Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

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Pote Snitkin
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#1 Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Pote Snitkin » 26 Jun 2015 13:29

I've seen a discussion elsewhere on this and I want to elicit a more impartial opinion.

As we all know, the new fee structure came in April 2014 - £75 compliance stage, and £235 enforcement stage, for non-HCEO bailiffs. Other fees can be charged but I want to focus on those two for now.

It is said that the £75 compliance stage fee covers the following:

Setting up an account for the debtor;

Sending a Notice of Enforcement (including postage);

Call centre costs to deal with enquiries from the debtor;

Setting up payment arrangements;

Dealing with correspondence from the debtor;

Setting up (including staff training) specialist Welfare Depts to deal with 'vulnerable' debtors';

Outbound text messaging service;

Monitoring payment arrangements;

Forwarding payments to the local authorities/Magistrate Courts etc;

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Around 3.5 million LO's were issued last year. I don't know how the figures pan out so I'm going to make some reasonable assumptions until more accurate statistics emerge.

So, 3.5 million LO's - 80% of those go to the bailiffs, so 2.8 million.

Let's chose Marston's as the bailiff company, as they seem to be the biggest. I'll assume they get 30% of the business. So they get 840,000, sending out this many letters adding the £75. This totals an astonishing £63million! Even a success rate of 10% would mean £6.3 million to cover those points above, and that's not even including other fees.

Seeing as it's been said that around 50% of debtors are addressing things at compliance stage, using those figures that would mean Marston's alone collect £31.5million in compliance fees alone. Even if you adjust their share of the market to 10%, this equates to £10.5million.

Can they really justify these levels?
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#2 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Andy » 26 Jun 2015 13:58

I would imagine that their answer would be that they are a business, and the only reason to run a business is to make a profit.
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#3 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by The Hand » 26 Jun 2015 14:45

That is of course the capitalist view but there are plenty of examples where a business is run for the good of it's employees (John Lewis) or where any profits are put back into the business. Of course most people are quite happy being kept in their place and oppressed by the bourgeoisie

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#4 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Pote Snitkin » 26 Jun 2015 15:25

Bear in mind that these figures are based on LO's only. God knows how much more there would be if you included PCNs.
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#5 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 03 Dec 2015 12:25

It doesn't matter if the writ is satisfied. There are a number of ways you can scupper a nuisance High Court Enforcement Officer:


1. If you accept you owe the money but you just need more time to pay, then you apply, using a Form N245, for a STAY OF EXECUTION and a VARIATION at the High Court district registry address at the top right of the writ.

2. If you dispute the sum owed, or you had no previous knowledge of the proceedings, you apply, on a Form N244, for a SET ASIDE. If you need other grounds then run a High Court Enforcement compliance check to discover what grounds are available to you to get the writ set aside.

3. Pay the creditor direct. Provided there has been no goods removed then no costs of execution are due. Only the statutory fees remain, but if goods have been taken into control, the HCEO cannot recover fees by selling them because Paragraph 58(3) of Schedule 12 of the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 "No further step may be taken under the enforcement power concerned." and Regulation 17.1 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 "the enforcement agent may not recover fees or disbursements from the debtor in relation to any stage of enforcement undertaken at a time when the relevant enforcement power has ceased to be exercisable" and guideline 31 of the Taking Control of Goods: National Standards 2014 "Enforcement agents must not seek to enforce the recovery of fees where an enforcement power has ceased to be excersisable."

4. If the debtor is a company, wind up the company and reform it with a new one. The writ and judgment dies with the original company.

5. Pay the debt to clear it. Then reclaim it through the courts or via a chargeback

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#6 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Hopeless » 03 Dec 2015 15:46

6. Declare bankruptcy :lol:

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#7 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 03 Dec 2015 18:15

That won't write off the fees, because the HCEO will billet the practitioner for his fees, and in all probability the practitioner will not check the demand for validity.
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#8 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Hopeless » 04 Dec 2015 07:07

Pote aka Snake,

I like your market-sizing. You state LO, but you do not include summons? Given that the summons 'cost' is usually the greater portion and assuming 50% conversion, that means, 7 million summons were issued, where 3.5m were made into LOs.

My council (or former council) has stated that they expect to issue 10k summons, with an LO conversion rate of 70%. Considering the number of households that come under their jurisdiction, 10k is a high figure (even after adjusting for businesses, which is a small number compared to households).

They sent me a breakdown of summons costs yesterday. I already see a number of issues. But I'll leave it for now.

I look forward to the court issuing an LO on 14 December. LOL, as mentioned, if you want to take on the '4 horsemen', you need to make sure that irrespective of any outcome, you come out on top.

