Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Quash the Liability Order. Suspend Enforcement. Disputing Liabilities. Claim Damages for Misuse of Enforcement Power.
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davgreg82
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#1 Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 31 Jan 2016 19:12

My girlfriend signed a controlled goods agreement with a £75 fee and £235 fee on it, so far so good. We have now received a 'notice to remove goods' notice with another £235 charge and a £110 sale fee charge even though nothing has been taken? Am I correct in thinking that the new £235 charge has been added instead of £75 and the sale fee is a bit dodgy?

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#2 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 31 Jan 2016 19:21

From what you've posted, they cannot charge either an additional £235 or a £110 fee.

Can we have a few more details please?

What items were listed on the CGA?
Have they visited again or did the notice to remove goods come through the post?
Have you failed to keep up with agreed payments?

davgreg82
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#3 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 31 Jan 2016 19:37

Thanks for the reply. Yes certainly.

On the CGA is 2 tv's, wardrobe, chest of draws, dryer, microwave, wooden tv stand, cd player, sofa/bed, personal computer.

It came in a brown envelope hand delivered.

Yes we missed Decembers payment unfortunately.

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#4 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 31 Jan 2016 19:53

Mark is right.
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#5 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 31 Jan 2016 20:24

In the first instance, I would write to B&S (or preferably email) CC the council in on the mail. Advise how you missed the December payment due to the burden of Christmas and that you would like the opportunity to continue repayments as previously agreed. State that the items controlled hold little re-sale value and would not fetch enough to satisfy the debt if sold at auction. Further advise that the sale fee has not been triggered because the previous visit was not for the purpose of transporting goods to the place of sale. Ask that this fee be removed from your account.

B&S are very likely going to insist on payment of the amount outstanding in full. I suspect that they will also argue that the sale fee is legitimate. See what comes back and let us know. I wouldn't advise paying Januarys payment (if you haven't already) as it is not going to change anything. Put it safe so that you have it to hand if needed though.

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#6 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 31 Jan 2016 20:56

Ok thanks, I will email them as you suggest.

Just another quick one about the CGA if you dont mind.

The cd player on the list doesn't actually exist as we haven't owned a cd player since the 90's, Im not sure why it's on there.

The sofa/bed is a single mattresse on the living room floor with old sofa cushions against the wall.

So the list has something which dosent exist and something which is not as described in the list. Also my partner is a masters student so needs the PC.

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#7 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 01 Feb 2016 05:56

That will only become relevant if the goods are actually taken, which is hopefully very unlikely. There should be a description/serial number with the CD player as well as both TV's. Do you have an inventory of goods form?

You can mention that the PC is used for studies and contains private data and that you consider it exempt.

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#8 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 01 Feb 2016 08:15

PC's are not normally taken because of data stored on them. A bailiff company very nearly came unstuck after a student had hers taken and got a court to injunct to return it.

This was pre-april 2014 when civil enforcement was not regulated. I wrote an article from the judge's summing up and from the arguments given to the court to assist it to make the decision.

http://www.dealingwithbailiffs.co.uk/Se ... nsoles.htm

If bailiffs threaten to take PC's or laptops then the threat is usually idle.
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davgreg82
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#9 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 01 Feb 2016 09:23

Ok good to know, thanks Jason and Mark. Yes I kept the goods form and that's what struck me as odd, the two TV are fairly well described: Samsung, 40" and colour black but the CD player just says CD player.

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#10 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 01 Feb 2016 12:54

He won't be interested in taking any of those. They have no material value, so their removal would only be vexatious, though not unlawful.
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#11 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 01 Feb 2016 22:09

I emailed them and have had a reply, turns out we have two liability orders from council tax. This is their response.

We hold two accounts in total, these are CEB-T 36309 and CEB-T 45672, both of which have liability orders which have been granted through South Cheshire Magistrates Court on 23.05.15 (CEB-T 36309) and on 28.08.15 (CEB-T 45672). We are recovering the outstanding council tax arrears on behalf of Cheshire East Borough Council, their contact address is as follows:

Cheshire East Borough Council
Revenues Section
PO BOX 39
Town Hall
Macclesfield
SK10 1HR

We are enforcing two separate liability orders under the Tribunal, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 which requires part involvement from our enforcement agents, all of which are certificated through Worcester County Court..

