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Bailiff - damage of goods


ozmrr
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Recently a good friend had her car seized by a Bailiff over council tax that was owed. As detailed in many of the emails I have read on her there were numerous charges levied by the company, yet no detailed account of them.

They turned up when my friend was on holiday and served a notice on her mother who barely speaks english. This went against an agreement they had made with my friend with regard to a payment plan. They then turned up and seized her car which meant she could no longer get to university nor take the children to school or to any after school activities. Fortunately I lent her my car to allow her to continue these activities. Is seizing a car when it is required for her to conduct studies lawful?

 

Her car was taken to an auction yard. Before it was sold she paid the amount owed and went to collect the car. On collection from the sale yard she noticed that many dash lights were on. The person at the auction yard offered no help and she took the car across the road to a garage. She put oil in as the light was on - it poured out onto the forecourt. She called the AA and he confirmed that the car had been damaged - hole in the sump.

 

She wrote to the bailiff company and informed them of the damage. They turned around and said it was not their responsibility and that they are not liable for the damage. The auction yard also decline any responsibility.

 

The car was in perfect working order when seized. When returned it was not. Someone is clearly liable - is it the bailiff under their responsiblities or may it be the car yard? I believe the bailiff but they just deny any responsiblity..

 

She got the car repaired and this cost her about £300. She feels she should be able to claim the costs from the bailiff company - anyone have experience on how best to do this? Can it be pursued throught the small claims court (I have been told you cant pursue a bailiff this way) ?

 

All help and advice appreciated..

Ozmrr

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I'm not sure of the answer to this but the bailiff is acting as agent for the Council and I believe that the Council has responsibility to ensure that its agents behave responsibly.

 

Whether there is legal liability is a different matter but the Council should be told of what happened and asked what they are going to do about it.

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It used to be the case that a motor vehicle could not be seized for debt unless the vehicle was the cause of the debt (e.g. non-payment of instalments on the vehicle).

 

Perhaps things have changed.

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