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  1. #1
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    Default Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Hi. I owe my local council quite a bit in council tax. I was willing to pay but was unable to agree a reasonable plan with B&S so they got an attachment of earnings for two amounts. That was fine as I wanted it do be sorted, although we were struggling a bit for money each month. In January I received a letter saying I now owed another years tax. I didn't dispute this and called them to make an arrangement because I knew there could only two AoE's. The man I spoke to told me that if I agreed to a set amount per month it'd cover all three amounts owed and that they'd stop the two current AoE's and I would then pay them the agreed amount each month. That was fine and I agreed to do this. They then said they'd stop the AoE'S which they failed to do in time so my employer sent the payments across as they had done previously. I called B&S who said ok theyd start the payment plan the following month. All was good. The next month they had again failed to completely stop the AoE's. So I contacted them again and they again said we'd start the payment plan the next month. At the end of March they still took some money via AoE so I called them. They now said I had defaulted on the agreement and want £600 NOW or a bailiff would be out to collect the remaining £2400 owed. I don't have £600. I explained everything that had gone wrong with them and their failure to stop the AoE's and that I was willing to pay the shortfall from March's payment. They refused insisting that they want £600 today. They would not listen to anything I said. I even pleaded with them but they have it in their tiny brains that I defaulted on the plan and that was that. Not their problem. They said if I don't pay I will go to jail. I have bipolar. I have told B&S the council this as I was advised by a debt charity as I may be a vulnerable household. We also have a child with mental health issues.

    What can I do to stop a magistrate sending me to jail? I'm not worried about the bailiff. I just won't answer the door.


    Thanks in advance for any advice. More info can be added if required.
    Last edited by Michelle1980; 12th April 2017 at 15:06:PM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Debt is like any other trap, easy enough to get into, but hard enough to get out of.

    It doesn't matter where your journey begins, so long as you begin it...

    recte agens confido

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Hi. I owe my local council quite a bit in council tax. I was willing to pay but was unable to agree a reasonable plan with B&S so they got an attachment of earnings for two amounts.
    Out of curiosity, who issued the Attachment of Earnings ? (some local authorities delegate the powers to their enforcement agents)
    All was good. The next month they had again failed to completely stop the AoE's.
    One of the problems with AOEs is that quite often you can instruct the employer repeatedly to stop and they still take the deductions - it's not always that the instruction to stop hasn't been forwarded to the employer (it can cause no end of issues).
    . They now said I had defaulted on the agreement and want £600 NOW or a bailiff would be out to collect the remaining £2400 owed.
    Have you explained this to the local authority and asked them to instruct the enforcement agent to accept payment ?
    What can I do to stop a magistrate sending me to jail? I'm not worried about the bailiff. I just won't answer the door.
    It's still a distance away from a committal hearing yet so no need to worry about that at present.

    Craig

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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Hi. Sorry for the delay in replying. I'll try to answer the questions you asked.

    Bristow & Sutor issued the AoE.

    I have not explained to the local authority because B&S said the council wouldn't deal with us now because the debt was with them. Should I call the council? Would they help?

    The person I spoke to implied that prison was the next step if full payment isn't made. I take it she was trying to intimidate me?

    If my employer hasn't stopped the AoE's at B&S's request how can I be held accountable? I feel like they've made some errors and I am now having to pay for them.
    Like I've said, I owe the money. Circumstances a couple of years ago meant I missed some payments. This escalated quite quickly. We were nearly made homeless. We're are in a slightly better place now and are willing to agree a payment plan like the one they decided cancel. They are refusing all offers though. They seem intent on coming to the house to take goods. They'd be better off accepting a payment plan because I have nothing. Tv is owned by work via a salary exchange scheme. Car is a a rental/company car. The only two items of value we have and we don't own them!

    Thanks for all replies and advice so far. Very much appreciated.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Can I encourage you to report this bailiff story here: https://www.bailiffreform.org/. Several charities are trying to gether stories from across the country of situation where bailiffs haven't acted reasonably.

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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Hi @busybody


    Quote Originally Posted by Busyboddy View Post
    Michelle. Your case appears a little confusing. First and foremost, I can assure you that you will not be going to jail over this. Furthermore, the council will have to pay for any committal hearing and as you are not refusing to pay the debt, it is highly unlikely that they will be able to obtain costs for that hearing. I would go as far as to say that not only is committal highly unlikely but also is an actual hearing..
    This is good to hear.

    Quote Originally Posted by Busyboddy View Post
    On to this AoE palaver. As I am reading the law/legislation, an authority may only use one enforcement power at any one time. This means that if an AoE has been applied, the enforcement power conferred to B&S as far as their role of bailiff has died. When this enforcement power dies, so do their fees. B&S will be administrating the AoE as administrators, NOT as bailiffs. There is no provision for B&S to charge any fees for administrating the AoE and I don't believe that they can add their fees to it. I certainly don't believe that they can chop and change between enforcement and AoEs randomly..
    I'm not sure how these things work. We received a letter from them saying they were applying for two AoE's which they got. We assumed it was them who were responsible for getting them. When we received a letter about the latest council tax bill we called them and that is when they offered us a very reasonable payment plan that would cover all tax owed and that would be £50 less per month than the AoE's for the previous two. It was a no brainer to us so we agreed and that is when all the problems started.



    Quote Originally Posted by Busyboddy View Post
    It might pay you to contact your council and ask what grounds they believe that B&S can interchange between an AoE and enforcing. If I am correct, there is no incentive whatsoever for B&S to administer an AoE because they will not be getting paid for it. I also believe that if the AoE is cancelled (as B&S appear to have done here) then the entire process of enforcement must start again and that means another notice of enforcement being sent out 7 clear days before an enforcement visit. During that period, you have the opportunity to enter into a repayment plan and as B&S have already been down this road once, they really ought to give serious thought to any sensible offer that you make, in order to avoid a repeat of what has happened thus far. In your letter, you also need to get the council to confirm that when the AoE was started, that all B&S fees up until that point were extinguished.
    We are going to the council tomorrow to talk to someone face to face and show them the letters B&S sent us about the payment plan etc. We were told by B&S that the council would no longer talk to us about the debt because it had been passed to them and all contact had to be through them only. We would have gone to them much sooner if we had known because as I have said, we owe the money and we want to sort it out.

    Thanks for your help so far.

    Michelle

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Hi yes I can do that.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Bristow & Sutor playing games

    Some replies have gone from this thread? Was there a problem?

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