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  • FIRST POST
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 17th Jul 17, 1:10 PM
    • 27Posts
    • 5Thanks
    ethranes
    Bailiffs come to collect Council Tax
    • #1
    • 17th Jul 17, 1:10 PM
    Bailiffs come to collect Council Tax 17th Jul 17 at 1:10 PM
    Hi, I had bailiffs come to my house today to collect an outstanding council tax, I was at work and my wife answered the door, they have given a letter to pay the outstanding amount in 15 days.

    I am currently up to date with council tax payments, there has been no outstanding balance since the middle of last month.

    I called the company straight away on the phone, the lady informed me that they can see that I don't owe anything.

    I'm !!!!ed off because I don't owe anything but I'm liable to pay £80 for the bailiffs to speak with my wife today, when they shouldn't have been there in the first place, as there is no debt, and their own company has acknowledged that.

    Do I just need to suck it up and pay the £80 visitation fee, or should I fight against that?
    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
Page 1
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 17th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • 12,455 Posts
    • 11,854 Thanks
    sourcrates
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    • #2
    • 17th Jul 17, 1:26 PM
    The bailiffs will of been instructed by the council, at some point.

    Obviously there has been some kind of error, never pay a charge when you are not at fault, question it with them, if it is an error, then you should not pay the fee no, but you need to put this in writing to the bailiffs head office.
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    • tallyhoh
    • By tallyhoh 17th Jul 17, 3:02 PM
    • 2,084 Posts
    • 2,116 Thanks
    tallyhoh
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:02 PM
    • #3
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:02 PM
    I'm puzzled, have you previously had any arrears? are they asking for the balance of the year because you defaulted on monthly payments?
    Tallyhoh!

    Stopped Smoking October 2000. Saved £21,840 so far!
    • CIS
    • By CIS 17th Jul 17, 3:25 PM
    • 10,068 Posts
    • 5,752 Thanks
    CIS
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:25 PM
    • #4
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:25 PM
    In order to instruct an enforcement agent there must have been a liability order granted by the magistrates court. The enforcement agent cannot act for council tax arrears without one.

    You say 'there has been no outstanding balance since the middle of last month. '. What exactly do you mean by this as it's probably key to the problem.

    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.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 17th Jul 17, 3:39 PM
    • 1,391 Posts
    • 1,182 Thanks
    StopIt
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:39 PM
    • #5
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:39 PM
    Hi, I had bailiffs come to my house today to collect an outstanding council tax, I was at work and my wife answered the door, they have given a letter to pay the outstanding amount in 15 days.

    I am currently up to date with council tax payments, there has been no outstanding balance since the middle of last month.

    I called the company straight away on the phone, the lady informed me that they can see that I don't owe anything.

    I'm !!!!ed off because I don't owe anything but I'm liable to pay £80 for the bailiffs to speak with my wife today, when they shouldn't have been there in the first place, as there is no debt, and their own company has acknowledged that.

    Do I just need to suck it up and pay the £80 visitation fee, or should I fight against that?
    Originally posted by ethranes

    Did you clear the Council tax between a Liability Order being granted and the visit itself?


    Your Signature states CT 15/16/17 CLEAR, so at some point were you behind on this?


    Either way, if they went to visit and the debt was already cleared and they had nothing to collect, they perhaps should have checked before going to see you. Being charged a visit fee because of lack of due diligence is a bit unfair, so take it up with the Council, who should've called enforcement off if you had paid.
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 17th Jul 17, 3:49 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    ethranes
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:49 PM
    • #6
    • 17th Jul 17, 3:49 PM
    I had arreas in the past, for last year and this year. Everything was cleared last month, including all of this years payments, I currently owe the council £0 for all years.

    I paid the council online directly, at no point was I even aware that this case was open with an enforcement agency until they knocked on the door today.

    I was at work and my wife answered the door. I called the office straight away, and before saying anything to lady on the phone knew the debt was paid, and that all I need to pay was for today's visit. If they can see that I don't owe anything, why did they come? I hope that I don't need to pay this £80, it seems that just because I'm no longer in any debt they want to get at least a little something off me before closing the case.
    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
    • zippygeorgeandben
    • By zippygeorgeandben 17th Jul 17, 4:40 PM
    • 709 Posts
    • 885 Thanks
    zippygeorgeandben
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 17, 4:40 PM
    • #7
    • 17th Jul 17, 4:40 PM
    Did you clear the Council tax between a Liability Order being granted and the visit itself?


