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Equita Certified Bailiffs - Council Tax arrears


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Hi all

 

I had a call today about Equita and the way they are going about business. I normally deal with secured finance and mortgages so I am in need of some advise, please if anyone could be of assistance, I'd be very greatful.

 

A lady that I'm doing some work for could not afford to make the payment end of last month with this company on her agreement to pay back counsil tax arrears so she called there office and left them a message to this effect and a promise to make this up as soon as she could.

She went to there office end of last week to make a payment in person, plus this months installment to bring the account up to date again but with no luck at all. The person on the front desk refused to accept payment, both the late and this months payment and said that her case has now been passed to a baillif and he'll be in contact in due course.

She received a call today, and the baillif told her that he will be coming around to collect the entire outstanding amount otherwise he will be taking goods out of the property! He also told her about how he has just taken over a £1000 worth of goods from a lady who lives on her own with her 4 kids so my client better have the money when he comes around, or else... He claims to have a Liability Order and as far as he's concerned, that's all he needs.

 

I have spent some time this evening reading up about debt collectors on this forum and I think the conduct of Equita is questionable..

1) This lady is a single mother and therefor am I right in thinking that she is classed as a vulneralbe person and as such the cousil/collection company has an additional duty of care when dealing with her case?

2) Can the baillif tell this lady about another case and put pressure on her this way? Psychological harassment?

3) Do they not have to issue a letter giving 7 days of there intention to collect and an explanation of procedure or exlanation of why?

4) If this lady offered to make payment to bring the account up to date, surely Equita has to accept this? Or is this refusal a ploy by them to have more charges and fees put onto the account?

5) The bailif claims to have a "liability order" so he can just come at any time, is this correct?

6)Can they pressurise her into making a full payment seeing as she is already having difficulty in keeping up with the agreement?

 

Many thanks in advance!

 

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Guest Herbie

I presume that if your client already has a payment arrangement with Equita that the bailiffs had previously called at her home. In order for her to already be paying this debt then the local authority would have obtained a Liability Order against her. This is of course the first step.

 

Bailiffs have probably already called to come to some sort of payment plan, and If I understand you right, the client has missed a payment. I am guessing that she has signed a Walking Possession, is this right?

 

If she has, then yes the bailiff can return to remove those goods listed on the Walking Possession, but they can only do this is one has previously been signed.

 

If nothing signed, our advice would be to immediately make the payments due direct to the Local Authority using their online payment service, or if this is not possible, make the payment personally at the Council Offices.

 

At the same time, take with you a letter addressed to the Chief Executive of the Local Authority explaining the events as described in your post, and copy this to the bailiff company. Bailiffs do not like complaint being made to their clients as they have a Contract to protect.

 

Our company have used the argument about single mothers in the past.....but the bailiffs view of this is that there are many single parents earning £50K per year....with nannies, so that all single mothers cant possible be classified as vulnerable !!

 

Your query on the 7 day letter. If there is a Walking Possession signed, then the answer is no, there is no need for a letter.

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Hi Herbie

 

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my enquiry.

 

You raised a few questions and I'll get answers to those and get back to you.

 

Regards

 

 

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