SUCCESS!! Equita & trying to come to payment arrangement

Tell us how you beat the bailiffs.
Car22
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#36 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 17 Feb 2014 16:24

Hi Soupdragon,

I put my complaint in with the council on Friday. Well, actually it was on Tuesday but the person who answered the phone on the council tax office gave me the wrong email address! However, i now know they have received my complaint email and offer to pay on Wedsnesday as I have received a confirmation email. Though I have yet to receive a reply. That can take 10 days.

I also emailed Equita last Thursday to ask for a break-down of my costs. I haven't received a reply or acknowledgement.

Should I also email Equita again and this time mark it as a 'complaint' and cc the council in do you think?

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#37 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by soupdragon » 17 Feb 2014 16:42

Equita arnt interested in complaints from you. All you want from them is a breakdown in writing of what has been charged.

They wont stop enforcement until their fees are paid or told to stop by the Council.

The only persons to complain to is the Council as they are the ones who initiated the action and can stop the bailiffs.

Car22
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#38 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 17 Feb 2014 16:46

Thank you again soupdragon. I'll just sit tight for now.

Car22
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#39 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 19 Feb 2014 09:35

I've heard nothing from no-one, however, I've paid all my council tax online this morning & the ct office to update them.

Mark1960
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#40 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Mark1960 » 19 Feb 2014 15:21

Well done car22

Please keep us updated with any developments. In the mean time, don't drop your guard you may well not have seen the last of Equita. Keep that car hidden.
If the bailiff returns with the police, argue the points made in post #'s 17 & 18. The car is not in the custody of the law because of the arguments put in those 2 posts. In addition, this case is now subject of a dispute and within the councils complaints procedure and also the debt is clear as it has been paid online.

FYI, the bailiffs will argue that the debt is not clear as their fees have not been paid. I would argue that the only legitimate fee is for a first visit however, the bailiff should have left notification at the time of visit of any fees incurred with the connection of this visit. This aspect forms part of the disputeand complaint. The police would be wrong to authorise removal of your vehicle under these circumstances.

I'm not saying the police would be called but I've read a couple of posts recently where theposter has mentioned police presence, so its best you are made aware. It is important that you stand your ground on this.

That said, lets hope the complaint has put a hold on bailiff action.

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jasonDWB
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#41 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by jasonDWB » 19 Feb 2014 15:31

If you get police attending then hand this document to the attending officers. http://www.dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk/fr ... oLeave.pdf

PS. MN can we clean the logos on the above document they are blurred.
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Car22
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#42 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 19 Feb 2014 17:50

Thank you Mark and Jason,

Much appreciated as always.

I would agree. The only legitimate fee is from one call at the door when I was out and a letter was stuck on the outside of my door.

Last week I must have tried to call the bailiff about 20 times and left 6 messages and texts. I also called their head office numerous times and emailed them. I have lost count of the amount of times I have asked for a break down of costs.

If they come around with the police, I will bear remembers points 17 & 18. My car is still safely locked away the garage and I will definitely keep it there!

Thank you for the pdf.

I think I will print it out and have at hand....just in case!

I'll will keep you posted!

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jasonDWB
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#43 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by jasonDWB » 19 Feb 2014 18:12

Car22 wrote:
Last week I must have tried to call the bailiff about 20 times and left 6 messages and texts. I also called their head office numerous times and emailed them. I have lost count of the amount of times I have asked for a break down of costs.
If that had been under the new regulations coming into force on April 06, that would have revoked everything because of non-compliance with regulations.


Regulation 7(f) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 requires the bailiff to leave a working contact telephone number on his notice, and if the number is not a contactable number then that scuppers the enforcement process for non-compliance.

Also if the bailiff did not explain his fees then you don't have to pay them. The law allows "reasonable costs" for levying distress but if the bailiff is unable to give the reasons then he is unable to show it is reasonable costs.
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Car22
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#44 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 20 Feb 2014 10:08

Thank you Jason.

