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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69255
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi, I had a court fine of £110 . I paid £10 first instalment

Customer Question

I had a court fine of £110 .
I paid £10 first instalment but due to being unemployed my father said he would pay the balance in one payment.He now tells me he forgot!
So it then went to Bailifs.
They say that they sent me first letter requesting the £100 oustanding plus £85 costs.
I didnt get this letter which they say they posted to my new address.
They then selotaped a second notice to my front door (so this was the first notice that I actually saw.)
This notice demanded £400 and threatened to come the following week with a locksmith.
I contacted the court who in turn told me to contact he Bailif company .
I made contact with the baliff company and offered to pay the £185 but they told me that there was nothing they could do about me not getting the first notice for £185 and that I should complain to the Post Office.
I cant pay them £400
I am on high daily doses of progablin to treat anxiety and panic attack disorder that seems to have derived from depression that I have suffered over the past four years.
I am not sure where to turn at the moment
Can you give me some advice.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

are you asking if you have to pay?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Sorry for late response
Pay what? £400 or £185 ?
As I said I have told them I am willimg to pay £100 balance and £85 costs . However I can't pay and don't think I should pay £400
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
It doesn't work like that I'm afraid.

Are you asking if you have any grounds to escape the bailiffs fees?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
But jo I didn't get the first request for £100 and the bailiffs costs of £85
If I had then I would have paid it and still will
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thats not the central issue.

The central issue here is that you didn't pay the court fine. There is no way around it. It went to bailiffs and you are liable for their costs.

In terms of what you can do about the level of the costs, if you refuse to pay then they will send bailiffs in to remove your goods and their costs will rack up to over £1k. Its never a good idea to refuse to pay bailiffs. They don't negotiate. They just continually add costs to your bill.

If you dispute an amount then you need to pay it off and then sue.

In relation to whether this amounts to a challenge or not, its a difficult sitaution. The fundamental problem is that you didn't pay the court fine so a court would accept that you should have been aware this would go to bailiffs. They will say that a letter was sent out. Whether that would be accepted or not is difficult to say. You can give evidence on the point denying receipt. It could go either way. Obviously if you lose you would be liable for the bailiffs costs but its not a huge amount.

Do not fail to pay while you negotiate with them. Its all very well to try to negotiate with them but if they refuse then pay them and sue for the disputed sum.

Can I clairfy anything for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I thought the fine had been paid
A family member said he would do this since i was not in employment at the time . It was only when I had the £400 demand which at first I didn't know what it was about.
If I didn't get the first demand then how can they ask for more --
Isn't there a complaint procedure that would go to an ombudsman if agreement not reached.
I have suffered for two years with anxiety and panics and on high dode of Progablin -- I relies that sometimes I magnify my problems to an unreal level -- I see this sometimes after the triggering event but when I am in it I find it diff to cope -- at this moment this is a real problem that I can't resolve . For I can't pay that amount
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, you may have done. But the onus is upon you to pay it and you did not.

you can complain to the bailiffs certified body.

If you do not pay it in the meantime then the fees will rack up to between £1k - £2k and the chances of getting it back are low.

Disputing bailiffs fees should be done after paying it not before.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Is there an independent ombudsman to deal with my situation.
I am on min wage zero hour contract and working as long as I can to pay bills and survive .
You seem to miss my point -- I have not got £400 and if that's escalating as you say then --- what ?
I have no longer got family support and I can't afford internet access and using a friends to speak to you tonight
So do I simply wait to be arrested and sentenced?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

There isn't an ombudsman. its dealt with at court.

If you don't have £400 then you will have to offer what you can but be prepared for that to rack up the fees although probably not as substantially as not making payment at all.

They may arrest you and put you before the Court.

More likely you will have bailiffs round to seize goods though. Rearrests don't usually happen quickly.

I'm happy to continue with this but please remember to leave feedback for my answer.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The reason why I had the fine in the first case was my inability due to panic disorder to attend police station due to non attendance to probation meetings again due to panics .
I provided medical evidence to court explaining I had been struggling mentallly resulting in non attendance.
Still not sure what to do
I think I will pay £185 and ask for payment schedule - then if my payments are greater than the increase costs I will sometime clear debt and then pay court fee to sue for return of my money
So unjust that they are not brought to account .
Is there no compassion for vulnerable cases?
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I see you are displeased with my answer so I will opt out for you.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I have been to citizens advice and they have told me that i should explain to bailif company that their escalating actions are not appropriate in my case and that I should write to them stating my vulnerability.
Apparently all certified bailif companies should have in place procedures for dealing with such cases
I am surprised that you did not mention this
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I am not satisfied your response in that you should have pointed out to me that stating my vulnerability to the bailiffs was the way forward.
I do not expect to be charged for your answers

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