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“Private bailiff firms contracted to councils, are defrauding members of the public with no opposition from the Government, Local Authorities or the Police.

Local news papers will not, for whatever reason, report on this serious issue. They are failing in their duty to raise awareness for the many thousands of victims involved.

It seems these crimes will remain covered-up if left to the local press. It therefore must be tackled by members of the public who are prepared to expose our corrupt councils.


It has been publicised in the national press and on TV, that R' oss.en,dale.s Ltd, who Torbay Council contract its bailiff services to, is a criminal outfit.


Have you been charged Unfair and Hiked-up Enforcement fees by Torbay Council's bailiff contractor R' OSS.E'N,DALE.S?

This would be in connection with either alleged or actual council tax arrears.

Does the council state that they are lawful?

Does the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) also state they are lawful?

You can enquire by contacting the following email for a second, more seriously considered opinion:

nelc.bailiffs@talktalk.net

Alternatively or additionally you can register with the following advice website where free guidance can be sought which may potentially save you £hundreds in charges:

http://tinyurl.com/7jppcez




The following link features the equally crooked private bailiff firm,"Equ .i,ta", detailing a complainant's successful re-claim of nearly £400 of unlawful bailiff fees.

Post #45 of this link. The council also offered money for the complainant not to pursue the complaint further.

http://tinyurl.com/d49k74g

By throw_away_2 Posted: October 15, 2012

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  • Tony248  |  October 15 2012, 10:49AM

    Good post. It is no secret that bailiff firms charge (or attempt to charge) fees which are not supported by the relevant law. They do it because, most of the time, they can get away with it because the debtor knows no different and assumes that they are acting properly. However the bailiffs are the agents of the Council. The buck stops with the Council and that is where claims should go. Bailiff firms are well practised at shrugging off complaints. With the Council you do at least have an independent system to fall back on- the Local Authority Ombudsman. I appreciate the work of bailiffs is not always easy; they have far fewer powers than is commonly thought, and a smart person who is aware of the law can fairly easily thwart them; but agree with you that they should abide by the Law and be answerable if they fail to do so. Yes, more publicity is needed to put people wise and by remaining silent the Council aids and abets this law-breaking.

  • throw_away_2  |  October 15 2012, 11:13AM

    You summed that up well I thought Tony248, Just one point I'd like to make about the Local Government Ombudsman. The LGO is a complaints procedure dictated by statute and its hands are tied in certain circumstances. For example, if a bailiff imposes charges fraudulently, the strongest action the LGO will be permitted to take would be to ask the local authority to cancel the fees. They would not be permitted to deal with the fraudulent element of the crime, and would at best recommend involving the police. The police if contacted would state that the LGO are best suited to deal with the issues. There is no way of winning. P.S. Just an amendment to my original post. There is a local news paper raising awareness to these issues: http://tinyurl.com/dx98cbx

  • Tony248  |  October 18 2012, 9:19AM

    I am not so sure that the actions come within the definition of fraud. It is more by way of a try-on taking advantage of the victims' ignorance. The bailiff firm says, "This is our fee". Now there is nothing to stop anyone charging a fee for some act, and, indeed, charging what fee they choose. I could charge you £100 for posting this response and it would not be fraud! But of course you wouldn't pay. It WOULD be fraud if they suggested or stated that the fee they were charging was one which was specifically authorised by legislation and therefore mandatory. But to the best of my knowledge they do not do that. If you challenge what they charge then they have to back down, as maximum fees for local authority enforcement are set by the law- but most people don't know that and pay them. Until it is made an offence to demand more than the maximum the law allows, I cannot see that there is anything illegal about what they do, much as I deplore it. It is up to the media and other agencies to educate the public so they do not fall for this legalised scam. However the fact that the Council turns a blind eye to it, is certainly utterly disgraceful!

  • throw_away_2  |  October 18 2012, 10:44AM

    The fees which bailiffs are allowed to charge (for council tax) are statutory fees are stated in schedule 5 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992. It is bog standard practice for a local authority to dismiss any allegations of fraud by simply stating that the fees and charges are laid down in statute and their contracted bailiff firm is governed by such, and such a body. Any such claim by the police that these are civil matters should have been put to rest when Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government this, in the House of Lords: http://tinyurl.com/7dpjkyd "Crime: Fraud Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government: Whether a bailiff who repeatedly charges for work that has not been done commits a fraud within the meaning of Sections 1 to 5 of the Fraud Act 2006; and, if so, which sections of the Act apply; and whether it would be right for the police to claim that such an action is a civil and not a criminal matter. [HL2743] 20 Apr 2007 : Column WA94 The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): A bailiff or any other person who dishonestly charges for work that has not been done will be committing an offence under the Fraud Act 2006. Section 1 of the 2006 Act contains the new general offence of fraud. One means by which this offence can be committed is set out in Section 2, on fraud by false representation. This section applies where a person dishonestly makes a false representation and intends, by making the representation, to make a gain for himself or another, or cause a loss to another, or expose another to a risk of loss. It is also possible that, where a bailiff repeatedly charges for work that has not been done, this conduct will amount to fraudulent trading either under Section 9 of the 2006 Act or under the provisions on fraudulent trading in company legislation."