Throughout the recovery of the council tax arrears you owe, enforcement agents have attended your property and have Taken Control of Goods on 26.06.15 and also attended to remove goods on 27.01.16.

Please note we did not receive CEB-T 45672 until 23.12.15 over 6 months after we had Taking Control of Goods on CEB-T 36309. In this instance, when we returned to remove goods on the initial case we held you incurred a sale and disposal stage fee of £110.00, however, we also had the intention of Taking Control of Goods on CEB-T 45672 which incurred a further enforcement fee of £235.00. All costs incurred are legally payable and are in accordance with the Taking, Control of Goods (Fees) regulations 2014 as part of schedule 12 of the Tribunal, courts and enforcement Act 2007 and will not be removed from the account.

At his time enforcement agents have already been instructed to re-attend your property, we therefore must advise that you await their attendance to discuss the matter further.

We trust this clarifies the matter.

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#12 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 01 Feb 2016 22:57

You should now instigate a complaint to the CEO of Cheshire East Council. Send it by email and CC it to B&S. Head it "Formal Complaint Stage 1"
Dear Sir/Madam

I am currently experiencing difficulties with your agents, Bristow ^ Sutor (B&S). They are currently dealing with two separate account numbers (insert numbers)

With regards to the oldest account, I have entered into a controlled goods agreement (CGA) with B&S. Unfortunately, due to the financial burden of the Christmas period, I missed the December payment. B&S have subsequently re-visited on 27.01.16 with the intention of removing goods. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that simply removing goods does not incur additional fees. In order for the sale and disposal fee to have been activated, the purpose of the visit must have been to remove goods to a place of sale. Unless B&S can provide evidence of prior communication with auctioneers, advising that my goods were going to be arriving for storage (until such time as sale took place), then the £110 sale fee is not valid.

In addition, it transpires that a second account is with B&S. I would advise that I have had no prior notice of this, either from yourselves after the LO was obtained or from B&S in the form of a notice of enforcement (NOE). Even if I had have received a NOE, it is not in the spirit of Schedule 12 to multiple charge for the same visit. An EA cannot visit with the intention of doing two separate acts unless he does so under one fee. Furthermore, as my goods were already controlled from the first CGA, it is clear that they could not have been controlled a second time. There can never have been any intent to control goods a second time and the fee has purely been added to maximise profit.

I ask the council to now intervene and advise B&S to accept the following:

1. To re-instate the original re-payment plan
2. To remove both the invalid sale and enforcement fees
3. To re-send the NOE dor the second account.

In addition, I ask that enforcement is suspended whilst this complaint is being investigated.

Finally, can the council please advise as to whether any correspondence was sent, advising me that a LO had been obtained for the second account.

Thanking you in anticipation

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#13 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 01 Feb 2016 23:10

Thanks so much for this Mark.

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#14 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 03 Feb 2016 13:30

Quick update, we have a formal complaint case number off the council stating that investigation should be completed by the 16th Feb. What I have found interesting is that the bailiffs mobile is suddenly switched on after being uncontactable for 6 days. He's trying to phone us now.

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#15 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 03 Feb 2016 14:40

He probably blocked your number. Bailiffs get your mobile number from the DVLA.

I'm always having to call from different numbers when I need to speak to a bailiff for a client because they blocked my (work) mobile number.
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#16 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 03 Feb 2016 14:52

Oh right sneaky, some tactic to cause stress presumably. Do I ignore him while the complaint is going through or do I have to talk to him because they have control of our goods?

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#17 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 03 Feb 2016 15:04

I Would speak with him.no point falling out with him. Just tell him that you've taken advice and you believe that it's illegal to multiple charge for a single visit. As a consequence, you have now instigated a formal complaint that the council are currently investigating. Part of the complaint is a request to re-set the original payment plan up.if he's happy to do this then great but it will need to be done on the phone, you have been advised not to let him back into the home.

He will probably be pushing for payment in full and threaten you with forced entry. He cannot force entry, he must use a locksmith to gain access that will cost him money. Stick to your guns and repeat your offer to continue instalments, if not, you are happy to let the council determine whether the plan should be re-set.

