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Need help - Bailiffs and Council Tax Arrears
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# 1
Distillerdude
Old 24-01-2012, 2:34 PM
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Default Need help - Bailiffs and Council Tax Arrears

Hi all, My situation is as follows:

A bailiff from Phoenix Commercial Collections attended my house today while i was at work and my wife answered the door. Apparently we have outstanding council tax debt of £1660 which needs to be paid in full asap.

When she told me this I gave him a call and he informed me that they had sent numerous letters and even posted notes through the door in the last few weeks when they've visited. Needless to say we have not received any letters from them, nor did we receive the notes they supposedly left.

I can't see any way to come up with the money by Friday (which is when he said the money needs to be paid by) and they won't accept a penny less by then (I can possibly pay £800 by borrowing before Friday with promises of £300 per month til this is paid but this was flatly refused). He plans to return on Friday and remove goods if we have not got all the money for him.

Has anyone got any advice for me here? For some reason I assumed that we had until April to clear the council tax, and I'm obviously paying dearly for this mistake now and am really desperate.
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# 2
Tixy
Old 24-01-2012, 2:36 PM
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Did wife let him into the house? did she sign anything?

Do either of you own cars that are kept outside the property?

This will be worth a read - http://www.nationaldebtline.co.uk/en...nd_council_tax
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# 3
HappyMJ
Old 24-01-2012, 2:37 PM
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If they won't negotiate then ignore them. They'll eventually return the debt to council and you can make payments (however small) to them. DO NOT borrow money to pay this debt.
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# 4
RAS
Old 24-01-2012, 2:42 PM
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Is this this year's Ct debt?

You may be able to get hold of your local councillor and get this retrieved.

But for the future CT is due on April the 1st each year and the Council only let you pay by installments as a favour.

However the bill almost certainly includes illegal fees
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# 5
Distillerdude
Old 24-01-2012, 2:46 PM
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My wife did not let him into the house and she didnt sign anything. Also, we do not own a car.

Thanks for that link by the way.

If we ignore them, do they have the power to break in somehow or get the police involved. Obviously I dont want to make this any worse.

By the way, this relates to the Council Tax for 2011/12.
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# 6
Tixy
Old 24-01-2012, 2:53 PM
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No as long as they haven't been in before then they cannot break in.
A smile enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give
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# 7
hallowitch
Old 24-01-2012, 3:05 PM
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The first thing you do is contact the council and ask
The amount of the liability order (confirm with them that this is the amount that was passed over to the bailiffs)
the date it was sent to Phoenix Commercial Collections

DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES LET A BAILIFF INTO YOUR HOME
the CANT return on Friday or any other day for that matter to remove goods
to remove goods a bailiff must have previously entered your home and issued you with a notice of seizure of goods and inventory listing the goods they intend to remove

can you please check the bailiff register and confirm that the bailiff is certificated to Phoenix Commercial Collections

http://certificatedbailiffs.justice....catedBailiffs/

when you confirm the bailiff is certificated to Phoenix Commercial Collections and you have been in touch with council wee will tell you what to put in the e-mail you are going to send to the council


If you need to phone the bailiff or Phoenix Commercial Collections can you please record the call (if possible)
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# 8
Distillerdude
Old 24-01-2012, 4:33 PM
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Just to update:

I phone the council who said that the liability order was in the amount of £1,436.25 and this amount was passed to Phoenix on 29th November. They were also shocked that we were asked for £1,660 as they believed the amount with fees should only be about £1,460 at the moment.

I then called Phoenix who told me to contact the bailiff and would not listen to any proposals to pay. I then called the bailiff who said that he had added a £200 attendance fee for today and confirmed that he would accept nothing less than the full £1660 by Friday. I kept the conversation short as I could not record it.

By the way, Im dealing with a Paul Holmes from Phoenix, who doesn't seem to be coming up on that certificated bailiff search, but neither is Phoenix which is confusing.
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# 9
Distillerdude
Old 24-01-2012, 7:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hallowitch View Post

when you confirm the bailiff is certificated to Phoenix Commercial Collections and you have been in touch with council wee will tell you what to put in the e-mail you are going to send to the council
This would be really useful!
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# 10
hallowitch
Old 25-01-2012, 10:14 AM
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http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/...3527469&page=4

Have a read of this thread it explains why a bailiff must be certificated to the firm of bailiffs he is employed by

he may have applied for a change of certificate phone his issuing court to confirm if this is the case



