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  • FIRST POST
    • IIKazzII
    • By IIKazzII 17th Apr 17, 4:10 PM
    • 9Posts
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    IIKazzII
    Council Tax Advice Bailiff
    • #1
    • 17th Apr 17, 4:10 PM
    Council Tax Advice Bailiff 17th Apr 17 at 4:10 PM
    Hiya guys. To cut a long story shortish, we got behind on our council tax, we setup a payment plan with the council and paid a set amount every month. My misses was working at the time. She quit work sometime after and went onto benefits for awhile, she then went back to work, quit a year after when our twins were born etc etc, basically due to a mix up with the benefits, and already being in arrears she was told she owed 3 years council tax, she kicked off because it was their mix up, but on them showing proof, we did owe the money. So she setup another payment plan. My son is disabled, and around October last year he was going through a rough time, in the chaos my misses missed a payment, and it was passed onto Rossendales Bailiffs. We did owe the money, so fair enough.

    We got a letter from them initially. I called the agent the moment I read the letter to stop goods being taken. Agent said they was in the area and would pop round to discuss in detail. The agent ensured they were not the collection team, just an enforcement officer which is the first stage of the process. She came and I let her in (I didn't have anything to hide, and I DID owe this money). I was respectful of her job and the debt was for £2100, she asked for a £500 payment, I only had £200 in my bank, I explained what had happened and offered her the money. She said it was too low but due to being decent with her she would accept it and speak to head office if I could pay a weekly amount. I offered her £100 a week as I want this debt clear asap. She accepted and all was well.

    Every week I contact her and pay £100 over the phone. I am given reference numbers for every payment and got confirmation with the council this is where the debt lies now (Rossendales). This is where it gets weird. I know I owe this money but during one of the phone calls, she told me the current year (2016 at the time) has been added to the debt. I contacted the council and they confirmed this. She said more fee's would be incurred.

    Now initially there was 3 council tax debts (3 years) I was charged £75 fee for each one, and £235 fee for her visit. She told me the 4th debt which had been added had fee's of £310. Bearing in mind she told me about this new addition over the phone. I never had a letter regarding this, and only ever saw this woman back in October, once I have seen her, nobody from Rossendales has ever been back. On further reading online it seems the £75 is a Bailiff fee, and the £235 is a callout fee, but she never came out again for the newly added debt. Is she right to charge this £235?

    I asked her about it on the phone, and she said "well I told you on the phone, I can either come to your house to explain the new debt, or just tell you over the phone, either way it's £235 fee" If that's the cae I'll pay it, but wanted to check, as £235 is £235!
Page 1
    • CIS
    • By CIS 17th Apr 17, 4:44 PM
    • 9,763 Posts
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    CIS
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 17, 4:44 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Apr 17, 4:44 PM
    Now initially there was 3 council tax debts (3 years) I was charged £75 fee for each one, and £235 fee for her visit. She told me the 4th debt which had been added had fee's of £310. Bearing in mind she told me about this new addition over the phone. I never had a letter regarding this, and only ever saw this woman back in October, once I have seen her, nobody from Rossendales has ever been back. On further reading online it seems the £75 is a Bailiff fee, and the £235 is a callout fee, but she never came out again for the newly added debt. Is she right to charge this £235?
    The £75 fee is correct for each case being issued. Once it is at the enforcement stage, where removal of goods is being contemplated, the £235 should only be charged once if the cases are being acted on together (the £235 could be charged again if another order was dealt with at a different time, for example.)

    You need to ask for proof of the visit regarding the £235 for the latest order. If the enforcement agent won't supply proof then you can make a complaint to them (and send a copy to the local authority).

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • IIKazzII
    • By IIKazzII 17th Apr 17, 6:55 PM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    IIKazzII
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 17, 6:55 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Apr 17, 6:55 PM
    The £75 fee is correct for each case being issued. Once it is at the enforcement stage, where removal of goods is being contemplated, the £235 should only be charged once if the cases are being acted on together (the £235 could be charged again if another order was dealt with at a different time, for example.)
    Originally posted by CIS
    The 4th order was given at another time, so even though she hasn't been to the house again (told me on the phone) she's well within her right to charge another £235?
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 17th Apr 17, 8:48 PM
    • 10,664 Posts
    • 7,961 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 17, 8:48 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Apr 17, 8:48 PM
    The 4th order was given at another time, so even though she hasn't been to the house again (told me on the phone) she's well within her right to charge another £235?
    Originally posted by IIKazzII
    No, not if she has not visited but maybe yes if she has made a separate visit

    http://bailiffadviceonline.co.uk/bailiff-fees/council-tax

    The argument would be around Regulation 11

    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2014/1/regulation/11/made

    If she has not yet 'taken goods into control' in respect of the earlier 3 liability orders (even though she visited she does not appear to have listed goods) then I'm tending to the 'no' answer and I'd be interested in Herbie21's take on this.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 17th Apr 17, 10:03 PM
    • 9,763 Posts
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    CIS
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 17, 10:03 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Apr 17, 10:03 PM
    The legislation is somewhat of an !!! when it comes to the enforcement powers.

