READER COMMENTS

  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Mark This is quite standard for supermarkets. It’s not enough for the sign to say that the length of stay is 3 hours per customer, but also it must tell you the charge if you overstay. I would check the sign to see if it says that. They normally do. You can also ask for evidence your wife overstayed. Photographic evidence is normally provided. Sometimes if the person has a disability, you could write to the store and ask they waive it, or ask they waive it this time, if your wife has spent alot in the store. A receipt can help to show she was in the store at the right time and was shopping. Unfortunately, these charges are enforceable and recoverable if they show they had the correct signs before she entered and she overstayed. We appreciate any feedback on the site, to help us improve it, so if you have time, please give us a rating and a review10th_July_2020
  • Mark_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi. My wife just received a £60 ticket for overstaying at a supermarket car park by 30 minutes. Although the T&Cs are plastered around the car park, the sign at the entrance reads only “Up to 3 hours free customer parking”. Would this fall under the landowner failing to offer Terms & Conditions of parking? Thanks10th_July_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Jean Normally, wage arrestments cannot be taken from redundancy payments, as redundancy payments as defined by the Employment Rights Act 1996, are not treated as earning under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. However, that does not mean they cannot be arrested once they are paid into the person’s bank account. When that happens, only £529.90 is protected regardless of the source of the funds. I hope this helps. Please let me know how you get on and if you have time, it would be great if you could give us a Rating on Trust Pilot.06th_July_2020
  • jean_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_HI Can wages arrestments be taken off redundancy pay. If it can, how much do they take?06th_July_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Marianne I am sorry to hear this. Thankfully, your current Council have supported you in not finding fraud. I would recommend making a written complaint to the Council that is saying your liable. Give them the dates you moved and state you have provided proof of your new address and also that you are now paying Council Tax elsewhere. Ask them to confirm receipt of the complaint and to outline their timeline for responding to it. Also ask for information about taking it further to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman if they dont resolve it to your satisfaction and also how to appeal it to the Scottish Valuation Appeals Tribunal, as both options are open to you. Keep an eye of the deadlines for escalating to the Ombudsman or making an appeal to the Tribunal. I hope this helps. Please let me know how you get on and if you have time, it would be great if you could give us a Rating on Trust Pilot.01st_July_2020
  • Marianne_What is a Summary Warrant?_Thanks. They have refused to remove my liability despite being provided with proof of current council tax within different LA. Further more they contacted new LA suggesting I was committing fraud. The new LA conducted fraud investigation and found that I was not. The new LA informed old LA of their findings yet old LA still refuse to remove me.01st_July_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Thank you Joe Keep in touch.30th_June_2020
  • Joe_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Thanks so much for signposting me to the AIB and ensuring I follow the correct protocols when trying to trace the paperwork for my mum’s old protected trust deed. The AIB were really efficient. The trustee had discharged herself from the trust deed. I have sent the letters they sent me to the insurance companies. The trustee hadn’t notified the insurance company at time of discharge. What a brilliant efficient service you run.Highly altruistic. I’ll keep you posted.30th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi They will be valid, as they sent letters to your previous known address. However, if you are no longer living at that address you may not be liable. If you can provide them with proof your living at new address and paying, liable for Council Tax there, they should removed or reduce your liability for the period since you have moved out. You will remain liable for the period that you lived at that address.30th_June_2020
  • M Duncan_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Despite advising creditors of current address summary warrants have been granted at previous address, are they valid as no bills/demands for payment were received at current address?30th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Hi Joe The original Trustee sold her firm about 2012 and has now retired, although the new firms still exist and should still assist you. I think if they have written to the insurance firm, like you say, saying they have no interest in the policy, there is no impediment to them paying you the funds. Chase the insurance firm up and if they don’t pay make a complaint. If you need additional proof you could ask the Accountant in Bankuptcy (AIb) (a Scottish Government agency, to confirm both your Mum and her Trustee have been discharged).  Your Mum’s Trust Deed was so long ago it’s not on the online register, but I have sent you the public notice of it that was published in the Edinburgh Gazette. This should help the AIB find it (though it may be archived). Be prepared to chase up the insurance firm, I see no reason they shouldn’t pay as the Trustee has made it clear he has no interest. In terms of the insurance firm that went bust, speak with the Financial Services Compensation Scheme, they may be able to help (but if your Mum was not paying the premiums because the policy lapsed, you may have little recourse). I hope this helps.29th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Hi Joe I have sent you an email, can you send me your Mum’s name and address. So, I can see who the firm is.29th_June_2020
  • Joe_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Hi there. Just thought I’d give you a quick update. I’ve had no reply after sending the discharge to one insurance company. In the meantime another Insurance company where my mum also had a policy informed me ( after I chased them ) that they have written to the trust fund company. They then also asked for the certificate of discharge. I contacted the company from where the original discharge certificate is from and they no longer have records. The trustee has also retired. Meantime , the company both insurance companies have written to , no longer exist under the original name or address. The company who issued the discharged the certificate from explained that this is usually suffice. It’s all a bit annoying. Thanks again for the help.29th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Ruth There is no way to say definitively how much it would add to the debt as it depends on a number of factors. First, whether they raise one action for all the debts, or separate actions for each fine. If they do the latter the cost could be more, also if the action is defended then lost this could add to the costs. I would say at least £2-300 if they raise just one action, but don’t hold me to that. Its just a risk he had to take and ultimately it’s down to the Sheriff what expenses he awards, though generally if you lose and the other Party had the right to raise the action then usually they will be awarded. Also in terms of settling the debt, so it doesn’t affect his credit rating, this isn’t automatic and there is a procedure which is explained on this page on the Scottish Courts website which deals with Money Judgements and Certificates of Satisfaction.26th_June_2020
  • Ruth_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Thanks for your quick reply. He lives in Scotland so would be the sheriff court. He is thinking about ignoring it and waiting to see if they take it to court and paying within the 30 days so there is no decree and credit rating is ok. He would not be able to appeal as multiple fines. The fines are at £140 each just now. Will the total be lots higher if court papers are actioned? I’m not sure how high they can increase?26th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Ruth The fine can be taken to Court with a view to obtaining a Court Order. If he is in Scotland, it would be the Sheriff Court, using Simple Procedure. If he is anywhere else in the UK it would be the County Court. A good place to get information about actions raised in the County Court is the National Debtline Website. The fact he got it in Scotland doesn’t stop it being enforced else where in the UK, though there is a good argument the action should be raised in his local court to allow him to defend the action if he wishes to. I cannot give you the odds on them raising an action, other than to say they do, so I would not encourage anyone to be complacent about them doing so, as it can add significantly to what is owed and if a CCJ or a Scottish Decree is granted for payment of a sum of money and it isn’t paid within 30 days, it can damage his credit rating. As you can see from this page there are a variety of possible defences he may be able to use and also appeal processes that can be made to the firm, but many have time limits, so if you are beyond these the Firm may say it is too late. However, I would argue it is still worthwhile making them as, they may also be defences that could be made in front of a Judge if an action is raised in Court.25th_June_2020
  • Ruth_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi, my partner has a letter from debt collection agency from a fine in March 2018. He has ignored it so far. If taken to court and he has to pay will it affect his credit rating? What is the likely hood of being taken to county court? It’s also at an old address and only found out by chance from current owners. It is 2 fines at £140 each, in Scotland. Also with high view parking.25th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Ronnie It is unusual to be taken to Court for Council Tax, in the sense it’s a traditional action for payment of money and a date for a hearing is set. Normally Local Authorities will issue a Summary Warrant, which although it is issued by the Court, is an automated process and doesn’t involve a hearing. Both methods are competent, however, and it’s the Local Authority’s choice. The reason I think it’s the former traditional process that is being used is: A) they are adding judicial interest of 8%, which you cannot do if the Summary Warrant procedure is used; and B) They have registered an Inhibition. This is not competent with a Summary Warrant. There is, however, nothing untoward or wrong about what the Council has done, but unusual. They also would not have bound themselves into not taking Court Action when they entered into a repayment plan. In essence, the debt is recoverable and the interest can still be added daily (8% per year). You can also be liable for any fees incurred by Scott and Co for any Dilgience they execute. In terms of stopping the interest, unless they agree to it, the only way you can prevent them from doing so is by entering the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This may be worth considering as it will also protect you from Bankruptcy and other Diligences being executed. It may, however, also affect your credit rating. You can find out more about DAS here and also visit my page about obtaining free advice in Scotland, though no-one can charge you a private management fee in Scotland for entering this, so you can use a public, private or third sector organisation.25th_June_2020
  • Ronnie_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Alan I found myself around 5 years ago, out of the blue being taken to court about historic council tax debts in properties that were HMO, and I found myself liable for others debts which I just had to accept. However, I was in a payment scheme already with Scott and Co, and they refused my increases and I was taken to court instead and given an Inhibition order on our home. I have saved a fair amount and got in touch to ask what the amount was, only to find that i was also liable for £2,222 worth of interest too, which then put settling the debt out of my reach again totally. I feel trapped. Was it legal to take me to court in the first place, as I had never missed any payments with Scott and Co? Can i have the interest payments stopped too???25th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_DEALING WITH DEBT DOESN’T NEED TO BE A HORROR STORY_Hi Lee I am sorry to hear your situation. The debt is potentially recoverable in the UK and I have dealt with a number of UAE Loans in the past. Basically, they would need to register the debt for enforcement in Scotland and there are international laws that allow them to do this. They would need to employ UK lawyers, but I am aware some UAE Banks do this. In terms of it being catergorised as fraud, I cannot comment on this or Interpol, as I have never come across this before. Certainly if you were to return to the UAE, you could be subject to their laws. However, in regards to how the debt is recovered here, it must be done in accordance with Scots Law. The basic principle is no one can be held liable for your debts. There are a number of exceptions to this rule if you die, but I cannot see your wife’s house being affected by any of these if the house has been in her sole name for more than 5 years. If you were even made bankrupt or signed a Protected Trust Deed, your wife’s home should not be affected. I would recommend getting personalised advice as soon as possible, as this debt is potentially recoverable and as you cannot settle it, it’s best to get ahead of the curve. I have a number of links on my site that can direct you to where you can obtain advice. I hope this helps.19th_June_2020
  • Lee_DEALING WITH DEBT DOESN’T NEED TO BE A HORROR STORY_Hi I Work in United Arab Emirates (UAE) and took out a UAE loan. I was made redundant due to Corona Virus and Oil prices. I can not settle the UAE loan, so believe they can hire a UK solicitor to chase the debt My wife is the homeowner and the house is in her sole name. My question is can our house be repossessed for my debt? If the mortgage is not paid then understandably it can be repossessed. Everything has been paid and is ok in life, but unfortunately due to the sudden loss of employment due to Corona Virus things are going to Spiral out of control and I am not going to be able to pay outgoing’s. My main concern is the house for my wife and 3 kids. As I have a low payment mortgage, we can manage to pay this and I am seeking new employment. The downside is if the UAE register me with Interpol, I can never leave Uk without potentially being arrested due to UAE debt, regardless of the amount and face deportation back to UAE and possibly Jail. Theey pay Interpol millions to register it as fraud, which is not legal, but UAE way of doing things. Any advice on mortgage would be useful as my wife is the sole owner, but we are married and living together. I certainly never thought I would be in this position for sure and find it upsetting.19th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_DEALING WITH DEBT DOESN’T NEED TO BE A HORROR STORY_Please feel free to ask any debt related questions you have.18th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_No problem Joe. The Certificate of Release/Discharge should be enough, but if not a letter from the Trustee should be sufficient.18th_June_2020
  • Joe_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Thank you so much for the advice. I’m going to call the company tomorrow. I’m hoping that it’s just say standard protocol. I’ll keep you informed. Once again , much appreciated.18th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Hi Joe First, can I say I am sorry to hear about your Mum. In relation to your Mum’s insurance policy this doesn’t sound like a problem. Its standard procedure when someone signs a Trust Deed, that the Trustee intimates they have an interest in the policy which they usually do. This is to stop an insurance firm paying out on the policy until the Trustee is no longer in office, or administering the Trust Deed. Often when the Trustee gets their discharge, they dont notify the insurance firm, so years later they may contact the Trustee or ask for a letter from the Trustee saying they have no interest in the policy. Basically, they dont want to give the money to the wrong person and are taking a belts and braces approach. The best way to do this is contact the Trustee by looking up your Mum’s Trust Deed. You can normally do that by carrying out a search on the Register of Insolvencies. The Trustee should give you a letter. You should not have any problems because it was so long ago. If you have problems finding details of your Mum’s case or contact details for the Trustee (as some have retired), contact the Accountant in Bankruptcy’s Office. If the Trustee is still in Office, which can happen, but rarely so long after the person who was in debt gets their discharge, and claims they are entitled to take the money, come back to me. I am certain this wont be the case, but in the very slight chance it is, let me know as this is a complex area of law and I can point you in the correct direction. Again sorry to hear about your Mum.18th_June_2020
  • Joe_COVID 19: Responding to the Debt Crisis_Hi There. My mum died last week during lockdown. She is survived by me and my brother with a fifty fifty split to her insurance policies. However, she had a protected trust deed in 2009 and we have a certificate of release from this dated 2012. The insurance company has contacted us mentioning a letter of bankruptcy discharge. We are worried that they are going to chase this , despite her being discharged from this. Would welcome advice.18th_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Pamela I am sorry to hear about your situation. It certainly is not a bad a situation as you fear. If you are feeling down, please speak to your GP or family and friends. I can assure you this situation can be resolved. First, let’s deal with your Partner. If he can show where he was living at the specified periods and provide evidence, from bank statements or a tenancy agreement, or even better that he was liable for Council Tax elsewhere, then it may be possible to remove his liability from this council tax debt. In terms of your own situation, have you ever sought advice. If not you should. Click on this link: Find you Local Advice Agency. Your local Advice Agency should be able to provide your partner with some assistance as to how he can challenge his liability. Also you may be able to challenge your own liability. You may be entitled to a Severe Mental Impairment Exemption or discount (25% where you live with someone else), so you are not liable for Council Tax. You can find out more about this by visiting your local Council Website (see here). Even if not your local advice agency will be be able to give you advice on how to deal with this debt and also provide you with assistance. Trust me, nothing you have told me is insurmountable, so please don’t despair and contact your local advice agency and let them help you.02nd_June_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Magnus Yes unfortunately Earning arrestments can be served on different employers at the same time for the same debt. There are maybe better ways to deal with a debt where an Earning Arrestment has been executed. See my page on How to Stop a Wage Arrestment. You can also get free advice and assistance from your local advice agency on how to take these different steps.02nd_June_2020
  • Pamela_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_I ran up council tax arrears and was sequestrated by the council, I did the same again and wasn’t sequestrated again, I know this sounds awful but I have bipolar disorder and severe anxiety disorder so I tend to not deal with stuff, I just ignore it. I have just had mail from the council advising me they are now chasing my partner for the backdated council tax, but he didn’t live with me for several of those years, I don’t know where to turn and it’s making me ill, unfortunately I can only see one way out02nd_June_2020
  • Magnus_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Can an Arrestment order be made on both wages at the same time for the same council tax bill28th_May_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Coronavirus: What Impact on Personal Finances?_Hi Michelle Traditional wage arrestments cannot be reduced without the agreement of the lender and most are usually unwilling to reduce them. Some of the most effective ways to stop a wage arrestment are listed in my blog on How to Stop a Wage Arresment (see the link). You can alsocontact your local advice agency. It’s maybe something like the Debt Arrangement Scheme may work for you.27th_May_2020
  • Michelle_Coronavirus: What Impact on Personal Finances?_I’ve been put on fourlough with my work and I get Universal Credit, but I’m still paying a wage arrest for £136 per month is there anything I can do to get this reduced as I’m still paying full rent and council tax as my Universal Credit is’nt enough but can’t pay for everything.27th_May_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Anne I have just picked up your question. I am sorry it was overlooked. You can ask the Earning arrestment is reduced, but there is no requirement for them to reduce it. There is however other formal methods getting an Earning Arrestment lifted. I have a page on this which explains all methods. How to Stop a Wage Arrestment. You can get more advice on this from your local advice agency (click on the highlighted text).23rd_May_2020
  • Anne_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_I have an wages arrestment currently on month three. However it is more than I can reasonably afford due to other debts accrued since being unemployed last year. Can I ask for the amount to be reduced ?18th_May_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Daisy First can I apologise in not getting back to you sooner, I have just been very busy. The issue is not with the employer, they just execute the instructions of the Sheriff Officers. The problem is with the Local Authority, as clearly they have held your Son liable for a property he has never lived at. I would submit a written complaint to the Local Authority and provide the proof he has of where he has lived for the period they were claiming he was living somewhere else. Provide a reasonable amount of evidence, but remember the burden is on them to show they have the correct person, not the other way around. There are then two processes open to him First, if his complaint is not satisfactorily resolved within 20 days, he can then make a complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Service (SPSO) However, he can also appeal the decision to his local Indepedent Valuation Appeals Committee, if he is not happy with the way his complaint is resolved. The SPSO are not an appeal body, but they can look at how the Council have conducted themselves and make recommendations (usually accepted). The Indepependent Valuation Appeal Committee can look at issues relating to Council Tax Liability and rule against the Council. Make it clear in the letter of complaint he is complaining to the Council about the decision to hold him liable for Council Tax for a property he has never lived at and also the fact that they still have not reversed the decision, even once they were provided with reasonable evidence. Make it clear this is obviously a case of mistaken identity and the Council should have taken appropriate steps once they were alerted to the problem and provided with evidence. Request a full refund of all funds taken and it is up to him whether he believes a further payment of compensation would be appropriate for the upset and worry this has caused him and list any hardship he may have suffered.02nd_May_2020
  • Daisy_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_My son has had over £400 deducted from his wages for council tax arrears for 2018 for an address he has never lived at.He has lived with us over 30 years and on the electoral roll since he was 18 untill he moved to his own place last year.Emails to and fro from the debt collecting agency arent getting any where,they want more information regarding the account.He has provided proof from employer that since being with the company the addresses he has been registered to are not the address they have claimed the money for unpaid council tax for.What can we do next to get his money back and have his name cleared.30th_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi David First I am not sure what Highview Parking’s appeal process is, but they are members of the British Parking Association, so if you are concerned they are refusing a right to appeal, you can contact them and complain. However, as I have said, even if you appeal, and your defence is someone else was driving the car, they will likely ask you to provide details of who was driving the car. Although they cannot force you to provide this information, they are unlikely to uphold your appeal if you don’t. As far as I am aware Keeper’s Lisbility is not in force yet in Scotland. It was introduced into the law by section 95 of the Transport (Scotland) Act 2019. However, Regulations need to be passed by the Scottish Government to commence the Regulations, called Commencement Orders and although two Orders have passed, from what I can see neither relate to section 95. This has to happen and usually will contain transitional provisions which state when they apply from (so they may not apply to tickets issued prior to their commencement). However, I stress if this goes to Court I expect the Court will presume you were driving the car, as the registered keeper and they will expect you to state who was driving it to rebut that presumption.23rd_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Susan You can contact the Lender and ask if they will lift the arrestment, but they have to agree to this and will want you to offer usually as much as they are arresting each week/month. The best place to start here is with the Sheriff Officers. Do not be surprised if they are reluctant to lift the Arrestment. Alternatively, you can look at formal solutions for lifting the Arrestment, but you will need to seek advice first and see if the options are suitable for you first. I have a page on How to Stop Wage Arrestments that will give you more information on these options.23rd_April_2020
  • Susan_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi I have a Arrestment on my wages I think it may be for council tax how can I stop this happening and maybe come up with payment plan for council tax? Is this possible? Many thanks22nd_April_2020
  • David_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Thank you for replying to me so soon,the fine is £160 now as I ignored all previous ones and ,Highview parking have now passed it to a Debt collector. In their letter they state I am now no longer able to appeal the parking charge and my next opportunity to dispute the charge would be if the matter was taken to court. Are they able to enforce keeper liability yet? It states on their paper work – Liability for this charge in Scotland is the driver of the vehicle on the date and time of this parking charge being issued and they are responsible for payment. This case is not subject to High Court or Baillif action. I Have continued to ignore ,but don’t know if it’s worth letting them know I wasn’t driving. Many thanks again For your time and advice. Best Regards David20th_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi David You could try challenging it or appealing it. They are likely to ask you who was driving the car at the time. You don’t need to provide this information, but its unlikely they will stop pursuing you unless you do. If they take it to Court, which they can do, and you rely on such a defence, the Court will likely require you to provide that information. There is a reputable presumption you were driving the car, as it is your car. However, you must rebut it by providing evidence, as you would be expected to know who was driving your car. As for the amount, it seems excessive. How did it get to £160? They can only add to the amount originally owed, if it was stated on the Terms and Conditions displayed outside the car park. They cannot just add on penalties etc, there must be a legal basis to them, so they must have been stated on the T’s and C’s on the sign.15th_April_2020
  • David_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi, I have a final reminder-unpaid parking charge from Highview Parking which states they have instructed Direct Collection Baillifs Limited to collect the outstanding balance of £160 This was in Scotland in a shopping car park 21 months ago where I was not the driver indeed I was working apx 80 miles away I have not responded to their letters,do you think I should pay it ? Kind Regards David14th_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Write Offs_Debts are normally written off after 5 years in Scotland, unless the Creditor took you to Court. They also fall off your credit report after 6 years. I don’t see a problem with you opening a new account on your return. Just use a different bank. You will require proof of your address and identity, however.10th_April_2020
  • Ross_Debt Write Offs_Hello There I lived in Scotland 13 years ago with my wife and family. My wife suddenly left the country, with my kids. I had to follow, or be left alone without my children. I left behind an overdraft on my bank account. I wish to return to Scotland, will I be able to open a bank account again? Any help greatly appreciated Kind regards10th_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Elaine Do you know who the Sheriff Officer are and who arrested your wages (what creditor?).04th_April_2020
  • Elaine_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_I had my wages arrested but I know they are taking the wrong amount but no matter who I speak to no one can help04th_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Eunice My apologies for the delay in getting back to you. There is no time limit that would cover such a short period. At best the only one I can think is under the laws of statute barred debts, which would be 5 years.01st_April_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_They are Peter. They are updated every three years, so no update is due to 21/2201st_April_2020
  • Peter_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Team, For the tables in A & B, can you advise if they are still applicable for 2020/21 tax year.01st_April_2020
  • Eunice_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_I received a Parking Charge Notice with issue date of 26th March 2020 for over staying in private car park in Glasgow on 9th March 2020. Is there a time limit on firms within which they have to issue notice please?30th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Jason They can arrest your wages over £529.90 at various rates depending on how much you earn. Initially it is 19%, but this climbs to 23% after you earn more than £1,915.32. Even if you earned only £1,500 per month they could still take £184 approximately. There are a number of ways to get a wage arrestment lifted (going forward), otherwise it will continue to your debts are paid. If you would like to discuss this further either speak to your local Citizen Advice Bureau or if you want a call back you can request one here from Carrington Dean.30th_March_2020
  • Jason_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Alan I had a wage arrestemtn today of £369, I thought this was rather steep. I usually only make around 1500 so this to me is a large sum of my wage. How should i proceed with this? My debst are not that much in total either. Many Thanks Jason 30th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Sharon Technically you can, as each Council Tax year’s arrears count as a separate debt that an Earning Arrestment can be carried out for. It would actually be called a Conjoined Earning Arrestment. The amount taken each month would not increase, however, but would just be divided on a pro-rata basis between both debts. For this reason what most Councils tend to do is do it for one year, and when that debt is paid do it for the next year. They normally collect the earlier years first.26th_March_2020
  • Sharon_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Can you run two EA’s for council tax from same council?26th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What happens to your Debts When you Die?_Hi Margot I am assuming he has used the equity release to pay his other debts off? What normally should happen is a solicitor should be instructed to wind up the estate for the Executor, as there is a house involved. If the house is sold, the proceeds from the sale of the home are used to pay off the equity release, in the same way they would be used to pay off a mortgage. The Executor has no liability for the debts as long as the estate is wound up correctly, which is why a solicitor has to be used when a house is involved.20th_March_2020
  • Margot_What happens to your Debts When you Die?_My father in law has debts and has taken out equity release on his property. The executor of his will is his grandchild. What happens to his debts when he dies? The father in law has a son.20th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Sorry Qaiser for the delay in getting back to you. I appear to have overlooked your message. The Charge Fee is a legal fee that is applied by the Sheriff Officers, so unfortunately does have to be paid. Again I am sorry for the delay in getting back to you.15th_March_2020
  • Qaiser_Charge for Payment_Hi there, I’ve been issued with a “Charge For Payment of Money” by the Sheriff Officer, on behalf of the council, for an unpaid PCN (Bus Lane Contravention). The fine is £90 plus a Charge Fee of £81.16, bridging the total amount to £171.16 My question is, do i need to pay the Charge Fee? Can i just pay the fine? I think that the whole PCN incident was unfair, the council are just being opportunistic. But i think that it’s too late to appeal. Thanks for your help and support.05th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Brian No they cannot arrest your account, if it’s just in your name, for a debt your wife has. The likliehood of an Exceptional Attachment Order is very low, but I obviously can never say it won’t happen. If that did happen, they would need to apply to Court so you would get plenty of notice and could get advice. Also, it is worth looking at what they can or cannot take (see here). If your worried about this debt, get advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or local Authority Money Advice Service. They may be able to negotiate the debt be written off based on your wife’s health.04th_March_2020
  • Brian_Charge for Payment_Hi , My wife has just been served with a charge for payment , the debt is an old catalogue account debt for just over £1000. She has a few medical conditions that have worsened in the last few years which required me to give up working to become her full time carer. Due to this we are both on benefits so money is very tight to say the least. We live in a rented home , have no assets and no savings. My wife doesn’t have a bank account so all the payments from the DWP go into my account. Can the sheriffs officer’s freeze my bank account and is it likely once they find out that there is no earnings they can arrest or bank account in my wife’s name that they apply for an exceptional Attachment order, as my wife is worried that they will start removing what little we have from our house. Thanks04th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_No, not if the petition has already been raised. Moratoriums only stop bankruptcy if they are applied for before the Petition for Sequestration is raised. It is in the hands of the Sheriff to decide if you should have time to apply for the Debt Arrangement Scheme. If it is awarded it will stop bankruptcy. Regardless of who you use to apply to the Debt Arrangement Scheme, it should be free as since November 2019, the Scottish Government have abolished private management fees.04th_March_2020
  • M Duncan_Charge for Payment_Thanks. I have a moratorium now with a view to obtaining a DAS. Will this prevent bankruptcy being awarded meantime?04th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi You would likely need to pay the full debt that is owed to the creditor, rather than just the debt they have served the Charge for Payment for. The expired Charge for Payment proves apparent insolvency, which is one of the criteria they need to prove to make you bankrupt (sequestration). The next criteria is you must owe £3,000 or more when they raise the petition. They, therefore, would expect you to pay all the debt you owe them and also their expenses, to withdraw the petition. If you cannot stop the petition they will sequestrate you, or make you bankrupt. This can have serious implications for you especially if you own your home. It can put it at risk. You can find out more here. You will also likely lose any access to credit. One way you can stop a bankruptcy application (and there aren’t many) is to apply to the Debt Arrangement Scheme. If a proposal for that is accepted before the bankruptcy is awarded, you can avoid bankruptcy. My advice is you need to seek advice, and as soon as possible, otherwise you may be made bankrupt. You can get advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau, or local Authority Money Advice Service or if you follow this Link, Carrington Dean can arrange to call you back and discuss all your options with you. None of these services will charge you for advice.04th_March_2020