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#9 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 06 Dec 2015 09:10

Hopeless wrote:They sent me a breakdown of summons costs yesterday. I already see a number of issues. But I'll leave it for now.......
Is there any way you can provide the breakdown, preferably with a way of linking to it if necessary?

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#10 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 06 Dec 2015 10:13

I'd like to see that as well.

I was at the High Court in Nicolson vs. Haringey when Haringey was asked to explain how it amounted it's costs for issuing a summons.

Haringey couldn't explain how it paid those costs it was compensating itself.
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#11 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Mark1960 » 06 Dec 2015 11:04

I have one from my council-Its a couple of years old now (I think it was for 2013). Absolutely mind boggling that they are so blatant:
Setting the parameters to run the job Billing Manager £0.69
Amending the system Billing Manager £0.69
Run the job Billing Manager £0.69
Despatch documents Revenues officer £0.48
postage 2nd class £0.50
paper £0.05
leaflets £0.09
photocopying/printing £0.06
Fair enough, then we have the following:
Setting court dates Recovery Manager (5 mins) £1.93
Stamping of the summons

Time at court Visiting officer (15 mins) £2.89
Travel Visiting officer (60 mins) £11.55
Mileage Visiting officer (23 miles) £9.43
Court Preparation

Travelling Recovery officer (30 mins) £9.43
Travelling Recovery Manager (30 mins) £11.59
Mileage 40 miles £16.40
All of the above are fine if you are applying for a single summons and/or LO but if you have for example 100 cases together, they are charging £1640 to travel 40 miles. The recovery managers time is £1159. If this is not profiteering from the process, I don't know what is. They could employ someone full time to do this, or even two people at a cost of arounf £60K per year. Instead, they rake in 100's of thousands of pounds. To add insult to injury, they then have the added dimension to charge the following|:
Costs associated with loss of income at the due time, increased borrowing cost/reduced income from investments £0.33
So not only do they profit but they also charge you for the loss of income from investments.

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#12 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 06 Dec 2015 11:34

Have I got the right local authority Council Tax Recovery and Debt Management?

This is from Google's cache. Can't open the pdf for some reason but these £100 court costs are going to Capita.
3.4 When summonses are issued, the Council charges £60 costs to residents and a further £40 costs if it has to obtain a court order. These costs have been agreed with the Magistrates and are the same throughout Swindon and Wiltshire. In total, the Council received £700,000 of costs income in 2013/14 and this was used to offset part of the Capita cost of running the Council Tax service.
A clue as to why the court costs are inflated in para 5.1. Because they unlawfully include expenditure after the liability order has obtained.
5.1 Improved Council Tax and debt collection performance results in additional income for the Council. To provide additional assistance to customers in order to reduce the amount of individuals against whom recovery proceedings are taken, additional resource would need to be employed, although it is hoped that this would eventually lead to less resources needed in the Council Tax recovery team for post court recovery work....
Another Google cache (unable to open pdf) admits to using costs as a deterrent.

Increase in Summons and Liability Order Costs 2005/06
4.6 This service change links directly to promise number 5 of Swindon 2010. The increases in costs will contribute to the overall savings of £11 million across the Council and, with more Council Tax customers being encouraged to pay on time, the in year collection rate performance will improve and ultimately deliver the promise of collecting 98% of the Council Tax in year.

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#13 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 06 Dec 2015 11:43

Mark1960 wrote:
Costs associated with loss of income at the due time, increased borrowing cost/reduced income from investments £0.33
So not only do they profit but they also charge you for the loss of income from investments.
If they are going to itemise loss of interest, they should offset that with the interest gained from aggregating all the early payment due to instalment removal.

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#14 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Mark1960 » 06 Dec 2015 12:21

The tax is due at the beginning of the tax year though isn't it?

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#15 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 06 Dec 2015 12:45

Mark1960 wrote:The tax is due at the beginning of the tax year though isn't it?
I don't know, and if it is I should think it would be an advance payment. Whichever you look at it, the earl payment is a direct consequence of enforcement.

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#16 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Mark1960 » 06 Dec 2015 13:13

outlawipcc wrote:
Mark1960 wrote:The tax is due at the beginning of the tax year though isn't it?
I don't know, and if it is I should think it would be an advance payment. Whichever you look at it, the earl payment is a direct consequence of enforcement.
Yes-They are doing you a "favour" by allowing you to pay in monthly instalments.

If you default, you receive a reminder notice, giving you 7 days to get your account back up to where it should be. Most councils allow 2 reminder notices. Once this passes, if you default again, the whole years tax becomes payable within 7 days. If you still don't pay it, a summons will be issued and the whole amount is due.