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#18 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by LUCYLOCKET » 11 Feb 2016 10:20

Bailiffs get your mobile number from the DVLA.

Just got a quick question on reading this about Bristows - we have a formal complaint ongoing with them also -

do the DVLA only have your number if you give it to them...or....?

I never give my real number out unless I absolutely trust the person - so is there another way they can get it then from DVLA?

Sorry if I am being a bit think :) .....

thank you

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#19 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by LUCYLOCKET » 11 Feb 2016 10:21

thick lol !!

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#20 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 11 Feb 2016 15:27

If an unwanted party gets your mobile number, it's no big deal because you only need to block it once and that automatically stops all further calls made by that callers number.

If you are using a nuisance caller number sharing app, it will write off the callers telephone number because they will no longer be able to make calls to anyone using a nuisance caller number sharing app.
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davgreg82
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#21 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 16 Feb 2016 09:52

Hi, I have had a response from the council. The balance has increased due to a third account and from what I can gather the fees stand. We do have a 28 day hold on enforcement while we get proof of my partners vulnerable status.

I refer to your correspondence received since 30 January 2016, which has been logged as a stage 1 complaint in the Council’s Official Complaints Procedure.

Up on receiving your complaint, I instructed Bristow & Sutor place a hold on recovery action, to enable the matter to be investigated.

I note that Bristow & Sutor have sent you e-mails on 1 February 2016 and 2 February 2016, in response to the points that you raised directly with them.

As part of this investigation, I requested copies of these e-mails and would add the flowing comments.

On 29 January 2016, the Council passed a further Liability Order to Bristow & Sutor, which they received on 2 February 2016. This Liability Order was obtained on 18 December
2015, at the South Cheshire Magistrates Court, Crewe. The balance outstanding on the order is £974.77. Bristow & Sutor have not taken any action in respect of this order or incurred any fees.

The Liability Order date for CEB-T 36309 has been given by Bristow & Sutor as 23 May 2015. The correct date is 27 March 2015. Bristow & Sutors records do reflect this but
they gave you an incorrect date in their e-mail.

Regulation 11 (1) of The Taking Control of Goods (fees) Regulations 2014, does imply that that the fixed fees for the Enforcement Stage and Sale or Disposal Stage can only
be applied once, regardless of the numbers of Liability Orders. However, this only applies if the actions could have reasonably been exercised at the same time and Bristow & Sutor have explained their reasons for charging separate fees.

With regard to the Liability Order obtained on 28 August 2015, I would advise that when a Summons was issued to you on 4 August 2015, it included an arrangement, that if adhered to, would have meant that recovery action would be held once the Liability Order had been obtained. This arrangement was £28.67 by 25 August 2015 then £31.00 per month from 1 October 2015 to 1 July 2016. You paid £30.00 on 26 August 2015. No further payments
were received despite a notice being issued on 19 November 2015, so the Liability Order was passed to Bristow & Sutor on 22 December 2015.

Bristow & Sutor issued a notice on 30 December 2015, advising that the balance of £308.67, should be paid within 14 days, otherwise further recovery action would be taken.
At this point Bristow & Sutor had not incurred any fees, in respect of this Liability Order. The Notice of Enforcement was sent on 13 January 2016.

I acknowledge that you are now stating that you consider yourself as a vulnerable person. Vulnerability is a complex area and each case should be considered on it’s own merits.
Just because you may fall within a vulnerable category does not mean that you are vulnerable. In order for the Council to give this further consideration, I will require medical evidence to substantiate your claims. To enable you to provide this evidence,
recovery action will remain on hold for a further 28 days.

The total balance outstanding currently to the Council is £1371.59 and Bristow & Sutor currently have fees outstanding of £505.92. Should we decide to recall the Liability
Orders from Bristow & Sutor, their fees would be removed from your account. I note your offer of payment and this will be considered, should we decide to instruct Bristow & Sutor to return the Liability Orders.

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#22 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 16 Feb 2016 10:10

Once your vulnerability evidence has been given, the bailiff will only postpone enforcement for 30 days then restart action again. Repeat ad-infinitum.