    Your Signature states CT 15/16/17 CLEAR, so at some point were you behind on this?


    Either way, if they went to visit and the debt was already cleared and they had nothing to collect, they perhaps should have checked before going to see you. Being charged a visit fee because of lack of due diligence is a bit unfair, so take it up with the Council, who should've called enforcement off if you had paid.
    Originally posted by StopIt
    Excellent detective work looking at the signature!
    End Sep 2016 End Oct 2017
    £8236.57 £0
    (Tesco 4.8%) £0pcm
    £6185.75 £0(Zopa 4.0%) £0pcm

    £5344.50
    £2610.04 (Sainsburys 0% until 06/19) £140pcm
    £2000.00 £1066.69 (Sister 0%) £133.33pcm

    Total debt
    £19.766.82 £3676.73 Original DFD May 2019.
    • CIS
    • By CIS 17th Jul 17, 5:55 PM
    • 10,068 Posts
    • 5,752 Thanks
    CIS
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 5:55 PM
    • #8
    • 17th Jul 17, 5:55 PM
    At some point the council have obtained the liability order and instructed the enforcement agent - even if they had a payment arrangement in place there was nothing to stop them ceasing that and instructing an enforcement agent, bad form yes but still possible.

    You need to speak with the council and see when it was issued to the enforcement agent and ask why - if they had a payment arrangement in place then it may simply have been issued in error and they may withdraw it but the only the council can say.

    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.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 17th Jul 17, 6:05 PM
    • 11,527 Posts
    • 8,661 Thanks
    fatbelly
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:05 PM
    • #9
    • 17th Jul 17, 6:05 PM
    How is this £80 anyway?

    The compliance fee is £75.

    Once a bailiff visits they add £235 enforcement fee.

    Certainly take it up with the council, but also make it clear to the bailiffs that you're not paying any invented fees.
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 18th Jul 17, 9:37 AM
    • 27 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    ethranes
    Thanks for the help guys, for clarification @fatbelly the fee is £79.10 maybe they're just a bit more expensive. I'll get in touch with the council and see what they have to say.
    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
    • CIS
    • By CIS 18th Jul 17, 11:14 AM
    • 10,068 Posts
    • 5,752 Thanks
    CIS
    Thanks for the help guys, for clarification @fatbelly the fee is £79.10 maybe they're just a bit more expensive. I'll get in touch with the council and see what they have to say.
    Originally posted by ethranes
    The statutory fee for council tax is £75. On the initial fee they have no discretion to alter it.

    Can you post a copy of the letter showing the breakdown of charges (block your name/reference etc out)

    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.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 18th Jul 17, 11:20 AM
    • 1,391 Posts
    • 1,182 Thanks
    StopIt
    Thanks for the help guys, for clarification @fatbelly the fee is £79.10 maybe they're just a bit more expensive. I'll get in touch with the council and see what they have to say.
    Originally posted by ethranes

    I could be wrong, but £79.10 sounds suspiciously like it could be around a months council tax payment. Have you made sure you're not a month behind, just to be sure?


    If not, as stated the fees are set by statute so they can't just make them up.
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 19th Jul 17, 12:07 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    ethranes
    Here is a copy of the letter that shows that they want £79.10 for "Expenses" I'm sure I'm not behind at all, Council are owed nothing, have paid all years in full, including this year. Can see that also on the councils official website.




    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Jul 17, 12:31 PM
    • 1,391 Posts
    • 1,182 Thanks
    StopIt
    Ah, Scotland.

    They have a different system than England and Wales.


    Same outcome though. At the time of the letter being printed, you owed this money. They were authorised to send out an officer but between then and the visit date, you paid it.


    Now, the council are entitled to say "You waited until we sent out enforcement to pay this debt, we have to pay these guys after all" and tell you to pay the fee. You can contest it as a quick check on the day would've made sure the debt was still live, but that's a procedural thing.


