able to supply Marstons some intelligence on her, and they got a result in the end, which is a doubtful if some of the TV antics had been employed.

Fustrating as it is for claimants, we have to go by the book. From the other perspective, the word "dishonest" springs to mind to summarise my recent experience, and the temptation to convert a £75 plus VAT notification fee into enforement fees up into four figures is too much for some HCEO firms.

 

This has very little to do with benefiting the claimant, as he may well end up with nothing or having to share repayments with the bailiff. The bailiff's prospective fees, before action, are a significant enducement for the debtor to make arrangements. After they are applied there is little inducement and like my lady in Kent, the debtor can put the shutters up and ride out the storm.

 

Anyway, will keep this thread posted on how this pans out.

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What did the HCEO say regarding your contention regarding the application fee

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Many thanks alreadyexists, that is more or less my reading of the HCEOA. However, I also gather they are under a lot of pressure to clean up their act. Other profession watch dogs, such as the Law Society, were almost moribund for years, but then govt pressure forced them to rein in some of their members, in fact they almost needed to make examples of some and did. The fact is if the HCEOA doesn't clean up the "profession", then the Lord Chancellor can always look at appointing some other body to do so.

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As the firm have now admitted "error" on the double charging, I think it safe to reveal that they are Penham Excel. They have furthermore said they are going to look into previous cases,

 

As this can be a tedious process, I could suggest that anyone who has had dealings with them, checks their bills. The "error" occurs when the writ of control is issued, with the issue fee noted on the writ. I doubt if many people actually get a copy of this writ, but what they might find is that their "debt" on their notification and onwards incorporates this fee, even though it is added again in the billing - double charging and admitted.

 

If anyone has raised this issue earlier with them, or this only occurs on larger debts, were shall we say the double charge is less noticeable, then I would suggest that rather than a mere error, this is warrants a police investigation.

 

Don't forget that this "error" inflates the debt and hence adds to futher charges and interest, which also need refunding.

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Can we see what they are admitting to, please. As far as I can see there is no reason why the enhancement of 7.5 % cannot be incurred on the fee paid to the court, as I said.

 

The amount paid by the debtor is added to the sum due to the court as costs. This is due to the creditor out of costs recovered and included in the writ. It is a disbursement

see here:

 

8.—(1) The enforcement agent may recover disbursements from the debtor only in accordance with this regulation and regulations 9, 10 and 11.

 

(2) The following disbursements are recoverable provided that they are reasonably and actually incurred—

 

(a)the cost of storing goods which have been taken into control and removed from the premises or highway;

(b)the cost of hiring a locksmith to gain access to premises when using reasonable force to enter them in accordance with Schedule 12, and to secure them thereafter;

©court fees in relation to any applications made by the enforcement agent in relation to the enforcement power which are granted.

 

The 7-5% is calculated on the "sum to be recovered(" this will include the court fee), or the amount the creditor will accept in payment. This will include the sum he paid to the court for the move UP

 

Calculation of fees by reference to value of sum sought to be recovered(this is the amount due under the writ)

 

7. The percentage fee or fees are to be calculated—

 

(a)where enforcement takes place other than under a High Court writ, by multiplying the amount of the sum to be recovered which exceeds £1500 by the percentage indicated in the relevant column of table 1 in the Schedule

 

So it is quite correct to raise the enhancement on the fee paid for the move up to HC.

 

Now having said that the sum paid by the creditor is still a "cost", and it says as much on the writ.

Costs are recovered separately as disbursements.

 

The recovery of this cost is different to the recovery of fees, as it is given to the creditor so he can recover his court fees. Enforcement fees, of course, go to the bailiff and are his to keep as payment for his services.

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As far as I can work out at the moment, Penham Excel are sending all I asked for. As it's coming by snail mail, a cheque in the post, I will have to wait, but I don't think they are arguing the toss.

Lets just say that arithmetic does not seem to be one of their strong cards, and book keeping even less so.

Given the circumstances they could be paying compensation out on over charging - for example if meeting this extra cost incurred bank charges, or selling goods cheap etc, it's their mistake and it would be churlish of them to argue over the pennies.

 

This was all done on a pro forma, highly likely not to be an isolated case and until now they have been very obtuse to deal with.

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As far as I can work out at the moment, Penham Excel are sending all I asked for. As it's coming by snail mail, a cheque in the post, I will have to wait, but I don't think they are arguing the toss.

Lets just say that arithmetic does not seem to be one of their strong cards, and book keeping even less so.

Given the circumstances they could be paying compensation out on over charging - for example if meeting this extra cost incurred bank charges, or selling goods cheap etc, it's their mistake and it would be churlish of them to argue over the pennies.

 

This was all done on a pro forma, highly likely not to be an isolated case and until now they have been very obtuse to deal with.

 

I agree of course, but it would be good to know what the legal standpoint is, and if I am correct for future reference.

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