You need to persuade the council to withdraw enforcement action.

The bailiff has not shown any evidence why it was able to charge multiple £235 enforcement stage fees simultaneously. You can now do a fee recovery in the small claims court.

This article gives a summary of the procedure for bringing a claim in the small claims court.
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#23 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 16 Feb 2016 10:42

Thanks Jason I will give the article a read. Yes I agree the best way forward is to persuade the council. I'm going to offer to pay the whole balance in 2 possibly 3 monthly payments, will be rough but we want this finished.

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#24 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 16 Feb 2016 11:38

See how you get on with your vulnerability claim. If the account remains with B&S, I can probably get the £110 fee removed

Ignore what the council have said, the LGO will get it removed straight away. The opinion that has been stated is that of Chris Farman who is fondly called Mr Angry on this forum due to his angry outbursts about the internet. Farman wears the most rose tinted glasses in the entire enforcement sector and some of his skewed interpretations are almost child like in their logic. Charging for an act that didn't occurr is a prime example.

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#25 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 16 Feb 2016 16:40

Jason-The multiple fees are and enforcement visit (£235) and a sale fee (£110), both incurred on the same single visit.

As I see it, the fees incurred thus far are (oldest case first)

account 1
£75 compliance fee
£235 enforcement fee
£110 sale fee

account 2
£75 compliance fee
£235 enforcement fee

account 3
£75 compliance fee

I make that a total of £805. Davgreg-You certainly need to obtain a breakdown of these costs if your vulnerability application fails. Either the council haven't listed all the fees or B&S have been very naughty in their dividing up of proceeds. You also would be advised to contact B&S regarding the latest account. My experience with them post April 2014 is that they're quite good and may well be prepared to stack the accounts, meaning you deal with them one at a time (if you wish). I wouldn't start paying big instalments until you've got all this sorted. You need to know exactly how much B&S have deducted from your payments and you also need either the sale fee or the enforcement fee removed from the visit of 27.01.16. I would be very interested to discover exactly why they think they can add an enforcement fee to the sale visit, given they were visiting the property in any case. This stupidness is a throwback to the old multiple visit arguments and it needs to be nipped in the bud.

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#26 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 16 Feb 2016 16:58

The sale fee only applies when goods are removed to the place of sale.

If a vehicle is taken to a compound for storage, the £110 sale fee fails.

If the bailiff company has done the work simultaneously then I would argue the case to be determined by trial there is only one £235.

Regulation 11 of the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014 reads: (Highlighted)

More than one enforcement power available against the same debtor

11.—(1) This regulation applies for the purpose of calculating the fees and disbursements payable to the enforcement agent in accordance with regulations 4, 8, 9 and 10 in a case where—
  • (a)the enforcement agent receives instructions to use the procedure under Schedule 12 in relation to the same debtor but in respect of more than one enforcement power; and

    (b)those enforcement powers can reasonably be exercised at the same time.

    (2) In paragraph (1)(b), “can reasonably be exercised at the same time” means in particular—

    (a)taking control of goods in relation to all such enforcement powers on the same occasion; and

    (b)selling or disposing of all goods so taken into control on the same occasion,

    except where it is impracticable to do so.

    (3) The enforcement agent may recover the compliance stage fee in respect of each enforcement power to which the instructions relate.

    (4) Where paragraph (1) applies, the fee recoverable in respect of the enforcement stage (or stages) and the sale or disposal stage respectively is to be calculated as follows—

    (a)the fixed fee for each stage may be recovered only once regardless of the number of enforcement powers to which the instructions relate;

    (b)the amount in relation to which the percentage fee for each stage, if any, is to be calculated is the total amount of the sums to be recovered under all enforcement powers to which paragraph (1) applies.

    (5) Where this regulation applies, the enforcement agent must, as far as practicable, minimise the disbursements recoverable from the debtor under these Regulations by dealing with the goods taken into control pursuant to the instructions together and on as few occasions as possible.
Under sub-paragraph (5) it says the enforcement agent must, as far as practicable, minimise the disbursement

It doesn't say the £235 enforcement stage fee can be charged again.

By these calculations, I make it £460.

