Bailiffs at the door

bailiff removal noticeYes, Bailiffs at my door unless I manage to get an Out Of Time Witness Statement asap

Having half prepared a post on Take That for you today I am not going with it as this morning Mr Elliot’s son knocked on my door (Mr Elliot bought our house off us last year if you remember) and he handed me an unsealed letter which had obviously been read by him or his dad.

‘Oh? Thank you.’ I said.

‘You won’t, ‘ the young boy replied looking me with a strange gloomy expression.

I opened the envelope and pulled out a piece of paper with huge red printed letters across it BAILIFF REMOVAL The paper was headed by Equita, it had a mobile phone number on it and the name Mr G Nichol. The letter went on ‘I am authorised by the court under the Enforcement of road traffic debts regulations 1993 to remove your vehicle/household effects to satisfy your unpaid penalty charge notice due to London Borough of Lambeth.

‘What? I don’t have any outstanding parking tickets I’ve never heard of this before. It must be fake.’ This was my first reaction.

I checked up Equita online and they are supposedly who they say, I tried calling the number on the website but this just asked me for the ref number which I pumped in and gave me Mr Nichol’s number again. Back to square one. How could I know if this was a hoax or kosher?

I called Mr Nichol. I explained this couldn’t possibly be as I had never heard of anything before, never received a letter from Equita or Lambeth Council for that matter and therefore there must be some mistake.

He didn’t mince his words with me. I should try phoning the council, the court anyone because he had a job to do and that was that.

‘So what? You’re going to come and take my car away if I don’t pay a fine I never heard of before? How much is the fine by the way?’

‘£638.44 at the moment.’

At this point I think I may have left my body for a while as it froze in fear, you know like the cartoon figure that stops midair? ‘I haven’t got that money. This must be wrong. There must be something I can do?’

Mr Nichol didn’t really care that much, I had been given my letter, albeit at the wrong address and then passed on to me ‘So just let me know when you’re ready what you’re going to do.’

Sh*t! I didn’t say that to him of course but I thought it. I cried for a bit out of fear and frustration, a true ‘this can’t be happening to me’ moment This is stuff for documentary’s not law abiding me.

I phoned Paul who was indignant that we shouldn’t pay for something we had never heard of before, I gave him Mr G Nichol’s number told him to see if he could get any sense out of the unhelpful man. He didn’t. He was told to phone Equita and sort it out with them.

‘But that number is automatic! It just gives me Nichol’s number to contact!’

‘Look it up in directory enquiries.’ he said. I did and I phoned. I spoke to a lady that on hearing my story was feeling very uncomfortable. I asked her how many letters had been sent out.

‘Five.’ she said

‘Can you give me the dates please?’ I could hear her squirming and she finally came out with no, she couldn’t.’

‘Well can you help me please? I’m not even sure I was in London that day.’

She told me to phone Lambeth Council, give them my reference number and get this Late Statutory statement signed.

I got on the phone straight away, managed to get through to Jennifer who looked up on her system, I was there but there was no photographic evidence. She could also see another fine which I had paid years earlier. In fact that time I got fined becasue on the resident’s visitors permit I forgot to write in the car registration number but unable to get through to anyone and never receiving a reply to my appeal I paid up rather than get in a mess like this one.

Jennifer told me to call Northampton County Court and ask for this form to sign as soon as possible, that would at least block the bailiff’s power until the court decided which action to take.

So next phone call to the courts – 20 minutes in a queue but I. Was. Not. Going. To. Move. the lady I spoke to was very helpful and sent me via email the forms to fill in which she hastened to add wouldn’t be processed till tomorrow as they stop processing at 4pm (it was 3.45pm) I was to phone back after 4pm the following day to see if my request had been granted. If yes, Lambeth would be informed who in turn would inform Mr G Nichol and I would hear in the future how the court were going to act on my statement.

I thought it would be nice to inform Mr Nichol of my progress to keep him up to date so I called him.

He told me that my partner had been very rude to him and as a consequence he was going to come around tomorrow morning anyway to take my car away. He finished by putting the phone down on me as I heard children laughing in the background.

