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LGO Ombudsman decision….Blue Badge….Vulnerability and refusal to provide evidence..and claim that warrant was invalid.

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This is yet another important decision from the Local Government Ombudsman and one that once again makes clear that if a debtor who is subject to bailiff enforcement considers that he may be 'vulnerable', he must be prepared to provide evidence and outline how his 'vulnerability' affects his ability to deal with the debt.

 

In brief, Mr B's complaint was as follows:

 

 

Mr B incurred 5 penalty charge notices. He believes that there is a law from the year 1600 that means that he can’t be fined and so can park anywhere.

 

He and his wife both have Blue Badges and he considered that being granted a Blue Badge means that he has meet the criteria for ‘vulnerability’.

 

Mr B told the Council he was a vulnerable person. However, he had not explained why he considers he is vulnerable. He was of the opinion that it is the Council’s job to prove he is not.

 

Mr B complained a business centre issued the warrants rather than a court and so were invalid.

 

Mr B complains that the bailiffs did not have the correct warrants. The Council has said the court sends the warrants electronically and so there are no paper copies.

 

PS: A copy of the decision can be read in the following post.

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The following is an extract from the decision:

 

Devon County Council (16 017 119)

 

https://www.lgo.org.uk/decisions/transport-and-highways/parking-and-other-penalties/16-017-119

 

The Complaint:

 

The Complainant, whom I shall refer to as Mr B, complains that the council should have withdrawn the bailiffs immediately when he told it he was vulnerable and should not need to provide details and evidence of his vulnerability:

 

 

9: Mr B has received 5 penalty charge notices (PCN) for parking offences since 2014. A parking enforcement officer placed two on the car and Mr B received three through the post. On the telephone, Mr B told me that he did not take account of parking laws as he believes there is a law from the year 1600 that means he can’t be fined and so can park anywhere.

 

10:The Council has said that Mr B first used the words’ vulnerable’ about his wife and him both having Blue Badges on 3 December 2015.

 

12: The Council said it advised Mr B on 5 July to contact the bailiffs for them to consider his ‘vulnerability’ and for him to provide them with whatever evidence they need to confirm his status as vulnerable. The Council advised Mr B that if the bailiff did deem his to be a vulnerable household the Council would withdraw the warrant and cease activity.

 

14: The Council said Mr B did not supply the bailiffs with supporting evidence. It has said the blue badge issued to Mr B, shows they have met the criteria of limited mobility to have a blue badge issued but may not necessarily be vulnerable.

 

16: The Council says that Mr B thinks that his vulnerability means that he is exempt from paying these fines. The Council says it disagrees with Mr B’s interpretation. It considers he is still liable to pay these fines, but any vulnerability means the Council has to consider extra discretion over how these fines are paid, e.g. deferring payment periods, accepting lower instalments until debts paid.

 

18: The Council has asked Mr B to provide supporting written evidence of his ‘vulnerability’ for it to find out if there are other conditions from which he suffers that may fit his interpretation of vulnerability, e.g. Mental health, depression, post- traumatic stress, at risk of self-harm, inability to understand and engage with the process. The Council says that if Mr B does meet any of these criteria, then it may withdraw the warrants and close the cases. Mr B has not provided supporting evidence.

 

Analysis

 

23: Mr B complained a business centre issued the warrants rather than a court and so were invalid. The TEC is the court appointed by the Secretary of State and the Department of Transport to deal with registration of debts arising from penalty charge notices. I can find no fault on this point.

 

25: Mr B complains the bailiffs did not have the correct warrants. The Council has said the court sends the warrants electronically and so there are no paper copies. For completeness, I will ask the Council to send me its electronic records showing the warrants but I can see no evidence of fault on this point.

 

27: Mr B believes that under the taking control of goods national standards act 2010, (updated 2015) as soon as he told the bailiff company finds out he is vulnerable (with no explanation) they have to withdraw. He believes that he does not need to provide details of his details of his vulnerability; it is then the Council’s job to prove he isn’t.

 

29: The Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013, part 2, regulation 10 set out the circumstances in which an enforcement agent may not take control of goods. It says an enforcement agent may not take control of goods of a debtor where a child or vulnerable person is the only person present. The legislation does not give any further guidance about how a vulnerable person is defined.

 

31: Mr B told the Council he was a vulnerable person. However, he has not explained why he considers he is vulnerable. He considers that it is the Council’s job to prove he is not.

 

33: It cannot be right that a person can say they are vulnerable and all outstanding debts are written off without them giving further information. If this was the case, then there would be no way for the Council to enforce any debt collection as anybody could claim vulnerability without evidence. I do consider it reasonable for Mr B to explain why he considers himself to be vulnerable.

 

35:In any case, a vulnerable person still has to pay the fines, but any vulnerability means the Council has to consider extra discretion over how the debtor pays the fines, e.g. deferring payment periods or accepting lower instalments. It should also allow the vulnerable person time to get help and advice.

 

37: I have found no fault in the Council’s actions. The Council gave Mr B the opportunity to appeal the PCN’s and to appeal to the court. No further recovery action has been taken once he told the bailiffs and Council he is vulnerable. However, I do consider it reasonable for him to give details of his vulnerability if he wants the Council to consider removing the warrants.

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Cuckoo...

 

one flew over the nest as well!


:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:

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a distinct smell of FMoTL here.....


..

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Points 23, and 24 in the analasys would bear out a definite FMOTL belief. At least no mention of Admiralty Law and Dock.......;


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god help anybody who goes to court with even a smell of FOTL/GETOUTOFDEBTFORFREE dribble they inadvertently will get hammered regardless, creditor representatives would have a back door field day on it


:mad2::-x:jaw::sad:

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Blue badges do not automatic grant vulnerability.

FMOTL twaddle and pish

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