  • Tony248  |  October 18 2012, 2:25PM

    I would most certainly agree with that. Where a charge is raised for something which has not actually been done, it is indisputably fraud. However, is not the issue here one of attempting to charge more than the set fee? That isn't the same thing.

  • throw_away_2  |  October 18 2012, 3:00PM

    Phantom visits specifically relate to charging for work not done. Often the first of a series of attempts to defraud the alleged debtor, where no evidence exists of any visits being made. It was confirmed in the House of Lords on the 20 April 2007 that for dishonestly charging for work which is not carried out, it is an offence under the 2006 Fraud Act. (previous post) In charging debtors for visits that have not been made, they would be unaware of any charges accumulating. Consequently there would also be a breach of the National Standards for Enforcement Agents. Its code of practice states that: "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..." As visit fees can be charged for a maximum of two calls only to a debtor's home, there is no financial gain for them to make/charge for any further visits. Assuming the firm is going for its full compliment, once the debtor unknowingly incurs fees for the phantom visits, the next action will require the bailiff's status to take a transformation from one who merely calls (or doesn't as the case may be) to one who arrives in what may technically be described as a van – a "van bailiff". A van bailiff would typically add over £100 to the fees for turning up in a vehicle. Ideally though, without itemising charges, so the debtor remains in the dark. Of course, this charge is to cover expenses for hiring a vehicle to remove goods which have previously been levied, subject to say, a breached payment arrangement. If no previous visits had been made, it is likely neither a levy nor payment arrangement would exist. However, this may not stop the bailiff levying on items outside so the debtor is unaware of mounting charges. A vehicle, for example, may or may not belong the debtor. If a bailiff's interests were only to add another charge for levying, whether goods were owned by the debtor is not important to him if there is no intention of taking them. If levied items were thought not to belong the debtor, it would be beneficial for the bailiff to keep details from the debtor. This would involve failing to leave a Notice of Seizure of Goods and Inventory. It states though, in the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations 1992, that details of the levy must be handed to, or left at the premises where the distress is levied. There are certain bailiff firms which, have systematically been charging debtors a fee for advertising the sale of levied goods, where in the majority of cases, there has been no such advertising. Seemingly this has been allowed to go on unchallenged. The fee, listed under header "H" in schedule 5 of the Council Tax (Administration and Enforcement) Regulations is to cover out of pocket expenses in relation to advertising. The fee carries a minimum £24.50 charge, or, the actual costs up to a maximum of 5% of the amount in respect of which the liability order was made. For this to be lawful, another condition must be met. Levied goods must have also physically been removed. To get this overcharging into perspective, it states on private bailiff firm ******dale's website that goods are actually removed by bailiffs in only 1% of cases nationally. Council's are often complicit with bailiff firms in allowing that in all cases, they charge this fee. It is likely that in such circumstances, the bailiff firm will have duped the council into believing this charge is for releasing levied goods or some other such fabrication.

  • Tony248  |  October 18 2012, 3:24PM

    I follow what you mean. Clearly the charging of fees for things which have not been done and are not going to be done is fraud. The enforcement problem as I see it, then, is the lack of interest shown by the Police, who are not noted for their grasp of any laws which stray outside the commonplace and are all too prone to refuse to investigate; the tacit complicity of councils; and the fact that extremely few of the victims of this fraud are likely to try to complain. Unfortunately, control of bailiffs is largely illusory. Although they are licenced by Courts, it is very rarely, if ever, that they seem to get those licences revoked for the widespread abuses which you relate above!

  • throw_away_2  |  October 18 2012, 5:11PM

    Yes, the option is available for taking the county court route, (Form 4 complaint) submitted under the "Distress for Rent Rules 1988" to determine whether or not a bailiff's fitness is in question. A copy of the complaint is sent to the Bailiff's employer, giving 14 days for them to respond to the complaint. When replies have been received, the complaint is referred to a Circuit Judge, who either makes a decision on the complaint, or directs that a hearing is required. Taking the county court route, details of are submitted to the Court where the bailiff certificates had been granted. I submitted one of these complaints about two ******dale's bailiffs involved in fraud attempts, however this was dealt with in a manner equally negligent to the police, council, LGO etc. There was a sense that HM Courts Service's administration and the judge's paperwork etc., had been organised by trainees or pupils on work experience. When the determination was eventually made, there was no reference on the correspondence, the Judge's signature had been blanked out with tippex, and only paperwork relating to one of the two complaints was sent. Added to this, the Judge had taken it upon himself to assume and state wrongly that bailiffs had become involved because "the complainant got into trouble paying his council tax". Months after these complaints were submitted, and a further letter requesting they explain the fiasco, HM Courts Service sent its response. It explained that one of the complaints had not been sent to the Judge as the bailiff had left his employer before the complaint was lodged. This wouldn't have been communicated voluntarily and had taken four months to convey. The judge determined the bailiff's fitness was not in question; HM Courts Service stated that it could not comment on a judicial decision as it would not be prudent to do so. There had been no supplied details of the bailiff's response to the complaint (assuming there had been one). So, I suppose once he has got his certificate that's a bailiffs licence to print money.

 
 

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