  • M Duncan_Charge for Payment_Hi I am in court for non payment of council tax. Sequestration proceedings. I offered to pay the charge for payment in court but the other side refused to accept offer. How can this be? Can they do that? What are the implications for the case continuing?04th_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Luke I am sorry this has happened to you. The bank account arrestment can be challenged, but that is not to say the Sheriff Officers will agree. There is an argument that when the only funds paid into your account are benefits, the arrestment should be lifted if you can show that is the only funds being paid into your account. Not all Sheriff Officers agree with this. However, it is possible to apply to the Court to get the arrestment lifted. To do this you are best contacting you local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service, as not only can they assist you to do this, but they can try and negotiate with them first, which can often be quicker. I am posting a link (see here) that explains how you challenge a bank arrestment, but the links above will give you information on how to contact your local advice agencies.02nd_March_2020
  • Luke_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, We (my wife and I), currently have a council tax debt (totalling a little over £1700), we are not disputing the matter, however it has been passed to Scott & Co, and we have today received notice that they have arrested funds. We are on benefits (universal credit), and have previously offered Scott & Co £100 per month (it is all we can afford) but they have refused. Can anyone advise please?02nd_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi You can appeal it to the Valuation Appeal Committee. First complain to the Council that you are not liable and you want to appeal their decision, if they don’t uphold your complaint. Were you being paid by your previous employer? Do you have wage slips to show you were an employee? It is not for you to show you were not liable for the non-domestic rates, it was for the Council to show you are liable. The owner of the property is liable, and if not him the leaseholder. If it was a limited company it is the limited company that is liable. What evidence have they that you were personally liable? The owners word? That can be rebutted by you.02nd_March_2020
  • Jav_What is a Summary Warrant?_I wonder if you can help. The landlord at my previous place of work has told the council that I was the tenant at a commercial unit. I wasn’t I was simply the named key-holder. The council is now seeking the business rates from me personally, and has taken out a summary warrant and is insistent that it won’t get involved in a dispute between tenant and landlord. This despite the commercial lease naming a limited company as tenant. How do I appeal this?01st_March_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Kenny Unfortunately, legally there is no grace period. It’s a cases of strict liability. The mere fact you overstayed, beyond the time the ticket allowed you to, means they can fine you. It will be reduced to £30 if you pay within 14 days. Alternatively, you may be able to appeal if you can show you have grounds.25th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi Phil Yes they could enforce the debt in Scotland. As part of the process they can register the debt through the English Courts, then register it with the Scottish Courts, adding on the cost of doing so onto the amount owed. They can then enforce the debt using Scottish Sheriff Officers and Scots law of Diligence25th_February_2020
  • Phil_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi A small van was issued with a Parking Penalty Charge by a council on the south coast of England. The van is registered with a Scottish Limited company as it’s only vehicle and the company office is my home in Scotland. The company has been in a negative trading position for several years ‘in a labour of love’. Would the Council in the above circumstances have a legal right to enforce collection in Scotland?25th_February_2020
  • Kenny_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi , I have received a £60 parking ticket for a 5 minute overstay in a council run car park, the penalty charge notice was issued by the local authority. I put a ticket on my car but came back approx 6 minutes after the ticket ran out. Is there a grace period to allow someone upto 10 minutes for delays in getting back to their car? The ticket charge notice must have been started immediately the time was up as the issuer took 10 photographs including from the parking machine at the other side of the car park and i was back at the car as the warden turned to walk away approx 6 minutes after the ticket ran out.25th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Chris It costs £15 to register an inhibition, assuming you already have a court order. However, Inhibitions will only work if the Company is planning to sell a property. Also they expire after 5 years and have to be renewed. There may be more effective ways of recovering a debt owed by a Company, so it may be worth having a chat with a firm or Sheriff Officers. More about registering an Inhibition can be found here.20th_February_2020
  • Chris_What is an Inhibition?_Hi how much would it be to place an inhibition order on a company who owe me money for a vehicle19th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Alyn The Charge for Payment can be handed to someone in the household, usually in an envelope, or posted through the letterbox. Preferably, it should be handed to the person themselves, but delievring to the address is normally acceptable. The key thing is you have received it, as now you can seek advice and there will be options available to you if you have a look at my post on Debt Solutions.19th_February_2020
  • Abc123_What is a Summary Warrant?_An Italian took the Italian government as far as the European Supreme Court arguing that their version of a summary warrant was a breach of Article Six of Human Rights. It was held that they were legal for the collection of taxes.19th_February_2020
  • Alyn_Charge for Payment_Hi, When a charge for payment of money is handed over by a sheriff office, can he hand it to anyone in the household? Or, should it be handed to the debtor in person?18th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Chris No problem. It can be an offence to borrow more than £2k before you are discharged without informing the creditor you are bankrupt; or any amount where you already owe £1k. However, Council Tax Arrears are not borrowing, so running up further arrears is not an offence. It just won’t be covered by the Bankruptcy.13th_February_2020
  • Chris_Charge for Payment_Thanks for the reply, I will pass on the info regarding the exemption you mentioned. A concern of mine was that I had read somewhere that getting into debt once sequestrated was a criminal issue. I’m aware that you cannot face jail in Scotland for council tax.13th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Chris In terms of bankrutpcy, any debts included up until the day the bankruptcy was awarded, can not be recovered during or after the bankruptcy from your relative. However, they will remain liable for any council tax arrears that accrue from after the day of the bankruptcy and can be recovered. Like you say, based on the circumstances the Council have few options to recover the debt, other than direct deductions from their benefits. However, what I would be concerned about is these debts will continue to accrue, so when their parents pass away, will they inherit the house and other assets, as if so at that point the council may have options, such as bankruptcy, which could put their home at risk. However, another things comes to mind, is this person receiving Council Tax Reduction benefit, or a Single Person Discount for Council Tax. Or alternatively would they qualify for a Severe Mental Impairment exemption? This may mean they are not liable at all. Click on the Link above to find out more and get directed to their local authority’s website on Exemptions and Discounts. If a SMI is awarded they should request it be backdated to the earliest point they became entitled to an SMI exemption. They Local Authority will have advice workers that can help them apply.13th_February_2020
  • Chris_Charge for Payment_Hi, I am wondering what action the council can take against someone who has already been through sequestration for credit card debts and continual non payment of council tax. I’m asking as I have a close family member with severe mental health issues who cannot work. The person concerned has no assets or cars and is living rent free in a mortgage free home owned by their parents. The family member also will never likely have anything near the minimum protected amount for a bank arrest. Is it unlikely the council can do much?13th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Peter I would suggest speaking to the Local Authority first. Normally the owner is liable, but if there is a tenant in the property then they are normally liable. You will need to provide proof of the tenancy or agreement, otherwise as your name will not come off the Title Deeds until Ocotber 2020, they will presume your liable and pursue you. It is your responsibility to inform them who the tenant is if your don’t want them to hold you liable. If the property is vacant, then as your name is on the Land Registry, then the liability falls upon you. You may be entitled to a vacant property exemption, but you should speak to Local Authority about that.11th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Token Payments?_Hi Yvonne Just realised that number is closed. You can also visit Home Energy Scotland and call them on 0808 808 228211th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Token Payments?_Hi Yvonne There is alot available that can help you with energy bills, both nationally and locally. If you contact the Citizen Advice Helpline on 08454 04 05 06 they will tell you what you are entitled to.11th_February_2020
  • Peter_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_I have a buy to let which was unlet and empty for a while. At the start of the new Tax year, 2019-2020, I looked into selling it and received an offer at the Start of May (4th or 5th) 2019 which was accepted. Due to a delay with lawyers on both sides, and a change in price, the keys were not exchanged until October. I had had a couple of demands for council tax from May to Sept for council tax which I duly paid. I then got a demand from Debt agency in October for the rest of the year’s council tax. (The way the sale of the house is structured, is, The buyer has paid a years upfront rent to me in Oct, when all final lawyers work was completed. The rest of the money for the property is paid in Oct 2020. ) Knowing that the Buyer has all responsibility for bills from October 2019, I never pursued the letter from Stirling Park, demanding the rest of the year’s council tax. I never heard anything until, today 11th Feb 2020, when they turned up at my door to serve me with a notice to pay the outstanding money within the next 14 days. I did explain this to the sheriff officer (wish I had seen your site before this). Anyway, is it just a case of trying to sort this out with my local authority, will they put a stop to the sheriff officer’s actions or should I pay and then try and reclaim it back ? Thanks Peter11th_February_2020
  • Yvonne_What are Token Payments?_Hi Can I get help with gas for my heating. I got told can apply up to 3 times a year never applied before10th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Richard Sorry for the delay in responding. This is a Parking Charge Notice and you can read more on them by clicking on the highlighted text. You say you don’t drive, but I presume you have a licence and have a car registered with the DVLA as you being the Registered Keeper? This is where these firms get your details, from the DVLA. If this is the case, there is a presumption in law you were driving car, albeit it can be rebutted, but this is usually only by providing them the details of the person that was driving car. You can appeal the Charge, but they are likely to ask you provide the details of who was driving the car or presume it was use. These fines can be enforced in Court. There is a belief they cannot, but this is not true. If it was taken to Court and you defended it, I would guess the Sheriff would also expect you to say who was driving it. Read my page on Parking Charge Notices, it will explain the appeal process and more about them.09th_February_2020
  • Richard_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi I have been receiving letters from a private parking company that telling me that I have a fine (£160). I have physical and mental health problems and do not drive. I don’t know who was driving the vehicle when the ticket was issued. Would you be so kind as to advise me on this.08th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Alan There are what’s called Prescription rules. Read more about them here (When Does Debt Become Statute Barred?) Basic principal for Council Tax is if you have not paid anything for 20 years and they have not made a relevant claim, such as a wage arrestment etc in 20 years, it is prescribed. Write to them and ask for a statement of all payments for that year. If there is a 20 year gap, ask them if it is prescribed and if not why not. Every time a payment is made the 20 years begins again.07th_February_2020
  • Brenda_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi my son got a parking charge notice for £60 while parked at the university he attends he didn’t pay it as he thought it was a scam he has now received a letter from a debt collector demanding payment of £130 to be paid within 14 days or court proceedings may happen -he is a student and doesn’t have money to pay-what do you advise? Thank you07th_February_2020
  • Alan_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hello, The Highland Council has very recently imposed a deduction to my Universal Credit for a Council Tax Bill from 1993! (£ 186.18). I feel that this is very much past history and should be written off. Secondly, I would have thought they could of at least waited until I found full-time work. (FYI, I lived and worked abroad for over 20 Years and only returned to my home Town, Inverness 2 years ago) Is there not a time limitation for this? Thank You, Alan 07th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Brenda This sounds like a Parking Charge Notice, from a private firm. So very much enforcible and not a scam. Read my page on these using the highlighted text above. It may be appealable at this stage and also check they have evidence (of the breach). If he was clearly in the wrong and they clearly advertised the terms of conditions of parking, it may be he has to pay it, but maybe able to negotiate a repayment plan with them. His local Citizen Advice Bureau or Student Advice Service may be able to help him or the law school in many universities also run free law clinics.07th_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Dean I am not totally clear from what you have said what type of parking ticket you have received, but I am assuming it is a Penalty Charge Notice, issued by a local authority rather that a Parking Charge Notice issued by a private firm. Regardless of the type, you do say you have received appealed and this was unsuccessful and you have now been receiving letters from the Court. This means in reality it is too late to challenge the charge and the only option now is to try and pay it at a level you can afford, otherwise the person owed the money could take further action against you to recover the debt. If you are on Staturory Sick Pay (SSP), it unlikely an Earnings Arrestment will be successful, as although SSP is classed as earnings, it is usually not enough to be arrested. If you get contractual sick pay of a higher amount it could be arrested. They could also freeze your bank account, but the first £529.90 is protected. They can, however, take any amount over that up to the level of debt you have. They are not likely to try and enter your home as that would involve further legal action and is extremely rare. They may try and attach you car but if it subject to a Hire Purchase agreement, or PCP agreement, this will fail as the finance firm, not you, own the car. If you do own it, then it is protected if it is worth less than £3k and you have a reasonable requirement. If you are struggling to repay the charge, can I suggest you visit you local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service, as they will help negotiate for you.04th_February_2020
  • Dean_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_I received a parking ticket at the Glasgow royal infirmary when my fiancé was in intensive care after a gas explosion at work. I parked in a space which the parking attendant told me I can’t park in but directed me to where I could park, he watched me park here and buy a ticket and display it on the windscreen. I then came back to a parking ticket. I have appealed this and got knocked back for an appeal. The original ticket was £90 which I didn’t have due to being on sick pay and now a year on from when it happened. My fiancé has lost his job and is on disability benefits. I got a letter from the court saying if I don’t pay £171 they will arrest my wages, arrest my bank account or auction of my movable property. This is obviously really concerning. I emailed before I got this letter explaining the situation and got ignored. Any advice would be greatly appreciated03rd_February_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi John I am sorry, to hear what has occurred. Sheriff Officers can only enter your home when they have an Exceptional Attachment Order, which are relatively rare in Scotland. There is a lengthy procedure they must follow before they do so, which you can find out more about from the above link. There is also alot of items they cannot take, which you can see here. However, they can execute other recovery procedures known as Diligence, which you can find out more about here. If you want to discuss it more what your options are, you could visit your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service for advice or if you want a call back you can request a call back from Carrington Dean, who I have partnered up with to provide advice. They are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and don’t charge for advice. You can do this by visiting by Request a Call Back Page.30th_January_2020
  • John_What can Sheriff Officers take?_In August 2019 whilst on a trip in Cyprus my partner fell ill and we attended hospital for a few hours, I have just found out that the insurance company wont pay the medical fees and im being threatened with sherrif officers for the outstanding med bill . Can they take Items that dont belong to me from my house ?30th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Kelvin The first thing I would suggest you do is check you are liable for this debt. You say you are a student, so depending on the course you are on, you may be entitled to a student exemption. Contact your Council and ask when it was for and whether it was for a period you were a student and if your course exempts you. If you were living with someone else who was not a student and you would have been exempt, if you were living on your own, you cannot be held liable for the debt. Also check if you should have been receiving a single person discount, if you are not exempt as a student. Citizen Advice Scotland have a good online tool you can check to see if you are liable. You can access it here. If you are liable. I have pages on what they can do. Attachments are for property outside the home, like cars, but if your car is worth less than £3k and you have a reasonable requirement for it you can argue its exempt. Exceptional Attachment Orders are for property in the home, but extremely rare and only used as a last resort. There would have to be additional court action too, so I wouldn’t worry about it. The most common type of Diligence is bank arrestments, but the first £529.90 in your account is protected. You can find out more about recovery procedure on my page on Diligence. If you are liable for it you will need to pay something if you don’t want them to take further action. However, this could be as little as £5 per week if you cannot afford anymore, but they will want an income and expenditure, so I would contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or local Authority Money Advice Service.29th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Sorry Gemma for the delay in getting back to you. Corporate insolvency law is not one of my strengths. However, my understanding is if the arrestment occurs within 60 day of the liquidation being awarded, then the liquidator can cut down the bank arrestment and take the arrested funds for the benefit of all the creditors in the liquidation. This is not automatic, however, so they may not do so, but should if they are aware of it. As I say this is not one of my strengths so I would ask the Sheriff Officer who arrested the account. They should know.29th_January_2020
  • kelvin_Charge for Payment_Hi Alan I got a council tax summary warrant but I don’t have the money to pay as I’m a student and once I pay my bills there’s pretty much none left. What is the best way of sorting this out as I don’t want any arrestment on me. Also they mention Attachments and Exceptional Attachment Order. The bill is only £73 so not sure what to do. Thanks29th_January_2020
  • Gemma_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hello, if a bank arrestment is made by a sherrif officer then the company goes into liquidation will this fail?28th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Laura Unfortunately, there is a popular myth that private private parking fines cannot legally be enforced and that firms don’t take you to Court. This is not true. There have been some landmark court cases, where it has been shown they can and do take people to Court and can also get court decrees (orders) against people. I would not, therefore, advise ignoring it. Also the sum seems very high, so I would be curious to know how this has been made up. Do you know what the original fine was and how they have arrived at this sum. It maybe that if Charges or Penalties have been applied these could be challenged as punitive. Private parking fines are basically service charges these Firms can claim under contract law, so they are not actually fines. When you enter a car park or park in a space controlled by them, then these Firms should have signs displaying their terms and conditions and when you park in the space you are considered to have accepted their terms and conditions. It should state the cost of parking and what the cost is if you overstay. Therefore, a contract is established. By overstaying the argument is, they can apply their service charges for overstating. What is possibly easier to challenge is if they start applying charges if you don’t pay. These it may be argued are penalties and are not allowed under contract law. So it is important to understand how the sum was arrived at. Also they should be able to produce evidence in the form of photos that you over stayed, so you should request they produce this and also check that evidence carefully. You can also appeal their demands if they are a member of a registered firm. I would recommend you read my page on Parking Charge Notices and seek advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Money Agencies if you require further advice.27th_January_2020
  • Laura_Charge for Payment_Hi I have received a warning from a debt recovery company called debt recovery plus regarding a unpaid parking charge from Euro Car Parks at Hamilton Retail Park. I knew nothing about this because the letters have been sent to my old address. My neighbour posted this letter through my door on Sunday. It says Notice of Intended Court Action for payment of £160. I think this is unfair and many people I ask say I do not have to pay this and to ignore it as Euro Car Park will not sue. At the moment I have left my job and not in a position to pay. What do I do. Thanks27th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Elizabeth That is great, it will be a great weight off your mind and thank you for letting me know. I am glad I have been of some assistance.27th_January_2020
  • Elizabeth_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hello, Thank you so much for your help. I got in contact with Scot & Co through email, explaining them the situation and offering them the possibility of giving them this person’s details. They have just replied and told me that he paid the whole amount a couple of days ago. Pressuring him about the consecuences (I told him they would arrest our bank accounts (both) and our wages) hashad a good result. I hope this is useful for whoever face a situation similar to mine.27th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Elizabeth Unfortunately, the legal position is you are liable for the full amount along with your ex-partner and it is for the Council to decide who they pursue. It sounds to me like the Council are actually being helpful, but the Sheriff Officers are not. The reality is they are just interested in getting the money and they think they can pressurise you into paying it. However, its worth to note the Sheriff Officers act on behalf of the Council, so it may be worth taking this up with your local councilor and asking him if he can ask the Debt Recovery Department of the Council why their agents, the Sheriff Officers will not use the information that you are offering. This may make a difference. However, it is also worth noting that they are entitled to continue pursuing you, even if they do take the information, and I expect they will, so if you don’t come to an agreement with them, they can try and arrest your wages or freeze your bank account. If you do need advice you can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or ask if your Local Authority has a money advice Service.25th_January_2020
  • Elizabeth_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Sorry, I just wanted to add that is not exactly the same situation. I paid my half the total amount we had to pay, he told me he had paid his half before he moved out, but I found out later on that he hadn’t. T he amount we owe now to Scott & Co, is just his half of the total. Thank you25th_January_2020
  • Elizabeth_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hello, Alex’s situation is exactly the same situation that I’m living. I’m trying to make them to contact him also, but I really don’t know how to do it. I went to council and they found an address that seems to be his address. They told me the will pass the information to Scott & Co and hopefully they will send him the letter with all the terms regarding the debt. I called Scott & Co, because the council told me to do it, to find out if they will try to reach him too, but they told me they wouldn’t. All that they tried to do is to ask for my personal details and I refused to give them any information. You have said above that they could try to go after him if they know his details, like where he works or where his bank account is. I know all this details, but how can I make them known to them? Thank you so much for your help, Elizabeth25th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Philip I would seek to make a formal complaint and provide as much evidence as possible to show not only you didn’t own the property,but you didn’t live there, as liability can arise not just from ownership, but residency. This could be legal paperwork, an extract from the Land Registry and also proof of you living elsewhere. If the Council don’t update your complaint and amend their accounts, appeal their decision to the Valuation Tribunal. You can also complain to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.17th_January_2020
  • Philip_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi, I have received a Summary Warrant regarding council tax for a property I once owned – but for a period that I didn’t own it. The amount asked for (over £4000) relates for a period from 2004 to 2008. I sold the property in 2006. This, can be verified on the ROS Web site, but the council apparently are unable to look up this information. They have never chased me for this debt before now – this is the first communication I have received (although I have moved multiple times so it’s possible any letters never reached me). How do I prove I sold a property 14 years ago if the ROS Web service isn’t good enough? And how do I stop them applying for a bank arrestment or whatever in the meantime. I also dispute the amount being demanded for the time I WAS there, but that’s another issue16th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Ewan The position is generally accepted to be that prescription begins running when the demand for payment is made. There is a Scottish Sheriff Court decision on this (which you can read here: PRA Group v Macpherson). There is an English case that follows the same line. In relation to the suggestion you make that the money was not given as a loan, generally speaking the position in Scots Law is there is a presumption against gift, so the onus is on you to show why the money was given if your argument is it was not a loan. You may want to seek legal advice if it is in Court.15th_January_2020
  • Ewan_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi When does the clock start regarding a time barred loan, is it when you receive the demand or when the alleged loan was made? I have a situation where an ex business partner is alleging he loaned me money over three payments, one in 2010 then 2011 and finally in 2012. I received a demand from him to repay early 2019. Lawyers are now involved and now the Sheriff is indicating that the time bar starts from the date the demand was made (early 2019). I suppose I am looking for a second opinion, goalposts seem to be shifting and the money was never a loan. Any advice would be appreciated.14th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi Diane Each type of Diligence you normally ask a Sheriff Officer to execute, will involve paying them a fee,so serving a Charge for Payment will involve a fee, as will executing an Attachment. I don’t think I mentioned any specific amounts. All I meant is the Sheriff Officers job is to carry out the Attachment, its not to tell the nursery owner how to run their business or to phone the parents or to decide if the kids are to go home. If they are carrying out an Attachment in a Nursey, they are not going to disrupt the running of the Nursery,is all I meant. The best thing to do is speak to a Sheriff Officer. They will explain their costs, and also what they can and cannot do. I wish you all the best. I understand how frustrating this can be, especially after all the effort your daughter went through to get the Tribunal decision.11th_January_2020
  • Diane_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi. They are operating as a Limited Company and I can see their details on Company House. Yes, I gave been told what many companies do to avoid paying tribunal costs, so have asked for a Penalty Enforcement first where the Government write to her and she gets 28 days to pay, or the Government charge her 50% of the tribunal award. If that isn’t successful we know we need to pay for the sheriff officers. Did you mean we had to pay the £100 to the sheriff officers and then pay again to ask for an attachment? Yes it would be wrong to put children at risk, but was hoping they could at least threaten her with removal of goods and ask her to call the parents to come and collect their kids before they start removing items. I will call the sheriff officers and ask if they would do that. Thank you.11th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi Hayley Basically they can refuse your offer, as it is for them to decide what is acceptable to them. If they do refuse it, they may choose to use legal debt enforcement procedures against you, like wage arrestments and bank arrestments. However, you have said you have made an offer to them through a debt firm? They can still refuse this also. You may be wiser seeking help from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. They may be able to negotiate on your behalf.10th_January_2020
  • Hayley_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hiya I had the sheriffs come to my door and I rang up to ask to set up a monthly payment plan. He has said he wont accept that. Is he right? I’ve sought help from a debt company and they have sent me a email with earnings and an offer of payment to them, which I have emailed across. Can he still refuse payment plan after this10th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi The quick answer is they could execute an Attachment, but as you say the value of the goods would probably not be worth much. Your daughter would, however, have to pay for the Attachment, so it would be a risk for her. They may choose to pay, they may not. Sheriff Officers are not going to do anything that jeopardises the welfare of children though. They are Court Officers. What you are describing is a common problem, where someone get a tribunal order,then hides behind acting as a sole trader or having all his assets kept in his personal name. He could even claim he is now operating as a sole trader or under another business name, to avoid the people he owes money to. It’s not unusual and lots of business are liquidated by HMRC each year for basically just folding, owing tax debts, whilst the owner sets up a new business and starts again. I would call a Sheriff Officer and maybe ask what they think, but sending them out maybe the last opportunity you get to recover this debt,as the owner,if not already,may just begin operating as a sole trader or under another company name.09th_January_2020
  • Diane_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi. Could you tell me if Sheriff Officers can remove goods from a Limited Company even though the goods in the business premises would not be anywhere near the value of the debt? My daughter won an Employment Tribunal against her previous employer which is a very small nursery and as such, only has 1 computer, toys, baby changing mats etc, kitchen appliances. The owner is rarely at the premises therefore her car is unlikely to be outside the premises (and I assume it will be against her name, not the business). As it is a nursery, if officers began removing goods whilst the children were there, the business could not operate or care for children properly, therefore owner would probably pay up or all the parents would need to be called to collect their children. The owner is very well off so I’m sure she could afford to pay up. Also, if the parents pay their nursery fees into a bank account in the owner’s name and not in the business name (employment decision is against company, not owner) can officers arrest funds in there? Thank you09th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Kirsty I think you have to take them at their word, now you have an agreement in place, but you cannot afford to miss any payments. You also have to make sure you have a payment in place for your current Council Tax Bill that becomes due in April. If you don’t, you debt will just become worse. If what you have agreed wont allow you to pay both at the same time, ask they reduce what you are paying towards your arrears at that time, so you can pay your current bill. If they are not helpful, contact your local Ciitizen Advice Bureaux or local authority money advice service for help to renegotiate your current agreement.08th_January_2020
  • Kirsty_Charge for Payment_Hi. Rec’d a letter about not paying council tax. I called and set up payment plan with Scott and Co. they said this will stop it going further is this the case.07th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Can School Meal Debt be Recovered?_Hi Patrick No. I think you will find it was FOIs made to each local authority, who will publish their own FOIs on their own websites.07th_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Euan Unfortunately not. Thankfully you are in a position to pay the debt.07th_January_2020
  • Patrick_Can School Meal Debt be Recovered?_Hi, do you have a link to the FOI response?06th_January_2020
  • Euan_Charge for Payment_Hi. I’ve recieved a not unexpected charge for payment. I can pay it within the 14days (was waiting for funds to come through) . Is there anyway of avoiding the fee for the messenger at arms or do I just have to take that one on the chin?. Thanks in advance06th_January_2020
  • John_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Must a creditor inform you that they are going to arrest your wages.03rd_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi John Creditors must serve a Charge for Payment before arresting your wages. Nothing else. Employers also cannot refuse to carry out the arrestment or they can be help liable for your debt, to the extent they should have taken it from your Earnings. It may be of interest, but I have a page on stopping Earning Arrestments that may be useful for you.03rd_January_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Gordon As it is a bank arrestment, they can take what they find in the account above the protected minimum balance, even if it is holiday pay. I cannot say whether the offer you are making is reasonable or not as I don’t have a detailed understanding of your financial situation, but my gut instinct is a third of your wages is too much to offer. They will try and get you to pay more, that is what they are paid to do. However, what is in your best interest is to get a sustainable repayment plan that you can afford. The best way to do this is to seek advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local, free money advice service, as they will do a detailed income and expenditure and also look at your finances as a whole. They will then give you what is the best advice for your circumstances and help you work out what you can afford. They will also negotiate with Scott and Co for you, using the income and expenditure and make sure you are not offering more than you can afford. I appreciate this can be time consuming, but honestly getting advice from a service that can give you bespoke advice (which this site cannot), is in your best interest and can hopefully sort out this problem for you. As I say, there is limitations as to what I can tell you, but I would say there are solutions and there are people out there in advice services that do this daily for people and are very skilled at getting the best solution for you.30th_December_2019
