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Hello, I'd be grateful for any advice please.

 

I've received a letter out of the blue from a company called Bristow & Sutor,

who say I owe Recycled Council Tax on a property I left 18 months ago.

 

I gave the local council my forwarding address & they also had my email address.

I had this account with a payment arrangement set up directly with the council.

The then current bill had been passed to a collection company.

 

I was ill & unable to work & was self employed.

I asked the council if i could pay reduced amounts but they just passed everything to the bailiffs.

The amounts with the bailiffs have been completely paid off.

 

This letter says I owe the council £220.21 & Bristow & Sutor have added on £310, total bill now £530.21, now with enforcement.

 

I've looked back through my records & on the last call to an advisor the outstanding balance was £55 left to pay.

I must have forgotten all about it & I received no further correspondence.

 

I've managed to get the account suspended for 14 days while I try to contact the council.

However they take 10 days to reply.

I've been emailing since the 11th January.

 

I had a response which confirmed all outstanding bills were paid in full with the bailiff company.

And that this was recycled council tax.

 

I emailed back to say the outstanding balance was £55 & my bank statements showed payments of £260 leaving a balance of £57, I copied the bank statement in the email too.

 

I then got a reply from another person, junior officer, who then contradicted everything the first revenues officer told me.

 

I've emailed again, but still waiting for a reply. I've emailed Bristow & Sutor & they've only replied this morning to say I have to make an arrangement to pay & if there is any amendment to the bill, the council will instruct them.

 

I'm expected to blindly pay for something I have no idea why I owe it.

I'm being ignored by the council, their responses are just not good enough.

You just can't get a straight answer but I think it's more no one has any authority.

 

Why is it acceptable for Bristow & Sutor to put on an additional £310!!

But I'm very worried this is an enforcement agency, don't want any visits.

I'm also worried as I can't pay very much a week at the moment.

 

I don't know what to do.

Does any one have any suggestions please?

 

Thank you

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moved to the bailiff forum.

 

dx


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have you had a notice of enforcement and a visit?


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Hi

 

Just trying to understand what is being billed here.

 

Are you saying that there are two bills from your old address, one was an old recycled bill which was under an arrangement with the authority and another later(then current bill).

 

and now both these bills, the remaining amount (£57)on the first and the amount due on the second have been lumped together on a single liability order and passed to the bailiff for collection.

 

or is this completely wrong


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No visit, a letter, arrived 11 January,"ENFORCEMENT PROCESS COMMENCED"

I don't know what it's for & the council seems to be having a problem telling me what it's for

Thanks

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Sorry, I had 2 bills sent to Equita, when I became ill. One for £304.42 last payment made 12/17, the other was £208.94 last payment made 05/17

The first revenues officer said the Equita bills were paid off in full. His exact words were "Having checked the history of your account, previous balances regarding other periods of liability were passed onto Equita which have all been paid in full.

 

He then said it was relating to a payment arrangement I had directly with them, saying it was £200 left to pay. So I went through my paperwork & the last conversation I had with an advisor, they told me there was £55 left to pay. I replied to him but then got someone replying, which has caused more confusion.

 

The second revenues assistant said it was an amendment added to the Equita bills?

 

I emailed the first revenues officer back & said if he was unable to tell me what it was for, I wanted to speak with a manager

They've sent an email today, to the wrong email address, from the first revenues officer, with statements of my payments to Equita

So it does appear to be about the 2 Equita bills even though he said they were paid off in full

One balance is zero but one balance is £200?