The mobile number I have for the bailiffs, and it's the same number that Equita are quick to give out over the phone, rings out and then goes to voicemail. I did ring just after 5pm last Thursday and received a text saying 'Can't talk right now...I've finished work fr the day. Please leave me a message or a text and I will be in touch tomorrow.' So left a phone message and a text. And nothing.

No, I still have NO idea how they have come up with their fees.

I haven't been in touch with them at all this week. I've just paid my arrears to the council tax office and emailed the CT to advise them.

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jasonDWB
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#45 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by jasonDWB » 20 Feb 2014 10:26

Your council,tax is paid, keep the receipt and Deploy the NTPNTL. Its a Notice to Produce and Notice to Leave. It puts the bailiff on notice he is required by statute to produce his documents and evidence of his ID and warrant (or liability order), which you can make copies using your mobile and order the bailiff to leave the premises using an Act of Parliament.

You can post the documents here on this forum with your personal details hidden (including any bar-codes). We can tell you if they are kosher. Here is a template.

Also this post by Mark1960 nicely summarises the pros and cons of using the notice.

You,can make a formal complaint about the fees, http://www.dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk/ba ... l-fees.htm
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Mark1960
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#46 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Mark1960 » 20 Feb 2014 18:21

A couple of points worth remembering. Every council that I know of require its bailiffs to adhere to the National standards. Here is a quote from the National Standards (for Enforcement Agents):

"Enforcement agents will on each and every occasion when a visit is made to a debtor's property which incurs a fee for the debtor, leave a notice detailing the fees charged to date, including the one for that visit, and the fees which will be incurred if further action becomes necessary. If a written request is made an itemised account of fees will be provided."

Here is a quote from John Kruse (very likely the most highly respected authority on the subject by both sides of the fence);

"In all cases,if the debt is paid, without the costs, before any seizure has occurred the right to distrain ceases. if the debt is paid to the creditor and the bailiff is instructed to withdraw, the bailiff would not be able to proceed to recover any costs by sale"

Car22
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#47 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 21 Feb 2014 09:03

Thank you Jason & Mark,

This is such amazing information to have. I can't thank you enough!

Car22
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#48 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 23 Feb 2014 13:39

I've received a letter in the post!

A letter from Equita;

'Despite numerous communications and bailiff visits you have stilled failed to pay the outstanding £169 due for your council tax.

Unless the outstanding council tax is cleared by return, I will have no alternative but to instruct my bailiff to call when they may remove your goods to be sold at public auction.

This action will involve you in considerable further expense......pay to avoid this course of action.'

Well, this is a turn-up.

'Numerous communications' - I had ONE letter left on my door. Then I rang the bailiff and she told me the total was £380.

Then I tried to call the bailiff, text the bailiffs, rang head office, emailed head office....with no joy and no break-down of the £380.00

Then I complained to the council and also paid £127 of council tax arrears direct to the council.

And now the total is £169. Which seems to fall in-line with what they can ACTUALLY charge £42 for a visit.

I'm guessing I should just pay the £42 directly to the bailiff now? Though give the figure of £169, it seems they are unaware that I have paid £127 directly to the council. I have had no response from the council about my complaint yet.

I did fall behind on my council tax (I didn't have the money to pay), and I know someone has actually been to my house (to leave the letter on the outside of my door).

Mark1960
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#49 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Mark1960 » 23 Feb 2014 14:05

Entirely up to you car.

Have they actually made 2 visits though?

You could write, copying the council in, advising that you have now paid the council tax off directly and have filed a formal complaint regarding the behaviour of Equita. You have been quoted 3 separate sets of figures from Equita regarding fees, they have failed to leave paperwork detailing costs of visits or to provide you a breakdown of charges when requested, both of which are recommended by the National Standards for Enforcement Agents. You will happily pay any fees that have lawfully been incurred however you are not entirely sure at this moment that any have.