  • Gordon_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I want to pay the bill that I owe them, the only reason there was money in my account was because of holiday pay. Before I have offered them £100 a week. As I owe a lot with charges they will not make agreement, but said they would not refuse any payment. I thought would it be better to wait the 14 weeks and pay £100 pound weekly so they could see I would stick to this agreement. I cannot afford more as that is a third of my wages. Any advice would help as my wife is disable and my son is her carer while I am at work.30th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Gordon This is a bank arrestment, so it is a one-off arrestmenr, although they can do it again, now they know where your bank account is. A Bank Arrestment allows them to arrest funds in your account over the Minimum Protected Balance, which is £529.90. However, as the debt is a lot more they can now take further action to try and recover the remaining debt. This means that could try another Bank Arrestment,but they can also take other action like Wage Arrestments or try and execute an Attachment. Whether you want to sign the Mandate is up to you. You dont have to,but if you done and don’t challenge the Bank Arrestment, the funds are automatically transferred to Nationwide after 14 weeks. My advice is to seek advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority money advice service.29th_December_2019
  • Gordon_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I have been sent notification from Nationwide to say an arrestment of funds on my account. I live in Scotland the amount arrested was €155. Scot and co have sent me a mandade to sign for the arrested funds, but the Scot and Co amount is £1,869. So does this mean they will take money every week until the debt paid or is that just for the one off payment?29th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Cara It doesn’t sound to me like you need to do anything else if you have entered an agreement with them. For your own piece of mind you may want to confirm with them now you have received the Charge for Payment that no further action will be taken if you stick to the agreement. The significance of the Charge is after the 14 days expires, if you miss any payments they can move immediately for a wage arrestment or a bank account arrestment. The only way to avoid this is to “formalise” your agreement by applying for a “Time to Pay” which protects you and means they cannot take action until you go into arrears of 3 months. You should seek advice if you want to do that first from your local Citizen Advice Bureau of Local Authority Money Advice Service.24th_December_2019
  • Cara_Charge for Payment_Hi I have had a charge of payment from sheriff officers for my council tax Before this though I just phoned up and made a direct debit for them to take a monthly payment? But I knew I was still getting the sheriff Officer letter. Do I need to do anything with the sheriff Officer letter, even though I’ve got a direct debit set up?23rd_December_2019
  • Cara_Charge for Payment_Hi I have set up a payment plan with Scott and co but I still got served with a charge of payment from sheriff officers I had told the guy on the phone I have a direct debit sorted ? But do I need to do anything else with the letter I got sent it gave me 14 day’s to pay in full but I don’t have that sort of money Even when I set up a direct debit ? Thanks23rd_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Privacy Policy_Hi Annemarie I am not sure what the “bank treatment” letter is? Is it a Bank Arrestment letter? Also you say you believe it is for a TV Licence fine, but are not certain. I think you need to investigate and find out more what this debt it and possibly seek help from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. Basically, the rules regarding Bank Arrestments are that the first £529.90 is protected, but everything over that amount can be frozen up to the extent you owe money. You then get 14 weeks to challenge this arrestment or agree to it being released, or it automatically transfers to the person who arrested the money at the end of the 14 weeks. If your funds are below £529.90 on the date of the arrestment, the arrestment fails, although the cost of attempting to is added to your debt and your bank may apply a £25 administration fee to your account (you can ask they waive this). If funds are attached and more funds are deposited the next day, these funds are not attached, so you should be able to withdraw them. It is only funds in your account on the date of arrestment that are frozen. In terms of a joint account, these can be arrested for the debt of one person, although the second person can challenge the arrestment on the basis some of the funds are owed to them. However, this takes time, may require a court hearing and you seeking advice first. I would suggest you visit your local advice centre and see if they can help you.19th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Jane I am sorry about this. Renting your home can be complicated, especially if you are not a professional landlord. If you are letting it again you may wish to speak to a letting agent, who can manage all the legal issues for you for a fee. You can also visit the Shelter Scotland website that provides lots of helpful information or the Rights and Obligations of Private Residential Landlords. In terms of dealing with this debt the person to deal with is the Sheriff Officers. If they won’t accept a repayment plan, you can visit your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice service and they can help you negotiate with them and will also take a holistic look at all your debts. One option may be to apply for a Time to Pay Order under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 which allows you to apply to the Court for time to pay once a Charge for Payment has been served. As a rule of thumb the shorter the time you propose to repay the debt the more chance of success you have. It can be objected to and if it is objected to a hearing in front of a Sheriff may be necessary, but if it is approved, it stops all further Sheriff Officer action. If you have multiple other debts, there may be a more suitable option, so that is why you are best seeking advice before you do anything formal.19th_December_2019
  • Jane_Charge for Payment_Hi Alan When I rented my house I didn’t realise I had to put the deposit into a scheme and after I gave my tennant notice he lodge a complaint and was awarded a first Tier Tribunal decision where they held I should pay him 3 times his deposit amount. I have no funds to pay this all at once. I have now been served with a payment notice from sheriff officer and told I have to pay it all in 14 days. I don’t have the money to pay it all at once. I would like to set up a payment plan but don’t know who to contact to do this. Im also worried they arrest my wages or take my car or furniture from my home which I share with my daughters. Can you give me advise what I should do.18th_December_2019
  • Annemarie_Privacy Policy_Hi Alan Today I received a bank treatment letter from the sheriff’s office over what I presume is a 75 pound fine for no tv licence. My husband and I have joint account and I am disabled and my husband is the only wage earner in our house. As the fine is in my name and i don’t work due to I’ll health can they freeze our account and leave us with money for 14 weeks. Which would leave us at the risk of becoming homeless as our rent wouldn’t be able to be paid and it would also loose my husband his vehicle, which is out on finance and obviously his job, as he would be unable to travel the 30 miles to his work daily. Thanks in advance18th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Louise I am sorry to hear this. I believe what has happened is when you benefits switched, the deduction for council tax arrears didn’t switch also. The first thing I would do is contact your Local Council and ask they set up a deduction for your Council Tax Arrears from your Universal Credit and ask they take no further action. In terms of the Summary Warrant this will have been granted and sent through the post possibly as early as June or July, if it was for this years Council Tax. You cannot appeal a Summary Warrant and there is no hearing. The reason is if you don’t think you were liable, or you should have had a discount or an exemption or even Coucil Tax Reduction, you appeal these decisions rather than the Summary Warrant. In terms of the Charge for Payment, this a form of Diligence. You cannot appeal this and the 14 days relate to the period the Charge gives you to pay the debt, otherwise you can face further Diligence like Earning Arrestments, Bank Arrestments etc. What I would suggest is you ask the Council to withdraw the Sheriff Officers Fee on the basis when your benefits changed they should have reapplied the deductions from your benefits for the arrears. If they refuse to, you could consider using their formal complaint procedure. Also make sure you are getting your full entitlement to Council Tax Reduction and a Single Person Discount if you are entitled to one. When you contact the Council ask them to check for you.18th_December_2019
  • Louise_Charge for Payment_Hi Alan, I received a Charge for Payment this morning in regards to some Council Tax arrears. The arrears were being paid from my benefit, and under 2 months ago I applied for Universal Credit, which I believe stopped the payments direct from my benefit to my arrears. I have not had any Summary Warrants, letters from the council or Scott & Co prior to this morning’s sheriff officer visit. From reading your website, it seems that they must go to court prior to the Charge For Payment can be sent and that I must be afforded 14 days to appeal this. I have received no notification of this going to court or having 14 days to appeal it? I want to pay this in instalments and I am not happy about the extortionate sheriff officer charge that was added on, as I was never told about this in the first place, or I would have dealt with it immediately. Is the only way to solve this by applying for a ‘Time to Pay Direction’ through the court? Does this stop any proceedings until it has been either granted or denied by the court? Finally, can the sheriff officer fee for attending my property be appealed? Thanks!18th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Hayleigb First thing is don’t be overly alarmed. I am not totally clear of your circumstances, but the Charge for Payment is for non-payment of Council Tax arrears. These could be this years arrears and you have not been paying your current Council Tax and just paying everything to Scott and Co for your arrears. This is a common problem as people just arrange with the Sheriff Officers to pay their arrears and ignore their current liability. This means the current liability becomes a debt stacked on top of other year debts. You need to be paying your current Council Tax debt every year and then something towards your arrears. Sheriff Officers are not the best at telling you this. My advice is go to your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Sevice and get yourself an affordable repayment plan.17th_December_2019
  • Hayleigh_Charge for Payment_Hi there I received a Charge for Payment through my door today for Council Tax. I’m stumped as I have been paying off the debt via a Scott and Co direct debit. I hadn’t realised I missed a payment until recently. I dont quite understand a Charge for Payment and the court and threatening words such as Bankruptcy has me panicked. Please some advice17th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Alex I am sorry to hear about your situation, but glad to hear you are at least putting it behind you. In terms of your Council Tax debt, you are both joint and severally liable for it. This means basically they can choose who to go after for the debt and can pursue you for the full amount if they choose to. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do about this. They can expect you to pay the full amount. However, this is not to say they cannot try and pursue him also, to recover the money faster. They will likely only do this if they know where he works or where his bank account is. In terms of you though, the important thing to do now that you are on your own, is make sure you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to, as your circumstances have now changed. There is a link to a benefit calculator on my website that you can use to check if there is any further help you are entitled to. In terms of your debt, can I suggest you speak to your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. You may not be able to avoid paying the Council Tax Arrears, but its important what you are paying is affordable and that you are also paying your current Council Tax and not just the Arrears, if not at present, from at least next April. Unfortunately, Sheriff Officers often just have you paying them and nothing towards your current bill, so every year you get another Summary Warrant and that is then passed to the Sheriff Officers, so you keep having to pay them and never get your feet clear. I hope this helps and hope you do contact your local advice centre to see if they can help negotiate an affordable repayment plan for you.16th_December_2019
  • Alex_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I have recently seperated from my partner. We have accumulated council tax arrears that I have always paid through my bank to Scott and Co. Today I called them up to ask them if they could split the amount owed in two so I would pay my half and the rest would be left to my ex partner to pay, as I know I will be left, like always, paying off his debts and as I am no longer with him dont feel this is fair. I know he wont make any effort to make any payments. Scott and Co said they couldn’t do this that we would need to come to an arrangement between ourselves which won’t ever happen as I have left due to domestic abuse. If I dont make payments to them they only have my bank details and work history and threats of Arrestment of Earnings terrifies me. So I am having to make payments to them, which I dont mind as half of it is my debt and I am happy to pay that, but not my ex’s debt. would appreciate any advice you can give me on what else I can do, if anything.16th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Michael I wouldn’t dare suggest what is the “correct” solution as, there are potentially multiple solutions available to you, depending on your more detailed circumstances. I am usually happy to give specific answers to specific questions, but I couldn’t suggest, using this medium of communication, what is the best solution. Your circumstances are complex as it involves: Joint ownership of a property; Mortgage arrears; An Earning arrestment; and Car finance You need a holistic solution, that is one that deals with all these issues and takes into consideration the affordability of any solution. The best advice I can give and my normal practice is to recommend seeking advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. All I would say is get proper advice from a reputable agency and I am absolutely certain they will help get you back on track again. And a word of caution, if someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is, so get a second opinion if you are doubtful.16th_December_2019
  • Michael_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi, I have a few debts probably totalling around £15k and these are Car Purchase ( HP ) 8k currently arresting my wages at £48 per week and then I have store cards, mortgage arrears ( 3k ) and a 2k loan. I own my home in a joint mortgage with my wife, what is the best route to go down to get these dealt with and start rebuilding my credit file. Michael16th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Mary Wage arrestments cannot be reduced, as they are based on a table that calculates how much the employer must take. The only option is to speak to the creditor and ask if they will stop it and allow you to enter into a voluntary arrangement, although this is unlikely to happen, as having gone to the expense of obtaining a wage arrestment, most creditors will not agree to voluntarily stop it and take less payments. There are a number of options for stopping wage arrestments, which you can find out more from my page on stopping wage arrestments. You can normally obtain assistance in doing this from your local Citizen Advice Bureau of Local Authority Money Advice Service.13th_December_2019
  • Mary_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_I am looking for advice on how I can get my wage arrestment reduced?13th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Where Has The Scottish Debt Advice Levy Gone?_Thanks BB. My understanding is the Debt Advice Route Map will be released after the General Election because of the Purdah rules. However, it’s not clear when after the 13th December. If you have any other information feel free to drop me an email.11th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_The only place I would know to direct you to George is Portree Citizen Advice Bureau on Skye, or a local criminal solicitor that hopefully does legal aid work.11th_December_2019
  • George_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Very many thanks for the table and previously setting the context on the 2007 legislation. Another issue!! If you can advise, or direct me to where to obtain advice…. Motoring fines transferred (issues unknown to me as I had moved) from an English Magistrates Court to FEO in Scotland. Despite attending Portree Sherrifs twice and subsequent corespondence chain, a warrant to apprehend was issued out of the blue and I find myself put in jail by 2 (very apologetic) police officers… Any ideas..!!??11th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi George One last thing. Here is the latest Regulations that deal with how much can be arrested in an Earning Arrestment. It is the monthly protected amount £529.90 that is the Protected Minimum Amount in a Bank Arrestment. Table B, Diligence Against Earnings (Variation) (Scotland) Regulations 201811th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi George Thank you. S73 of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 was actually introduced by the Bankrutpcy and Diligence Etc (Scotland) Act 2007. In terms of who is responsible, I think it is clearly the Bank. The Sheriff Officers would have served the Arrestment Schedule and it would have told the bank about the PMB. Also at this point the Sheriff Officers will only have your word as to how much has been arrested, as they don’t usually find out how much was arrested until the mandate is signed or the 14 weeks expire, so they won’t agree to lift the Arrestment until they know for certain. I would pursue the bank with an urgent complaint, it is more likely to be actioned quicker and you then have the option of taking them to the Financial Service Ombudsman as clearly they have made an error and wrongfully denied you access to funds. You may be able to get compensation from them for the distress it has caused you. Again thank you for your kind words; glad to help.11th_December_2019
  • George_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Very many thanks… very good of you! In the interim I also did some research (I was a legal practitioner (criminal) in England, but quite unsure of many of the equivalent Scottish practices!! Also, I started to train as a CAB(S) adviser a couple of years ago – long story). I am now sat in Skye on benefits and a serious medical condition (which I think may become relevant in this matter at GCC and Stirling Park level!) In my humble opinion the 1987 Act – S73F is reasonably clear – but only after gazing at it for a long while!! The bank should not have frozen this £171… I have now complained. I also phoned Stirling Park where the senior guy was very defensive saying that it is the bank’s fault and Stirling Park are perfectly aware of the ‘blanket’ protected minimum balance. So… is the onus on the bank to tell Stirling Park that the arrestment will fail and /or the funds can’t even be frozen at time of arrestment request…, or should Stirling Park and/or the Sheriffs check if this is the case (notwithstanding any confidentiality constraints)?? What do you think? Finally, I really think this is a great service and you do a fantastic job – thanks again11th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi George Sorry for not being able to give you a definitive answer yesterday, however, I have spoke to a Fines Enforcement Officer and they have confirmed to me the Protected Minimum Balance does apply, regardless of whether it’s a bank account arrestment for a Fixed Penalty Notice of Penalty Charge Notice. The terminology threw me, but at least it has clarified it for me. Every day is a school day even after 20 years. I would complain to the Bank about them denying access to the funds. It appears they are wrong.11th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi George Thanks for coming back to me. If it is a Penalty Charge Notice from Glasgow City Council, then it is a civil matter and is enforced by Sheriff Officers, as opposed to a Fixed Penalty Notice, which is enforced by a Fines Enforcement Officer. The curious thing is the phrase “Arrestment of Funds Order” by the bank, which I have only found in relation to Enforcement Orders (and now you have got me looking into it, I am going to clarify whether the Protected Minimum Balance applies to this). However, Sheriff Officers to arrest your bank account use Actions of Arrestment and Furthcoming under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. S73F (4) of the 1987 Act basically stipulates that the PMB is the monthly amount in the Earning Arrestment tables that are protected, so that is £529.90. I cannot explain why the bank are not giving you access to your funds if they are below this amount. I would suggest making a complaint. You should also receive a notification from the Sheriff Officers now the Arrestment has been executed, but I think the problem is with the bank as they are the ones denying you access to your funds. The Arrestment Schedule should have notified them of the PMB, so there is no excuse. Please let me know how you get on, as I would be keen to hear.11th_December_2019
  • George_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_It’s a PCN from Glasgow City Council… so I’m not sure if the Fines Enforcement Officer was involved? It was one of these automatic Sheriff jobs (charge certificate) via Stirling Park (which Sheriffs did deliver to my home address). I was going to appeal but didn’t get round to it as I have been unwell with a rare condition affecting cognitive process. The appeal was/would have been complex as the car got damaged in GCC’s parking place by their equipment; and the times on the PCN were all wrong…. How can I clarify the minimum protected balance situation? Many thanks11th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi George This sounds like a Arrestment of Funds Order executed on the basis of an Enforcement Order granted to a Fines Enforcement Officer. These are granted under the Criminal Proceedings etc (Reform) (Scotland) 2007 Act. I will be honest and say I am not totally sure the Protected Minimum Balance applies to these. The National Debtline appear to think they do,but the Scottish Courts website is silent on it. I will endeavour to find out, and let you know, but in the meantime you may want to phone the Fine Enforcement Officer at your local Sheriff Court. If the amount in your account is too low possibly they can advise the bank. My doubts are because the terminology “Arrestment of Funds in a Bank Account” is different from that in the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987, which governs bank arrestment which are normally called Actions of Arrestment and Furthcoming. P.S. I believe I had mistyped in another article the PMB was £529.30, but it’s actually £529.90. My apologies. I have corrected it on your post.10th_December_2019
  • George_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Question please! I have just received a letter from my building society saying that “an arrestment of funds order has been placed on this account”. (Account is with an English building soc – Nationwide – but who operate in Scotland also) My balance at time of them doing this was around £120. (My current income is around £470 pcm – benefits only). I find that the £120 is currently frozen at this first stage of the arrestment process, Am I right in saying that I should have access to this small sum as it is under the protected minimum balance of £529.90; and that the building soc should only hold/freeze anything over £529.90? If so, what is the actual legislation or regulation that binds the financial organisation. For info, the matter is about a disputed parking ticket and subsequent intervention by Stirling Park! Very many thanks! 10th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Charlie As your dispute relates to your liability and whether a Student Exemption Application has been properly applied, submit a letter of complaint to the Council and ask they place any further action on hold until your complaint is dealt with. I am assuming you live on your own and there is no other liable adults living in your home (otherwise it would be a Student Discount you applied for – 25% – although even if that is the case, depending on the circumstances of the other adult, they may be able to apply for Council Tax Reduction). I am also assuming you were a Student since April 2019, as that’s when the new financial year will have begun. Council Tax Bills should have been sent out in February or Match 2019, so if you haven’t received any correspondence, mention that in your complaint. The Council should deal with the complaint within 2 months. If they don’t or if they do and you are not happy with their proposed resolution of it, you can appeal it to the Valuation Tribunal. Just as a further piece of information, they will have wanted a stamped letter from you Insitute of learning as proof of your participation on your course. Do you know if you provided them with this. If you didn’t, I would speak to your University for proof of your enrolment on this course and give it to the Council and ask they backdate your exemption/discount to the date You began on the course. I am also assuming the arrears are for this financial years and do not relate to previous years. Finally, whilst the Charge for Payment is active and has not been put on hold there is a risk the Council could carry out further Diligence. If they don’t know where you bank account is this may make it more difficult for them, but bank account arrestments are only one of many options available to them.08th_December_2019
  • Charlie_Charge for Payment_Hi there, I am looking for advice. I am a student and have been sent a charge for payment for council tax arrears. I was under the impression I had already applied for council tax exemption. I have however done this again now and put in the dates which I started university after receiving this letter. I am worried, however, as this payment is unfair and I do not owe this money. I haven’t ever had a letter from Council Tax this year stating that I haven’t paid. The council tax office don’t have my bank account details as I have never had dealings with them. Is it still possible they can arrest my bank account? I don’t work and rely on student loan to support myself and my 2 children. What can I do from here? Thanks in advance08th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Possibly, but until someone challenges it in the Inner House Of the Court of Session, it is the law. However, it could be argued it is a civil matter so it not about guilt and the legal obligation is to be given the right to a fair hearing, which you have if you want to appeal it to the Valuation Tribunal. So like all legal points, Judges may not always take the point of view you think they will, as on the other hand this is about the effective administration of justice and collection of taxes and if every case had to appear in front of a Sheriff and everyone had a chance to defend it, the Courts could grind to a halt. I personally think it would be held to be legal and if anyone wanted to object, they would be told they can appeal.08th_December_2019
  • Harri_What is a Summary Warrant?_I appreciate the practical advice, and I’ll certainly look into this options. On a more theoretical level though – legal or not, does the granting of a summary warrant without a need for a case not violate both the principal of innocent until proven guilty and the right to a defence? I would think both of those are parts of the fundamental right to a fair trial, and surely such a fundamental right cannot be waived by mere legislation?08th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Harri I take your point. The problem is the Summary Warrant procedure is a legal one and enacted under UK Government Legislation and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Scottish Parliament. From the Council’s point of view that same legislation forced them to do what they are doing. However, by placing the Warrant on hold whilst they investigate your complaint is the correct course of action for them to take. Even if they don’t respond to your complaint within two months, you don’t have to wait till they do. You can then go directly to the Valuation Tribunal to appeal their decision on your liability, or if you want to complain about wider issues, you can ask the Scottish Public service Ombudsman to investigate. From my understanding, if you go to the Valuation Tribunal, a date will be set and the hearing will be heard by a Tribunal judge.07th_December_2019
  • Harri_What is a Summary Warrant?_In my case, my issue is that I received no communication from my council before the summary warrant, and was therefore unable to pay my bill. Despite this, their appeals process is proving difficult – despite council officials admitting that I was unable to pay. Also, while the warrant is currently on hold, that is a temporary state of affairs, and so I am the one facing a deadline despite the fact that the council is the party who needs to re-examine it’s case. I feel like if this had been conducted in the usual way, either the council would have been unable to provide a reasonable argument in their favour, or I would have been able to state my case in a very clear manner, and the outcome would be based on justice, not council procedure. In short, had the warrant been held to the same standards of evidence of any other court proceedings, I find it hard it difficult to believe it would have been granted, and if that’s the case, the process feels like an overreach of power with a lack of accountability.07th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Harri Thanks. It is not a dumb question at all and what you are saying is generally correct. However, if you don’t believe you are liable for a Council Tax debt, how you appeal depends on why you think you are not liable. If it is because you believe you were entitled to Council Tax Reduction, you should apply for Council Tax Reduction. If you are refused or you disagree with how much they say you are entitled to you appeal that decision. If it is because you think you were entitled to a Council Tax Exemption, or Discount you should apply for that exemption or discount. If it is refused you should make a written compliant to the Council and explain why you don’t agree with the decision. If you are not happy with the outcome of that complaint, you appeal the decision to the Valuation Tribunal. So although you don’t get a chance to defend the Summary Warrant, there are other ways to defend a Council Tax debt. This is the justification for why there is not a court hearing when the Summary Warrant is applied for.06th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Arrangement Scheme: What is Changing?_Hi Amanda Sorry the delay in getting back to you. A Charge for Payment is a legal demand for payment that says your Mum has 14 days to pay the debt she owes. If she doesn’t pay the debt within those 14 days, the Sheriff Officers can then execute Diligence. This means they can carry out other enforcement action, such as Wage Arrestments Bank Arrestments Attachment Orders You say your Mum is not working and is not well, so they will not be able to do a Wage Arrestment. They may try and arrest her bank account, but if there is less than £529.30 in it, it will fail. They will add the cost of the arrestment onto her debt, however and she may get a £25 fee applied to her account by her bank. If they do this, she should ask the bank to waive the fee. If she has more than £529.30 in her account, they can arrest any amount over that. I would suggest she should contact her local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and see if they can help her negotiate a solution with the lender. They cannot enter her home unless they have an Exceptional Attachment Order, but these are very rare, so I wouldn’t worry about that at the moment.06th_December_2019
  • Harri_What is a Summary Warrant?_Possibly dumb question, but how can the warrant be granted without giving the defendant a chance to defend themselves? I was under the impression that the right to representation was valid in all court proceedings.06th_December_2019
  • Amanda_Debt Arrangement Scheme: What is Changing?_Hi my mum had sheriff officers at the door today for a very account, what happens? She doesn’t work and is unwell,05th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi Jennifer I am sorry to hear about your situation. I am assuming you are not working. In terms of Stirling Park, they could try and arrest your partner’s bank account if you don’t make any payments. This would mean any sums over the first £529.30 in his account could be arrested. If the sums in his account are below this amount, the arrestment would fail, however the bank could still apply a £25 charge. The cost of the bank arrestment would still be added to the debt that you owe. If he has sums over this amount, the full amount could be taken up to the amount owed. They can’t arrest his earnings as he has none, as he is self employed; but if they know who he is working for as a self-employed person, they could try and arrest any sums he is owed. The £529.30 minimum protection would not apply, so they could ask for the full amount he is owed to be paid over to them. If either of you own a car they can try and attach it, but if it is worth less than £3,000 and you have a reasonable requirement for it, it is protected. If it is subject to finance, like hire-purchase or a PCP agreement, it cannot be attached as you don’t own it. They also cannot come into your home without carrying out a more complex procedure called an Exceptional Attachment Order. Unless they have applied to the Court for this, there is no need to worry about it at present. So really whether you want to make a payment to them just now is up to you, but if you think any of these recovery actions could succeed and you could lose more than they are asking for, you may want to make the payment they are seeking and then seek advice. Alternatively, if you can’t make the payment, you may want to look at whether your husband should use a Statutory Moratorium, which can stop all Sheriff Officers action for six weeks. However, before you do this, I would seek advice, as you can only use a moratorium once every 12 months. I would suggest going to your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and they can give you bespoke advice and assistance.05th_December_2019
  • Jennifer_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi. I am being chased by stirling park for this years council tax. My partner is self employed and has been struggling for hours for the past few weeks due to Winter hours which will increase again after christmas break. We’ve now found out he is off work for 4 weeks over Christmas then back on the 6th January, with no pay until 17th I think. I emailed stirling park with this info and offering 50 a week from the 17th of January. Was not accepted and was told I need to pay 65 from this week. I called them and this was reduced to 50 but only from this week forward. We have only 450 a week going into his account and nothing going into mine. How can I sort this? Any advice on how I could get them to wait? Thank you05th_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Kirsty If it is for Council Tax Arrears it will not affect your Credit File, as Local Authorities don’t share information with Credit Reference agencies. However, they can try execute Diligence against using you Sheriff Officers.04th_December_2019
  • Kirsty_Charge for Payment_Hi I am encountering the same issue. The creditor have had my details previously. Will this impact my credit file, despite little effort to try and contact me at my proper address?04th_December_2019