Paul ArthurHolmesWorcester Combined Court10/08/201109/08/2013RES

Last edited by hallowitch; 25-01-2012 at 10:22 AM.
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# 11
hallowitch
Old 25-01-2012, 10:30 AM
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will post shortly what you have to put in your e-mail to the council

going to do it in office (so i don't lose the post again)
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# 12
hallowitch
Old 25-01-2012, 12:43 PM
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Name
Address
Council tax ref
Bailiff ref

F, A, O, Head of revenues
Complaint against Phoenix Commercial Collections and Bailiff Mr Paul Holmes

Dear Sir
Phoenix Commercial Collections have been instructed to collect outstanding council tax for the above account the liable amount being £1,436.25
I was unaware that my debt had been passed to the above firm of bailiffs until Bailiff Mr Holmes attended my home on (date) he spoke to my wife at the door and demanded £1660 to be paid forthwith he did not at any time during this visit enter my home

Mr Holmes left a notice of attendance with an outstanding balance of £1660 this amount is not broken down to explain the fees charged to date, including the one for that visit, and the fees which will be incurred if further action becomes necessary.
A requirement I believe that falls under the Nation Standards for Enforcement agents 2002 (Amended January 2012)
I also understand that this is not a legal requirement however I believe all creditors and Bailiffs have agreed to abide by the above recommendations

I have today spoken the said bailiff who refused my offer to pay in instalments informing me I must pay £1660 in full by Friday the 27th of January or he will be returning on the 27th to remove goods from my home I informed said bailiff that I simply do not and will not have £1660 by Friday The conversation ended with Mr Holmes informing me it was full payment or my goods will be removed on Friday there is no alliterative Mr Holmes also confirmed he had charged a fee £200 todays visit
May I point out that there has been no distress levied against my goods It would therefore appear that Mr Holmes has again not adhered to the above guide lines by Falsely implying or stating that action can or will, be taken when legally it cannot be

As Mr Holmes has refused to deal with me unless I pay in full I will now be making payment to xxxxx council direct using your on-line payment facility payments totalling £xxxx will be made between now and 1st April 2012 payments after this date will be £xxx paid on the (date) of each month the first payment to made on (date)
This being an amount I can reasonably afford without going into default with this outstanding debt and future council Tax commitment’s

The register of certificated bailiffs shows that Mr Holmes is certificated to RES firm of bailiffs not Phoenix Commercial Collections I understand that this list is not always 100% accurate
Can you please confirm that?
Mr Holmes is now certificated to Phoenix Commercial Collections
He has applied for a change of employer to said firm of bailiffs
Please confirm the date of change of certification or the date the change of certificate was lodged at his issuing court
He has written authorisation form xxxx local authority to collect this debt


If Mr Holmes has not changed nor applied for a change to his certificate can you please confirm that
Your contract or service level agreement with Phoenix Commercial Collections allows them to outsource enforcement on your behalf
They are not in breach of their contact with xxxxx council
They are not in Breach of The Data protection act by passing my information to a 3rd party

It would seem that Mr Holmes is not aware of Regulation 45 (b) schedule 5 of The Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992 (Amended 2006) or does not adhere to them
As the above legislation only allows for a First visit fee of £24, 50 or a 2nd visit fee of £18 to charged
When there is no distress levied on goods Mr Holmes charged a fee of £200 for his visit on (Date)
As the visit by Mr Holmes is the only visit i have had by any bailiff working on behalf of Phoenix and Bailiff fees are £223.75 please provide the date time and name of the bailiff who attended where fees have been incurred

Due to the seriousness of the situation and the threat of the imminent removal of goods I would appreciate that this complaint be dealt with as soon as possible
Please also provide me with a copy of your complaints procedure

Last edited by hallowitch; 25-01-2012 at 1:08 PM.
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# 13
hallowitch
Old 25-01-2012, 1:20 PM
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hope you don't mind me writing the letter for you i was on a roll


Mr Holmes left a notice of attendance with an outstanding balance of £1660 this amount is not broken down to explain the fees charged to date, including the one for that visit, and the fees which will be incurred if further action becomes necessary.

If he did not leave you a notice let me know and i will amend it





legislation and guide lines so you understand what you are talking about

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1.../contents/made
regulation 45
5) The person levying distress on behalf of an authority shall carry with him the written authorisation of the authority, which he shall show to the debtor if so requested;

regulation 45 (b) schedule 5 charges connected with distress
http://www.herefordshire.gov.uk/docs...nt_Charges.pdf

the national standards for enforcement agents 2012
http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/...ent-agents.pdf

The distress for rent rules 1988

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1.../contents/made

the distress rent rules amened 1999
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1...9992360_en.pdf


12.
After rule 7 there shall be inserted:
“Change of bailiff’s name, address, etc

anything you don't understand just ask i Will do best to explain it to you

Last edited by hallowitch; 25-01-2012 at 4:16 PM.
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# 14
Distillerdude
Old 25-01-2012, 4:36 PM
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Wow! Thank you so much hallowitch. The bailiff did leave a note, so that email is going out today to the Council. I'll keep everyone posted.

