Jacobs unfair charges

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
43 replies 5.3K views
Jones260387Jones260387 Forumite
8 Posts
edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Debt-free Wannabe Challenges
Hi please can someone give me advice.
I have a council tax debt with Jacobs originally for £1150.88. Jacobs added £75.00 compliance fee. I received a letter whilst away saying I needed to pay £48.00 p/w this was the start of the agreement. Even though I said I could only afford £20p/w. I missed the deadline by 3 days so paid £100.00 on my return. Then another payment of £50 3 days later so at this point I had paid £150. 1 week later I received a letter from a bailif who had visited the property to say I had broken the agrreement and he added a charge of £235.00. I rang the bailiff who confirmed he had received the £150 and didn't have an idea who he had been sent out. I rang Jacobs who said I had broken the agreement because I hadn't confirmed with them that I would be paying £50pw even though they had rceived the money. Is that legal? Can they add the extra charges. Any advice is appreciated
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Replies

  • Herbie21Herbie21 Forumite
    562 Posts
    Hi please can someone give me advice.
    I have a council tax debt with Jacobs originally for £1150.88. Jacobs added £75.00 compliance fee. I received a letter whilst away saying I needed to pay £48.00 p/w this was the start of the agreement.

    Even though I said I could only afford £20p/w. I missed the deadline by 3 days so paid £100.00 on my return. Then another payment of £50 3 days later so at this point I had paid £150.

    1 week later I received a letter from a bailif who had visited the property to say I had broken the agrreement and he added a charge of £235.00. I rang the bailiff who confirmed he had received the £150 and didn't have an idea who he had been sent out. I rang Jacobs who said I had broken the agreement because I hadn't confirmed with them that I would be paying £50pw even though they had rceived the money. Is that legal? Can they add the extra charges. Any advice is appreciated

    The payment proposal that you wanted to have accepted of £20 per week would very rarely have been agreed as the debt would take almost a year to be repaid. Most companies will only accept a payment proposal over 3-4 months so even the counter proposal of £48 per week is a good one as it is allowing you to pay the debt over 6 months.

    How did you make the payment proposal? Was it over the telephone or by letter?

    You say that you were away when the letter from Jacobs arrived. What date was it dated and what date did you make the payment of £100?
  • OldwoodOldwood Forumite
    85 Posts
    Jones - are you employed? If so what is your average takehome pay?

    I ask as it may an attachment of earnings would be better for you. It would also remove the bailiff fees.
  • Hi i have no problem with paying £50p/w the debt needs paying. My problem is with the charge. I sent an attachment of earnings and proposed a £20 p/w payment. They then sent a letter saying they would accept £48p/w in which I had 7 Days to pay. I paid on day 10 on my return. I didn't ring I just made a payment online of £100. They're saying because I didn't ring and say I agreed to the terms that's why the bailiff had been sent. By this time I had paid £150. I pay £50every week via standing order.
  • OldwoodOldwood Forumite
    85 Posts
    Hi i have no problem with paying £50p/w the debt needs paying. My problem is with the charge. I sent an attachment of earnings and proposed a £20 p/w payment. They then sent a letter saying they would accept £48p/w in which I had 7 Days to pay. I paid on day 10 on my return. I didn't ring I just made a payment online of £100. They're saying because I didn't ring and say I agreed to the terms that's why the bailiff had been sent. By this time I had paid £150. I pay £50every week via standing order.

    Do you mean you sent an income and expenditure form?

    Are you employed?
  • Yes. And yes I'm employed.
  • Herbie21Herbie21 Forumite
    562 Posts

    My problem is with the charge. I sent an attachment of earnings and proposed a £20 p/w payment.

    Can you explain what you mean by the comment that you had sent an Attachment of Earnings.
  • I meant income and expenditure
  • OldwoodOldwood Forumite
    85 Posts
    Yes. And yes I'm employed.

    What's your average take home pay? This is to see if an attachment would be cheaper for you.
  • CISCIS Forumite
    12.1K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper
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    The enforcement agent has no requirement to accept any payment arrangement other than full payment - any other payment arrangement would be at their discretion (and dependent on the instructions they received from the local authority).

    The issue is that, regardless of whether you had made up the amount, the original arrangement was defaulted on by the first payment not being made as due. You can ask that they re-instate the arrangement and remove the fee but that would also be at their discretion (the council may intervene if you ask nicely). As the arrangement was broken the enforcement agents are entitled to continue with the action and charge any fees which result from that.

    Whether an attachment of earnings is 'cheaper' or not isn't particularly relevant as there's no requirement for an attachment of earnings to be used by the local authority. Yes they could withdraw the enforcement agent and issue an attachment if they wish however it's unlikely the local authority will withdraw the case to issue an attachment of earnings (You can ask but it's highly likely they'll say no)

    Craig
    I no longer work in Council Tax Recovery but instead work as a specialist Council Tax paralegal assisting landlords and Council Tax payers with council tax disputes and valuation tribunals. My views are my own reading of the law and you should always check with the local authority in question.
  • Herbie21Herbie21 Forumite
    562 Posts
    Hi i have no problem with paying £50p/w the debt needs paying. My problem is with the charge.

    I sent an attachment of earnings and proposed a £20 p/w payment. They then sent a letter saying they would accept £48p/w in which I had 7 Days to pay. I paid on day 10 on my return. I didn't ring I just made a payment online of £100.

    They're saying because I didn't ring and say I agreed to the terms that's why the bailiff had been sent. By this time I had paid £150. I pay £50every week via standing order.

    This is a difficult one because if you had not responded to the initial notice (the Notice of Enforcement) within the compliance stage (7 clear days) then the enforcement agent may visit and an enforcement fee of £235 will apply.

    In your case, the compliance fee had clearly ended and Jacobs were not under any obligation to give you a further 7 days to make payment and almost certainly......not 10 days.

    My thoughts are that you will find it difficult to argue that the enforcement fee should not have been charged in your case. That is not to say that you should not argue the point with Jacobs. I have always found the company wiling to use their discretion wisely.

    The attachment of earnings subject of not one that needs exploring at present as a lot of enforcement companies do not have the appetite for setting up these plans given the current uncertainty as to the charging of enforcement agent fees but this situation may well be changing soon. There is a lot happening right now including proposals for Liability Orders to be recorded with credit reference agencies (not a proposal that I am happy with I hasten to add).
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