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3rd June 2014, 17:03:PM #1
The New Regulations, VAT and other Miscellaneous Charges - Lawful or Not?
Reproduced with the kind permission of Tomtubby from Consumer Action Group, with thanks.
As we know the new fee scale that came into effect on 6th April provides than an enforcement agent can charge to the debtor a Compliance fee of £75 (this is charged immediately at the time the Local Authority passes the account for Enforcement to an Enforcement Company) and if payment is not made (or a payment arrangement not agreed within the time period provided on the Notice an Enforcement) a visit can be made to the debtors premises and a "Enforcement fee' of £235 added.
Unless the total debt is over £1,500 (in which case the fee of £235 is slightly increased) or goods are actually removed to storage or auctioneers....the fee scale does not provide for any further charges to be applied to the debtor (save for exceptional circumstances such as the need to hire specialised equipment to help with removal of goods - these will rarely be encountered and can be checked on a case by case basis).
The correct position with regards to VAT, HPI fees, DVLA fees and credit card transaction fees is set out below:
Under the new regulations, enforcement agents enforcing unpaid magistrate court fines, unpaid council tax or road traffic debts cannot....and must not charge VAT to debtors on enforcement agent fees.
VAT can be charged on storage and auctioneers' fees as these are third party costs. The same would apply for any other third party costs incurred -eg- locksmiths, removal contractors etc....
HPI and DVLA search fee:
Under the previous regulations there was no provision to charge such fees but nonetheless, it has long been 'industry practice' for bailiffs to charge HPI and DVLA search fee ( normally £20 each time) and this has amounted to a substantial amount of money being received.
Under the new regulations enforcement agents cannot....and must not charge either an HPI or DVLA search fee to debtors.
'Head H' Fee
The charging of a 'Head H fee' (of £24.50) in relation to unpaid council tax had been 'industry practice' for approx 10 years and as a regular poster (outlawgo) on here has discovered....the charging of this fee has resulted in significant amounts of additional revenue to bailiff companies.
Under the new regulations enforcement agents cannot....and must not charge a 'Head H' fee of £24.50 when enforcing unpaid council tax.
Credit card transaction fees:
Under the previous regulations it was again 'industry practice' to charge figures of between 4% and 6% on the overall debt when paying by credit card.
Under the new regulations enforcement agents cannot....and must not charge credit card transaction fees when payment is made.
Are there any exceptions to the above?
The only exception being where the account had commenced enforcement action before 6th April and where a 'levy' had also been in place before that date.
If anyone has been charged any of the above 'fees' and the enforcement of the debt commenced after 6th April it is vitally important that this is brought to the attention of both the local authority and CIVEA.
It should also be mentioned that under the new regulations an enforcement agent cannot charge any of the following fees either:
Broken arrangement fee.
Bounced Cheque fee.
Credit Card 'chargeback' fee.
Cut clamp fee (such a charge may be recovered by way of civil proceedings)
Last edited by BeagleyBailiff; 4th June 2014 at 14:39:PM.
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