I was originally planning to go down the payday loan route to try and fix this, but definitely now will not do this - im so happy i've looked around this forum and had so much good advice
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# 15
hallowitch
Old 25-01-2012, 5:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Distillerdude View Post
Wow! Thank you so much hallowitch. The bailiff did leave a note, so that email is going out today to the Council. I'll keep everyone posted.

I was originally planning to go down the payday loan route to try and fix this, but definitely now will not do this - I'm so happy I've looked around this forum and had so much good advice

your very welcome

Do not go down the payday loan route
Make the payments if you don't receive a reply within 7 days send the e-mail again with 2nd copy 1st sent (Date)
The council may accept your offer and tell you to pay Pnx (if there is no way round this )

you tell them in writing that this is OK on the understanding that PNX are aware that payments may be sporadic until 1st April and your fist payment of the agreement is £ xxx to reach your account by (date) payment by standing order only (set the standing order up for 7 days before due date )
Don't give them an inch or you will be right back where you started if you default on payments

don't offer what you cant afford but try to fling as much as you can at it before the new tax year



as long as there is no levy you are OK and your fees cant be more than £42.50

the council always side with the bailiffs if local authority or the bailiff firm say they have a levy on goods ask for a copy of the notice of seizure (its usually a random car )

Ask why the notice of seizure was not left at the premises at the time of the levy (council tax regs 45(5))
I am not an expert I am self taught i have no legal training any information I post is based on my own personal experience and information gained from other web sites


If you are in any doubt please seek legal/expert advice help
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# 16
Distillerdude
Old 26-01-2012, 5:17 PM
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Again, Thanks hallowitch. You are a complete lifesaver! I've proposed a payment of £350 today (paid) with an extra 450 between now and 1st April (should be able to pay £100 of this next week), plus £250pm from 24th Apr til cleared. This is comfortable for us and means that we dont need to borrow!

I'll keep you posted and will let you know as soon as I hear back from the council. In the meantime, we're going to make sure we dont let the wrong person in the house til we get this payment plan sorted!

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# 17
hallowitch
Old 26-01-2012, 6:08 PM
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you are doing great you are now in control of the debt not the bailiff or PNX i cant see the council refusing that but if the do we will simply escalate your complaint (they cant refuse payment )

make sure you don't miss a payment and remember to take weekends and bank holidays into account when you set up the standing order

In fact ask them how many bank working days it take for a payment to be credited to your account (don't give them an inch) if the payment is one day late (regardless of whose fault it is ) its back to square one
I am not an expert I am self taught i have no legal training any information I post is based on my own personal experience and information gained from other web sites


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# 18
Distillerdude
Old 30-01-2012, 12:20 PM
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Update

Ok so the same bailiff has been round to my house today while I am at work, was very aggressive to my wife, put his foot in the door and even tried to push the door open while my wife was on the other side of it holding my 5 month old son.

He said that there was no agreement made and that he had checked with the Council.

I then telephoned the council who acknowledged that I had made a £350 payment last week and that the extra £100 I paid yesterday should credit my account within the next couple days. They also acknowledged my email from last week and said that they should have a reply for me this week, but until then, we had to sort something out with the bailiff. When I mentioned that the bailiff is not accepting anything less than the full amount, they just replied that we would just have to find a way to agree something with the bailiff and that's it.

The Council are still not sure why the bailiff is asking for so much in fees and they're telling me that £200 attending fee last week should not have been charged, but they don't seem to want to help do anything about it.

Any advice would be helpful here. Can the bailiff force his way in? Should my wife just not answer the door at all? On top of all this, she has mental health/anxiety issues and is not coping well with this situation, especially when this guy is so aggressive.
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# 19
his wife
Old 30-01-2012, 12:45 PM
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not sure if this is any help, but, many years ago, i fell behind with council tax, and it was handed over to bailiffs. After a lot of threatening, i wrote to my mp, who got the council to take the debt back, which they can do so.

As long as phoenix are refusing nothing less than the full amount, i would keep paying the council tax direct, as they will eventually hand it back.

Keep your doors, windows locked, as bailiffs for council tax,can use any means of entry.

I would also consider trying the citizen advice centre, they may be able to help.

Good luck
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# 20
RAS
Old 30-01-2012, 1:17 PM
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Can you start by telling your wife not to open the door before finding out who is the otherside.

I will be back with an e-mail you need to send.

may be later though.
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