You cannot be sure that the figure of £169 is for their fees only- They may be aware that you've paid the council directly & are just trying a crafty trick to entice money out of you. You need this finalised & you're in a better position now that you've paid the CT off.

The first visit is "for a view of levying distress" As the bailiff didn't knock the door, it could be argued that there was no view (intention) to do so. You may feel happy to pay £42.50 & be rid of the whole case & that is entirely your decision.

I would advise that before paying anything, you get it in writing what Equita are charging, the date the fee occurred & the reason for the fee. That way, they can't come back at you for more money.

Car22
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#50 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 23 Feb 2014 14:10

Thank you Mark! I hadn't thought of questioning the amount. Sometimes I feel so gullible! Thank you for making me think twice about their fee. Yes, they could be aware of the £127 direct payment to the council. Perhaps that is what prompted this letter. I will DEFINITELY check it out, and ask for a break-down for what the £169 consists of. And I will keep the council updated too. Thanks again!!

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#51 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Mark1960 » 23 Feb 2014 14:28

Just for clarity Car

£42.50 is the amount they can charge for 2 visits:

£24,50 for the 1st visit
£18.00 for the 2nd visit

Car22
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#52 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 24 Feb 2014 09:34

Ah, I got muddle up. I thought £42.50 was for one visit! Thanks again. Wish me luck trying to get a break-down/response this time. I'm going to email the council too and keep them updated.

Car22
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#53 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 24 Feb 2014 09:56

I've rung the council tax. I'm now in credit by 54p. They received the emails that I sent on 14th Feb but they can take up to 25 days to reply. However, the woman on the phone said she can't see that the bailiffs are involved - though she advised to wait for the 'official' response to my emails.

Equita won't answer their phone as usual - 'all the operators are busy, call back later.'

soupdragon
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#54 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by soupdragon » 24 Feb 2014 10:03

Wait for the usual council response that you have to pay the bailiff fees.

Did you put in a formal complaint by email to the council? If you did then they should kill all bailiff action straight away whilst its investigated. Doesnt seem that the council have done that.

Car22
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#55 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 24 Feb 2014 10:22

Hi Soupdragon, Yes I put in a complaint to the council via email on the 14th Feb. I have just emailed them again and asked that they investigate.

Car22
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#56 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 11:27

Ok, well, I've had another letter from Equita today.

'Further to your recent communication' - I can only presume they mean the email I sent them on 13th Feb to question why the asked for £380:

My email on to Equita reads:

"What date did you receive this account from the council?

How much arrears is the council tax?

Please give me a break-down of your actions and fees to date, including the dates and fees of any letters and all fees incurred up to the point of receipt of this email.

The letter I received on Tues 11th February was left on the outside of my front door? It was hand delivered. I was at home at the time and I didn't hear anyone knock at all. Can you please advise me:

Is it usual practice to leave letters on the outside front doors? (In this case, wedged between the door frame and the door)

Why didn't anyone knock on my front door?

Why wasn't the letter posted through my letterbox?

Who left the letter there?

If it wasn't 'bailiff name' who was it, and was that person a certified bailiff and had I given that person money, would they have been able to accept it?

Thanking you in advance for your co-operation in this case. I look forward to hearing from you."

The letter I received today from Equita reads:

'Further to your recent communication I write to confirm the breakdown of your account.

Council Tax £127
First visit fee £24.50
Second visit fee £18
Total £169.50

Contact 'bailiffs name' immediately to negotiate payment of the out-standing amount'

This raises a few issues/questions:

1. I've paid the council tax £127 directly last week.

2. I've only had one visit - when someone left a letter on the outside of my door on 11th Feb - yet they are claiming for two visits. It was a 'levy' letter - and I have no idea if it was qualified/official bailiff who left it there or not.