Looking at it, the liabilty amount was £418.55 & I've paid Equita £304.42, that's how much Equita said I owed, which would leave £114.13 outstanding. The council are saying £220.21 is outstanding

And Bristow & Sutor want a total of £530.21

But they say I've to make an arrangement to pay before 7th Feb or they'll take recovery action

 

Both bills with Equita, I paid off in full, now they say there's more to pay. I don't know what to do

If I do owe anything at all it's the £55. Can they just add on more to an already paid up bill, if it is the Equita bill why aren't they dealing with it. Doesn't make sense to me

 

Should I still set up a payment arrangement with Bristow & Sutor even though I don't know what this is for? And they want £530.21

 

Thank you

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No visit, a letter, arrived 11 January,"ENFORCEMENT PROCESS COMMENCED"

I don't know what it's for & the council seems to be having a problem telling me what it's for

Thanks

Sorry crossed posts


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Sorry, I had 2 bills sent to Equita, when I became ill. One for £304.42 last payment made 12/17, the other was £208.94 last payment made 05/17

The first revenues officer said the Equita bills were paid off in full. His exact words were "Having checked the history of your account, previous balances regarding other periods of liability were passed onto Equita which have all been paid in full.

 

He then said it was relating to a payment arrangement I had directly with them, saying it was £200 left to pay. So I went through my paperwork & the last conversation I had with an advisor, they told me there was £55 left to pay. I replied to him but then got someone replying, which has caused more confusion.

 

The second revenues assistant said it was an amendment added to the Equita bills?

 

I emailed the first revenues officer back & said if he was unable to tell me what it was for, I wanted to speak with a manager

They've sent an email today, to the wrong email address, from the first revenues officer, with statements of my payments to Equita

So it does appear to be about the 2 Equita bills even though he said they were paid off in full

One balance is zero but one balance is £200?

Looking at it, the liabilty amount was £418.55 & I've paid Equita £304.42, that's how much Equita said I owed, which would leave £114.13 outstanding. The council are saying £220.21 is outstanding

And Bristow & Sutor want a total of £530.21

But they say I've to make an arrangement to pay before 7th Feb or they'll take recovery action

 

Both bills with Equita, I paid off in full, now they say there's more to pay. I don't know what to do

If I do owe anything at all it's the £55. Can they just add on more to an already paid up bill, if it is the Equita bill why aren't they dealing with it. Doesn't make sense to me

 

Should I still set up a payment arrangement with Bristow & Sutor even though I don't know what this is for? And they want £530.21

 

Thank you

 

Well firstly you need to clarify why the fees are £310. If they are only now sending you a letter you are still at compliance stage and the fee due to the bailiff should therefore only be £75, the other £235 should only be due after the bailiff calls on the 7th.

 

So even if they are right you are making an arrangement to pay £295.

 

More in a bit


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It seems like the account may have been first issue to Equita and returned only part paid.

 

When this happens a proportion of any payments already made would have been deducted and put towards their fees.

 

This may explain the difference between what you paid and was remaining and presented as outstanding to Band S.

 

Anyway, I have asked BA to look in, she is expert in these matters.


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Thanks so much for your help.

 

The 2 Equita bills were paid & cleared, the council also confirmed.

How can there now be more?

 

Also, not only was I paying Equita I was also making payments directly to the council.

 

I'm going to check back through the bank statements tomorrow as I don't think they've included those payments at all,

just Equita payments.

If that's the case they'll owe me money!

 

If I make an arrangement to pay Bristow & Sutor, will I be accepting liabilty for the debt?

That I may not owe at all?

Thanks again

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time for an sar me thinks?


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Guest DeadlyDave

This is an almost identical situation to one that I experienced last year.

I think you need to negotiate a repayment plan.

This does not mean that you are admitting liability and if there are any over payments, they will be returned to you.

 

What you should do then is email the head/director of finance at the council (not the 10 customer services) and explain that you are being passed from pillar to post.

You were under the impression that the debt was paid but you are now being asked to pay another £500 odd.

 

Ask that the council supply you with a breakdown of each liability order, including payments made and the bailiff fees that have been added.

 

n my case, the notice of enforcement that is a statutory requirement was sent to my previous address

- This invalidaded £50 of the bailiff fees that i was asked to pay and this amount was deducted from my bill.

 

When Bristow & Suitor were made aware that I was challenging the amount being demanded, they stopped action for 14 days to give me time to sort the mess out.

 

I suggest that you ask Bristow & Suitor for a similar set up.

Copy them in also on the email that you send to the council. Finally, ask them what address they sent the notice of enforcement to. If it was your address of 18 months ago, they cannot charge for visiting you.