He doesn't need a 'breakdown' because the NOE already give it. It it doesn't then the NOE fails because its not compliant with regulation 7(e) of the Taking Control of Goods Regulations 2013 which reads:

  • (e)the following information about the debt—

    (i)sufficient details of the debt to enable the debtor to identify the debt correctly;

    (ii)the amount of the debt including any interest due as at the date of the notice;

    (iii)the amount of any enforcement costs incurred up to the date of notice; and

    (iv)the possible additional costs of enforcement if the sum outstanding should remain unpaid as at the date mentioned in paragraph (h);
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#27 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 16 Feb 2016 17:05

There were 2 accounts (there are now 3). They were received 6 months apart.

The bailiff visited for the first one in June last year and obtained a CGA. The OP defaulted in December and on 27th Jan this year, the bailiff returned to remove goods for sale. He also claims to have visited with the intention of carrying out an enforcement visit on the second account (by this time a NOE had been sent for that).

They can't charge for both. I would be inclined to accept the sale fee and challenge the enforcement fee because its double.

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#28 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 16 Feb 2016 17:12

OK let's try it with a formal complaint and see if they interpret reg 11 (5) to be license to charge another £235.
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#29 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Mark1960 » 16 Feb 2016 17:31

A formal complaint has already gone in.

We now need to await the outcome of the request regarding vulnerability. I will be very surprised if this will be accepted given the OP has offered to pay the debt back within a 3 month period. If he is in a position to do this, B&S will simply state that he should do and that by doing so, further enforcement will be avoided. It was a massive mistake to mention any offer of repayment.

When the knockback is official, we can send in a stage 2 complaint (provided the OP wants to)

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#30 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by davgreg82 » 01 Jun 2016 18:32

Hi guys, we have today had the response from the council, better late than never.

We filled in a MALG debt and mental health form, got it stamped and signed by a doctor and the result is that Bristow & Sutor have been instructed to return all Liability Orders in their possession and all fees have been removed.

We just need to agree a repayment plan direct with the council now.

This fourm has been a massive help at a very stressful time. Thanks to Mark and Jason in particular, we now have better knowledge about how to handle these types of situations should they arise again.

Thanks again

Dave

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#31 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Tuco » 02 Jun 2016 01:22

Thanks for coming back to let us know the outcome. Excellent news.

No "clause" demanded by the bailiffs either-Who'd have thought that?

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#32 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by LUCYLOCKET » 30 Mar 2017 10:57

Mark1960 wrote:
03 Feb 2016 15:04
I Would speak with him.no point falling out with him. Just tell him that you've taken advice and you believe that it's illegal to multiple charge for a single visit. As a consequence, you have now instigated a formal complaint that the council are currently investigating. Part of the complaint is a request to re-set the original payment plan up.if he's happy to do this then great but it will need to be done on the phone, you have been advised not to let him back into the home.

He will probably be pushing for payment in full and threaten you with forced entry. He cannot force entry, he must use a locksmith to gain access that will cost him money. Stick to your guns and repeat your offer to continue instalments, if not, you are happy to let the council determine whether the plan should be re-set.

I am having a rough day and I am not sure I have got this right...

Above it talks about forced entry....I always thought from information on here that EA's for Council Tax couldn't force entry at all - only Bailiffs/EA enforcing Court Fines etc?

With or without a warrant? Please clarify for me as I am muddled up again. Are you saying that EA's can come along with a locksmith and come in afteral?

Thank you

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#33 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by Schedule 12 » 30 Mar 2017 11:39

Council tax. There is no power under a liability order to enter by force.
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#34 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by LUCYLOCKET » 30 Mar 2017 13:20

ok but what if he does what you mentioned and takes on the costs to himself of a locksmith - as per the comment above - can he do it then?

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#35 Re: Bailiff fee irregularity Bristow & Sutor

Post by LUCYLOCKET » 30 Mar 2017 13:20

He will probably be pushing for payment in full and threaten you with forced entry. He cannot force entry, he must use a locksmith to gain access that will cost him money. Stick to your guns and repeat your offer to continue instalments, if not, you are happy to let the council determine whether the plan should be re-set.

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