3. They have completely ignored all the questions I asked in my email above

4. It's very strange how it's jumped from £380 to £169!

5. I've sent the Council 3 emails raising concerns about all this & asking them to investigate - no response yet.

6. I spoke to someone from the council tax on the phone yesterday. She said my account didn't show that it was with the bailiffs

What is the best course of actions from here?

Ring the bailiff (this is a different bailiff to who was originally dealing with this) & tell him I've opened an investigation with the council and have been advised it can take 25 day for me to receive a reply?

Ask the bailiff to put in writing the dates of the two visits they are claiming for?

Email Equita to ask for them to put in writing the dates of the two visits?

Any advice appreciated as always.

Thank you.

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monkeynuts
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#57 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by monkeynuts » 25 Feb 2014 11:54

http://www.dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk/Po ... emand.html

DO you have a receipt from the council for the payment? And has it gone against the LO that the bailiff is trying to enforce?

If so then I would be inclined to pay ONLY the first visit fee or make them prove they made 2 visits.
An awake populous is a bailiffs worst nightmare!

Car22
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#58 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 12:09

Thank you MN!

I paid the £127 to the Council online and I have an online receipt. Plus my bank statement. Plus the lady who I spoke to from the council on the phone yesterday confirmed my account is in credit (by 50p).

Who should I contact to get them to prove that they made 2 visits? Should I ring the bailiff or email Equita again? Perhaps I could email Equita and CC in the council?

Plus, does the visit have to be from an official bailiff in order for them to charge?

Thank you.

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monkeynuts
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#59 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by monkeynuts » 25 Feb 2014 12:14

I could be wrong but check the £127 went against outstanding LO's - they (the council) have a tendency to take your money for your current CT not those in arrears and have LO's...... payment online will usually go to the live account

A quick call should confirm it!
An awake populous is a bailiffs worst nightmare!

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#60 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by outlawipcc » 25 Feb 2014 12:40

monkeynuts wrote:I could be wrong but check the £127 went against outstanding LO's - they (the council) have a tendency to take your money for your current CT not those in arrears and have LO's...... payment online will usually go to the live account

A quick call should confirm it!
This is how Hyndburn Borough Council (Page 4) allocate payments:

HYNDBURN BOROUGH COUNCIL COUNCIL TAX AND NATIONAL NON DOMESTIC RATES RECOVERY POLICY – GUIDANCE
When any payment is received by the Council it will, unless otherwise specified by the Taxpayer, reduce the balance outstanding for the current year’s outstanding Council Tax or NNDR. Once payment in full has been made for the current financial year any payments subsequently received will go towards reducing any outstanding arrears from previous financial years.

If a Taxpayer advises the Council that a payment that has been made and used to reduced indebtedness for the current year was actually intended to reduce outstanding arrears for previous years then the payment will be moved to where it was intended to go by the Taxpayer, subject to the Council’s discretion. However, if moving the payment would actually result in a summons that had been quite properly issued, being rendered unnecessary the payment will not usually be moved.

There is one exception to this general principle, where a Taxpayer makes a payment which matches an instalment or other amount outstanding such payment will automatically be posted to the matched sum outstanding. Wherever possible these payments will be reallocated as indicted above if brought to the Council’s attention.

russelldurose
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#61 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by russelldurose » 25 Feb 2014 12:55

Monkeynuts makes a very important point, in which is a very unfortunate process for Councils not to clear arrears first and then the current liability. Maybe this explains why baillifs are still involved. The LO is still liable. You will have to ask the Council to make sure that the £127 payment goes against the arrears not the current year. That way the LO dies and Equita can go and suck a lolly.

Car22
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#62 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 13:54

I've rung the council tax office. She confirmed that I have paid the arrears and that there is no council tax owing. She said I need to contact the bailiffs and refer them directly to the council tax office.

Car22
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#63 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 13:55

Oh for goodness sake, the mobile number for the bailiff 'is not recognised'!