 

Good luck

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ah the old...

 

Here is something to be getting on with.

.

First of all establish from the Council how much was owing etc

.

You need to speak to someone at the Council and ask the following questions:

 

1 - how many Liability Orders they have against you

2 - the dates they were obtained

3 - the addresses they were for

4 - the period of time each covers

5 - how much each one was for

6 - how much is still outstanding

7 - the dates they were passed on for enforcement

8 - the dates & amounts of any payments

 

...........................

.

Next you need to send off for a breakdown of the charges the Bailiff applied.

.

Here's an example,

use and ADAPT at will and best sent initially by email backed up by a copy in the post.

.

"From:

My Name

My Address

.

To:

Acme Bailiff Co

Bailiff House

.

Ref: Account No: 123456

.

Dear Sir

.

With reference to the above account, Can you please provide me with a breakdown of the charges.

.

This includes:

a - the time & date of any Bailiff action that incurred a Fee.

b - the reason for the fee.

c - the name(s) of the Bailiff(s) that attended on each occasion a Fee was charged.

d - the name(s) of the Court(s) the Bailiff(s) was/were Certificated at.

e - the date of the Certification.

.

This is NOT a Subject Access Request

uest under the Data Protection Act S7 1998

so does not incur a fee of £10. You are obliged to provide this information.

.

I require this information within 14 days.

.

Yours faithfully

.

Ripped off customer"

.


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I think this is what DX suggested.

 

I would ring the EA and find out about the enforcement fee. Many times bailiffs will include the enforcement fee within the first bill, so that needs to be sorted first.

ie.Has there or has there not been an enforcement call on this LO if so when, if not the bill needs amending.

 

It seems the OP has until Thursday before any further visit is scheduled so I would negotiate a plan based on the outcome of the above and make a fist payment.

This will give you more time and prevent any further fees.

You think you may owe £55 so why not pay £50 for instance, it will either be the first payment or payment in full(almost) dependant on what you find out. As far as they are concerned at this stage it is a first payment.

Don't worry about acknowledgment, it is either owed or it is not.

 

As regards what is owed, it is very difficult to get straight on the information provided, no ones fault it is often confusing when there are a number of LOs to sort out.

 

Something to bear in mind : Just because payments have been made to the authority does not mean the account wasn't in the hands of the bailiff, it may be that although the authority was receiving the payment it was being credit to the bailiffs account and fees where being deducted from it


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Seahorses please come back when you have more info

 

I would not be side tracked by any avoidance ideas, it is simply a matter of finding out what you owe.


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Incidentally. I am sure everyone here would have lost count of the number of times we have come across bailiffs attempting to charge the enforcement fees when not due.


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

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Thanks so much for your help.

 

The 2 Equita bills were paid & cleared, the council also confirmed.

 

Also, not only was I paying Equita I was also making payments directly to the council.

 

I'm going to check back through the bank statements tomorrow as I don't think they've included those payments at all, just Equita payments.

 

If I make an arrangement to pay Bristow & Sutor, will I be accepting liabilty for the debt?

 

The only way to get an accurate account of what has been paid (and to whom) is to check back on your own bank records. When you have done so, would you post back so and we can then advise further.

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Sorry, I had 2 bills sent to Equita, when I became ill. One for £304.42 last payment made 12/17, the other was £208.94 last payment made 05/17

 

They've sent an email today, with statements of my payments to Equita. So it does appear to be about the 2 Equita bills even though he said they were paid off in full. One balance is zero but one balance is £200?

 

Looking at it, the liabilty amount was £418.55 & I've paid Equita £304.42, that's how much Equita said I owed, which would leave £114.13 outstanding.

 

The council are saying £220.21 is outstanding. And Bristow & Sutor want a total of £530.21

 

Both bills with Equita, I paid off in full, now they say there's more to pay.

 

 

I have substantially edited your above post to remove the references to conversation that you had with the council but sadly, I am still somewhat confused.

 

You mentioned that Equita had previously been enforcing two debts. One for £304.42 and the other for £208.94.

 

Let us look first at the debt for £304.42.