  • Mark_What is a Summary Warrant?_Thanks, that’s great.01st_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Mark If you don’t believe the Council followed the correct procedure you should complain. Ultimately, you can take your complaint to the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman. You should have received a Council Tax Bill just before the beginning of the new financial year, or when you moved in, if that was later. When a payment that was due was missed, you should have received a 7 day letter telling you to make the Payment. If the Payment was not received, they should have sent you a 14 day demand for Payment for the full amount. If you failed to make the full payment, they would then have applied for and issued the Summary Warrant applying a 10% surcharge. After that the debt would have went to Walker Love for recovery, who can issue a Charge for Payment. Their fees are then added to the debt. If your position is the Local Authority didn’t take some of these steps, then your course of action is to complain. If they don’t uphold your complaint, the Summary Warrant, the surcharge and the Charge for Payment (and the cost of executing it) stand. You can complain to the Ombudsman, see above, but until he upholds your complaint, the Council and the Sheriff Officers will continue to recover the debt. This could include taking further Diligence, like executing a wage arrestment or bank arrestment.01st_December_2019
  • Mark_What is a Summary Warrant?_Thank you. In my case a summary warrant was issued despite not receiving any correspondence from the council advising that a debt was due. I immediately challenged this in writing, asking for a breakdown of said debt and copied in WalkerLove (in essence appealing the warrant on this basis). I heard nothing back from the council for 4 weeks… Before receiving their response, I received a charge for payment from WalkerLove (despite appealing within 14 days of receipt of warrant). I actually agreed with the council’s explanation of the makeup of the outstanding debt and duly made an immediate payment to them. However, WalkerLove are continuing to chase me for their fees, which I believe is grossly unfair as the warrant and payment charge were challenged and ultimately issued unnecessarily.01st_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Mark It depends really why you want to appeal. If you want to appeal as you think the Bill should be reduced because you were entitled to Council Tax Reduction, then you appeal against the decision not to award Council Tax Reduction. You should do this by first requesting the Council review their decision. If you are still not happy, you can appeal the decision to the Council Tax Reduction Review Panel. If you want to appeal as you don’t think you are the liable person, or because you believe a discount or an exemption should have applied, or you think your property is in the wrong band, you should complain to the Council first. They should write back to you within two months. If they don’t write back to you, or your don’t agree with their response, you can appeal to the valuation Appeals Tribunal. Either way if you want to appeal, you must do so within 4 months of writing your complaint to the Council. 01st_December_2019
  • Mark_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi, as summary warrants are granted without a court hearing, what is the mechanism for appealing them if you feel that the local authority has acted improperly/unfairly? Should a formal complaint be raised with them directly? Thank you.01st_December_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Darren This sounds like typical fear tactics, to try and force you to make payments you cannot afford. They regularly enter into repayment plans with people that are not working and the Council can request deductions from your benefits towards you arrears and then put all further Diligence on hold. I would contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if they can help. In terms of business accounts, if you were a sole trader and the funds are in a sole trader business account, they could arrest it as it is funds that are owed to you personally. It is, therefore, important you get advice.29th_November_2019
  • Darren_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I have arrears for my council tax and today spoke to Walker Love who told me because I am not employed at the moment they cannot set up a temporary payment plan and the next stage is to arrest my account. I have a business account which has money in it but this is money that has been kept by for tax. Can they also arrest business accounts do you know? Thanks in advance29th_November_2019
  • BR_Where Has The Scottish Debt Advice Levy Gone?_Well done for flagging this up, there are currently discussions going on about how the debt levy should be spent. The main report and recommendations for this appear to have been concluded from a very small pool of participants. The money should be spent in Scotland and face to face hands on advice is vital. Vulnerable clients are not able to self help via a phone line despite what many think. Those high up in councils etc seem to think this is a great way of saving or will reduce pressure on face to face too, but it won’t. Even clients not classed as vulnerable will not manage to sit down and work out repayment plans and negotiate with creditors or look at their best debt options without support. They just say aye aye thanks on the phone then end up in crisis and at local agencies doors for the hands on help. I can only hope that the payment to Step change etc was a knee jerk reaction whilst a better decision is made. It needs to be clear where the money goes.28th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi C Lou It would be interesting to find out why the debt was left out the case, as it should not have been. If it’s an official error, there may be a remedy there. However, that aside, the position is it wasn’t paid off so is still owing as DAS is not a type of debt write off solution. Having a debt in a DAS also doesn’t prevent a court order being granted, it only prevents it being enforced if it is in the DAS. If it’s not in, it can still be enforced. Unfortunately, a decree has now been granted so it can last 20 years or more and be recovered for that period. However, it should be removed from your partner’s credit reference file after 6 years, but it is still a debt he owes.28th_November_2019
  • C Lou_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi My partner previously entered into a DAS for debt which was cleared. It appears that one store card was missed out from this. A decree was granted around 2013 to arrest his earnings, however by this time he was self employed therefore this was not successful. The CCJ still shows on his credit report. Is he still liable for this debt or can we defend the action based on the fact the decree was defective and has not been successfully enforced since then?28th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Drew Thanks for your question and I will do my best to answer it as simply as I can. First, if your Mum lived with your sibling when she got the Severe Mental Impairment (SMI) exemption, it would only have been for 25%, as she lived with your sibling. If she lived on her own, or from the point she lived on her own, it would have been 100% exemption. We should, therefore, break this into two periods. The first is her Council Tax liability for the period before she got her SMI and the period afterwards. In terms of the period before (and you should check the SMI could not be backdated till the point she had a qualifying benefit, like Attendance Allowance, Disability Allowance or Personal Independence Payment), normally a sibling wouldn’t be liable with their Mum. She would normally be liable on her own, unless the house they lived in was jointly owned by both them or there was a joint tenancy. If not, it would normally be your Mum who was liable for the Council Tax. If the house was jointly owned or there was a joint tenancy, they may be jointly liable for it. So if one cannot pay, the Council can pursue the other for the full amount. This is known as the Council Tax Liabilty Hierarchy. So normally the owner of the property is liable, or the tenant is liable, or where people co-habit as husband and wife they are joint and several liable. Children living in the family home are not usually joint and several liable, unless they are joint owners or tenants with their parents. Now for the period after the SMI was awarded, your Mum could not normally be held liable, even if it was only a 25% discount that was applied (as she didn’t live alone), as she has a SMI. It is likely in such a case, your Sibling was liable (working down the Council Tax Liability Hierarchy, as your Mum couldn’t be liable) The Council would then pursue your sibling for these arrears. However, it may be that for this period your sibling may have been entitled to a discount themselves as a resident carer for your Mum, this in total would mean a 50% discount (SMI plus Resident Carer). This would need to be applied for. Look on your local Council website and search for resident carer discount. They will normally have information about this on their site. Now what happens on the death of your Mum is different again. First her estate can only be held liable for the debts she was liable for, so that is why it is important to work out what she is liable for. I would argue she cannot be liable for any Council Tax debt from the point she was awarded an SMI, but she could be solely liable, or jointly for any arrears from before that period. If you live with her now you could be liable for the Council Tax (less her discount), but you may be entitled to a Resident Carer Discount. However, on her passing the Council can only claim against her estate for the debt she owed. It may be worth reading my page on What Happens to your Debts when you Die. If you are appointed her Executor, you have to wind up the estate properly and if she owns her home you may need to employ a solicitor. Also if her estate is worth more than £35,000 you normally have to employ a solicitor. The basic rules are the funeral costs must be paid first and then your Mum’s debts. You cannot be held liable for her debts, unless as Executor, you don’t wind up the Estate properly. So if there are funds to pay her debts, you must do this, or they can pursue you. If there is no money to pay her debts, then you cannot be held liable. If there is only enough to pay them partially, then you should take legal advice as you may need to bankrupt her estate. If your Sibling is jointly liable for any of the Council Tax debt and your Mum’s Estate cannot pay it off in full, then they may pursue your Sibling. If he isn’t jointly liable and there isn’t enough to pay the debt off, they will then write it off (unless the estate is made bankrupt and they think they can make a claim on the bankruptcy). Again to emphasise, your Mum cannot be held liable for any period she had the SMI. It may be worth contacting your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service to ask if they can help your work out what your Mum is liable for and what she is not liable for. This will make it a lot easier for you to work out.22nd_November_2019
  • Drew_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi. My divorced mother, who lives alone, was recently granted Council Tax exemption due to mental health issues. She still however has an outstanding four figure balance which was only discovered upon a sibling, who had resided with her all his life until 5 years, ago moved out. I have subsequently been awarded POA to look after my mother’s affairs. My mother has no owings since the time of my siblings departure and has been paying a modest amount of the owed sum each month. Upon her death would my sibling be responsible for mum’s outstanding council tax debt? Would it be myself? Or would there be a chance the council would write this off? Your advice would be most welcome.21st_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Trudi It is very possibly for Council Tax, as Local Authorities do more earning arrestments than anyone else for Council Tax. There is a number of things you can do to deal with a wage arrestment, but as to what is the correct course of action, that will depend on your personal circumstances. If you look at my page on How to Stop a Wage Arrestment it will give you, your options. I would also suggest you seek advice from your Local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service.21st_November_2019
  • Trudi_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi I have wage arresstment. I think it’s for council tax, as that’s the only thing I can think it is. We struggle to survive with the little I get in wages and now it’s making it impossible to save or live with this treatment. What can I do?21st_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Sarah It could be for any number of reasons. If you have been home and they have not left any documents, then it may have just been a chase up visit, because you missed your payment. Wires may have got crossed and they may not have realised you have been in touch. Give them a call and just ask. It will put your mind at rest and let them know you are 9 months pregnant. If it is anything more serious, I don’t think it is, come back on and let me know.19th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Sarah In theory they should not be able to do much. They cannot arrest your wages as you have none. However, they could try and freeze your bank account. If they do they could try and take anything over £529.90, the protected minimum balance. This could be challenged, but it is a lengthy process and unless it is, it will stand. If you have less than £529.90 in your account, it will fail, but you could get a £25 bank charge. I am assuming you don’t own a car. Depending on how much you owe you could be made Bankrupt, but if you are on benefits you won’t have to pay anything. The thing to remember is this debt will continue to increase, by at least 8% per annum and every time they try to do something, like serve a Charge for Payment they will add fees. I would suggest you contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if they can write to them to explain your situation. If they are aware of it, the firm may be willing to give you some breathing space.19th_November_2019
  • Sarah_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi, I had agreement set up with Scott & co for council tax arrears but direct debit failed last month due to new bank account and forgot to update. I have been in contact with Scott & co though and set up with new details, however sheriff officers came to door today when I wasn’t home. Do you know why this could be? Nearly 9 months pregnant so panicking a little especially since payment is set up!19th_November_2019
  • Sarah_Charge for Payment_Hi, I’ve just had a charge for payment through the door. It is for credit card, which I was unable to pay off when I lost my DLA and associated premiums. The decree was granted in December 2018. I an not working due to ill health. I care for husband who has a long term MH illness. We’re on benefits with no other income and live in a council house, no assets. What can they do if I have nothing?19th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Peter Can I offer my condolences first on the passing of your wife. They can ask for the information they have requested. Basically you and your wife will have been joint and several liable for your Council Tax and any arrears. As such the Council, as a Creditor, have a right to make a claim on your wife’s estate. Paying all her debts is one of the responsibilities of her Executor. So asking for evidence of her funeral expenses, is to help establish what was left in her estate to pay her debts, as these costs need to be deducted first. You can find out more about dealing with debts on the death of someone from my page on What Happens to your Debts when you Die.19th_November_2019
  • Peter_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_I recently moved after my wife died when the council found out they stopped my council tax reductions and are demanding I give them bank statements and the bill for my wife’s funeral her headstone costs the purchase and selling price of the property and any purchases for furniture and fittings for my new home can they do this19th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Claire As the Debt Arrangement Scheme is not a form of insolvency, only those debts included in it are covered by it. The important thing is to ascertain what debts were in the Debt Arrangement Scheme and which were paid. To do this go back to the Money Advice Agency that put you into the Debt Arrangement Scheme and ask them what debts were included. Most agencies will retain your data for up to six years after your case closes. If you cannot get in touch with them, contact the Payment Distributor who made the payments and ask they provide you with a record of all payments made for you and to whom. You are entitled to all this information for free, so it anyone says there is a Charge, ask for it by making a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act 2018. If the Debt was included and has been paid, provide the evidence to the Debt collectors and ask they update their records. If they refuse to do so, make a formal complaint and say the debt has been satisfied and paid in full as per the rules and Regulations governing the Debt Arrangement Scheme. Ultimately, if they still won’t stop trying to recover the debt, make a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service. If the debt was not included, ultimately you may have to pay it. However, ask why it wasn’t included if you can show you did provide details of it, as it should have been. The best advice is to go back to your money adviser, or another one, if they are not there anymore, and ask for their assistance. They should be able to help you investigate this and deal with it.14th_November_2019
  • Claire_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi, A decree was granted upon myself 6 years ago in relation to store card debt (in Scotland). The authority to arrest wages was subsequently granted upon my former employer, however I had been self employed for a couple of months prior to the decree being granted. As a result, my wages were not arrested as it was not possible to do so. Furthermore, I had consolidated some other debt as part of a DAS and as far as I was aware this store card debt had been included in the same. However, phone calls have recently been made to my workplace (where I remain self employed) requesting to speak to me about this debt. My DAS was cleared some time ago. I have not received any paperwork in relation to this from the Court or Sheriff Officers etc following the notice that decree had been granted 6 years ago. Am I still liable to pay this store card debt?14th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Alan Sheriff Officers aim to be as effective as they can for their customers, the creditors. They are private firms, so if they do their job well, they hope they can get more work. They are also executing Court Orders, so they are driven by a strong belief these orders should be implemented. They are professionals and highly driven people who take pride in doing their job well and I would say this, if you ever need a court order implemented, such as against a former employer who has not paid you your wages, you would want them to be like this. I can’t tell you how they knew. Have you ever used the address for any other purpose? Even as a temporary address? Could it be revealed from Social Media, or that you are in a relationship with your partner? Could they have found the address for her from the electoral register? Could they have spoke to your neighbours on the basis they wanted to confirm you still lived where you do and then maybe one has said you have a partner and where they lived? There is no way of knowing, it could have been a completely different source they had for the information, but they are good at it. It’s basically intelligence gathering and using that information to locate you. This is perfectly legal, even using social media, if you put information in the public domain. As long as they don’t tell people why they are looking for you or give people the impression they are someone they at not, what they are doing is allowed. Remember they are enforcing court orders, so the courts want their orders enforced, so Sheriff Officers can make reasonable enquiries.07th_November_2019
  • Alan_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hello I had sheriff officers at my partner’s home today, looking for me for an unpaid personal debt. I was just wondering how they could possibly suspect I lived there, as it’s not my place of residence. I only stay there now and again.07th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Rachel Unfortunately, your employer is correct. One does not exclude the other. However, a Direct Earning Attachment Order is a Non-priority Order, unlike an Earnings Arrestment which is a Priority Order. This mean, regardless of when the Earning Arrestment is applied, the Direct Earning Attachment must give way to the Earnings Arrestment. If the Earning Arrestment leaves you with less than 60% of your net earnings the Direct Earning Attachment should not be applied. However, if the Earning Arrestment leaves you with more than 60% of you net earnings the DEA can still be applied. If applying the full DEA would take you below the protected 60% that the law says you must be left with, the DEA can be applied partially, providing it doesn’t take you below the 60% safety net. The Direct Earning Attachment (DEA) will be for an overpayment of benefits. Do you know what type of benefit it was? If it was Housing Benefit, then the DEA will have been applied for by your local authority. If it was for another benefit, it will have been the Department of Work and Pensions that applied it. If your employer requires further advice he should contact whoever applied for it and bring to their attention that you now also have an Earnings Arrestment and they should give him guidance, as above (for DWP Debt Management see here) There is also more scope to modify a DEA, so sometimes those applying it can adjust the amount or lift it altogether and come to an arrangement with you instead, even if it can still be applied in addition to the Earnings Arrestment, if it is causing you hardship. If this is the case, you should contact them yourself, this isn’t your employers responsibility. Earning Arrestments are less flexible and harder to get the Council to lift. If neither will show you any flexibility, contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if they can help. A Debit Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme can lift an Earnings Arrestment. You need to also make sure you pay your current Council Tax, otherwise you will just Keep being in arrears and keep getting Earning Arrestments, with all the fees involved. The Debt Arrangement Scheme may be able to help you manage all this06th_November_2019
  • Rachel_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi If your debt is for Council Tax and you already have a DEA in place, surely they cannot take 19% plus the original amount? My employer has just told me that is how he understood it? 06th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Alison it should be the 2019 Schedule. If an earning arrestment was already in place it should have changed for the next deduction after the new Schedule was introduced, which as far as I can recall was the 6th April 2019. So any deduction after that date should have been done using the new Schedule.05th_November_2019
  • Alison_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi If an arrestment order was made in 2018, should the deduction rates at the time be used this year, or the rates that came out in April?05th_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Vishnu I am assuming you have either been made Bankrupt or granted a Protected Trust Deed, then run up further debt and an Earnings Arrestment has been executed for that other debt. Your employer must follow both instructions as he is legally required to do so. You need to go back to your Trustee and explain what has happened and ask he review how much you are paying to your Bankruptcy or Protected Trust Deed. If he refuses to do so, you need to seek independent advice from a money adviser from a Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service and ask if the can help. They can possibly ask the Trustee carries out a review of what you are paying. If the Trustee still refuses to do so they can apply to the Accountant in Bankruptcy to give the Trustee a Direction to do so.03rd_November_2019
  • Vishnu_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi If an employer received an earnings arrestment order and a trustee’s order from two different courts can they action both?02nd_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi There are two separate issues here. 1) Is whether the removal of your Blue Badge should have been removed? Have you appealed that decision? (See What Happens if My Application is Refused?). You only have 20 days to appeal a decision to refuse you a Blue Badge if a decision is taken to refuse you one. If you have not appealed, you could ask for a late appeal, or re-apply and if refused again, appeal at that point. 2) The second issue is your parking ticket. The Council will likely take the view, your Blue Badge complaint aside at the moment, you had been refused, so you should not have been using a disabled space. If you can get the Blue Badge reinstated, they may change their view, but I don’t think they are obliged to. The fine can certainly be enforced if the appeal process has been exhausted or the time for it has lapsed. They do not need to take you to Court as a Registration process is used to enforce it and it can be passed to Sheriff Officers for recovery. This means Stirling Park can serve a Charge for Payment. They can also execute a Bank Arrestment. However, if the funds in your account are less than £529.30 it will fail, but the cost of them trying it can be added to your debts and your bank can add a £25 administration fee to your account (you can ask them to remove it as this is the first attempt to arrest your bank account and it has failed). This is not to say Stirling Park cannot try again, and you could be liable for fees and charges again. The Charge for Payment does not need to be signed for. It has to be delivered by Sheriff Officers, but it can be posted through your door. They will have done this in twos, so where people deny they received it, they have a witness it was served. I would recommend to stop this debt getting out of control, and increasing, you seek advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service.01st_November_2019
  • Jason_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I have been issued a bank arrestment for an unpaid parking ticket that I am currently disputing again Glasgow City COUNCIL (GCC) for wrongful removal of Blue Badge. I received a Charge notice from Stirling Park in July 2019, at which point I informed them I was still in dispute with GCC. I have receive no correspondence from them after that telephone call. They said they served a Charge Notice in August, I never received any notice by hand or by registered post. This complaint is still ongoing with GCC. Can this bank arrestment be enforced for a parking ticket? Do they require a court order to enforce this? If they are serving important documents, should they require to be signed for? As it is showing as a pending transaction and I have less than £300 in my account, will this arrestment fail? Stirling Park are unhelpful with advice and I am now being treated by them as if I were a criminal.01st_November_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi There is no easy answer to this. Much of it depends on who the order is against: your employer as an individual (was he a sold trader?); or his Company? This matters as this is the person you have a right to recover the money from. This also may restrict/ limit how you recover your debts. If your employer worked from home, it’s more difficult to send Sheriff Officers in to a home than it is to send them into business premises. And there is recovery procedures that can be used to seize money on business premises, but cannot be used in a home. I would suggest you think about what you know about your former employer or his Company. Where does he bank (bank arrestments)? When does he pay his staff (this is when he is most likely to have funds in his bank account)? Does he own cars, vehicles? Are these subject to finance agreements? If they are, it’s unlikely Sheriff Officers could take them. Does he keep cash on his business premises? Sheriff Officers could attempt a Money Arrestment. Does he get paid by someone else? Sometimes if someone is going to pay him money, Sheriff Officers can order the money is paid to them. The problem with Sheriff Officers is they charge fees and there is no guarantee they will be successful. However, if you don’t use them, your former employer just doesn’t need to pay you. Getting as much information about your former employer can help reduce the risk as the Sheriff Officers could suggest the procedure most likely to succeed. I would think about what you know and then contact the Sheriff Officers and ask if they would discuss your options with you.27th_October_2019
  • Andrew_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi My previous employer is due my brother and I over £4000 in wages and holiday pay. We have went to a tribunal and won, but still not getting the money from our previous employer. Would you say it is worth getting a sheriff officer to try and get the money or do you think it would just be a waste of time?26th_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Can Benefit Overpayments be Recovered during a Formal Debt Solution?_Hi As you will be aware, Direct Earning Attachments are normally for overpaid benefits by the Department of Works and Pensions. However, Local Authorities can also do them for overpaid Housing Benefit. The way it should work is you should have been notified by the DWP that they think there had been an overpayment of benefits. They then make a decision to that effect. If you disagree you can appeal the decision. If you don’t appeal it or you are not successful, the decision stands and they can recover the debt. In Scotland they have 20 years to do this, so it can be an old debt. They don’t need to notify you they are going to do a DEA before they do it and your employer is correct, he has no option but to execute it. What I would suggest is you contact Debt Management at the DWP. They should be able to give you more information about the debt. You can get there contact details here.25th_October_2019
  • Whyte_Can Benefit Overpayments be Recovered during a Formal Debt Solution?_Please I need your enlightenment on this issue, because this is the second time it is happening to me and I feel it is not right. Though I stand to be corrected. I have a Direct Earning Attachment from DWP. The only way I found out about it was seeing it on my pay slip. Up to this moment, I have no clue what the debt is about. I never got any communication whatsoever from DWP to this effect. I called my employer to find out. He didn’t know what it is for either, but he said he has to make the deduction or else he will be fined a thousand pounds. The money that I was told I owe is less than £200. I could have easily made an arrangement to make this payment within a short time without them going to my employer. The truth is I didn’t know about this debt until I got my payslip. My question is this, is it the right thing for DWP to do the attachment without me even knowing about the debt? My employer did not even contact me before deducting the percentage. I found this embarrassing, as I could have easily made this payment directly to DWP without any issue if I was informed about it.25th_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Derek I don’t think you have any thing to worry about, but there are a few steps you may want to take to be on the safe side. First make sure the electoral register is up to date and the previous occupant is still not listed at your address. Secondly, make sure the previous occupant is not linked to you or any other adults in your household on their credit reference file (they shouldn’t be, but sometimes this can happen and have a detrimental effect on your credit rating). You can do this by requesting a free statutory credit reference report (see here). If they are you just submit a Notice of Disassociation to the Credit Reference Agency (again for free) and they will remove the person and notify the other Credit Reference Agencies, so they can do the same. Finally, you may want to contact Scott and Co and bring it to their attention the person has moved, to avoid them coming out to your home. It is not your responsibility to tell them where the person moved to or to trace them. Sheriff Officers when they come to your home are reasonable people and are not likely to be trying to come into your home. This is a very rare procedure, called an Exceptional Attachment Order and only happens as a last resort. If Sheriff Officers do come to your door, just explain you purchased the property from the person they are seeking and provide them with proof of your identity. They should be fine with this and update their records. You do not need to give them any further information as you are not liable for this debt. If they continue to harass you, you can raise a complaint with them and take it to their professional body, The Society of Sheriff Officers and Messengers at Arms.24th_October_2019
  • Derek_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi We had an envelope that was addressed to a previous owner/occupier of our property (who sold it to us in March 2017) suggesting it contained a citation for the Sheriff Court (although the district of the court was not written in the space provided). I returned the envelope to the Edinburgh Sheriff Court who opened it and said that it had in fact been sent from Scott & Co (Edinburgh), and as they had opened it they said they would send it back to them as they did not deal with the contents of the letter. We have sent post back to Scott & Co previously on a “non known at this address” basis previously (as you can tell it is from them looking at the return address on the back). My concern is that despite the previous occupant not living here they will turn up looking to look for assets to recover the debt. Will they accept evidence that the previous occupant is not her so that they stop?24th_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Samantha Thanks for coming on. There is actually two issues here. First there is the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice (Parking Fine); and then there is the issue of the bank arrestment. There are both linked, but separate also. Taking first the bank arrestment, which is the more urgent issue you and your son is facing. What the Council have done is registered the Parking Fine with the Court and this allows them to do the bank arrestment (also known as an Action of Arrestment and Furthcoming). You don’t get any advance notice of this, in case you remove the funds from the account prior to the bank arrestment being executed). Not all the funds should have been arrested. You should, therefore, be able to remove £529.90, which is known as the Minimum Protected Balance. In relation to the rest of the funds that have been arrested, you can challenge this, by submitting a Notice of Objection on the basis that all or some of the funds are owed to a third party (namely your son). You can do this using form 63F, which you can download here (word version.) This Notice of Objection is done under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 and your argument is essentially what you have explained to me about this account. You could attach to Form 63F the explanation that you have provided me. It is free to do this and what you need to do is complete Form 63F and take it your local Sheriff Court and the Sheriff Clerks Office. Also take the notification that you have received from the Sheriff Officers. The action can actually be raised by your Son, and this may be worth considering, as your son may be entitled to legal aid and a solicitor could act on his behalf. Alternatively you could request assistance from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Agency. The Council will then be notified that you have submitted a Notice of Objection. They may agree to release the funds at this point, but if they don’t the Court will set a Hearing date. You or your Son (depending who is raising the action), has to be represented at this Hearing to make your case. The problem is this can take time and is not quick. A quicker solution may be found by trying to negotiate with the Council and if you contact your local solicitor or advice agency, they should help you with this. You can find out more about challenging a Bank Arrestment from my page about this (see here). In relation to the Penalty Charge Notice, (see my page about them here), there was an appeal process, but it seems you have not used this or it has not been held in your favour. What happens at the end of this process is the Council register the fine with the Court, that allows them to do the Bank Arrestment. There is no Court Hearing. There is a possible legal argument, however, when a Bank Arrestment is executed if its in relation to a debt that is awarded by the Court without a Court Hearing, it may be possible to use a Hearing about the Bank Arrestment as a Hearing to dispute whether you own the debt – because you never previously had a chance to do so before in Court. There is some court case law that may help with this argument (see North Lanarkshire Council v John Sexton). This is a complex legal argument, but if you have a solicitor making the case or an experienced Money Adviser, they should be able to do so). Another alternative is try and raise the issue with your local Councillor and ask if they can speak to the Council on your behalf. This may get you a quicker result. There is definetly a legal route, but it just may take longer and be more complex, but ultimately an option. Do not agree to sign the forms they sent you as this will automatically release the funds that have been frozen in your account. If you do nothing, they will get the Funds in 14 weeks as they will then automatically transfer, but if you challenge the Arrestment, they will remain frozen until this issue is dealt with by the Court. You have 4 weeks from the date of the Arrestment being Executed, to submit a Notice of Objection.12th_October_2019