    As for not knowing about this? You'd have received court papers. I mean, you didn't know this was happening and just happened to pay it just before a visit? Come on. Be honest, you knew this was coming and paid to avoid it. Nothing wrong with that, but looks like you cut it a little too fine!


    Considering the back and forth this may cause with the council, I'd contact them, and if they tell you to pay it, do so.
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 19th Jul 17, 1:46 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    ethranes
    Ah, Scotland.

    They have a different system than England and Wales.


    Same outcome though. At the time of the letter being printed, you owed this money. They were authorised to send out an officer but between then and the visit date, you paid it.

    The letter isn't dated at all.

    Now, the council are entitled to say "You waited until we sent out enforcement to pay this debt, we have to pay these guys after all" and tell you to pay the fee. You can contest it as a quick check on the day would've made sure the debt was still live, but that's a procedural thing.

    I can prove that this debt was paid a month before seeing any enforcement officer.

    As for not knowing about this? You'd have received court papers. I mean, you didn't know this was happening and just happened to pay it just before a visit? Come on. Be honest, you knew this was coming and paid to avoid it. Nothing wrong with that, but looks like you cut it a little too fine!

    I have recieved no court papers. I didn't pay it just before a visit, I have paid it weeks ago. I am being honest.

    Considering the back and forth this may cause with the council, I'd contact them, and if they tell you to pay it, do so.

    I agree with you here, I have emailed them yesterday with the details and am awaiting a reply before paying any fees.
    Originally posted by StopIt
    Thanks for the response have just outlined some points with regards to your comments.
    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th Jul 17, 2:01 PM
    • 10,068 Posts
    • 5,752 Thanks
    CIS
    When did you make the last payment and how much was it ?

    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.
    • StopIt
    • By StopIt 19th Jul 17, 2:05 PM
    • 1,391 Posts
    • 1,182 Thanks
    StopIt
    It says the payment must be received within 14 days of the charge being made.


    It states that "On the dates and at the Court specific in the schedule overleaf". The dates are included.


    If the date of payment was after the date on the schedule, then it was sent because you were in default of a court warrant.


    If not, then the enforcement was in error. If the noted Summary Warrants were not included, that's also in error.


    Either way, you owed years worth of council tax, this was always going to happen. When you paid you should really have rang the council to confirm payment, as they'd have also seen the enforcement action pending and has sorted this for you.


    I accept that you've paid this, and even that the fee is a bit of a PITA. But you're claiming that you received no papers, no letters before action? That's highly irregular.
    • ethranes
    • By ethranes 19th Jul 17, 2:14 PM
    • 27 Posts
    • 5 Thanks
    ethranes
    When did you make the last payment and how much was it ?

    Craig
    Originally posted by CIS
    Hi, the last payment that cleared any money owed was made on the 27th of June, and it was an amount of 1,798.09
    Debenhams CLEAR||AMEX CLEAR||Barclay Card CLEAR||Halifax £1600
    Council Tax 15/16/17 CLEAR
    Updated: 30/6/2017
    • CIS
    • By CIS 19th Jul 17, 4:59 PM
    • 10,068 Posts
    • 5,752 Thanks
    CIS
    The warrant was issued on 17 July so you need to check with the council as to what the balance was as according to the council it was £2900 in total and they received only £496 by that point.

    It may well be that a payment hasn't been credited to the account and has been placed in a holding acct, it happens more often than people think, or it's been credited to another council tax account or year. Only the council can say.

    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.
    • Nostrus
    • By Nostrus 20th Jul 17, 3:31 PM
    • 15 Posts
    • 8 Thanks
    Nostrus
    The £79.10 isn't a 'visitation fee' but rather the fee a Sheriff Officer is legally permitted to charge for the service of a Charge for Payment of Money, which is what you have received and is, according to Scottish law, chargeable against the debtor i.e. you.

    In all honesty you are probably going to wind up paying the fee; the collection agents are the Sheriff Officers in this case i.e. Scott and Co. Your only chance at not having to pay it would lie in speaking to the Council but if they have instructed Scott and Co while you still owed the C/Tax then you are probably out of luck.
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