Car22
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#64 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 14:19

Ok, I got through to the bailiff on his mobile. I advised him that I have spoken to the council who told me to tell Equita that there was no outstanding arrears and that Equita must contact the council directly who will confirm this. He replied;

'I don't contact the council. They contact me.' And seemed most annoyed. I kept calm and was polite.

I said I was informing him and advising him, just as the council tax office had asked me to do, and that I was also going to email the council & Equita head office as well. Then I ended the call & have emailed the council & Equita.

Just want to say a Thank You again. To go through this on my own would have been a terrifying experience & I would probably have not questioned anything and ran around trying to gather up money that I don't have in panic. This forum has kept me sane.

I'll keep you posted of the next stage in this saga!

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monkeynuts
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#65 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by monkeynuts » 25 Feb 2014 14:41

Car22 wrote:I've rung the council tax office. She confirmed that I have paid the arrears and that there is no council tax owing. She said I need to contact the bailiffs and refer them directly to the council tax office.
Dont phone the bailiff do it all in writing.
An awake populous is a bailiffs worst nightmare!

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monkeynuts
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#66 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by monkeynuts » 25 Feb 2014 14:42

ahh just read the next post.... lol
An awake populous is a bailiffs worst nightmare!

Car22
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#67 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Car22 » 25 Feb 2014 14:50

I'm covering every angle :)

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monkeynuts
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#68 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by monkeynuts » 25 Feb 2014 15:20

still do it in writing though :-) we're established bailiffs.aren't trustworthy
An awake populous is a bailiffs worst nightmare!

Mark1960
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#69 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by Mark1960 » 25 Feb 2014 23:08

outlawipcc wrote:
monkeynuts wrote:I could be wrong but check the £127 went against outstanding LO's - they (the council) have a tendency to take your money for your current CT not those in arrears and have LO's...... payment online will usually go to the live account

A quick call should confirm it!
This is how Hyndburn Borough Council (Page 4) allocate payments:

HYNDBURN BOROUGH COUNCIL COUNCIL TAX AND NATIONAL NON DOMESTIC RATES RECOVERY POLICY – GUIDANCE
When any payment is received by the Council it will, unless otherwise specified by the Taxpayer, reduce the balance outstanding for the current year’s outstanding Council Tax or NNDR. Once payment in full has been made for the current financial year any payments subsequently received will go towards reducing any outstanding arrears from previous financial years.

If a Taxpayer advises the Council that a payment that has been made and used to reduced indebtedness for the current year was actually intended to reduce outstanding arrears for previous years then the payment will be moved to where it was intended to go by the Taxpayer, subject to the Council’s discretion. However, if moving the payment would actually result in a summons that had been quite properly issued, being rendered unnecessary the payment will not usually be moved.

There is one exception to this general principle, where a Taxpayer makes a payment which matches an instalment or other amount outstanding such payment will automatically be posted to the matched sum outstanding. Wherever possible these payments will be reallocated as indicted above if brought to the Council’s attention.
Outlaw-This is quality. These clowns appear to be contradicting the regulations that are in place specifically for the purpose of collecting Council Tax arrears:

45 (3) If, before any goods are seized, the appropriate amount (including charges arising up to the time of the payment or tender) is paid or tendered to the authority, the authority shall accept the amount and the levy shall not be proceeded with.

You couldn't make it up

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#70 Re: Letter from Equita & trying to come to payment arrangeme

Post by soupdragon » 26 Feb 2014 09:15

I could be wrong but check the £127 went against outstanding LO's - they (the council) have a tendency to take your money for your current CT not those in arrears and have LO's...... payment online will usually go to the live account

She seems to only have the one account so that will be the case.

Also regarding payments made to or via the council.......

Councils will not pass on money to a bailiff company because there is no legal precedent to do so. Also, the council does not want any kind of liability over payments made to the council in lieu of paying a bailiff company because it makes the council responsible if anything goes wrong.

That was confirmed recently in the way payments are handled in a recent case. Hence why the council always says talk to the bailiffs and pay them.

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