  • Samantha_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I have DWP Appointee-ship for my disabled son. He lent his brother money when his brother was at Uni. I was aware of the agreement, he was old enough to make that choice and also living at home so we both worked out how much he could lend his brother at any point in time. I did advise that he save up whatever amount he borrowed over the years as his brother wants to do his driving and save for a car and I felt that a perfect opportunity and one we agreed on, however his brother didn’t set up an account once he was working so I opened an account online through my internet banking under my name as his DWP Appointee, (as I am entitled to do as long as only his money goes in to it and not mine or anyone else’s ). It couldn’t be transferred to the acc that his benefit goes in to as I haven’t set up the facilities to put money in, only take out…as at the time there was no reason to put money in to that account. I opened it with £20 and once his brother started sending money every month I withdrew the £20 used to open the acc. There is only 1 person who pays money in and only 1person who gets money from that account. My son is going on holiday on 17th and needs spending money so I went to the account set up for him and over 1k has been ‘arrested’. It was arrested in 8/10/19. As I was speaking to him trying to explain what had happened I opened a letter that had literally been posted through my door and watermarked as 11/10/19, as is the letter. This letter is for parking fines which I disputed over 2yrs ago with the council as they awarded me a blue badge which I paid for, yet it was only awarded for 6mths therefore unbeknown to me it was out of date. At no point did I ever see a ticket on my car and my witness was a senior manager who actually worked for the council. I asked for photographs and was sent 1 which showed a silver Toyota, not my car! This letter states that the arrestment was executed in 4/10/2019 however nothing has been served on me and this is the first contact I have had regarding the issue since disputing it through a solicitor. The letter, dated 11/10/2019 states that this is a mandate for the release of the arrested funds, and there are two places at the bottom for me to sign which agrees to the money being withdrawn, and a further section stating that upon implementation of this mandate this correspondence can be taken as a formal letter advising (my bank) that the arrestment can be considered withdrawn and departed from etc. and there is a space for the sheriffs officers to sign. I have read your advice, however….given that there are two places for my signature authorizing that they can withdraw the money, I am sure that this should have been obtained before any monies taken. I have via my solicitor asked to agree upon a repayment sum which they won’t consider, however as far as I am aware under the debtors Scotland act they must do so, particularly as I myself am on low income. Finally, I’m struggling to understand how they can state that the arrestment was executed on the 4/10/2019 which I can categorically state that it was not, take money out of an account on the 8/10/2019 without my knowledge and when the issue is still under dispute, and then send me the mandate for authorizing my bank to release funds on the 11/10/2019. This all seems to be very backwards and the main point is that they have not arrested my money….and I have a bank account….but have arrested my sons money from an account where his brother pays a set amount per month and my son is the only one to have any monies transferred to him. I’m aware that they do not know that it is my sons account and money, albeit under my name and managed on his behalf as requested by him, but they are fully aware that I am DWP Appointee therefore I would assume that they would ask first considering they do have this information. Can you please advise Many thanks12th_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Jimmy They are expected to make reasonable enquiries to ensure the Court paperwork is served properly. So, possibly asking neighbours if you live there or have they seen you, I think would be deemed reasonable. If you were not living there, for example, they would need to return the paperwork to the Sheriff Clerk, as the Sheriff may havd to order another mode of service to be used. What they shouldn’t do is tell your neighbours what it is about. Unfortunately, everyone thinks Sheriff Officers only deal with debt, but as you have found out they can be involved in serving a whole variety of Court paperwork for lots of different matters. I am pretty certain there would have been no intention to embarrass you. They will just have wanted to ensure you received the paperwork.04th_October_2019
  • James_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_I had a citation put through my letterbox today trying to stop me taking my son out of Scotland, to move down to England. Because they recieved no answer from my door, they knocked on another five neighbours doors asking if I stayed there and was I home. The sheriff’s officers obviously know I lived there, as that’s why the sheriff’s clerk told them I stayed. Is this legal for the officers to be doing this? Jimmy.04th_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Can Benefit Overpayments be Recovered during a Formal Debt Solution?_Hi Rusty Not for private landlord rent arrears, even if they have a Court Order. However, they can charge 8% interest and pursue you for it for up to 20 years (although unlikely). May be worth speaking to your local Citizen Advice Bureau, as you may have other options, even if you cannot pay just now.02nd_October_2019
  • Rusty_Can Benefit Overpayments be Recovered during a Formal Debt Solution?_Hi I am being perused by a private landlord for rent arrears of nearly £3k. I am not working and get benefits, they have a sheriff court decree to recover the money. Can they take it from my benefits as I cant pay the amount owed?02nd_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi James I am sorry you are in this situation and feel so intimidated. Firstly, there is no need to be. No-one is going to kick your door in, least of all a Sheriff Officer, who is an Officer of the Court and heavily regulated. I am not sure if it is Sheriff Officers or debt collectors and as my page on Sheriff Officers explains they are very different things (see here). I would seriously urge you to contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Council and ask if they have a money adviser/debt counsellor you can speak to. It is likely this can be resolved quite easily with their help and it also sounds like you need your benefits checked to make sure you are getting everything you are entitled to. You can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau here, or contact your local Council here. Ignoring a problem never fixes it and you cannot continue to live in fear.01st_October_2019
  • James_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi I have had a lot of money issues over past few years and it has been a long time since I have paid any council tax. I always got into debt with a catalogue company and have two officers at my door every day money to friday between 9 and 6. If I keep ignoring door will they end up kicking it. I’m pretty much house bound, due to anxiety and this is making life unbearable. I’m not sure what I should do to try and resolve this my benefits were cut over a year ago, so ever day is a struggle. I am not even sure how I’d begin to pay the money back. I am so scared.01st_October_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Jade I am sorry to hear this has happened to you. It always comes as a shock, as you don’t always get notice that a bank arrestment is about to happen. The official name for this is an Action of Arrestment and Furthcoming and you don’t get notice it will happen, to avoid you moving the funds from the account. They must leave you £529.30 in your account. This is the Minimum Protected Balance. The Bank should know who has done it as they will have received an Arrestment Schedule and that should say who the Sheriff Officers are and who the Creditor is, but you will get a letter, probably after the weekend. You won’t be able to sort this out until after the weekend, so you will have to make a hard decision, but I would advise feeding you and your child and heating your home is your priority, as is getting to work. A Money Adviser working with your local Citizen Advice Bureau, or your local Council can help you with your rent arrears and this debt and it can be explained to your landlord why this happened and you are trying to sort this out. They will not be happy, but they can’t just evict you, so don’t worry about that just now. If no-one has taken you to court for a debt and you don’t have a Credit Union loan, I suspect it is for Council Tax Arrears. This is the most common reason bank accounts are arrested. So if you have missed a few months Council Tax (or have done in the past), this is the most likely reason. Bank Arrestments can be challenged (see here), but it can be difficult and the Courts have to be used. A Citizen Advice Bureau Money Adviser or Council Money Adviser may be able to help you with this and I would argue the more likely grounds for doing so would be it is unduly harsh. However, there is no guarantee of success and it takes time. A more likely solution is to get a money adviser to contact the creditor and ask they release some of the funds to you. They may be willing to do this if it can be shown the arrestment will be harsh. Going forward you may want to look at Statutory Moratoriums, which give you 6 week protection from Sheriff Officers till you get things sorted and the Debt Arrangement Scheme. There may be other options also. You will need to speak to a money adviser about this. In my option the best person to speak to is your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Adviser, but there are is also Stepchange a national debt charity that operates a national debt telephone line service. They can also allow you to access the Debt Arrangement Scheme, but won’t negotiate with the Creditor over this arrestment like a CAB or Council Money Adviser will (I don’t think). You should also get a full benefit check done to see if you are entitled to any extra money. If your follow the highlighted text above, I have hyperlinked to other pages that should give you more information and direct you to other sites that can help. Please let me know how you get on.28th_September_2019
  • Jade_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I opened up my online banking today, to find I had a £586 account arrestment. The bank can’t tell me who the creditor is and have said I will need to wait 4 to 5 working days for the letter. I have been left with less than 500 to live on for a whole month as I just got paid yesterday. I can’t pay my rent and buy shopping and get to work. I have to choose to pay my rent or eat. I have an 11 year old child and I just dont know what to do. As it’s a Friday I cant even contact citizens Advice. I work 10 hour shifts so most places are closed when I finish work. HELP.27th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi No, as far as I am aware they can’t. I believe the relevant rules are contained in the Gas (Prepayment Meter) Regulations 2006 and the Electricity (Prepayment Meter) Regulations 2006. Both these Regulations allow for Prepayment Meters to be used to recover debts that were accrued at a different address,but only if they enter a voluntary agreement with you. You can cancel that agreement at anytime. I have to confess this is not an area I have lots of experience in, but from what I understand these Regulations are still in force. In both Regulations, Regulations 3 to 5 are the most relevant ones (see the hyperlinks above).26th_September_2019
  • S L_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I owe SSE for an unpaid utility bill. It went to court and they got a decree. I explained to the sheriff I live alone on £53 per week so they’re wasting their time. I had to move and it turns out the new place has SSE as a pay as you go provider. Can they just add that unpaid bill as a debt to the new place’s pay As you go account debt? They know where I am and are bound to notice there’s a live account.26th_September_2019
  • Richard_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Thank you so much for the advice, I will wait until next year just to be sure.24th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Richard I would probably advise against that. Although Short Negative prescription is five years in Scotland, there are a number of factors you need to take into consideration. The first is when did the prescription begin running? There has been a recent case in Scotland (PRA Group Ltd v MacPherson) where it was held prescription didn’t begin running until a Default Notice was served. You may want to find out when this happened first, by doing a credit check. Also, you may be better giving it six years to be on the safe side, as there has been a recent court decision where Sheriff Reid in Glasgow held a creditor could rely on the six year English Law Limitation rule in a Scottish Court, even when it involved a consumer debt. It was an extremely complex case, where Govan Law Centre argued, the lender couldn’t rely on the Limitation Act 1980 (6 years), as it was English Law and Scots Law on Prescription (5 years) had to apply. The Sheriff disagreed and held as the difference was so slight and the contract said the governing law was English Law, it could apply. So a belt and braces approach may be waiting 6 years from the date the account went into default.22nd_September_2019
  • Richard_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi I had an Argos card, which I had forgot about and have not paid anything since 4th October 2014. I have just received an annual statement and a letter from a collection company. As I have not acknowledged the debt or answered the letters, would I be right that I can write to them in October using a sample letter stating that time has run out to recover the debt?22nd_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Karen The best thing for you to do is to go and see your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service (you can find details of them here – Find your Local Citizen Advice Bureau – Find Your Local Authority. A Charge for Payment gives you 14 days to seek advice, so have time. For more information on Charges and what you can do, see here.20th_September_2019
  • Karen_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I’ve just had Sheriff Officers at my door with a Charge for Payment of Money for a 13 year old council tax debt from my previous residency. What will I do. I live on my own and on benefits. I refused to give them bank account details when asked. I would appreciate an early reply as I suffer from depression and acute anxiety20th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Helen Unfortunately, as it is Council Tax Arrears, you are both treated as being liable for it. This means both of you can have your wages arrested for the same debt at the same time. What is important is you need to be paying your current Council Tax, otherwise, you will get another Summary Warrant and the wage arrestment will just continue. Basically, it becomes a vicious circle. You can’t pay your current Council Tax because of a wage arrestment,so you get another Summary Warrant and they apply another wage arrestment when this one is done. If the wage arrestment is for this year 2019-20, you need to get it resolved hopefully before the next financial year, 2020-21, otherwise they will send out more Summary Warrants next year. One option is to look at doing a Joint Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme, as this could get both your wage arrestments stopped. If you want to explore this option further, contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service.16th_September_2019
  • Helen_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_My partner has his wages arrested for our council tax and we thought that was it. Now they have arrested my wage also. Can this happen?15th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi This is out with my knowledge and experience. Much of this will be dealt with by the type of bank accounts your friends has and what those banks rules are in relation to transactions fees. I would recommend your friend speaks to an accountant who has some expertise in this area and is familiar with what the legal requirements are that he needs to satisfy.15th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi What you are asking about is a matter of Family Law, which I don’t deal with. I can tell you there are strict rules regarding service of documents by Sheriff Officers, but I could not tell you if how they have served the documents in your case is correct. You would need to speak to a solicitor, preferably one that specialises in Family Law.15th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi David Normally, Summary Warrants are sent to the Courts in volume and are granted without a hearing. If you want to check it is genuine, I would contact your Local Council. If they have issued one, it will be genuine. It is an administrative process and on application, the Court just awards them on mass. They don’t query the information the Local Authority supplies them with, it just assumes it is correct. There is no reason why a Local Authority would issue one without it being genuine, as if they apply for it, there is no question they can get it.15th_September_2019
  • David_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi Could you tell me if a Summary Warrant is granted in the Sheriff Court should there be a court reffrence number with it, so that you can phone the court to verify that it is genuine.12th_September_2019
  • R Fitzpatrick_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I was served with a divorce settlement by Sheriff Officers. The only thing is I do not live at property address that is on the document and part of my name is wrong. Can they take my friends stuff? We were also married but divorced in 2012, but remain friends. I have my own house which I own. She stays in council house with her daughter. They can have my house, I don’t care, as the bank owns it. I own nothing11th_September_2019
  • alice_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi there, I would like to seek your advice. My friend who is from Scotland is working in Brunei as a contract engineer with an EPC contractor . He is paid in USD. When his company pays him his salary for this project, he needs to pay a few different fees (Sign off fees and stamp feed) to the off shore bank in order to get his money into his Scottish bank account. He is requested to pay all these fees before the bank release the money into his account. However, after the money has been credited into his bank account in Scotland, his account was frozen. He is being told that he needs to pay a sum of money in USD for the International Monitoring Fund and a Certificate to unfreeze his account. Is there such a law and fees impose ?11th_September_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Donna First I am sorry to hear about your daughter’s situation. Who has notified her that her bank account is about to be arrested? This is unusual, as normally they just do it. If they pre-warn you, you can remove the funds from the account. They can only arrest a bank account after they have taken court action against her. There are some exceptions to this, when they can use a process called Summary Diligence, but that is only for certain types of debts like Credit Union loans. They cannot do it for consumer credit debts, like credit cards and catalogues. So has someone taken her to court? If not it may still be possible to dispute her liability for the debt. If they have taken her to court and obtained a court order, it is too late to dispute the debt. If they have a court order they can attempt to arrest her wages. However, the first £529.90 is protected, so they can only arrest amounts over that. However, even if they attempt to arrest her account and it fails, her bank can apply a £25 charge (if they do this, ask it be refunded). If they arrest the account and there is more than £529.90 in the account, they can take the surplus up to the full amount owed. If they do this and the money is all social security benefits, the competency of the bank arrestment can be challenged by going to court. This is a free process and you want to get a money adviser to help her do this or visit your local law centre. I think it is best your daughter get good money advice from her local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. You can get their details here (Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice) If you need any further help, or have further information, come back on.16th_August_2019
  • Donna_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_My daughter was in an abusive relationship and her ex ran up debt using her details. Three years has passed since she escaped, but has now been notified that her bank account is about to be frozen. She has no proof the debt isn’t hers and now survives on disability benefits. Can these be arrested?16th_August_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Tam I am sorry to hear about your situation. I have edited some of your comment, as I think you should speak with a housing solicitor before giving any explanations. I am not familiar with the type of tenancy agreements that are used in the Social Bite Village, but as Sheriff Officers served you an eviction notice, I am assuming your case did go to Court. If this was the case and you were not represented and did not appear, it may be you may be able to get this eviction notice recalled. In terms of the serving of the Notice of Eviction, this is served by Sheriff Officers and normally they can serve it by leaving it at your place of residence. Whether giving it to staff at the Social Bite Village is proper service from a technical point of view, I am not sure. If it wasn’t given to you personally by the Sheriff Officer or left at your place of residence, I am doubtful whether it is. This is a more technical argument and if you can get a recall this would be a better course of action. Can I ask you give Shelter a call tomorrow? They are the experts on this stuff and can give you proper advice and possibly even provide you with assistance in recalling the eviction if possible. You can call them on their Helpline on 0808 800 4444 or chat online with them here.13th_August_2019
  • Tam_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I am in the social bite village for homelesss people. I have been served with a notice to quit by a sherriff officer, that wasn’t actually served on me. Two members of staff signed for it, then gave it to me when I came home. I refused to accept it as it wasn’t served on me. I wasn’t given a letter to tell me I was going to recieve this. The excuse they used for it was they said I vandalised the property. They also said I intimidated another member. I am wondering were I stand regarding the letter they served on me, as it wasnt actually handed to me.13th_August_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Kelly Direct Earning Arrestments are a debt recovery tool that can be used to recover benefit overpayments. The amount they can take can vary, but can be as much as 20% of your net earnings after tax and national insurance are deducted. In certain circumstances it can be as much as 40%, but only if the overpayment arose from fraud. Normally, DEAs are only applied for if you are not in receipt of a benefit that the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) or your local authority can take deductions from and they have not been able to agree a repayment plan with you (or if you have had one, you stopped paying it). You, however, do have options, so I would suggest as a course of action: 1) Contact your local authority’s Debt Management Team (I know you have, but try calling and ask to speak to someone in Debt Recovery). Ask if they will enter a voluntary repayment plan with you or agree to a fixed amount each month that you can afford to be deducted from your earnings. Explain your financial circumstances and why what they are proposing to take will cause you hardship. They do have the power to be flexible. 2) Get a full benefit check done and make sure you are in receipt of all the benefits that you are entitled to. This includes single person discounts for Council Tax, if you live on your own. You can do your own benefit check online here. 3) Get free money advice and consider all your options. This includes looking at, amongst other options, the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This will involve doing an income and expenditure with a money adviser and seeing what you can afford to pay towards your debts, but only after you have been left enough to pay all your essential outgoings, including your current Council Tax. With the Debt Arrangement Scheme you do have to include all debts and it will damage your credit rating. However, it should prevent you getting into further debt if the DEA is going to leave you unable to pay other bills. Once the Money Adviser has agreed with you what you can afford they will offer that to your creditors and if it is accepted, Local Authorities normally have a policy of ceasing all recovery action, including DEAs. You would then just make one payment per month to a Payment Distributor, who would pay the people you owe money to. In terms of where to get free money advice, you can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or contact your local Council and ask them where you can get free money advice in your area. They may provide it themselves or will fund an advice agency in your area to do it. I hope this helps. Even if the Debt Arrangement Scheme is not suitable for you, there are other options available. If I can be of further help please don’t hesitate to ask.12th_August_2019
  • Kelly_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi I was wondering if you can help. I received a letter on 9/8/19 about an over payment of housing benefit in 2014. It says they have applied for a Direct Earning Arrestment (DEA) on my wages. I called the number today to be told I have to wait 3-5 working days for someone to call me back. I’ve received no letters or anything to say about over payments. Can this DEA be stopped? I am really anxious about them doing this. What are options?12th_August_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Your welcome Ron and you made me think, you may have a point about LILA’s, so thanks. Everyday is a school day.23rd_July_2019
  • Ron Eadie_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi I much appreciate the advice you have provided me with and I will check out the case of the PRA Group v Reilly. Thanks23rd_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Disclaimer @ Complaints_One other point you may want to consider Ron, is a case Mike Dailly, from Govan Law Centre, was involved in: PRA Group v Reilly. In that case the PRA Group were able to argue it was possible for the English Limitation period of 6 years to apply to a Consumer Credit debt owed by a Scottish Consumer. Again a Sheriff Reid decision. I am just conscious your Trustee was not discharged until January 2014 and the 6 years would not be up to January 2020. Most Consumer Credit contracts will have clauses that say the governing law of the contract is English Law, so worth checking. This could be another obstacle the other parties throw down for you even if you are successful in arguing the 20 years doesn’t apply.23rd_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi Ron As you will know from your research both LILA and Full Adminsitration Bankruptcies are essentially the same, it’s just the eligibilty criteria for applying was different, as was how they were administered, with LILA being administered in a low cost way. The crucial question is whether there was an ajudication. If your case was never transferred into the Full Administration Bankruptcy process, there won’t have been. To be fair this is a fairly esoteric point, but you appear to have researched the matter thoroughly, So well done. I am sure the Creditors and their lawyers will have their arguments, so do let me know how you get on, I am interested in hearing.23rd_July_2019
  • Ron Eadie_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi Thanks for the information. I am aware of Sheriff Reid’s comments in the Donnelly v RBS case especially the part on the 20 year prescription period. The Donnelly bankruptcy was done under a full administration and Protected Trust Deed a LILA sequestration has very different rules and regs. And yes I agree the legal issues are mind boggling! I contacted The Accountant in Bankruptcy by email this morning asking if my creditor had made a claim during my sequestration and their reply was “We informed them of your sequestration, but cannot confirm if they made a formal claim or received any dividends” the reason for this is the data is not available due to the new data protection laws. Reading between the lines I would say that they did not make a claim and therefore the 5 year prescription period still applies. Anyway, thank you for your help and I will let you know how I get on in obtaining the PPI redress.23rd_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi Ron Thanks for your comments. I appreciate the point your making and would love to hear of any success you have on making it. You may find it interesting to read, if you have not already, the decision of Sheriff Reid in Donnelly v RBS. In that decision Sheriff Reid gives a lengthy judgement and looks at this issue at length from paragraph 63 onwards. There may be a case to be argued that if the creditors did not submit a claim, there could not have been an adjudication and, therefore, the 5 year role may still apply. It’s a complex area of law and would really depend on what happened in your sequestration. To be honest it’s probably out the scope of this blog, but thanks for raising the question. It’s an interesting one and would love to know the outcome.22nd_July_2019
  • Ron Eadie_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi My sequestration was processed under the low Income Low Assets rules. The creditors were informed before making any claim that they would unlikely receive any dividends in the bankruptcy. Consequently when the Trustee was discharged any adjudication/court order was ended with all the terms and conditions fulfilled. This ends the relevant claim and would force the creditors to make a new claim in a alternative civil procedure. So I think that the obligation then reverts to the 5 year prescription period. My point is at discharge of the trustee the adjudication which is analogous to a court order has been satisfied and all the obligations and requirements have been fulfilled.22nd_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi Ron You are correct, your discharge frees you from any liability for these debts, but technically they still exist. You can no longer be pursued for them and as the Trustee is no longer in Office, having been discharged, there is no-one effectively collecting them. However, as they have been part of a Sequestration, they are covered by the 20 year long prescription period, not the the 5 year period. Where this may be important is where, say for example, there is a PPI refund for PPI that you took out prior to going bankrupt. The Trustee may be notified of this by the Firm making the refund, and he may try and re-open your bankruptcy to return these funds to the creditors, as your debts still exist. This is because the Trustee would have had an interest in them and that interest in them would have vested in him, even if he was not aware of it during your bankruptcy. Alternatively, if the bank giving the refund was also a creditor in your bankruptcy, they may refuse to give you the refund and offset it against the debt (with interest) that was included in your bankruptcy.22nd_July_2019
  • Ron_Disclaimer @ Complaints_Hi I voluntarily went bankrupt using the Low Income, Low Asset (LILA) procedure in January 2013. I and the trustee were discharged in January 2014. Although I am debt free now any outstanding balances at the end of my bankruptcy are still there but unenforceable. My question is can these debts be extinguished completely in Scotland after 5 years based on the statute of Barred debts? 22nd_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_It will depend whose name the lease was under. If it was your name then you will be personally liable for the business rates. If it was in the name of the business, it will depend on the type of business. If you were a sole trader, you will be held personally liable. If it was a partnership, partners can be held personally liable for the debts of the Partnership; if it was a limited company, then the Company is liable. You can get free advice and assistance from the Business Debt Helpline, who are a Charity.13th_July_2019
  • Biz_Charge for Payment_Hi, I have received a Charge for Payment for Business Rates on a property that my business used to rent until October 2018. But they have obtained the Charge for Payment in my name personally, while it was the company that operated the business from that address. Is this correct or should it have been in the business name and not me personally? If so, then what do I do to challenge and correct it. Thank you 13th_July_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Thomas I don’t think so. They were entitled to serve a Charge after they got the court order. You could argue it wasn’t properly served, but that would require an action in Court (which would cost money and a lawyer and in my opinion would not succeed as they would argue they served it at your last known address and made appropriate enquiries). Unfortunately, these debts can quickly increase if you don’t settle them within the first couple of weeks, when you normally can pay a reduced amount. If you are struggling with the full amount, call them and set up a repayment plan so they don’t take further enforcement action and add more fees. As they will.29th_June_2019
  • Thomas_Charge for Payment_Hi, I got a council parking fine, and I moved home, they sent the letters out to my old address and then served a charge for payment at my old address. It wasn’t until I got a bank charge for a failed bank account arrestment I was made aware of all this. I was told when they served the charge they made enquires and confirmed I lived there and posted it through the door, but I hadn’t lived there for more than 2 years. I got the parking fine and I will pay that, but is there anything I can do to dispute the charge for payment? Cheers, Thomas29th_June_2019
  • Dorothy_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Thanks – this will help a lot.19th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Dorothy. You are correct, this is not correct. What section 47 (1) of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 states is: “Subject to section 69 of this Act, an earnings arrestment shall have the effect of requiring the employer of a debtor, while the arrestment is in effect, to deduct a sum calculated in accordance with section 49 of this Act from the debtor’s net earnings on every pay-day and, as soon as is reasonably practicable, to pay any sum so deducted to the creditor.” Obviously there may be a reasonable delay. Two thoughts: First, how to approach the employer? Is he approachable? If not another option may be to speak with the Sheriff Officers. As officers of the Court they can chase him up. Or alternatively, have you thought about seeing if you can get the Earning Arrestment lifted. One way to do this is through the Debt Arrangement Scheme. That will not only stop the Earning Arrestment, therefore, avoiding causing the employer grief; but will also freeze all interest and charges and protect your partner from other enforcement procedures like Bank Arrestments. You can speak to your Local Authority Money Advice Service or Citizen Advice Bureau about the Debt Arrangement Scheme. More about it is available here.18th_June_2019
