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FightBack Forums > Queries > Council Parking Tickets & Clamping and Decriminalised Notices
aj71
Hi everyone,

I hope I'm posting this in the correct place.

I woke up this morning to find my van had been clamped for non payment of a council parking charge.

I'm not too worried about the parking charge as I am in dispute with the council and am currently going through their formal complaints procedure - I realise now I should have just paid the fine and tried to claim everything back afterwards - you live and learn!

However, I am concerned with how I was forced to make a payment to the bailiffs in order to get my van back.

Whilst my van is personally owned its signed up with the company name, logo and contact details and I use it for deliveries.

When I explained to the bailiff I use it for my sole use in my business doing deliveries and am unable to carry out any deliveries without it I believed it was covered under Section 89, 1 of The County Courts Act as the vehicle was essential for my business and I needed it this afternoon for my deliveries.

The bailiff said the Act doesn't count and he should know as he's been doing this job long enough - Is this correct ?

Also, when I asked why hadn't I need notified he said a letter was sent out 10 days ago giving me 7 days to pay or the would take this action - I didn't receive the letter but have no proof and similarly they cant prove it was sent but said the fact their computer says the letter was issued that's good enough for the courts.

In order to get my van back so I could do my deliveries I paid the following:

Original fine and fees - £93.20
Bailiffs attendance costs - £61.94
Attendance to remove/removal - £175.00
VAT - £49.63
Total - £379.77
plus £1.00 debit card fee

Is there any way I can find out if they are allowed to charge these amounts ?

Plus, and this just gets better, I've just realised I've paid too much VAT as 20% of £236.94 (£61.94 + £175) is actually £47.39 - is this fraud or a HMRC matter ? (would love to start a VAT investigation!)

Is there anything I can do about the over charge ?

When I made the payment I explained I was paying under duress as I had no alternative and was looking to mitigate my losses, in that they were phoning for a tow truck to remove the vehicle. I have since faxed a copy of this statement to Marstons as the bailiff refused to sign my statement to confirm I had made him aware. (I also wrote this on the receipt just in case)

I've tried speaking to Marstons and requested their complaints procedure only to be told there isn't one, you simply fax or email a complaint and they will deal with it when they get round to it - I though anyone working on behalf of a local council had to have a written complaints procedure ?

I've also telephoned my local council's corporate compliance complaints team and they have taken details and said they will look into the matter but it's normally something I would have to take up with the bailiffs firm first.

Any advice anyone could give me would be appreciated - I don't mind dragging these guys through the courts or causing as much fuss as possible as I'm happy the original fine will be cancelled by the council once they have dealt with my original appeal.

Many thanks in advance
Enceladus
AIUI the bailiff cannot impound your vehicle if you are self employed and the vehicle is for your use only and you require it to earn your living.
Do you own the van outright?

It is hard to provide answers when we don't know where you fell out of the process?
Did you appeal your PCN to the Adjudicator?
If not, why not?
If yes, what was the outcome?

I cannot see how the outstanding penalty could be £93.20. That number seems wrong.

Where a bailiff has been paid it can prove very difficult to recover the money. I suggest you make contact with Shiela at Bailiffadviceonline.
You will have to pay a small fee but they are the best source of advice as to how to get your money back. Or if it is possible. PepiPoo gets no money and BAO arfe consistently recommended on this forum and elsewhere. They are the specialists.
Incandescent
http://www.bailiffadviceonline.co.uk/

Contact the above. A small charge is payable, but far, far, less than what you have paid the bailiffs.

Having paid the bailiffl, you are now going to have an almighty struggle to get your money back or even some of it. This forum is generally for people who have received a PCN and have yet to go through the CPE process, but in your case, it seems that is all in the past. You are very, very, wrong in stating that payment of a parking penalty means you can claim it back afterwards. Once a PCN is paid that's it; you haver admitted the offence.
bama
as per the above
minus "Once a PCN is paid that's it; you have admitted the offence." which I disagree with.

fees look wrong to me, BAO is the way to go IMO.
aj71
Thanks for the advice so far.

I did appeal the PCN but didn't get a reply from the council, so wrongly assumed by appeal had been accepted and forgot all about the charge until I received a letter from Northampton Court.

I then contacted the council to be told my appeal hadn't been dealt with for some unknown reason - The following day I received a rejection of my appeal on the grounds I was late with the appeal - even though I appealed under special circumstances on medical grounds. It was this rejection that I've challenged and have a formal complaint going through the council process which leads me to believe the parking ticket will be withdrawn.

The £93.20 includes both the fine and the cost of Northampton Court.

Yes, I own the vehicle outright.


Enceladus
£93.20 does not stack up as a penalty charge + £7 Northampton registration fee. Not unless you paid some oddball amount towards the charge.

That letter. Was it an Order for Recovery? I assume yes, in which case it would have had a Witness Statement or a Statutory Declaration form enclosed. Seems you failed to complete and submit the form. Consequently the case progressed to the bailiff. Submitting the WS/SD on time would have prevented bailiff action and the case would ultimately have been referred to the Adjudicator or the PCN cancelled.