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#17 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 06 Dec 2015 13:18

Mark1960 wrote:
outlawipcc wrote:
Mark1960 wrote:The tax is due at the beginning of the tax year though isn't it?
I don't know, and if it is I should think it would be an advance payment. Whichever you look at it, the earl payment is a direct consequence of enforcement.
Yes-They are doing you a "favour" by allowing you to pay in monthly instalments.

If you default, you receive a reminder notice, giving you 7 days to get your account back up to where it should be. Most councils allow 2 reminder notices. Once this passes, if you default again, the whole years tax becomes payable within 7 days. If you still don't pay it, a summons will be issued and the whole amount is due.
I don't consider them to be doing me a favour with the amount I'm billed each year for getting nothing in return. It's statutory anyway, so they're hardly allowing you to pay by instalments out of the good of their hearts.

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#18 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 06 Dec 2015 15:28

There is nothing we can do to defeat council tax. It was Thatchers poll tax that created it. It was originally 'rates' and it was affordable. Its only since successive governments adding new burdens on town hall kitties originally borne by the treasury that been added year on year causing the highest local taxation liability on the planet.
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#19 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Mark1960 » 06 Dec 2015 16:57

I don't want to defeat council tax. I want to defeat the fat cats and the layabouts who run councils at a snails pace. If they were competing in the open market' they would all be bankrupt within 6 months.

If these councils are so cash strapped, why are so many employees still receiving pension packages? Most directors receive higher pension packages than the average tax payer earns. Surely these people can afford to contribute themselves like everyone else does? And then when you ask for a bit of help or slack, they refuse, choosing instead to use the full force of the law against you.

The recent LGO decision on Bury council is a shining example of local authorities attitudes towards its residents-I think we all know that councils simply pass on complaints to their bailiffs to investigate themselves. Is it any wonder that complaints are never upheld?

Look at that LACEF forum. What are these people doing all day long? What exactly does Barrie Minney do? He seems to have his fingers in many pies and still finds time to read all these forums during the day as well. Last time I checked (2 years ago admittedly) Brightons in house mob don't even go out of Brighton-They have around 5 or 6 agencies that they use for anything out of town.

John Major promised that council tax would provide up to 100% relief to the most needy. In 2015, we are in a situation where many who were deemed to require 100% relief 2 years ago, must now find a significant portion themselves. At the same time, bedroom tax has also been implemented.

Responsibility for assistance with council tax is currently in the hands of each individual authority. As is shown from the CPAG/Z2K report that I posted the other day, most councils are hammering the poorest of society.

There is so much wrong with the system, from top to bottom, that I wouldn't know where to start. Strangely, if you challenge this system, you are accused of being "activists" by people like Sheila Harding and Paul Caddy, which probably say more about those individuals than it does about us. The problem is, they have the influence where it matters, whereas we have nowhere to turn for help and support.

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#20 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 06 Dec 2015 18:50

The only way to change council tax to a local income tax, or an American-like sales tax, then Parliament is the only way. A new Local Government Finance Act.

The bedroom tax isn't intended to be a cash generator. It is to free up unused accommodation by discouraging under occupancy in taxpayer supported social and private rented market.

I've not been called an activist. Sheila has hinted subliminally that I follow the FMOTL beliefs.

If Parliament is to solve the pandemic scurge of council tax bailiffs, then they can transfer liability to the freeholder and they become the unpaid tax collector that businesses already do with VAT. The present council tax bears little semblance with incomes and abilities. It's based on the notional purchase price of the accommodation occupied.

I don't think there is a major issue of freeloaders in the town hall kitty. Civil servants aren't well paid. Good pension and a creche but it's lousy quality work. Many town hall buildings are largely empty due to contracting out. Salaries are under tight control, even for council leaders. Councils only keep a very small amount of council tax because town halls are forced to hand most of it over to the treasury- on my to be divided out as grants and subsidies.
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#21 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Mark1960 » 06 Dec 2015 21:25

"activist" is the latest buzz word from the enforcement industry and as you would expect, Sheila has cottoned on to this. Anyone who questions their fees or actions is an "activist"

The bedroom tax isn't intended to be a cash generator? Well theres a surprise. What a coincidence that its raking in £thousands, whilst driving thousands of people out of their long term homes.

You really need to read that report that I posted on the other thread. Council tax has to be paid-How else do you think services such as refuse collection are funded? It has spiralled out of control though, with central Government taking a big slice. Civil servants may not be well paid but I do expect a certain standard of service. My own council is an absolute shambles, with one department having no idea what another department is doing or saying.One councillor was caught out having his driveway tarmacked by a company that he had engaged to undertake council work-He failed to declare this, as required by law but was backed to the hilt by the authority.