  • Dorothy_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_We have an earnings arrestment on my partner’s wages, and I know that his employer is taking a proportion of his money every month for this, but I’ve discovered that these haven’t been passed on to the creditor as my partner’s employer only usually does this twice a year, or perhaps even annually. I can’t see this as right, as the money that’s being taken should be forwarded so that the principal sum is reduced and the interest charged is less each month. This doesn’t seem right18th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Elaine You can call them and offer more money, in addition to the Earning Arrestment. I am sure they will happily come to an agreement with you. I would suggest, however, first you seek debt advice from your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Service. My concern is out of fear you offer them too much, as that is what much of their tactics are about, and in future you continue to fail to pay your current Council Tax to your Local Authority. This means you will get more Summary Warrants and 10% surcharges added to your debt. You will also end up in a vicious cycle of just paying the Sheriff Officers. What would be better is if you get help to draft a full income and expenditure and look at all your financial obligations, to see what you can afford and what is the best solution for you. In terms of what they can do, they cannot arrest your wages twice, so what they are taking is the most they can take. They can arrest your bank account, but they need to leave £529.90 in your account. They can try and attach your car, if you have one, but if it is worth less than £3,000 and you have a reasonable requirement for it, it should be protected. If it is subject to a Hire Purchase, Conditional Sale or PCP agreement, they will not be able to attach it, as legally it is still owned by the finance company. If you are worried about them coming into your home, they need another order called an Exceptional Attachment Order. These are relatively rare and there has to a further court hearing, so I would not worry about that. They could also try and make you Bankrupt and that is more a concern, particularly if you are home owner. Without knowing all your circumstances, I would suggest you may want to look at the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This has many benefits, namely: It would protect you from everything above; It would lift the earning arrestment; You only make one payment per month; You can include all your debts into it, including credit cards and loans. It would also ensure next year you can set up a direct debit to pay your current Council Tax to your Local Authority and just pay your arrears through the Debt Arrangement Scheme. You would break the vicious cycle of debt. You can get help to apply to the Debt Arrangement Scheme from your Local Citizen Advice Bureau or Council.12th_June_2019
  • Elaine_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Morning I wonder if you can advise. I have received a change of payment letter from Scott and Co on behalf of The city council re council tax arrears. I have a wage arrestment at the moment which has been running for the last few months. The debt outanding on that is £2,700. The letter I have received is £4,000 as this years council tax has been added, plus a charge. I am about to phone them to try and make an agreement to pay more outwith the wage arrestment, if I can, as I want this resolved too. Do you think this would be acceptable? Quite worried as have young children, as to what they can do.12th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Michael I would suggest you could first get a credit check done for yourself. You can do this for free (see here). This should show whether you have a court order against you (if you were previously residing in Scotland, it would be known as a decree, rather than a CCJ). In terms of the debt, it really depends what stage things are at. If they have obtained a decree against you, you won’t be able to argue the debt is statute barred in Scotland under the 5 year rule, as the running of the prescription period will have been interrupted when they got the court order. Even if they have not got a court order, the debt may still not be statute barred as prescription only begins running when the default notice is served (another good reason to get a credit report run, as you will see when the debt went into default). The basic rule is in Scotland is prescription begins running after the debt goes into default (see here)and if the prescription is not interrupted, then after 5 years the debt becomes statute barred, so is no longer recoverable. However, if the 5 years is not up yet, they may want to obtain a court order to stop the debt becoming statute barred (if they haven’t already got one). If they get a decree and the debt is for more than £3k, ultimately you could be made bankrupt (even in your absence); and in Scotland if you cannot be located, you will not be discharged until they find you. So in theory, it can, be kept open for the rest of your life. Also you mention your house. I am assuming this is a bought home and you are the owner (or joint owner). Ultimately if there is equity in it, the Trustee in Bankruptcy could try sell it. He can get a court order to do so. Even if you are not made bankrupt, the creditor, if they get a Court Order, could place an inhibition on you, preventing your house being sold until the debt is paid. It is also worth mentioning if they get a Court Order, the judicial rate of interest is 8% per annum. So the debt will be increasing. Ultimately, it may be the debt is statute barred, but if they raise a court action and you are not there (or represented) in court, they will likely get decree. The point is, not engaging with this issue is not a solution, particularly if you have a house still here in the UK. I would get the credit check done first. See if they have a decree and when the debt went into default. Hopefully, they have not got a court order and you can argue the debt is statute barred.10th_June_2019
  • Michael_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi My partner ran up debts on my cards without my knowledge over 6 years ago. We split and I moved overseas. My brother lives at the property and sent all mail back for me as “return to sender” as I didn’t live there. A solicitors letter has now arrived and on a Google check of the address I saw it was a debt law firm. If there is a CCJ against me, I no longer live at the property and am untraceable what can they do? I have huge health issues and haven’t worked for several years, so have no money. The house though is the family property. The debts were credit card debts and an unsecured loan. What should I do?10th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Luke Can I just add, having re-read the original question, your Father cannot be arrested, (this is a wholly civil matter), and it is not likely to damage you or his credit score, as Council’s don’t share this information with Credit Reference Agencies. Also there is no to little chance of them using an Exceptional Attachment Order and trying to come into you home to seize goods. Also you say you are a Student. Do you live alone with your Father? Have you checked whether he is entitled to and receiving a Single Person Discount of 25%? This can be backdated, possibly to you becoming a student.07th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Luke That is bad form by Scott & Co. especially as your Father has an agreement in place and is paying it. Legally, there is nothing to stop them serving a Charge for Payment, however, they should not do this whilst your Father has an agreement in place and is paying the agreed amount. Not least because the cost of the Charge will be added to his debt as a fee. Sheriff Officers never collect current Council Tax until it has went beyond the Summary Warrant stage. What should have happened is your Father should have set up a direct debit with the Council to pay his current Council Tax at the beginning of the financial year and then negotiated an amount towards the arrears separately with the Sheriff Officers. This should have been based on affordability and took into consideration that he was paying the Council this year’s tax. By just paying everything to the Sheriff Officers they would just have been crediting the arrears account and the Council will have not been receiving this year’s Council Tax. So it would be about this time have it would went to the Summary Warrant stage and been passed to Scott & Co for recovery. So now they have another years Council Tax to collect. Truly appalling, if this is what has happened, but very common, unfortunately. In terms of the Charge, speak with the Citizen Advice Bureau and try and get an appointment to speak to an adviser. Your Father will have to go, but you can accompany him if he wants. The Charge expires after 14 days, so they can take enforcement action after that. If you are worried about the enforcement action, speak to the Citizen Advice Bureau about whether your Father should register a Statutory Moratorium. This protects you Father from the Sheriff Officers for 6 weeks and is free to apply for. He can use it only once in any 12 month period, so he doesn’t want to use it unless he has to. Ideally if he can see the Citizen Advice Bureau adviser before the Charge for Payment expires that is best. If they think he should use the Statutory Moratorium, your best not using it until the day before the Charge expires to get the full benefit of the 6 weeks, as they cannot do anything until the Charge expires.07th_June_2019
  • Luke_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi, Thank you for your advice. I have to say I actually misread the letter and it is a charge of payment, though it said this in small print at the top. I am going to call the citizens’ advice bureau tomorrow on my dad’s behalf and see what they can do to help. I am just disgusted that the Sheriff’s Office would do something like this as this is the first letter my dad has received this year about council tax – he never received anything else from the city council etc asking why he wasn’t paying council tax, if Scott and Co. have just been funnelling the money into paying for arrears. I am disappointed at the lack of transparency and their behaviour as according to my dad, when he spoke to a Scott and Co supervisor, he was assured they would pay £150 of what he paid for his current council tax and the rest of the payment would go to arrears.06th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Luke That is reassuring. A Summary Warrant is issued by Local authorities when you fall into arrears with your Council Tax. They then add a 10% surcharge onto your bill. It is issued by the Sheriff Court and has the effect of a court order. The reason I say it is good is my fear is it was a Charge for Payment, as they need to serve that before they can arrest wages, attach cars or freeze bank accounts. I suspect this may be for this year 2019-20, as I think what may be happening is your Father is under the impression that he is paying his current Council Tax to Scott & Co, but they don’t collect current Council Tax until it goes to the Summary Warrant stage. This is a common problem. Sheriff Officers get people to prioritise their arrears to the expense of their current Council Tax and it becomes a vicious circle. Your Dad keeps paying everything to Scott & Co and every year he goes into arrears with his current Council Tax which goes to the Summary Warrant stage and gets 10% added. He never gets out of arrears. What you thought should be happening, is what should happen. He should pay his current Council Tax to the Council and a smaller amount (what he can afford) to Scott & Co. The best way for him to get this sorted and look at all his options is to go to his local money advice service (local authority or Citizen Advice Bureau). Hopefully he can do this and get it sorted out soon, but if he gets a Charge for Payment, he needs to get advice ASAP. I may be wrong, but £1,800 sounds like a full years Council Tax and as that would have started in April, it sounds like he hasn’t been making the payments to the Council Tax, but the Sheriff Officers. Very common problem and Sheriff Officers don’t explain this very well.06th_June_2019
  • Luke_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi, Thank you for your speedy reply, yes the letter says summary warrant on it.06th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Luke No problem. Can you check the letter your Father has received from the Court. Does it say Summary Warrant on it?06th_June_2019
  • Luke_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hello, I am seeking advice on behalf of my father who today received a letter from Glasgow Sheriff Court for the payment of £1811.09 in council tax arrears to be paid within fourteen days to Scott and Co., Glasgow. My father was off work sick for three months last year but has made an arrangement with Scott and Co. in which he pays £170 per month at the post office which covers current council tax plus a token payment of roughly £30 towards his arrears. He has the receipts for all of his payments which are paid at the end of each month, and he has been diligent in paying this, with a Scott and Co. payment card, as he was scared of something like this happening. I would just like to ask if there is any precedence for something like this and if the Sheriff Officer is allowed to do something like this even though my father has made an arrangement to pay off his arrears and has stuck to it, with receipts as proof. The letter he received mentions further action being taken if he does not pay the full amount in two weeks such as arrest, arrestment of earnings, and the attachment and auction of articles belonging to him, but surely this must be some kind of clerical error if he has been paying the money and has receipts. I am also worried as I am a student living with my dad and am concerned about how this will affect us. I am going to phone the Citizens’ Advice Bureau tomorrow but would greatly appreciate any advice you can offer us.06th_June_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Rachel No they won’t as you are just a signatory and the account is in the name of the Community Council. Thankfully, the debt is only £800, so they cannot sequestrate you (make you bankrupt), as the Debt would need to be over £3,000. That would affect that. Speak to your local advice agency, as you do need to address this debt, but clearly don’t have the means at present. There is a good possibility you may be able to access a hardship fund and get some help to paying it off.27th_May_2019
  • Rachel_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Yes they have a decree. The other thing I want to check, as I wouldn’t want it to effect this, I am treasurer for my local community council. I am on their business account. Will they be able to touch that as it’s not my money? 27th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Rachel No they cannot arrest your kid’s accounts, providing the accounts are in your children’s name. It’s okay that you or your partner are the signatories on the accounts, as long as the accounts are in your children’s name. Do you know if they have a court order against you, called a decree in Scotland? It’s just sometimes Sheriff Officers also work as debt collectors and don’t have the same powers they have when they work as Sheriff Officers. If they are just working as debt collectors, all they can do is ask for the money nothing else. If they have a decree, they could try and arrest your bank account or serve a Charge for Payment (and after the Charge the other things I mentioned above). They can arrest your bank account if they have a decree, even if they have not served a Charge, but the other diligences I mentioned above require a Charge to be served first. Diligence is the legal term used to describe the legal enforcement procedures (as mentioned above), that only Sheriff Officers can use.26th_May_2019
  • Rachel_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Can they touch savings accounts in my children’s names as they have over that amount? That is their money from birthdays and Christmas, not ours.26th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Rachel Thanks for coming on. I will deal with the issue of the Sheriff Officers first. They have a number of options. First, they can execute an Earnings Arrestment, but if neither you or your partner are working, that won’t succeed. They can Attach items outside your home, but the most likely thing they could go after is a car. However, if it is subject to a Hire Purchase agreement, or is a Mobility car, they won’t be able to take it, as you don’t own it. If you do own it, then providing you can show you have a reasonable requirement for it (your disability?), then you can argue it’s exempt from attachment. You should seek advice about this (see below). They can try and arrest your bank account, but again this will only succeed if the amount in your account is more than £529.90. They cannot take anything below that figure as it is protected. If they take anything over that and all your income is benefits, you can challenge them, but you should seek advice (also see my page on challenging bank arrestments). They cannot come into your home, as they would need an Exceptional Attachment Order. These are extremely rare. Also you can see here, there is very little they can take. What I would suggest is you seek advice from your Local Authority Money Advice Service or contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau. Lots of Energy Firms operate hardship funds and you may qualify for a grant that can help pay this debt off. Alternatively, they will help you negotiate with the Sheriff Officers and the Energy Firm. You can find details of you local Citizen Advice Bureau here, or your Local Council here.23rd_May_2019
  • Rachel_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi, I have had sheriff officers at my door for unpaid electricity from a previous property. It’s for £800, but we are on disability benefits and can barely make ends meet as it is ( hence the debt in the first place). Is there much they can do we don’t have any items that they could seize as we only own essential items. 23rd_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi John If it is HMRC, I am presuming they have served a Summary Warrant, as this is normal for them. If you check the Charge for Payment it should say this on it, rather than a decree. If it is a Summary Warrant, they were required to serve the Charge before doing the bank arrestment. The fact the Charge has the wrong date on it, is significant in my opinion as the date of a Charge for Payment is legally very important, as it’s from the date you can tell when they were allowed to take certain actions. For that reason I think you could raise an objection through the Sheriff Court on the grounds the arrestment is incompetent, as the Charge it was executed on contained significant errors as to the date. You do this by raising a notice of objection through the Sheriff Court. The cost of raising the action is free as it is done under the Debtors (Scotland) Act. See my page on challenging a bank arrestment here. I cannot obviously guarantee you will succeed, but I personally think you have a strong case and the funds arrested should be released to you. The problem is they will probably serve another Charge for Payment and also try and arrest your account again. You do need to think, therefore, about how you are going to address this debt and speak to a money adviser. They may suggest using the Statutory Moratorium procedure, whilst you consider all your options. Timing, however, is crucial, so I would suggest you get advice. They may also be able to help you submit your notice of objection. Find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here or contact your local Council and ask about their money advice services.14th_May_2019
  • JOHN_Charge for Payment_It is Hmrc and the date says sept 2019. A typo on their behalf.14th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi John Quick question, if you don’t mind. What is the debt for? The reason I ask is if the debt is for Council Tax or a HMRC debt, where a Summary Warrant has been issued, a valid Charge for Payment has to be served first. If it is not for one of those types of debts, a bank arrestment does not require a Charge for Payment to be served first. So even if the Charge was invalid, the bank arrestment could still be valid.14th_May_2019
  • JOHN_Charge for Payment_Hi I received a Charge for Payment from sheriff officers. It said on it, that it was issued on September 2019 That is an error. I complained that the date is wrong, but they still arrested my bank account. Is the wrong date on a Charge for Payment grounds for appeal?13th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Richard The relevant law that deals with this matter is section 48(1) of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. It states that what the earning arrestment can recover is the: Original debt; Their legal expenses; and Any interest owed at the date of service of the earning assessment. Normally the rate of interest should be 8% per annum (unless the Court specifies a higher amount), applied on a daily basis. I can’t imagine much could have built up over 2 months. However, legally they can recover that interest and you probably don’t want another wage arrestment or bank arrestment, as that will have additional costs for you. You can request they provide you with a statement of account, showing what was owed and what has been paid and what has been added in charges and interest.13th_May_2019
  • Richard_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I’ve Just come to the end of a wages arrestment after 2 months. It’s great to have more money in my pocket. I have now received a letter asking for more money saying this is for the interest. Is this correct? Can they demand more money? I thought interest and costs were all in the arrestment order and once that was payed I would be done13th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Prescription Begins Running on Default_Hi Derek I think rather than focusing on the dates the accounts reset, the important date to focus on is the date that prescription began running on. That date is the date the bank called in the overdraft and then sent a default notice. This appears to be in July 2015, so that is the date that prescription began running. There is recent case law on this after the Scottish Sheriff Appeals Court considered the matter in PRA Group Ltd v MacPherson. A similar conclusion was arrived at by The Court of Appeal in England in a similar case there. I would argue the debt wouldn’t prescribe until July 2020 at the earliest. The only explanation I can imagine for the debt resetting, is overdrafts are regularly reviewed and either reduced, called in or renewed. The resetting of them appears to be them being renewed to me.10th_May_2019
  • Derek_Prescription Begins Running on Default_Hi, I have an old overdraft debt that I discovered on a credit search, which I believe should be statute barred. I haven’t paid any money into the account that the overdraft was on since January 2013 and havent written to the bank in respect of this during the period from then until now. I know the relevant date can be somewhat blurred in respect of an overdraft debt, however the credit report shows the account “resetting” a couple of times and the default date on the CR shows July 15, which means that it wouldn’t be statute barred which is a blow to me trying to eventually get on my feet. The Equifax report shows: (Jan-Dec) 61-72 mths 000 012 345 666 49-60 mths 666 666 660 012 37-48 mths 340 123 888 888 Which shows the debt as being more than 6 months old, then going to 0 and 1 month overdue etc to 4 months overdue, then 0 again before starting 1,2,3 months overdue before default in July 2015, which is over 2 years after I last paid any money paid into the account. Is this right? Why would it” reset” on these couple of occassions? Thanks.10th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Harry In terms of the debt collectors reporting the vehicle as stolen, that is absolute nonsense. You were given legal possession of the vehicle under a hire agreement, so you are in legal possession.  If they are now saying you are in breach of your contract and they are terminating it, you cannot be threatened with the criminal law as an enforcement tool to help exercise their rights on termination (i.e. to recover the car). Particularly not when s132 of the CCA 1974 gives you a possible remedy should they recover the car without a Court Order. This is a civil matter and if they contact any Scottish Debt Recovery Law firm they will advise them the same: that they need a court order. Keep the emails you sent as evidence in case they try and take the car in your absence and say you voluntarily surrendered it. I woukd also keep it parked in your driveway, when not using it , for the time being until you get things sorted. Also you have solid grounds for making a complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service with that email threatening to report you to the police for stealing the car. It’s clearly wrong, misleading and intended to cause fear and alarm. If you want to complain, make it to the firm first and if they don’t resolve it then escalate it to the FOS. It’s free for you, but if this firm has had 25 or more complaints made to them over the last year, they will have to pay a levy of £550 for every complaint made about them to the Ombudsman.09th_May_2019
  • Harry_When can you use a Time Order?_Afternoon Alan, I received an email from the car company this afternoon. I had written to them advising them that I would like to pay any outstanding arrears and that I would not self-surrender, and if taken to court would seek a Time Order. In their email to me, sent after the repossession people left this morning, they state that “Should you fail to adhere to the termination notice and return the asset, this could result in further action being taken against yourself, and ultimately the asset could be reported as stolen” Can they report me for theft? I assumed that this was a civil matter?09th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Harry They need a court order to enter your property, including your drive way. It is private property. You can call the Police yourself and ask they attend, as you are in legal possession of the car. You have your rental agreement I take it? If they dispute that, it is a civil matter and they need to take it in front of a sheriff. You could also call the solicitors, debt collectors who are acting for the creditors and formally tell them you are not willing to surrender the car without a Court Order and are not authorising their agents to enter your property. You should also advise them that if they take it and enter your property without a Court Order, you will raise an action under s132 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 for all instalments paid under the agreement to be refunded.09th_May_2019
  • Harry_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Alan, some people have arrived at my home trying to collect the car. I’ve moved it from the main road to my drive way. They’ve now accused me of stealing the car and are threatening to call the police. I’ve told them I won’t hand the car over without a court order. They’re saying they don’t need it. They’re now sitting outside the house. I’m not sure what they’re waiting for. Can you advise please.09th_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Prescription Begins Running on Default_Hi Evelyn Unfortunately not. The decision of a Court in a case like this, is a statement of what the law is and has always been since the relevant law commenced, not just from the date of the decision. The decision could be over-turned, but it would need to be by the Inner House of the Court of Session (as a superior court). The decision, however, wouldn’t affect cases that had previously been dealt with and decided by the Courts.03rd_May_2019
  • Evelyn_Prescription Begins Running on Default_Hi, Would I be correct in thinking that a debt claimed as statute barred before the decision of the case above would not be affected by that precedent?03rd_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Chris Unfortunately, they can as you are both jointly and several liable for the debt, so they can recover it from either of you, or both of you. One way you could avoid this is to possibly look at a joint Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This is where you and your wife would look to include all your debts into a scheme and then just agree to make one payment towards all of your debts. This could be based on what you as a couple can afford. A Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme would also lift any wage arrestments that have been applied on you and your wife’s earnings.03rd_May_2019
  • Chris_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_My wife and I are paying off council tax arrears. It has been taken at source from my wife’s account but, I recently received a letter advising me that I was going to be subject to an earnings arrestment order. My question is, can they take money from both our accounts at the same time ?03rd_May_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi John There is no reason you cannot use a Moratorium, even if a Charge for Payment has previously been served and expired. What it cannot do is reverse what has already happened: the serving of the Charge, but it can still stop: Bank Arrestments; Earning Arrestments; Attachments; Exceptional Attachment Orders; or Even a creditor raising a petition for your sequestration. The risk of someone trying to make you bankrupt may be reduced if the Charge was served over 4 months ago, as Creditors who want to use it to make you bankrupt have only 4 months to do so, then they need to serve another. Remember, though, the Moratorium is only a short term solution that lasts 42 days and can only be used once in any 12 month period.28th_April_2019
  • John_Charge for Payment_Hi I was issued a Charge for Payment a while back and came to an arrangement to pay the creditor, but have been unable to do this. Am I able to do a Moratorium to prevent any arrestments? Debt advice have said it will not work, because action has already been taken.28th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Harry The fact it is a hire agreement and not a hire purchase agreement does affect things. First the default notice must still have been served under S87 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. So that remains the same. You can also still apply for a Time Order under S129 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, as Time Orders can be applied for in relation to any regulated agreement, by a debtor or hirer. s90 that I quoted above about re-taking of goods does not apply to hire agreements, as it only relates to hire-purchase agreements. However, have a look at s132 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (Financial Relief for Hirer). It states quite clearly that if the item is taken back without a court order, you can apply for a court order for any part or all the payments that have been made under the agreement and also that any future liability can be limited. You do not say whether you want to see out the agreement or not to it’s conclusion, and I have not seen the agreement, so I don’t know if you have any early rights of termination, or whether you have to see out the 2 year agreement in full. However, the section 99 and 100 I mentioned above about terminating hire-purchase agreements does only relate to hire-purchase agreements. So I would suggest maybe contacting Grosvenor and making it clear to them that you don’t agree to the voluntary surrender of the vehicle and that if they attempt to repossess it without a court order you will apply for an order under s132 and seek compensation. I would then possibly contact the firm and see if they are willing to reach an agreement with you regarding the arrears , presuming you want to keep the car. If they don’t your options are a) do nothing and wait for them to take court action, at which point you could apply for a Time Order; and b) apply for a standalone Time Order yourself now, but there will be costs for you; If you are intending to keep the car, lets hope the firm takes a sensible approach and allows you repay the arrears. I don’t think any court is likely to be impressed with them raising a court action, and you turning up applying for a Time Order saying you will pay the arrears in full and had previously offered this and were refused.22nd_April_2019
  • Harry_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Alan, Thank you for this. I purchased the vehicle under a 24 month, contract hire agreement. So it’s a Hire Agreement regulated by the Consumer Credit Act 1974. Does that change the advice you’ve given me?22nd_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Harry Thank you. The first thing is I am presuming the default notice has expired, as otherwise they should not refuse you the right to remedy the default prior to the expiry of the notice period (14 days). If it has expired the next step for them is to terminate the agreement(the expiry of the notice period for the default notice gives them the right to do this – see s87 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974.) In terms of whether they can repossess the car without a Court Order, providing you have paid more than one third of the total amount owed under the agreement, they require a Court Order or your consent (s90 Consumer Credit Act 1974). It’s important to note it’s one third of the amount owed under the agreement, rather than one third of the instalments, as there may be an optional lump sum owed at the end that inflates the total amount owed under the agreement). However, there has always been a strong argument in Scots Law that regardless of the amount paid a Court Order may be required at all times, because Scots Law has always frowned upon self help remedies. The argument is if the lender repossessed the car without one, the borrower can raise am action in the Sheriff Court to demand all payments made under the agreement to be repaid to the borrower. Ideally, you want to avoid this scenario, as there is no guarantee what position the court would take, but its useful to remember that Courts in Scotland do not like lenders using self-help remedies such as repossession with out a Court Order. It’s is likely this is more likely to the case where the vehicle is kept in a garage or in a driveway. In terms, of whether it’s worth you waiting for the lender to raise the court action or applying for it yourself, you can apply for it once you have a default notice served (see S129 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974). However, although you can submit the form yourself in what is called a stand alone action, you will need to ensure the lenders are notified via Sheriff Officers, after the application for a Time Order is applied for, so there is a cost for you. If you wait for them to raise the action, there is no cost, but if your looking to try and bring the agreement up to date with a Time Order, the longer they take to raise the action, the more the arrears may be that you will have to repay if you get the Time Order. The Court Order that contains the form for making a standalone Time Order application is in these Court Rules (Act of Sederunt (Consumer Credit Act 1974) 1985 (Amendment) 1995). The argument I have been making to Sheriff’s in recent car finance cases I have recently represented in (and there is not a huge amount of definitive case law), is: 1) Time Orders can be made for the arrears only or the full debt, but consumers can apply for one to just pay off the arrears whilst the Consumer continues to pay the normal contractual payments (so offer is normal monthly contractual payment plus instalment towards the arrears or a lump sum payment to the arrears). 2) The effect of a Time Order when complied with is it can allow the Consumer to remedy the circumstances that led to the default (i.e. pay off the arrears). 3) The effect of the Time Order is it varies the terms of the agreement and allows for a Court supervised repayment plan. 4) If the default is remedied, i.e. the arrears are paid, the effect is the termination is reversed and both parties are returned to the position they were in prior to the default and the borrower can exercise their right to voluntary termination under s99 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and rely on s100 of the CCA Act 1974 which lmitis their liability providing half of the total amount owed under the agreement is paid. As I say I have had some success with this argument and most lenders have agreed to a negotiated settlement on this basis, without the Court having to say definitively what the law is, but the Sheriff have been so far very sympathetic. If you need help with this, I would advise contacting your local Citizen Advice Bureau or Law Centre or Local Authority Money Advice Agency.18th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When can you use a Time Order?_I would add Harry that the argument above is for Hire-Purchase agreements, Conditional Sale agreements and PCP agreements (which are in effect HP agreements).18th_April_2019
  • Harry_When can you use a Time Order?_Hi Alan, I’ve a 2-year lease agreement with Audi. The agreement expires in September 2019, so I’ve five months left. I’ve been served with a default notice by Audi. I’ve called Audi and the repossession company (Grosvenor) and advised them that I can pay the arrears in full, they have refused my offer. I’ve not received any court paperwork from Audi/Grosvenor, they’ve simply asked to me arrange a time for them to collect the vehicle. Would you be able to give me some guidance on Time Orders please? 1. Does Audi have to serve me with court papers, or can they repossess the car without my permission? 2. If they have to serve, me with court papers should I wait and respond to that legal action? 3. Or is it better for me to initiate a time order? 4. What is the procedure for serving a time order? Thank you18th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Maureen Unfortunately, getting a Court Order is just the first part of recovering a debt and usually the hard part is getting the person to pay. I am guessing the Sheriff Officers were just going to go to his house to give him a copy of the decree or serve on him a Charge for Payment, which is a formal demand for payment. To enter his home an additional court order is required called an Exceptional Attachment Order, and can only be applied for after you have tried to arrest his bank account or arrest his wages. Even if you get an Exceptional Attachment Order, so much is protected in his home (see here), so it is not always a very effective way to recover a debt. You can try attaching his car if he owns one, build he can possibly avoid this if he has got it on finance, as it will belong to the finance firm. If you know where he works or banks, this may be useful to the Sheriff Officers, but other than that, there is not alot more you can do. Speak with the Sheriff Officers and ask their advice, as they do this every day for a living, but remember there can be costs in trying to recover a debt, as the Sheriff Officers have fees and if you are not successful, you could be throwing good money after bad.16th_April_2019