The Council can't issue a Notice of Rejection after the OfR. Was it a copy of a rejection notice sent previously?
RxBandit
The fees are fine -

Visit 1 = £28
Visit 2 = (£28 + £93.20) x 0.28 = £33.94
Total is £61.94

The van/levy fee is in the ball park of "normal". All those I've seen are circa £150.

The VAT is (to quote a phrase) waay out. No idea how they got there. No wait, I've got it. I'm stupid. Reverse the VAT, take off the above charges and we're left with £11.20 (ie the charge for the first letter).

Ah, that explains the £93.20. It's an £82 charge (lower rate PCN @£50)

bama
QUOTE
(lower rate PCN @£50)

which council ? ?
RxBandit
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/34...aragraph/2/made

Band 2 lower rate (for things like expired ticket etc). Add 50% surcharge and £7 TEC fee and you get £82.

I guess lots of councils use that band (outside London ofc). I can't see from the OP which council this is tho.
Observation1
QUOTE (aj71 @ Mon, 10 Jun 2013 - 18:21) *
Hi everyone,

I hope I'm posting this in the correct place.

I woke up this morning to find my van had been clamped for non payment of a council parking charge.

I'm not too worried about the parking charge as I am in dispute with the council and am currently going through their formal complaints procedure - I realise now I should have just paid the fine and tried to claim everything back afterwards - you live and learn!

However, I am concerned with how I was forced to make a payment to the bailiffs in order to get my van back.

Whilst my van is personally owned its signed up with the company name, logo and contact details and I use it for deliveries.

When I explained to the bailiff I use it for my sole use in my business doing deliveries and am unable to carry out any deliveries without it I believed it was covered under Section 89, 1 of The County Courts Act as the vehicle was essential for my business and I needed it this afternoon for my deliveries.

The bailiff said the Act doesn't count and he should know as he's been doing this job long enough - Is this correct ?

Also, when I asked why hadn't I need notified he said a letter was sent out 10 days ago giving me 7 days to pay or the would take this action - I didn't receive the letter but have no proof and similarly they cant prove it was sent but said the fact their computer says the letter was issued that's good enough for the courts.

In order to get my van back so I could do my deliveries I paid the following:

Original fine and fees - £93.20
Bailiffs attendance costs - £61.94
Attendance to remove/removal - £175.00
VAT - £49.63
Total - £379.77
plus £1.00 debit card fee

Is there any way I can find out if they are allowed to charge these amounts ?

Plus, and this just gets better, I've just realised I've paid too much VAT as 20% of £236.94 (£61.94 + £175) is actually £47.39 - is this fraud or a HMRC matter ? (would love to start a VAT investigation!)

Is there anything I can do about the over charge ?

When I made the payment I explained I was paying under duress as I had no alternative and was looking to mitigate my losses, in that they were phoning for a tow truck to remove the vehicle. I have since faxed a copy of this statement to Marstons as the bailiff refused to sign my statement to confirm I had made him aware. (I also wrote this on the receipt just in case)

I've tried speaking to Marstons and requested their complaints procedure only to be told there isn't one, you simply fax or email a complaint and they will deal with it when they get round to it - I though anyone working on behalf of a local council had to have a written complaints procedure ?

I've also telephoned my local council's corporate compliance complaints team and they have taken details and said they will look into the matter but it's normally something I would have to take up with the bailiffs firm first.

Any advice anyone could give me would be appreciated - I don't mind dragging these guys through the courts or causing as much fuss as possible as I'm happy the original fine will be cancelled by the council once they have dealt with my original appeal.

Many thanks in advance


When you got the initial PCN why did you not just simply complete the reverse of it and see what happens? Ignorance of PCN's means that they simply do NOT go away! By the sounds of it 90 plus days have expired, you made no appeals (ignoring the correspondence) and it simply went to court for the bailiff notice to be issued. What started as a potential £40/£65 PCN has now got to 100's of pounds because you appear to have ignored it?! Whizzing through courts might sound easy but be assured you are more wise to address the issue before it comes to that including speaking directly to the council and maybe having some leeway with them hoping to 'limit the damage limitation'.
M
aj71
Hi all

It was Manchester Council.

I did appeal late but used the special dispensation under medical grounds as I've been seriously ill in hospital - my complaint that the appeal under special grounds was ignored and rejected out of hand simply because it was late has been upheld and the ticket had been cancelled.

In relation to the bailiffs, they only made and have only been able to prove one visit so are now being charged with a fraud offence for claiming an amount which they can't prove - I've also thrown in the VAT charge at 21% in there and have also made a complaint of potential VAT fraud to HMRC (hopefully this will raise a VAT inspection)

Similarly, the bailiffs were in contravention of Section 89, 1, a of the County Courts Act 1984 as they had been informed the sign written vehicle was needed for deliveries in my employment - this was also contrary to the Councils published guidance on what bailiffs are allowed to do etc.