 

You have mentioned that this amount relates to a Liability Order for £418.55 and that you paid the sum requested by Equita of £304.42. If this was the amount initially requested by Equita and you paid this sum without a visit taking place, then I cannot see how there can still be a balance on this particular account?

 

You you still have a copy of the Notice of Enforcement from Equita in relation to this particular account? If so, can you post back to let us know the precise amount being requested (to include the Compliance fee of £75). Also what date was the notice dated.

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Can we keep this thread on topic please and stick to helping the OP? Unhelpful posts will be edited or removed.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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It looks like Bristol & Suitor have visited Seahorse judging by their fees. Seahorse needs to confirm where they visited and where the notice of enforcement was sent. At the same time, Seahorse needs to discover how much of the previous payments were held by or passed to Equita.

 

Once those questions have been answered, it will be possible to have a better understanding of what money has gone where and what money remains to be paid.

 

And this was why I was curious about your earlier post where you advised 'Seahorse' to make a complaint to the Director of Finance at the local authority. Such a route is not appropriate at the moment.

 

You also mentioned that in 'your case' that a Notice of Enforcement had been sent to your previous address and that this supposedly 'invalidated' £50 of the bailiff fees.

 

With council tax enforcement, a local authority are required to the 'last known' address. Did you notify the local authority of your forwarding address when you moved?

 

Can you explain why it was found that bailiff fees of £50 were found to be invalid?

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If anyone knows of a bailiff charging for a visit that didn't take place, I'd be interested to hear about it.

 

Sadly, one particular company are well known for adding an 'enforcement' AND 'sale' stage fees to an account before a visit is made. In fact, in a case that I advised on yesterday, these fees were pre printed on documentation when the enforcement agent attended.

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Dave has now left the building .....thread tidied

 

Andy


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Hello, thank you for the replies.

I've just telephoned Bristow & Sutor, they told me to call tem before 7th Feb. & I've set up £10 per week payment arrangement. Asking me loads of questions, why I was ill, what was wrong, am I working, what my earnings are.

 

They say they have visited the old address on 23rd Sept 2017 & 8th November 2017.

It went to court Oct 2016 & passed to Bristow & Sutor August 2017. And they got my new address in January 2018.

 

The advisor thought it was odd that it had been passed to them & not back with Equita. I was still paying Equita in August 2017 for one of the bills.

 

The council knew I was not at the property from 26th September 2016. And they've confirmed this in the statement they sent me last week, as it has that date on it!!?

 

On the statement from the council Liability was from 02/07/2016 to 26/09/2016, Gross Charge £418.55, Net Liability £418.55

 

Then they've charged me £2.40 for the 27th September, but I wasn't there then, I left on 26th.

 

It seems odd to me that my last payment to Equita was December 2017 & then 8th January I get this letter from Bristow & Sutor.

 

Going through statements & payment records now.

 

Thanks again

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Hello, thank you for the replies.

I've just telephoned Bristow & Sutor, they told me to call tem before 7th Feb. & I've set up £10 per week payment arrangement.

 

They say they have visited the old address on 23rd Sept 2017 & 8th November 2017.

It went to court Oct 2016 & passed to Bristow & Sutor August 2017. And they got my new address in January 2018.

 

Going through statements & payment records now.

 

How confusing !!!

 

Reading between the lines, it would seem to me that you had arrears of council tax in mid 2017 and the council issued a summons against you for the period from 02/07/16 to 31st March 2017. The Liability Order was granted in October 2016 but you have vacated that property a week or so earlier on 26th September 2016.

 

At some stage, (and perhaps you could let us know the exact date) you advised the council that you had left the property.

 

Accordingly, the council would have amended the LO (to reflect the fact that you had moved out). If I am correct (which I think that I am), the address for the Liability Order would have been your previous address (which would be the address where you had been living when the summons had been issued).

 

You need to find out what date B & S received instruction from the council in respect of this Liability Order. Most importantly, you need to find out the date when you advised the council that you had moved address.

 

There is still the matter of the debts with Equita but I will come back to these later when I get home from work.

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