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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 70421
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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. I have just had an apparent court enforcer at my door.

Customer Question

HI . I have just had an apparent court enforcer at my door. She said that a car (that has since been sold for spares & repairs) was used without an MOT certificate back in October 2014. This rings a bell. It was used, not knowing my MOT had expired.
Anyway, fair enough, £100 on the spot fine.
Now I genuinely have no idea if the fine was paid. I am normally scrupulous about paying any parking tickets etc. So, it is possible that it hasn't been paid. However, I absolutely, and genuinely do not recall any letters advising me that it hasn't been paid.
The problem is, that she says that if I don't pay £460 in the next 2 hours, then a removals team will come back - with a locksmith, if I refuse entry - and remove goods to the value. I explained this does not allow me time to verify whether I still owe this money or take proper legal advice. If I owe this, then fine I'll pay it.
However, surely they have to at least give me documentary evidence of the fine, court order, letters sent. And allow me to check my own records in time?
And are they justified in the £460 request?
Many thanks for your help?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
To be wholly honest, they probably are. This is a bailiff. The reason it has increased is that they have added fees. Given that the original fine was probably £100 plus now their fees are only just over £300 which is not at all uncommon when a bailiff has attended.
You can ask for a breakdown of the work completed but not before paying.
If they are over charging then you can reclaim at the county court. However, the practical reality is that given that they have attended and must have done some investigation work to find you these fees are not at all uncommon.
I'm very sorry but I have to give you truthful information.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thankyou.

She is wearing a badge Marstons. I have googled it. It says it is a high court enforcer. Can I not at least request 24 hours (without further costs), do you think? In order that I can verify things etc. She says not, but of course their objective is to collect the funds quickly with minimal fuss. So I wondered if they are somewhat preying on people's naivety & fear of having a baliff on their doorstep.

If I refuse entry, can they legally get a locksmith here to let themselves in?

Thanks

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
The first answer is helpful. But have been waiting too long for second answer. I have a bailiff coming back shortly, and need a speedy response to my 2nd question.
Thankyou
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Marstons are bailiffs.
You can request 24 hours but they could return int the meantime racking up more costs.
You can always not let her in so she can't seize goods but they will charge more for the visit.
Or they may not come.
Jo C. and 4 other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Ok thanks.

But, am I legally entitled to request a period of time (say 24 hours) - without further costs - to verify this request for money?

And my last question wasn't answered as I'd hoped, - are they legally allowed (via a locksmith) to let themselves in?

Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No.
It is a practical matter rather than a legal one. Your legal position is that the money is due forthwith.
If you cannot pay then they will have to negotiate something such as a 24 hour delay but that may lead to an increase in costs although probably not in practice.
They can ultimately get orders to break in but they won't have one at the moment. Bailiffs don't usually have all that much interest in getting in anyway. It is your vehicle they are after.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Many thanks.

I have one final question. "Before" I pay, can I ask the enforcer (she has left her phone number) for the high court enforcement reference, and then check this online. I mean, of course I can ask, but do I have a legal right to verify this?

And do you know if this is even check-able online?

Thanks

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
You don't have a legal right to verify it but it is a perfectly reasonable request.
It isn't possible to check online per se but you could check her bona fides with phone calls in the morning and the debt by calling the DVLA or the issuing court.