  • Maureen_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I was at court seeking declarator for damage done to a fire surround that was proven in court. I was awarded £424.00 and he had twenty eight days to pay. He hasn’t done so, so it is now in the hands of Sheriff Officers, who intend to go to his house, but I think he has moved in the last two days or has moved some of his belongings out. Can you advise, as I have no clue where he has moved to or what happens next? 16th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Just a thought L. If your sub-contractor needs funds quickly and your prepared to help him, he could ask the Sheriff Officers only to take what they would have got if they had made an Earning Arrestment. In return he would agree to release those funds to them immediately, if they agree to release his part of the funds to him immediately. He could then offer to allow you to deduct from his net earnings each month what they would get in an earning arrestment and pay that to them until the debt was paid. This would be a completely voluntary arrangement between you, your sub-contractor and the Sheriff Officers. If they don’t agree, he could say he won’t release the funds and will be challenging the arrestment. This is not to say that if he did not do this and challenged the arrestment he wouldn’t succeed, but that may take time. It’s for him to decide. I would still advise him to seek advice regardless.15th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi L Yes what Stirling Park is telling you appears to be correct, from what you are telling me. Arrestments in Execution, or Actions of Arrestment and Furthcoming, as they are properly known, are also usually referred to as Bank Arrestments, as Arrestments in Execution are most commonly used to arrest bank accounts. However, they can be used to arrest funds held by any third party. They cannot be used to arrest earnings for employees, as Earning Arrestments must be used for this. As the person’s money that is being arrested is not an employee, the Sheriff Officers will take the view the money you are due to pay them are not earnings. This type of use of Arrestments in Execution is very harsh for a number of reasons. If the person was an employee, the first £529.90 would be protected and even after that the Sheriff Officers would get only a % (but, equally it would be continuing, whereas this is a one off arrestment, but can be executed every month until the debt is paid off). If it was an Arrestment of funds in a bank account, the first £529.90 would also be protected, but they would get everything else after that up until the amount owed was paid in full. However, as you are not a bank, what is called the Protected Minimum Balance in Bank Arrestments doesn’t apply. So, if I were in your position I would take your instructions from the Sheriff Officers, as they are Officers of the Sheriff Court and act with its authority. Also if you release the funds your employer can be held liable. You also need to notify the Sheriff Officers formally within three weeks how much they have arrested (they should advise you on this and supply you with the form) and also the sub-contractor at the same time. If you are in any doubt about anything contact your local Sheriff Court and ask to speak to the Sheriff Clerk who may be able to help. Even if something is wrong, that way you have some protection in that you can say you just followed the Court Officers instructions. You also shouldn’t hand the money over to the Sheriff Officers immediately, until the sub-contractor signs a mandate authorising you to do so, or the Court orders you to or 14 weeks passes. Again ask the Sheriff Officers or Clerk about this or seek your own legal advice. This is to allow the Sub-contractor time to object. You should, however, keep the funds ring fenced and safe. Remember the responsibility for handing it over now is your employers. Now regarding the Sub-contractor, he can object. He may argue the arrestment is unduly harsh (there is possibly a very strong argument for him to do this as he may be left with nothing), or he may argue the arrestment is not competent (this is more complex) He may argue for example at the time the arrestment was executed the money was not due to him from you. So for example, if he is contractually due to be paid on the 25th and the arrestment was made on the 23rd, then there may be an argument legally the arrestment failed as the money was not due (I am speculating as I don’t know your contractual arrangements). Alternatively, he may argue that the funds arrested were actually earnings, although you say they weren’t, he may argue that is how they should be treated and this is for the Sheriff to decide. I would say if you want to keep your employer correct, do what the Sheriff Officers instruct you and maybe speak with the Sheriff Clerk and ask for instructions. However, speak with your sub-contractor and tell him he nèeds to speak with his local Citizen Advice Bureau or Local Authority Money Advice Agency, as a matter of urgency, as there are time limits on some of the actions I mentioned above and as you will see from my page on challenging bank arrestments, there are arguments and procedures applicable there that he can use too.15th_April_2019
  • L_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, I am a payroll assistant and I have received a Schedule of Arrestment in Execution for a labour only subcontractor who currently works for my employer. I phoned Stirling Park to ask them how to deduct and they advised that this was a one time arrestment and I should arrest anything owed to the employee by us. Does this mean his entire net wage? I wasnt aware I could leave the employee with nothing. He only makes a certain amount a week and the arrestment is for over a thousand pounds, so would need to arrest his wage for a good 4 weeks. Many thanks for any help.15th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Laura That is great news! I am really happy you got things sorted with the DWP. In terms of Council Tax, this is more difficult, as generally they won’t lift the arrestment. However, the situation you are in, as I said, is a vicious cycle and not a long term solution. I would caution you against a Trust Deed, as these are often over promoted as a solution, when there are often better ones. They have their place, but are not the panacea they are often made out to be. There is two other ways to lift am earning arrestment for Council Tax. One is the Debt Arrangement Scheme, which I mentioned in my other post and is not a type of insolvency. The other is a Time to Pay, which you apply to the Court for. Both you can do for free by going through your local advice agency. Time to Pays are not as common these days, as people usually have multiple debts and for that reason the Debt Arrangement Scheme is often more effective. However, applying for a Time to Pay may be a good negotiating tactic, as if it is backed by a good income and expenditure produced by a money adviser, the Council may agree to it and lift the arrestment without it going to Court. A strong argument could be made to a sheriff that it is necessary as the Wage Arrestment is leaving you without sufficient income to pay your current Council Tax. I would suggest this may be the strongest card you could play, or now that you have some breathing space regarding the DEA, look into the Debt Arrangement Scheme, as you could put all your debts into it and just make one affordable payment each month.08th_April_2019
  • Laura_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hello Alan, Thank you very much for replying to my questions. As you advised I have contacted DWP debt management and they have agreed to a voluntary repayment plan of £15 per month until the debt is cleared. I’m extremely relieved and can relax a little bit it has left me wondering if I can do anything to stop the council tax earnings arrestment and make an arrangement to pay a monthly payment towards the arrears and pay the current council tax bill as well, but I am doubtful that this will be accepted. I do remember trying to arrange this many years ago but Scot and Co wouldn’t even discuss it with me and I was told I have to pay the current year and the earnings arrestment which is financially impossible for me to do. I do want to pay my debt and don’t really want to enter into a trust deed etc but I wonder if I would be better off long term doing so. Kind regards Laura08th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Laura Thank you for coming on. What you are describing is a common problem that arises when people have a wage arrestment executed. All the money you are paying is going to your Council Tax Arrears, meanwhile your current Council Tax is going unpaid and is being added to your arrears. It is a vicious circle and everytime a Summary Warrant is issued, a 10% surcharge is added to your bill. It now sounds like the situation is about to be made worse by a Direct Earning Attachment (DEAs) being applied for a benefit overpayment. Unfortunately, this operates separately to the wage arrestment. This means they can take more money from your wages then is currently being taken. The amount they can take can also vary, but can be as much as 20% of your net earnings after tax and national insurance are deducted. In certain circumstances it can be as much as 40%, but only if the overpayment arose from fraud. Normally, DEAs are only applied for if you are not in receipt of a benefit that the Department of Works and Pensions (DWP) can take deductions from and they have not been able to agree a repayment plan with you (or if you have had one, you stopped paying it). You, however, do have options, so I would not encourage you to stop working yet. This will only make your situation worse. What I would suggest as a course of action is, therefore: 1) Contact DWP Debt Management and see if they will enter a voluntary repayment plan with you or agree to a fixed amount each month that you can afford to be deducted from your earnings. You can contact them on 0800 916 0647. Explain you already have an earning arrestment and the DEA will cause you severe hardship. They do have the power to be flexible. 2) Get a full benefit check done and make sure you are in receipt of all the benefits that you are entitled to. This includes single person discounts for Council Tax, if you live on your own. You can do your own benefit check online here. 3) Get free money advice and consider all your options. This includes looking at, amongst other options, the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This will involve doing an income and expenditure with a money adviser and seeing what you can afford to pay towards your debts, but only after you have been left enough to pay all your essential outgoings, including your current Council Tax. This should prevent you getting into further debt.  They will then offer that to your creditors and if it is accepted, the wage arrestment for Council Tax has to stop. The DWP also have a policy of ceasing all recovery action, including DEAs once a Debt Payment Programme under the Debt Arrangement Scheme has been approved. You would then just make one payment per month to a Payment Distributor, who would pay the people you owe money to. In terms of where to get free money advice, you can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or contact your local Council and ask them where you can get free money advice in your area. They may provide it themselves or will fund an advice agency in your area to do it. I hope this helps.  Even if the Debt Arrangement Scheme is not suitable for you, there are other options available. If I can be of further help please don’t hesitate to ask. 07th_April_2019
  • Laura_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, I have had an wage arrestment in place for many years by Scot and Co for council tax. I can’t afford to pay council tax on top of the arrested payment each month so cannot see myself getting clear of the debt as more is added on each year. I have now been sent a letter by my employer saying that a benefits over payment will also now be collected from my pay each month. I am only just keeping my head above water and any more money taken from my wages will leave me short every month. What should I do? Please help me? I can’t take much more. I would be as well giving up work but I’m trying my best to keep paying everything.07th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Sam, Yes creditors like Black Horse and Scottish Power can arrest your wages, but first they need to take you to court and get a court Order. Once they have the Court Order they must give you 14 days in case you want to appeal against it, but then they can arrest your wages. They do need to serve a Charge for Payment first. Scottish Power, however, you may find, where they are your current provider of gas or electricity, are more likely to put in a pre-payment meter and recover the debt that way. If you are worried about your wages being arrested or need help with your debts, I recommend seeking advice from a free sector money adviser, such as those provided by Citizen Advice Bureaux or Local Authorities. Please do not hesitate to ask if I can be of any further assistance.05th_April_2019
  • Sam_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, Can Creditors like Scottish Power or Black Horse arrest your wages?05th_April_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Jordan This is actually an interesting question and I may not be able to give you a definitive answer, but I will do my best. The starting point is both business and personal accounts can be arrested. If it’s a personal account, the first £494.10 is protected. This the Protected Minimum Balance (PMB). From the 6th April 2019 this increases to £529.90. If it is a business account there is no PMB, so they can take the full amount owed. Now if you are self-employed as a sole trader and say owe income tax, they can arrest your personal account,as income tax is a debt personal to you. If you trade under a separate name, and have an account under that trading name, you effectively own the money in that account as you are a sole trader. As it is your account it can be arrested for your debts. Basically as a sole trader your business has no separate legal identity, it is just you trading under a different name. This would be different if your business was a partnership or a limited company, as these are separate legal entities in Scots Law, so they couldn’t have funds in their acccounts arrested for your personal debts. They can only have funds arrested for debts owed by themselves as businesses. So, in theory if your a sole trader and have a debt owed by you, a business account can be arrested for your debts, as it is your personal business property. However, and this is where I am not totally sure of the answer. If your business account is in the name of say, Cleaner Windows, and the Sheriff Officers execute an arrestment for accounts in your personal name, would the bank know to arrest the account of Cleaner Windows? I suspect not, although I may be wrong. What I suggest might need to happen is the arrestment would need to be worded as against you (but, trading as Cleaner Windows); or if the arrestment just names you, if the account was in your name (trading as Cleaner Windows) it would work. I think it’s more a practical point than a legal one, as ultimately if you are a sole trader and have a business account, the money in the account is your personal property, so it can be arrested for your personal debts. Sorry I cannot give you more clarity than that, however, if you do need business debt advice you can call the Business Debtline who can give you free, confidential advice. You can find them here.29th_March_2019
  • Jordan_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Can money be took out of your business account when you are self employed? Thanks 28th_March_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Advice Process_Hi David Thank you for coming on. As this site is more a personal blog site with information and advice that hopefully directs people in the correct direction, can I suggest if you need personal advice you give the National Debtline a call; or contact your local Citizen Advice Bureaux. Both links will take you to their pages and both services are free and confidential. They can also arrange for you to access face to face advice with a local service if you require it and provide personalised advice that will be tailored to your circumstances.18th_March_2019
  • David_Debt Advice Process_Hi I need advice on a debt problem, I could do with advice on how to cope with this.18th_March_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Paul I am sorry. I always try and put myself in other people’s shoes and my first instinct would be to worry and not want to go near them. However, here is the problem with that from my experience. If this is for Council Tax, it is not going to go away, as local authorities can try and recover the debt for up to 20 years. Also, you have said you moved out? Do the Local Authority know that? If it was for Council Tax and they didn’t know, your bill may be higher than it should be. They will usually adjust the bill to reflect you moved out if you can provide them with proof that you moved out. It may be the best place to start is the Local Authority. Ask if they are aware you moved out and if not what Sheriff Officers they use? Also how much do you owe? If it’s not the Local Authority for Council Tax are you aware of any other debts? There are usually only a couple of different Sheriff Officer firms in your area. The one the Council use are probably the main one. If it is not them, maybe your neighbour caught their name? Ultimately, I think, my view is you are best getting to the bottom of this and dealing with it. It won’t go away, and may be a mistak. If the Local Authority weren’t aware you moved out, it may be an opportunity to clarify somethings and reduce your liability for Council Tax. Hope this helps and please fee free to come back on.18th_March_2019
  • Paul_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I’ve had sheriff Officers turn up at an address I moved out of a year ago. A neighbour sent me a text and told me. I don’t know what to do? 18th_March_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Dale Thank you for your enquiry. Essentially you can offer anything, however, Scott & Co are not obliged to accept your offer. You don’t say whether the £50 per month would greater than the 19%. If it was and there was a reason why you wanted to offer more, rather than just let the Earning Arrestment run, they may accept your offer providing you understand if you miss a payment they would revert back to the earning arrestment. The only other way to stop the Earnings Arrestment, other than using the Debt Arrangement Scheme or a Protected Trust Deed or bankruptcy, where your debt situation is quite severe, is to apply for a Time to Pay Order. When making one of these orders, the Sheriff cab make a order recalling the Arrestment at the same time.16th_March_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Lisa Thanks for coming on. Unfortunately, the £25 charge is an administrative charge that is added by your bank. This is very frustrating, as although the law protects the first £494.01 in your account, when a Bank Arrestment is executed and there is not sufficient funds for the arrestment to succeed, your bank still charges you £25. Your Council Tax Arrears account will be with the Sheriff Officers who executed the Bank Arrestment. I am sorry to hear they have not got back to you, despite you trying to sort things out. I would suggest giving them a call, as otherwise, they could attempt another Bank Arrestment, or even an Earning Arrestment or Attachment. You would then not only be risking another bank charge of £25, but also the Sheriff Officers add fees to your debt every time they do so. However, when setting up a repayment plan, remember you also need to be paying your current council tax (and the next financial year is about to begin). If you don’t the risk is your arrears will just continue to increase. I would, therefore, contact your local authority and set up a direct debit for next years current council tax and see what that will cost you, then see what else you can afford to the Council Tax Arrears. If you are paying your current Council Tax and something towards your arrears, the debt should begin going down. However, the Sheriff Officers may insist on an amount you cannot afford. if this is the case, I would suggest contacting your local, free advice agency (if you contact your local authority, they will point you in the correct direction; or you can find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here). They will draft an income and expenditure and show what you can afford and may be able to negotiate with the Sheriff Officers on your behalf. They may also be able to advise you whether you should use a Statutory Moratorium whilst you are exploring your options.09th_March_2019
  • Lisa_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I had an email saying there was an arrestment on my bank account on 22nd of February. There was no money in my account, so the arrestment failed. I checked my account today and there is a court order fee of £25. Has my bank charged me that? I’ve emailed the debt company asking to set up a direct debit to pay the council tax debt, but not heard anything back yet. Just wondering what will happen going forward and what I should do? 09th_March_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi John An Earning Arrestment can’t affect your Carers Allowance as Carers Allowance is not classed as earnings. As it is paid to you by the Secretary of State, it cannot be arrested in her hands. Your bank account could be arrested, however, if there is more than £494.01 in it at any point. The general rule is benefits cannot be arrested; however, in practice the bank will freeze any funds in the account over £494.01, regardless of the source of the funds and transfer them to the Sheriff Officers after 14 weeks unless they receive instructions from them or the Court not to. If the only funds in the account are benefits it is possible to argue they need to be released because the arrestment is incompetent; however, if they have been mixed in with wages, this argument is not likely to succeed, but another one may, such as the arrestment is unduly harsh. This is a complex argument and I cover it my article on how to challenge bank arrestments. Your local advice agency can help you with this if it happens. However, if you think it may happen, it may be worth while thinking about getting all your benefits paid into one account and other income, such as wages, into another. I would suggest if it hasn’t happened, but you think it may, the best thing to do is speak to your local money advice agency. It may be a Statutory Moratorium may be appropriate, which gives you 6 week protection. If I can help any further, let me know.28th_February_2019
  • John_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, Can an earnings arrestment or a freeze on my bank account be applied to benefits? Such as carers allowance?28th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_No problem Cheryl You also have Dundee North Law Centre (their Facebook page can be viewed here) and Dundee City Council Money Advice. The Council service may not represent you in Court as your action is against the Council and the Court may see it as a conflict of interest. However, they will work in your best interests and will have contacts in the Council Tax department, so may be able to negotiate with them to avoid it going to court. Best of luck again.22nd_February_2019
  • Cheryl_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Thank you very much for all the advice. I am in Dundee. l have emailed my local citizens Advice Bureau today and I shall print off the form. Thank you very much for the help and advice22nd_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Cheryl If you can tell me what part of Scotland you live, I can direct you to you local advice agencies who will give you free assistance. Or you can find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here. I won’t lie, proving an arrestment is unduly harsh is not easy or quick and involves going to court (or having someone represent you, like a family member, friend or solicitor.) The best option is an advice worker, like a Money Adviser, if you cannot get a solicitor. The legislation that allows you to argue it is unduly harsh is section 73Q and section 73R of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. You need to submit a form to your local Sheriff Court Clerk’s Office. The form is Form 63G, and is contained in the Act of Sederunt I have linked to below. As this is an application under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 it is free to raise an action. The Sheriff clerk then sends it out to the Creditors and a hearing is set in front of a sheriff. At the hearing the creditor will normally be represented by their solicitors. You will be asked to explain why you think the arrestment was unduly harsh. You should prepare an income and expenditure showing how much money you have coming in and how much you spend on gas, electricity, food, rent etc.  You need to say who is living in the house and what ages they are. Are there any illnesses or disabilities? If so mention this as it may be relevant. Do you work or are you a full time student? This is important to mention. Is anyone else in the house working?  Essentially you need to show losing this money left you destitute and caused real hardship to you or to your children. They will argue they left you £494.01, so it wasn’t unduly harsh. Maybe just harsh, but the law allows it to be harsh. The Sheriff then decides.  I cannot stress enough how much it will help you if you get an experienced advice worker or solicitor to do it for you. The regulations with the application form is here. You also want to say what the source of the money was (student loan etc) and you can also argue it was unduly harsh, not just for you, but your kids. Regarding the Council Tax benefits, could you be entitled to an exemption from council tax altogether as a student? You can check your local council’s website about this. It’s different from benefits. Best of luck Cheryl and let me know how you get on. Below is the most relevant part of section 73R of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. Hearing on application under section 73Q for release of property (1)At the hearing on an application under section 73Q(2) of this Act, the sheriff shall not make any order without first giving— (a)the creditor; (b)the arrestee; and (c)any other person appearing to the court to have an interest, an opportunity to be heard. (2)Subject to subsection (3) below, if the sheriff is satisfied that the arrestment is unduly harsh— (a)to the debtor; or (b)where the debtor is an individual, to any person such as is mentioned in subsection (4) below, the sheriff shall make an order such as is mentioned in section 73Q(2) of this Act. (3)Before making an order under subsection (2) above the sheriff shall have regard to all the circumstances including, in a case where the debtor is an individual and funds are attached— (a)the source of those funds; and (b)where the source of those funds is or includes earnings, whether an earnings arrestment, current maintenance arrestment or conjoined arrestment order is in effect in relation to those earnings. (4)The persons referred to in subsection (2)(b) above are— (a)a spouse of the debtor; (b)a person living together with the debtor as husband and wife; (c)a civil partner of the debtor; (d)a person living with the debtor in a relationship which has the characteristics of the relationship between a husband and wife except that the person and the debtor are of the same sex; (e)a child of the debtor under the age of 16 years, including— (i)a stepchild; and (ii)any child brought up or treated by the debtor or any person mentioned in paragraph (b), (c) or (d) above as a child of the debtor or, as the case may be, that person.22nd_February_2019
  • Cheryl_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Thanks for getting back to me. How do I go down the route of arguing it is unduly harsh?  It Seems like the only available choice I have. I’ve offered to set up payments, saying if the arrestment goes ahead it will cause undue hardship. I also have kids. I have applied for council tax benefit just this last week.22nd_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Cheryl Bank arrestment can be recalled or restricted, but only by the Sheriff Officers acting on the instructions of the creditors or the Sheriff Court. There are only certain grounds it can be done also. The first of these is it is unduly harsh (and the test for this is a hard one to meet, as the first £494.01 is protected. Also it is accepted that banks arrestments are by their nature harsh); The other grounds are it is not competent and by means of a notice of objection. This is harder point to argue as it usually has to be on technical legal grounds or all the money was social security benefits. There may also be an argument where it was a joint account and the other account holder wasn’t liable for the debt. Other than that they cannot be recalled. However, you mention you are a student. Have you checked if you are liable for Council Tax? If not your right to an exemption can be backdated.22nd_February_2019
  • Cheryl_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I received a bank arrrestment order today. I am a student and the order was for £989.07. Is this stoppable at all? It is for council tax arrears and the company said it cannot be stopped by them, but the bank might. The bank said the company can stop it. I cannot afford to pay it all at once, but I did offer to set up a payment plan. Any help appreciated. Thanks22nd_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Jacqueline They are allowed to arrest your bank account, but if it is possible to show the only funds in that account are social security benefits, you can argue the arrestment is incompetent as the law protects social security benefits. If the funds have been mixed in with other funds, then this argument may not be available as the argument is that the mixing of benefit income with other income means it loses the protections. However, as is always the case, it may not be straightforward as the lender who has arrested the funds may argue the protection for benefits no longer applies in Scotland in relation to bank arrestments. If this is the case it may be necessary to raise a court action to release the funds. Your local authority money advice agency will help with this (even if it was the council that arrested the funds) or your local Citizen Advice Bureau (you can find them here). I am aware of cases in recent months in different parts of Scotland where this has happened and the creditor has refused to release the funds. However, they have been challenged in court and backed down because I understand a legal opinion has been written saying they cannot arrest benefits. It is a strong but complicated legal argument. I would suggest you contact your local money advice agency (see above) and get advice. Hopefully they can get your money back without it going to court. If they are having problems, you may want to suggest they contact me as I can help with the legal arguments if they need it.14th_February_2019
  • Jacqueline_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi I have had £875 arrested from my bank account. I am on benefits and this money was taken from a backdated Personal Independence Payment claim. Are they able they do this when you are on benefits? 14th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Heather This may sound strange, but I think the reason they have not approached you before about this debt is because after you left your old address, you have been diligently paying your council tax. They won’t have known where the Heather who lived at your old address moved to and basically they have not linked the accounts. If you had got into arrears with other council tax bills after you moved, and entered into a repayment plan with them, they would have asked for your previous addresses and linked your accounts. It now appears they may have done a trawl and realised you are the same person. Council Tax Arrears unfortunately don’t become statute barred in Scotland for 20 years (written off), so they can still pursue you for it. The fact also it has been sitting for ten years shouldn’t have affected the amount owed though, as normally Councils use the Summary Warrant procedure to recover a debt and, therefore only add a 10% surcharge onto it. Interest is not normally added unless a different procedure is used, which it rarely is. However, if the council has previously instructed Sheriff Officers to try and recover it using attachments, Bank Arrestments, Earning Arrestments or a Charge for Payment, their fees may have been added. You may want to check you were liable to pay council tax at the time: were you a student? You may have been able to apply for an exemption. Or if you lived on your own, you may have been entitled to a single person discount. Some council may allow these discounts and exemptions to be backdated, but may have time limits as to how far they will allow a backdate to go. You can find out by visiting your local authority website. If you are liable for it, you will have to pay it. However, you want to avoid the types of enforcement action I have mentioned above. I would normally recommend you contact the Council first and verify you owe the money and ask them if they will enter a repayment arrangement with you, where you pay your current council tax and an amount on top of that to the arrears. They may tell you that you have to speak to the debt management company, who could in actual fact be Sheriff Officers. You may want to read my page on them. If you do have to contact them they may ask for ridiculous amounts and tell you that you need to pay it all immediately. Tell them you cannot afford this if this is the case. Tell them you will also have to pay your current council tax also (this should always be your priorty, otherwise your arrears will just increase). If you feel they are being unreasonable and you are getting nowhere, tell them you will need to seek advice from a money adviser and get an income and expenditure done to see what you can reasonably afford. Ask they put the account on hold to allow you time to get an appointment. You can go back to the Council and ask them to do this also, and ask whilst you are doing so, that they give you the contact details for your local free money advice service. They should help you. Alternatively, you can find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here. Be careful not to disclose too much information until you have agreed an arrangement, such as where you bank, where you are employed or if you have a car. If they come to an agreement, they may want this information, so if you stop paying they can use the above types of recovery action against you. However, do not volunteer it at this stage until they agree to enter a reasonable repayment plan with you. The important thing is don’t feel intimidated by them. If you feel you are getting nowhere, just ask they give you time to speak to a money adviser. If you think they are going to use any of the above recovery actions against you, you can apply for a Statutory Moratorium, which gives you six week protection to allow you to seek advice. You can only use this once a year, so before you do so, I always recommend you speak to a money adviser first, in case it is not necessary at this stage, but may be later. I hope this helps you out. Please don’t hesitate to come back on if I can be of more assistance.11th_February_2019
  • Heather_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi I have had a letter through the door from the sheriff court for a council tax bill I knew nothing about. It was originally for a low amount, but because it’s been left unpaid since 2009, I think it’s now sitting at £600. Is there anything I can do about this? I knew nothing about it as it was an old address and what I don’t understand is I’ve had a few addresses since then and paid council tax as normal and never been made aware of this bill. It was passed to this debt agency. How could they not have informed me when I’ve been paying council tax for years under the same name? I don’t understand it. 11th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Billy You don’t say what type of business you operate (for e.g. sole trader, Limited Company, Partnership etc.). However, if you have a business account for that business and the business owes National Insurance Contributions, VAT, Corporation Tax etc. HMRC can arrest the business account to recover it. As business accounts are not personal accounts, they do not need to leave the Minimum Protected Balance of £494.01 that they must where it is a personal account. If it is a Limited Company it is usually just the Company that is liable, so they cannot arrest your personal accounts, but where you are operating as a sole trader they could try and arrest your personal account also. If there is still amounts outstanding they could try and arrest the account again. Equally they could try other recovery action like an Earning Arrestment or an Attachment. I would suggest you contact the Business Debt Line for Scotland, which is a Charity and can give you free business debt advice. I hope this helps.07th_February_2019