This means the clamping of my vehicle was carried out unlawfully and under section 54, chapter 2 of Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 this becomes a criminal offence. Again as it was an unlawful clamp, the request for money becomes a criminal offence under Sections 1-5 of the Fraud Act 2006.

As a result of this the criminal offences above are being investigated - doesn't take much investigation as I have the paperwork trail!

I have now filed a compensation claim against the Council, the bailiff firm and the 2 bailiffs personally :-)

Finally, I've made a formal complaint to the council and as part of my resolution of the complaint have requested the council complete a Form 4 report against the 2 bailiffs to their registered courts

End result - I should be making a bit of money out of this, wrapped the bailiff company and council up in paperwork and have hopefully removed 2 bailiffs from the system if they are found guilty of the criminal offences

EDW
QUOTE (aj71 @ Sat, 15 Jun 2013 - 23:23) *
Hi all

It was Manchester Council.

I did appeal late but used the special dispensation under medical grounds as I've been seriously ill in hospital - my complaint that the appeal under special grounds was ignored and rejected out of hand simply because it was late has been upheld and the ticket had been cancelled.

In relation to the bailiffs, they only made and have only been able to prove one visit so are now being charged with a fraud offence for claiming an amount which they can't prove - I've also thrown in the VAT charge at 21% in there and have also made a complaint of potential VAT fraud to HMRC (hopefully this will raise a VAT inspection)

Similarly, the bailiffs were in contravention of Section 89, 1, a of the County Courts Act 1984 as they had been informed the sign written vehicle was needed for deliveries in my employment - this was also contrary to the Councils published guidance on what bailiffs are allowed to do etc.

This means the clamping of my vehicle was carried out unlawfully and under section 54, chapter 2 of Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 this becomes a criminal offence. Again as it was an unlawful clamp, the request for money becomes a criminal offence under Sections 1-5 of the Fraud Act 2006.

As a result of this the criminal offences above are being investigated - doesn't take much investigation as I have the paperwork trail!

I have now filed a compensation claim against the Council, the bailiff firm and the 2 bailiffs personally :-)

Finally, I've made a formal complaint to the council and as part of my resolution of the complaint have requested the council complete a Form 4 report against the 2 bailiffs to their registered courts

End result - I should be making a bit of money out of this, wrapped the bailiff company and council up in paperwork and have hopefully removed 2 bailiffs from the system if they are found guilty of the criminal offences


Good hit, keep us informed. The unlawful clamp angle is new to me. Did you get advice from baillif advice online?
RxBandit
If you've not already done so (and I hope you have) I would strongly suggest taking some professional advice. Bailiff companies and councils tend to strongly defend legal action.

The Protection of Freedoms Act provision that you refer to for example was clearly passed by Parliament to deal with clamping on private land as a means of parking enforcement. Any court will have regard to Parliaments intention when deciding if it applies here or not. I'm not a solicitor, but I think it's likely that section won't be applied in the manner you rely on it.

I've already covered the VAT above. It's correct (you're missing the fact that £11.20 of the £93.20 is VAT-able).

That alone concerns me - I very much support you protecting your rights, but if you intend on going anywhere near a court, get professional advice first. If the bailiffs win they *will* make a costs application against you. Cover your bases. It does sound like you've spoken to BAO tbh (you refer to the *council* filing Form 4, which is eminently safer than you doing it) but I don't like to assume anything!

Good job on the refund for the unproven second visit though smile.gif
bama
QUOTE
have requested the council complete a Form 4

the council will not.
and do not do a Form 4 yourself - it will be very costly (thousands)

best bet is baliffadviceonline IMO
EDW
QUOTE (bama @ Sun, 16 Jun 2013 - 12:04) *
QUOTE
have requested the council complete a Form 4

the council will not.
and do not do a Form 4 yourself - it will be very costly (thousands)

best bet is baliffadviceonline IMO



If they admit charging for fake visits then I would Form 4 them, it is fully justified, but only if they have admitted it in writing or been convicted.

It seems costs are a matter for the Judge (circuit?) if the matter is contested.



Complaints as to fitness to hold a certificate8.—(1) Any complaint as to the conduct or fitness of any bailiff who holds a certificate shall be made to the court from which the certificate issued.
(2) Upon receipt of any such complaint as is referred to in paragraph (1), the proper officer shall send written details of the complaint to the bailiff and require him to deliver a written reply to the court office within 14 days thereafter or within such longer time as the court may specify.
(3) If the bailiff fails to deliver the reply within the time specified, or if upon reading the reply the Judge is unsatisfied as to the bailiff’s fitness to hold a certificate, the proper officer shall issue a notice summoning the bailiff to appear before the Judge on a specified date and show cause why his certificate should not be cancelled.
(4) The proper officer shall send a copy of the notice to the complainant and any other interested party.
(5) At the hearing:—
(i)the bailiff shall attend for examination and may make representations, and
(ii)the complainant may attend and make representations.
(6) The procedure to be followed at the hearing, including the calling of evidence, shall be such as the Judge considers just, and he may proceed with the hearing notwithstanding that the bailiff has failed to attend.
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