We have filled in the forms, checked boxes and written reasons as to why we shouldn’t have our car taken

  • We never got a parking ticket
  • Don’t even know if we were in London that day
  • Have never received any correspondance of any kind from Lambeth Council or Equita
  • The people who bought our house have never received any post and are willing to sign a statement to back it up (Mr Elliot’s a policeman too)

So now, we have to move the car tonight to a side road as Mr Elliot told him where we lived and wait till the paperwork has been processed so please keep your fingers crossed. On the advice of fellow Tweeters I shall have my camcorder ready just in case he does show up and I shall film him through the porch door and put it on You Tube

16 Comments

  1. Mummy's Little Monkey
    July 7, 2011 / 5:45 PM

    Whaaaaaaaaaaat!?!?!? That it insane! How worrying and upsetting and frightening for you. Hope it gets sorted soon. Assholes. xxx

    • Mari
      Author
      July 7, 2011 / 5:47 PM

      It’s horribly true and we’re relying on a piece of paper to stop it all and I still have the risk of the bailiff in the morning. Unbelievable

  2. July 7, 2011 / 7:47 PM

    Mari – How incredibly Kafka-esque…although you get the sense this kind of thing happens more often than you’d expect.

    Agree with Jax – very frightening, especially when the bureaucracy can’t even be relied upon to tell you what exactly prompted this action and has no record of it and have farmed out your information to some bloke who’s going to take your car!

    Keep your cool and keep us updated!

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:13 AM

      Thank you for your support, I’m hoping by end of today this is all sorted and behind us, in the meantime the car has been parked elsewhere and my fornt door is locked

  3. July 7, 2011 / 7:50 PM

    Oh my goodness! How awful! Do take care & let us know what happens. You read about this sort of thing but never imagine knowing someone it was happening to.Hugsxx

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:14 AM

      Thank you Julia, funny how 24 hours can all of a sudden ebcome so extraordinarily loooonnnnnngggggg.

  4. July 7, 2011 / 9:21 PM

    Oh my goodness Mari that is really quite frightening, I hope it all gets sorted soon. How awful it must have been having him turn up at the door. x

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:16 AM

      That’s just it he didn’t come to our house – he went to our old address as did any post concerning this fine that was supposedly sent out. which the person who bought my house says he never received and will sign a statement to that effect.

  5. July 7, 2011 / 10:44 PM

    That is really scary. Really hope it gets sorted quickly and painlessly for you – please keep us updated.

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:16 AM

      Thank you Ruth

  6. July 7, 2011 / 11:07 PM

    God how awful! I had a similar situation years ago where I was informed I owed £11 in council tax. It was a mix-up whereby my money had gone into the account of my landlord (I was renting). It took months to resolve and several threats of bailiffs and I was beside myself with anguish. Subsequently I have kept about 10 years worth of documents to prove anything necessary rather than go through it all again. They are bullies, and they don’t care about who is right. I hope you get yours resolved soon x

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:17 AM

      Funny how many people have been affected with similar mishaps. I always imagined bailiffs were for the villains in society but have realised it can happen to anyone and not necesarily be your fault

  7. Mama Syder
    July 8, 2011 / 7:39 AM

    Oh God…I had something similar happen to me a few years back. A baillif turned up at my house saying I owed money for council tax. It was around the time I lost my Mum so my mind was all over the place. I was sure I didn’t owe any money but thought maybe over the period of losing Mum I may have forgot to pay some bills.

    The bailiff was a real nasty piece of work. I cried my eyes out and asked for a few days to check with the council, I was panicking because I was totally skint. On seeing my dog at the window he said “That boxer is worth a few quid, if you dont pay up…I’m taking your dog!” I was mortified!

    It turned out to be a mistake by the council and they actually owed me money!

    Hope you get it sorted asap x

    • Mari
      Author
      July 8, 2011 / 8:19 AM

      Threatened to take your dog, that’s dreadful, that’s just pure nasty. It shows how much they know they can throw their weight around AND that they thoroughly enjoy doing so. My bailiff was quite pleased with himself that he could threaten me and salm the phone down on my protests. I could hear children playing gaily in the background too, wonder how he’d protect them if they were his?

  8. Alessandra
    July 8, 2011 / 9:12 AM

    Oh Marianne, how frightening and awful. It’s also very much a sign of the times when to deal with anything seems like an impossible to task as you are made to go round in circles, you crush against atomatic lines, you are past from pillar to post and no one really takes responsability.
    You experience has such a Kafkian nightmarish connotation to it!
    Keep us updated. Hope everything is solved successfully for you xxx

  9. Frankie Parker
    July 8, 2011 / 12:14 PM

    Oh my god, i saw the tweets yesterday but this is unbelievable.. i hope everyting is sorted now… did he turn up this morning??

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