  • Billy_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I have had a bank arrestment made, where HMRC emptied my personal accounts, as I buried my head in the sand. I am now in a right mess regarding this. I ran my own business, but due to the arrestment I can no longer continue with it. Are HMRC are allowed to take any funds from a business account ?07th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Advice Process_Hi Gemma Thank you for coming on. I am sorry to hear about your predicament, but if it is any comfort to you, your situation is very common these days. Trying to juggle family and work committements is no easy task. The first thing I think you need to do is make contact with your local money advice agency, so that you can get some structured help to put things in order. The next thing I would do is get a full benefit check and make sure there is no other support you could be getting and are not receiving, such as help with child care costs and your council tax. I actually have a link to an online benefit calculator you could use yourself to get started. You can access this here. Second, you need to think about establishing a proper budget for yourself. The money adviser will help you do this, but you can also do your own. The Money Advice Service have one on their website you can use and that is accessible here. Thirdly, you may have to think about using the Statutory Moratorium procedure to protect yourself from getting an Earning Arrestment or Bank Account Arrestment. The Statutory Moratorium procedure is free to use and protects you for six weeks from any Sheriff Officer action to allow you to get advice. You can, however, only use it once a year, so I always suggest you speak to an adviser first so you know you will get an appointment within those six weeks, as you do not want to use it too early and then not be able to use it again later if need be. For example, if your local authority have not yet served on you a Charge for Payment (a legal demand for payment) using it now may be premature. However, you can then look at all your options, such as the Debt Arrangement Scheme . This allows you to pay all your debts off in one instalment per month, based on what you can afford, whilst freezing interest and charges and protecting you from any legal enforcement action. In terms of getting advice, if you visit the Citizen Advice Scotland page on Finding a Bureau, you will find your local Citizen Advice Bureau. Alternatively, all local authorities in Scotland fund local, face to face , money advice services that are free and, importantly, independent of their debt recovery departments. You can, therefore, contact them and ask they give you details of your local services. I hope this helps Gemma and please don’t hesitate to come back on if you need any further help.06th_February_2019
  • Gemma_Debt Advice Process_Hi I really need help. I am a single parent to 2 children and work full time earning a good wage. I struggle badly with finances, just trying to pay bills and childcare. I have received a letter threatening to arrest my wages for council tax and I worry about this everyday. There is no way I can afford to pay this: get to work, pay my bills and support my children if they begin arresting my wages. Can you give me advice please? 06th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Chris Thanks for your questions. You are right to want to deal with this, as it will not go away and HMRC have a reputation as being a creditor who will move fast to recover funds. In terms of the tax years that you have not made a return for, they will still want these returned. They need them to establish the extent of your liability. This is normally a precursor to them entering any type of agreement with you. If you are not able to make these returns, they will probably base your liability on an estimate based on the type of activity you were involved in (e.g. taxi driver). HMRC have a very good understanding of what average incomes are for specific occupations and business types, so they base their estimates on this information. This, however, can be worse for you if you actually earned less, but, the only way to avoid this is to supply them with the returns. You will also probably have had penalities applied, so submitting your returns as soon as you can is advisable. If you cannot, you will need to tell them this. In terms of using a moratorium, this is an option, but I would speak to a money adviser and make sure you can get an appointment to see them first. The six weeks can pass quickly and once they are gone, they are gone. You will not be able to use the process again for another 12 months. You will then be left unprotected. The process for applying for a Statutory Moratorium is here and you can apply yourself without a money advisers help, but the responsibility is yours to make sure you use those six weeks wisely. You can find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here. Alternatively, contact you local authority and ask if they can give you details of your local money advice service, who should be able to help.05th_February_2019
  • Chris_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, I have buried my head in the sand and have had Bank arrestment for £1,600 for late tax return from 2011! I owe £15,000. They are asking for returns for years 14,15,17 and 18. The last 2 I can do but the first 2 would be hard to get. If I pay off the £15,000 will they still pursue the other years? Would a moratorium be advisable to give me breathing space? At the end of 6 weeks grace would I have to go into a debt solution?05th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi James If you signed your trust deed after 2013/14, speak with your trustee, as the council tax arrears should be covered by the trust deed. If these are council tax arrears you accrued after signing your trust deed, you will be held liable for them. If you are claiming you have already paid the council tax, you will need to provide receipts or some form of evidence. Sorry. Otherwise they will continue to pursue you for what is remaining.05th_February_2019
  • James_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi I had a bank arrestment carried out for council tax for the years 2013/14, for the sum of £323. The total balance owed was £623. I have explained I do not have receipts going as far back as that, but cannot seem to get anywhere with the local council tax office. I am also currently in a trust deed.04th_February_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi David The process for arresting bank accounts for Council Tax arrears is the Sheriff Officers first serve on you a Summary Warrant. They then must serve you with a Charge for Payment which allows you 14 days to pay the debt. After the 14 days they can then execute diligence (legal enforcement), which includes executing a bank arrestment, arresting your wages or executing an attachment on property kept outside the home. If they arrest your bank account they can do so without further notice once the Charge expires. If your account is in overdraft on the date they execute the arrestment, it will fail. If the funds in your account are less than £494.01, it will fail. However, they can seize everything over and above that amount. If your worried about a bank account arrestment, you may want to look into registering a Statutory Moratorium which protects you from diligence like bank arrestments for six weeks and allows you to seek advice on how to deal with your debts. This may include accessing remedies like the Debt Arrangement Scheme. You can get help to do this through your local Citizen Advice Bureau, which you can find here.30th_January_2019
  • David_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Can you please tell me the process for arresting bank accounts for council tax arrears? I have just been told my bank account is going to be arrested. I have explained to them I have been trying to set up reduced payments to all my creditors but to no avail. My rent of £576 is now due. If they take £80 my rent will fail. I also have an overdraft with my bank which I work off. 30th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Gary Further to my comments above, I have become aware today of a recent decision of the Scottish Sheriff Appeals Court, which addresses the question of when the five year prescriptive period begins to run. You can see my post about this here. This case concerned a consumer credit debt, but in terms of rent owed to a commercial lease, it will depend not only on the terms of the lease, but also when the court would consider the money to be payable. I would recommend speaking with a solicitor who specialises in commercial leases.25th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Gary Rent arrears are generally covered by the five year prescription rule, so after five years, providing no relevant claim has been made by the landlord and no relevant acknowledgement has been made by the tenant, the debt can prescribe. However, without knowing the details of your case it’s not possible to say whether there has been an interruption in the running of prescription, because there has been a relevant claim or acknowledgment. If there has been, the five years begins running again.24th_January_2019
  • Gary_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Can a commercial landlord who increased the rent by rent review in November 2010, but never processed collection, now demand arrears from 2010?24th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Violet Yes it should be possible. There is nothing specific in legislation allowing for this; however, if you speak with the Sheriff Officers that you instructed to execute the bank arrestment, they will advise you. If I had my creditor hat on (and sometimes I do if I am helping people who are pursuing their employers for non-payment of wages), I would advise you, having got yourself into the position you are in, you would not want to recall any arrestment until the funds are in your account. I am sure your Sheriff Officers will make this point to you. However, an easier way would be for the person that has had their funds arrested to sign the mandate authorising the funds to be released to you now. That way no one has to wait 14 weeks. If the person who has had their funds arrested then needs funds in that account, they can transfer them into it from the account they are proposing to pay you from.23rd_January_2019
  • Violet_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hello My company recently (after chasing a client for unpaid invoices for months and followed all the correct simple procedure rules via the Sheriff Court) arranged a bank arrestment on this particular client which was successful. I understand that the funds are held for up to 14 weeks or until client signs the mandate releasing the funds earlier. Client has now contacted us to say he wishes to pay the debt from another account and would like us to arrange to lift the arrestment. Please can you advise if this is possible?23rd_January_2019
  • Lorraine_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Thank you very much for your advice.21st_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Lorraine I am sorry you have been let go. As it is on the grounds of ill health, can I suggest you get a full benefit check from your local advice agency, just in case there are benefits you are entitled to but not receiving. You can also see my page on benefit checks. Regarding your wages, if it is all being paid at the same time, it will be deducted at the same time. However, how the calculation is carried out for your holiday pay is different. So, how you calculate it for your normal earnings is using the Earning Arrestment Tables. Then for your holiday pay, you treat this separately. so if it was three weeks holiday pay you would use the weekly tables.If it was three weeks and two days, you would use the weekly tables for the three weeks and then the daily tables for the daily amount Can I also suggest that if you are due a lump sum payment, you really want to get advice, as the sheriff officers could also apply for a Bank Arrestment if they know a lump sum will be going into your account, but getting advice and applying for a Statutory Moratorium could protect you. You can find your local Citizen Advice Bureau here, or contact your local council and ask who can help you with debt and benefit advice.21st_January_2019
  • Lorraine_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_I have just been dismissed on the grounds of ill health and i’m due 8 weeks notice pay as well as any outstanding holiday pay, does holiday pay get deducted separately?21st_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Happy to help Martin. The guys at Business Debt Helpline are very good and knowledgeable and I am sure will take good care of you.17th_January_2019
  • Martin_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Thank you very much, I will phone the Helpline. Martin17th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Danielle Thanks for coming on. No they don’t need to ask for your employer’s details. They obviously need it, but they often get this information as you have previously told them, possibly when applying for credit or if you previously entered a repayment plan with them and then missed a payment. They do need to have served you a Charge for Payment and a Debt Advice and Information Pack, or they cannot do a wage arrestment. They don’t need to do any more than than that. If you are worried about an Earning arrestment, you could speak to an adviser about putting on a Statutory Moratorium which gives you 6 weeks protection to explore all your options for dealing with your debts. This could include using the Debt Arrangement Scheme which not only prevents an Earning arrestment being used, but also lifts them where they have already been executed. 17th_January_2019
  • Danielle_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Do they need to notify you and ask for your employers details before an arrestment is made ? 16th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Martin Yes you are correct the Minimum Protected Balance only applies to accounts held by individuals, so doesn’t apply to business accounts. Also, unfortunately, they can keep arresting the account whilst there is still a debt outstanding. You don’t say what type of business it is your operating (limited company, partnership, sole trader etc.) as there may be options available to protect your business depending on the type of business model you have. You can call the Business Debt Scotland Helpline which is part of the Money Advice Trust, a registered charity that owns the National Debtline. They give free debt advice for businesses in Scotland.15th_January_2019
  • Martin_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_An Arrestment was executed on our Business Bank Account just before Christmas. The bank took nearly all the money in our Instant Access savings account, but this was only about a quarter of what we owe the creditor. We had made a payment arrangement and had made one payment (that’s how they got the bank details) but not been able to keep it up. I assume that what you say about the minimum protected balance applies only to individuals, so I am not asking about that, but I would be grateful if you could tell me whether they can do this repeatedly until the debt is paid? The money they took had been saved for essential van repairs so affected the running of the business. We will obviously resume payments as soon as we can but it may not be immediately. Thank you.15th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Karen I am glad you came on. I am sorry you are in this situation and it appears someone has risked making it worse with bad advice. There is no need to pay up-front fees to enter the Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) and you are absolutely correct they should not be paid for from a credit card. Although, many people do use private firms, this one you have dealt with sound like rogues. Not only should they not have told you to pay from a credit card, but they should have told you that the DAS can be accessed for free and provided the contact details for your local advice agencies. They are obliged to do this for all fee paying clients, so they can make an informed decision. Your local advice agencies are the Advice Shop, which is Edinburgh Council’s money advice service; or Citizen Advice Edinburgh. Both can do DAS for free.13th_January_2019
  • Karen_What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?_Hi Sheriff Officers came to my door on Thursday and gave me a Charge for Payment for council tax arrears that I allowed to run up. They said I have 14 days to pay the £705.34. I am a single parent and I don’t have this. My ex-partner has recently reduced the amount he pays me in maintenance, as he has lost his job. I have also got credit card debts that I built up before Christmas. The Sheriff Officers said if I don’t pay the amount I owe, I could get my bank account frozen or my wages arrested. I cannot afford this. I am really worried, so I spoke to a firm about going into the Scheme, but they said it will cost me two payments of £250. I really cannot afford this, but they said I could put it on my credit cards. I am worried if I do this I will get into trouble and just end up owing more. Can you help? Is there somewhere I can go? I live in Edinburgh.13th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Christina What you are describing is an Earning Arrestment followed by a Bank Arrestment. Basically, double diligence on the same funds. This is possible, although it might be possible to argue that the bank arrestment is unduly harsh as the earning arrestment has already been executed. This would need to be decided by a Sheriff. However, it is possible to request a Bank Arrestment is recalled or restricted on the grounds it is unduly harsh and this doesn’t cost anything and, hopefully your local advice agency or law centre will help you to do this. It may be if you get advice, your local advice agency can appeal to the creditor to release some if not all the funds. This would be quicker. You should contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau (you can find them here or local council and ask them who does free, face to face money advice in your area). Going forward you might want to look into the Debt Arrangement Scheme (What is the Debt Arrangement Scheme?). This will lift the earning arrestment and prevent any future bank arrestments. It will also freeze all interest and charges. There are a number of charities and also possibly your local council, that can set this up for you for free. It will allow you also to repay your debt at an affordable level, which can often be less harsh than an Earning Arrestment. Other solutions that may be suitable depending on your circumstances are Protected Trust Deeds (What is a Protected Trust Deed?) or Sequestration, but I would seek advice from a reputable advice agency first.12th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Good Morning Victoria. I am sorry to hear this. Basically, it depends on the circumstances. First the first £494.01 should be protected, so your account should not have been left empty. However, there is an argument that arresting funds over this amount can also be incompetent where it can be shown the funds are social security benefits only. So, for example, where the only money paid into the bank account are benefits, this may be possible. Where some of the funds are from other sources as well , it may not be possible, as the mixing of funds from different sources change the character of the funds. However, even if we can show the funds are purely benefits, this doesn’t mean we will necessarily win as Sheriff Officers argue, that although this was the law prior to 2008, when the law changed then to introduce the minimum protected amount (the £494.01), these common law protections for benefits disappeared. I am aware of a case in Aberdeen Sheriff Court where this is being tested at the moment, but it has not been decided yet. A better solution might be first get advice from your local advice agency and see if they can appeal to the creditor to get the funds released on the basis it is a UC advance and for them to take it will cause severe hardship. If this doesn’t work then to appeal to the Sheriff on the grounds the arrestment is A) incompetent; and, or, B) should be recalled or restricted on the basis it will cause undue hardship. You should contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau (you can find them here or local council and ask them who does free, face to face money advice in your area). 12th_January_2019
  • Christina_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi can my account be arrested even if I have an arrestment on my wages already coming off my pay before I get it into the bank?12th_January_2019
  • Victoria_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_I had an advance of universal credit yesterday to pay for essential living costs, whilst my claim is processed. The bulk of this has been taken as an arrestment to my bank account. Surely this can’t be legal? I now have a loan from DWP that I cannot use for the purpose it was given. Please help12th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Duncan. You are correct to be annoyed. It occurred on Hogmanay, your were left without access to your funds over the holiday period. Your bank, you may find, have applied a £25 fee for administering the arrestment and you are entitled to be compensated for that, if they have, as you should not be out of pocket. If you do want to make a complaint I would put it in writing to them (they will have an email address on their website) and also copy in the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officers outlining what, if any, financial loss you suffered and any distress you suffered. I would point out to them this appears to be wrongful diligence as they had no legal authority for what they did (it may be little used, but they will know this is an actionable delict – wrongdoing – in Scots Law) and be honest with them. Tell them what you think it will take to make things right. You may be happy with just an apology, but if you believe it warrants financial compensation for the upset and worry it caused you, then tell them that’s what you expect. I cannot guarantee you will succeed, as I say I think it will only be a modest amount if they agree to it, but as they say if you don’t ask…. I would also say you are considering making a complaint to the Sheriff Principal at Perth Sheriff Court. It is shocking and clearly a case of maladministration on their part that led to you, a completely innocent party, suffering a detriment. In terms of your credit file, I don’t believe it will affect this, as the bank should not report it as you have not missed a payment on anything.04th_January_2019
  • Duncan_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, It was the Sheriff Officers fault, they admitted it to me earlier on the phone. Now I’ve had more time to think about it I am disgusted that its happened and my daughter is fuming at what they did and made a point that what if the amount had been a lot greater and they had emptied my bank account? What if direct debits then couldn’t be paid? The bank have assured me they were only acting on the Sheriffs Document given to them. I am also wondering now will something like this affect my credit rating? Will it show up on my back details etc? I have to wait now on the person that will reverse everything, but she wont be in her office until Monday.04th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Duncan I am shocked. I have never heard of anything like this. It seems incredible this could happen, particularly when you don’t even have the same name. I am wondering whether the mistake has been made by your bank or the Sheriff Officers? If it’s the Sheriff Officers mistake, the bank would not know, they would just do what the sheriff officer told them, as they are officers of the court. It’s a bit like the Police telling you they can do something. Most people would assume they are correct. However, if they did make the mistake I would suggest you have a right to not only an apology, but compensation for any financial loss and also upset and distress that has been caused. I would imagine any amounts would be modest, but they have denied you access to your own money with no apparent legal authority to do so. I would say this may be a case of what is known as, but rarely used as an action in Scotland, as wrongful diligence, a delictual wrongdoing, on the basis there was no proper authority to execute the diligence. If it was the Sheriff Officers that made the mistake, I would make a complaint to them and also possibly their professional body, the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officers. You can in theory also write and complain to the Sheriff Principal at Perth Sheriff Court, who is the senior Judge in the Court, as it’s with Court’s authority (or lack of it) they acted. However, I am also thinking if the mistake has been made by your bank. Basically the Sheriff Officers have sent in the correct paperwork for another bank customer and the bank have applied the arrestment to the wrong account. This, without knowing all the details, seems more likely to me. If it was the bank I would definitely make a formal complaint. They will be embarrassed and will try resolve it quickly with you, as they know if they don’t you can take it to the Ombudsman. That aside I am glad you got it sorted quickly, which is the important thing for you04th_January_2019
  • Duncan_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_I contacted my bank yesterday on their first day back and they told me there was a letter on its way to me tell me what it was arrested for. The letter arrived today from the banks head office in Bradford telling me the money had been arrested and put into another account for up to 14 weeks, there was also the court documents enclosed giving me the details and a phone number to contact them on if needed. The documents were from the Perth Sheriff Court and the arrestment related to a court fine from May 2018, where £200.00 of the fine had been paid by direst debit at £40.00 per month and the balance of £340.00 was unpaid. So this was arrested from my bank account, the big problem is that I’ve never been in Perth, I’ve never been to court, I’ve never been fined and the details they have weren’t mine, wrong name and wrong date of birth and wrong person. They have said the money will be returned back to my bank account, but what amazes me is how on earth can they just take money from someones bank account without checking they have the right person and the correct bank account?04th_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Ann The legislation does not say the Earning Arrestment Schedule (Form 30) has to have the correct employers name in it, but I think we can take that as a given. The Schedule is served on the employer under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987, so it is a legal document. It should, therefore, be properly drafted and precise as to who it is addressed to, as it is effectively a legal instruction and does have consequences. Like all legal instructions, it should contain certainty. Take for example the situation, where the employer does not comply with the Earning Arrestment Schedule, they can be held liable for the sums they should have taken if it is found they were wrong not to have complied with it. Equally, if they deduct sums from an employee’s wages that they had no legal authority to take, they could face an action from the employee for making illegal deductions from their wages in an employment tribunal. If I was an employer and received such a notification and it was not properly addressed to me I would be raising the matter with the Sheriff Officers themselves. They should serve a properly addressed schedule. If they didn’t I would ask they properly address it. I cannot imagine they would refuse to. If they did refuse, I would speak to the Society of Sheriff Officers and Messenger at Arms or the Sheriff Clerk at the local Sheriff Court. In terms of whether an employer would be in breach of GDPR by notifying a creditor or Sheriff Officers of their previous employee’s new place of work, they would not as there is a legal requirement on them to do so under section 70A (5) of the 1987 Act, if there was a previous earning arrestment in place. However, they must also notify their previous employee that they have passed the information on.03rd_January_2019
  • Ann_Earning Arrestments and FAQS_If you receive an earning arrestment notification and it has the wrong employer details, can they enforce this or do that have to send out another notification with the correct information? If the person at the old firm give them information is this a breach of GDPR?03rd_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Thanks Duncan. In 2007 the legislation was changed with a view to giving people some advance notice, by sending them what is called a Debt Advice and Infomation Package, but those provisions were never implemented as the fear was it would give people advance notice and they would move their money from their accounts. The only notice you are guaranteed, therefore, is usually a Charge for Payment (if it’s a council tax or a HMRC debt) or a court summons if it’s an ordinary debt. HMRC can also use a Summary Warrant, which means there is no court order, but still have to serve a Charge. It is strange that you have no idea who it could be, so I would chat with your bank. There is one other type of bank arrestment that can be used, which is quite unusual and that is called an arrestment on the dependence, which is where someone gets the power to arrest your account before they take you to court, so you may know nothing of it before it happens. As I say, sorry this has happened at this time of year, but the bank will give you the information you need as they will have been sent an arrestment schedule from the Sheriff Officers. If you need more personalised advice once you know, Citizen Advice Bureaux are good for this. If you have anymore questions, please come back on. Happy to help.01st_January_2019
  • Duncan_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi again, thank you for your reply and advice, this all happened out of the blue with no notification by any means hence why I asked if it was legal to to this, surely someone should have made contact and informed me of what was going to happen, I dont know of any reason for this to have happened, Im retired and the only credit I have is for my car which is paid every month without fail by direct debit, I will contact my bank and ask who it was that made the order.01st_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Duncan. Sorry to hear this. It is called an Action of Arrestment and Furthcoming or bank arrestment. It is carried out by Sheriff Officers or Messenger at Arms on behalf of a creditor who is claiming you owe them money. If you contact your bank they should tell you who the Sheriff Officers are. If you then contact them, they should tell you who has instructed them to arrest your bank account. Depending on who it is the process varies slightly as to how they arrest your account. If it was for council tax, they should have served you a Summary Warrant and then a Charge for Payment first. If it was for a credit card or loan they should have taken you to court to get a court order first, but they don’t need to have served you a Charge for Payment first. There is also another process for certain types of debts like credit union loans that is called summary diligence. Essentially, the end result is the same. They freeze your account, but must leave you £494.01 in your account, which is the legally protected minimum balance. Over and above that they can arrest the full amount they are owed. The funds are then transferred into a fund to be held for 14 weeks. They will send you a form asking you release these funds to the creditors. You do not need to, but after the 14 weeks they are transferred automatically . The 14 weeks are to allow you to raise an objection through the courts that the action was not competent or is unduly harsh, or if it was a joint account, but not a joint debt, half the money belongs to someone else. Another argument may be the money in the account was wholly social security benefits, as there is an argument these types of funds cannot legally be arrested. You should seek advice about this if you want to explore it as an option from you local Citizen Advice Bureau or law centre. If there is still debt outstanding, you should seek advice also, as there is nothing to stop them doing another bank arrestment or even a wage arrestment or attachment.01st_January_2019
  • Duncan_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, Ive just had £340.00 taken from my bank account and stating this is a Transfer to Arrestment Scottish Courts and Tribunals, to Arrestment Funds Secured £340.00 Ive had nothing in writing informing me this was going to happen, what reason or why this was going to happen and dont know why its been taken from my account. Is this normal practice ? is this legal ? how do I find out why it was taken and where it was paid to ?01st_January_2019
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Good Morning Alison Sheriff Officers can freeze your account for the full amount owed, providing it is over the Minimum Protected Balance. This includes, interest and any legal fees owed, including the cost of executing the arrestment. Bank arrestment are not like earning arrestments, they are not just limited to a percentage over the Minimum Protected Balance, but only to the amount they are owed.26th_December_2018
  • Alison_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Is there a maximum that Sheriff Officers can take from your bank account?26th_December_2018
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi David. I am sorry to hear this, especially at this time of year. Sheriff Officers are used to evict people from their homes when courts grant orders. This is normally for rent and mortgage arrears, but can also happen when someone has been made bankrupt. This is because when you are sequestrated in Scotland (made bankrupt), your home, where you own it vests with your Trustee in Bankruptcy. They have a duty to realise any equity in your home for the benefit of your creditors. In the worst case scenario, this can mean selling your home. The Trustee can do this even after you have had a discharge, as his interest in your home can continue beyond this point. I cannot advise you on your particular circumstances, however, it sounds like your Trustee may have obtained an order of ejection to remove you from your home and he wants to sell it. I would suggest you treat this seriously and get advice as quickly as possible from a law centre, if there is one close to you, or from a local solicitor. Alternatively call the Shelter Housing Helpline on 0808 800 444425th_December_2018
  • David_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi. I have had a Sheriff Officer at my door who handed me a letter that says they can remove me from my own home, which I own. I was made bankrupt in 2010. Can they throw me out?25th_December_2018
  • Scottish Adviser_Old Debts Create Debt Sewers_Hi Sara Here is the link to Mike’s case https://www.scotcourts.gov.uk/docs/default-source/cos-general-docs/pdf-docs-for-opinions/2018scedin59.pdf?sfvrsn=013th_December_2018
  • A WordPress Commenter_WordPress Resources at SiteGround_Hi, this is a comment. To get started with moderating, editing, and deleting comments, please visit the Comments screen in the dashboard. Commenter avatars come from Gravatar.15th_August_2018
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Protected Trust Deed?_Hi Dave Form 5 is copied to you when your trustee sends it to the Accountant in Bankruptcy to apply for your discharge. So, congratulations! However, your discharge is not effective until it is registered on the Register of Personal Insolvencies. Once it is registered, you are discharged of your personal liability to repay any of your debts, unless you are excluded from receiving a discharge for that debt (criminal fines, fraudulent debts). However, as you note your trustee is still in office. This is normal, as although you are discharged, your debts still exist (your are just not liable for them) and your trustee must continue to wind up your estate, which may include dealing with your home. I, would, therefore, confirm with the trustee that his interest in your home has been discharged before you take any further action. Once he has discharged your home you should be okay to move on with your life, but speak with your trustee first.06th_May_2018
  • Desmond Middleton_Debt Arrangement Scheme: Can it Be Fixed?_It is too late, local government is also expected to do more work for less and the pressure is now on to tackle homelessness and welfare reform. In the last three years our service has had to make a case to remain, we have even got to the point of redundancy interviews. Front line money advice services are under continual pressure with no time to spare inputting a DAS case with formulaic inputting, dependence on creditors providing balances and an uncertain decision making process. Universal credit will pull in every resource that can be found to prevent people being kicked out on the street for non payment of rent. I think changes to DAS have missed the ferry and are stranded on their own isolated island.05th_April_2018
  • Dave_What is a Protected Trust Deed?_Hello all, I completed my trust deed in January and received my form 5 a few months after, but my trustee hasn’t been discharged. What does this mean? I am thinking of selling my house and down-sizing so there would be equity. Would this still be required to go to my trust deed and also what would happen if I came into some inheritance money? It does say on the form that I don’t need to make any further contributions, but I’m a bit confused. Thank you10th_February_2018
  • Scottish Adviser_Old Debts Create Debt Sewers_There still has not been one yet, but I would expect a written decision when it is made. Will keep you posted. Avizandum, which means judge away to think about it.23rd_January_2018
  • Debt Camel_Old Debts Create Debt Sewers_What was the outcome of Mike Dailly’s case?23rd_January_2018