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#22 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Pote Snitkin » 07 Dec 2015 09:23

jasonDWB wrote: The bedroom tax isn't intended to be a cash generator. It is to free up unused accommodation by discouraging under occupancy in taxpayer supported social and private rented market.
Jason, you need to get your finger on the pulse mate. The bedroom tax has taken a minimum £60 a month from those who can't afford it. 'Free up unused accommodation'? I assume you mean that those in a 3 bed council house should move to a 2 bed council house. And where will they find that? There are no houses available - those subject to the BT found themselves stuck in a home they could no longer afford through no fault of their own.

I've seen it happen with a few folks nearby. They had the BT to deal with, then had to find 25% of CT that they never had to pay before. Suddenly, overnight, they had to find almost £100 a month just to stay in their home with nowhere else to go. Imagine what would've happened if the tax credit cuts had happened and took another £100 a month from them?
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#23 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Dec 2015 13:50

I understood it not be a tax as such, but an amendment to housing benefit to reflect a claimants accommodation needs.

We have always had a housing shortage, its just a way to fill under occupied accommodation by encouraging empty rooms to be used rather than being left empty to alleviate housing shortage.
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#24 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Pote Snitkin » 07 Dec 2015 14:55

It doesn't work like that. For example, a couple with 2 children may live in a 3 bed council house, and have done for 10 years. They are on a low income and they receive £100 per week housing benefit to help cover the £125.00 per week rent. Bedroom tax comes along and says because they only need 2 bedrooms (one for the couple, one for the kids to share) the HB will be reduced from a 3 bed allowance to a 2 bed allowance, and they'll now only get £85 per week HB.

So will the council move them to a 2 bed house? No, because none are available. So they have to find the extra or be evicted. Oh and to cap it off, they now have to find another £15 per week council tax as CTB has been scrapped and replaced with council tax allowance. Some councils suddenly made those who paid no council tax having to pay 40% of the bill. Where on earth did they expect them to find that?

So it's not a case of making property available; all that happened was that it made thousands of families unable to afford to live where they had been living for many years, with no other accommodation available to them.

Even if they took on more work it wouldn't make a difference as any increase in wages will see a drop in HB and tax credits accordingly. These people can find themselves in a vicious trap. Someone I'd known for years went through all this and it really opened my eyes.
On 29/07/17, Compo said "If you are interested I actually typed the word label. My spell checker interpreted it as liable" Discuss.

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#25 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 07 Dec 2015 16:24

I'm not clued up on how benefits work. But can't a social housing tenant apply for an exchange into a suitable accommodation? Then when the family needs or qualifies for more room, they can exchange.

I might be off track cos I've not worked in social housing, I'm just following what I think is a course of logic according to what Parliament might be intending.

Most of Europe has no lifetime tenancy social housing. Only short term emergency housing and they must show efforts to find accommodation.
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#26 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Pote Snitkin » 07 Dec 2015 16:51

jasonDWB wrote:I'm not clued up on how benefits work. But can't a social housing tenant apply for an exchange into a suitable accommodation? Then when the family needs or qualifies for more room, they can exchange.
That would only work if the situation was permanent. The couple I knew had 3 boys, 14, 13 & 4, so the council deemed the boys could share one bedroom. However, once the eldest was 16 he would be entitled to his own room so they would then qualify for a 3-bed and the merry-go-round starts again, and then again when the second one was 16. It was a nasty, ill-thought out policy that saved nothing in the long run, coming at a time of ever increasing prices on everything, coupled with the withdrawal of CTB. As usual, the poorest in society were hit hard and deep. It simply should not have applied to those already in social housing.

I'm not sure how exchanges work in practice, so I don't know how quick the turnaround is. I know the couple looked at this and they found one 50+ miles away, so that was no good for schools and their jobs.
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#27 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Hopeless » 16 Dec 2015 10:21

outlawipcc wrote:
Hopeless wrote:They sent me a breakdown of summons costs yesterday. I already see a number of issues. But I'll leave it for now.......
Is there any way you can provide the breakdown, preferably with a way of linking to it if necessary?

Sorry, only now seeing this.

Yes, I can provide a breakdown. You can get it from Jason.

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#28 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Hopeless » 16 Dec 2015 10:22

jasonDWB wrote:I'd like to see that as well.

I was at the High Court in Nicolson vs. Haringey when Haringey was asked to explain how it amounted it's costs for issuing a summons.

Haringey couldn't explain how it paid those costs it was compensating itself.

Jason,

See email.

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#29 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 16 Dec 2015 12:44

Post it.
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#30 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by outlawipcc » 11 Jan 2016 07:29

jasonDWB wrote:Post it.
The calculation/breakdown of costs?

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#31 Re: Bailiff Fees - Are They Justified

Post by Schedule 12 » 11 Jan 2016 09:47

everything.

I don't have a copy of Cams file because I am not instructed.
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