    Reg 11 is certainly written to try and help prevent multiple fees but it is so badly written as to be almost useless in some cases. It works well if liability orders are issued together and then the the enforcement agents charge the £235 as it limits it nicely to stop large charges.

    Where it falls over horribly is the case of the subsequent liability orders - the intention is not to stop the enforcement agent being able to deal with these orders as required, including fees, but it does not make the situation fully clear as to what the case is intended to be where an enforcement fee is already in place for previous orders but the new case gets to that same stage.
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery as I'm now a self employed Council Tax advisor and consultant with my own Council Tax consultancy business. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
    • IIKazzII
    • By IIKazzII 18th Apr 17, 12:00 AM
    • 9 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    IIKazzII
    • #6
    • 18th Apr 17, 12:00 AM
    • #6
    • 18th Apr 17, 12:00 AM
    I've no idea if to fight it or not really. To summarize:

    - Recieved letter saying to call agent, I called
    - Agent came, issued 3 orders with 3x £75 fee and 1x £235 fee.
    - Paid £200 on that day, then £100 per week to cover all 3
    - During one of my payment phone calls I was informed another order was added for current year (about 2 months into the arrangement).
    - This new order has 1x £75 fee and 1x £235 fee

    Since that initial visit when I paid £200 and setup the £100 a week agreement, I've never had a visit again, nor a letter. The 4th order was totally brought to my attention on the phone.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 18th Apr 17, 6:55 AM
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    fatbelly
    • #7
    • 18th Apr 17, 6:55 AM
    • #7
    • 18th Apr 17, 6:55 AM
    Definitely worth challenging. On the bailiffadviceonline link I quoted, it says



    If you have any queries about the fees being charged (and in particular if the bailiff attempts to charge ‘multiple fees’), you can email a question to us using our popular Question page. Alternatively, you can contact us by phone.

    The site is run by Herbie21, who sometimes posts here, and who I mentioned earlier.

    She would help you with the wording.
    • Herbie21
    • By Herbie21 20th Apr 17, 8:58 AM
    • 731 Posts
    • 922 Thanks
    Herbie21
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:58 AM
    • #8
    • 20th Apr 17, 8:58 AM
    I've no idea if to fight it or not really. To summarize:

    - Recieved letter saying to call agent, I called
    - Agent came, issued 3 orders with 3x £75 fee and 1x £235 fee.
    - Paid £200 on that day, then £100 per week to cover all 3
    - During one of my payment phone calls I was informed another order was added for current year (about 2 months into the arrangement).
    - This new order has 1x £75 fee and 1x £235 fee

    Since that initial visit when I paid £200 and setup the £100 a week agreement, I've never had a visit again, nor a letter. The 4th order was totally brought to my attention on the phone.
    Originally posted by IIKazzII
    You seem to have a good payment arrangement in place and I would suggest that you bring up the subject of the additional 'enforcement fee' of £235 when you next call Rossendales to make your £100 monthly payment.

    For the avoidance of doubt, the £235 enforcement fee becomes chargeable at the time of the enforcement agent visit. Contrary to internet theories, the fee can indeed be charged if the agent merely drops a letter through the door when a debtor is not at home.
    • Herbie21
    • By Herbie21 20th Apr 17, 9:12 AM
    • 731 Posts
    • 922 Thanks
    Herbie21
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:12 AM
    • #9
    • 20th Apr 17, 9:12 AM
    The legislation is somewhat of an !!! when it comes to the enforcement powers.

    Reg 11 is certainly written to try and help prevent multiple fees but it is so badly written as to be almost useless in some cases. It works well if liability orders are issued together and then the the enforcement agents charge the £235 as it limits it nicely to stop large charges.

    Where it falls over horribly is the case of the subsequent liability orders - the intention is not to stop the enforcement agent being able to deal with these orders as required, including fees, but it does not make the situation fully clear as to what the case is intended to be where an enforcement fee is already in place for previous orders but the new case gets to that same stage.
    Originally posted by CIS
    Regulation 11 can have it's upside and downside. For instance yesterday, I was assisting a debtor and the enforcement agent was threatening to use a locksmith to enforce a debt of almost £2,000. The difficulty with this case was that one of the debts was for an unpaid TV licence court fine, but almost £1,200 was in respect of 4 unpaid Dart Charge PCN's.

    In yesterdays case, the regulations assisted the debtor in that he was only liable to pay one 'enforcement fee' of £235 as opposed to 5 separate enforcement fees.
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