READER COMMENTS

  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Gabe It really depends. I have a page on Diligence that explains the main procedures you can use, but another one I don’t cover, but can be used against businesses is Money Attachments. The best recovery is intelligence based. So find out as much as you can about the firm you are seeking recovery from and then use the recovery methods most likely to be successfull. Often the best person to speak to is actually a Sheriff Officer, so ask the firms who done the bank arrestment for you if you can speak to one of their Officers.01st_March_2021
  • Gabe_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, following a successful action under the Simple Procedure against a contractor who supplied and installed faulty goods, I arranged for Sherriff Officers to execute an arrestment of funds in the contractor’s bank account. This took place in mid-December 2020. No payment has yet been made to me and the 14 week period is up in late March 2021. I understand that it is only then I will find out if the arrestment has been successful and I would like to ask, what are my options if the arrestment fails due to insufficient funds in the respondent’s account? Many thanks01st_March_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Statutory Moratorium?_Hi Leann If you are in a Trust Deed and are considering applying for a Statutory Moratorium, I am assuming you have accrued some further debt since going into your Trust Deed. I would always recommend in such a situation that you speak with your Trustee. A Moratorium is a temporary solution, as you consider your options and not a solution on its own. You should, therefore, speak with your Trustee. It maybe that your contributions are too high or you have had a change of circumstances that you are not aware of. If you have no success with your Trustee, seek independent advice from your local advice agency.28th_February_2021
  • Emma_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Can you tell me if a BRO can be imposed if I was discharged back in Dec 2017. I was due for my Debtor Contribution Order to end on December 2020 but I have missed 10 payments and the trustee have wrote to me asking for the last three months bank statements. I rented for the first year and then moved back with my parents who agreed to have me back on the condition I made an informal arrangement to pay what I would have in renting to the household. Over this time I fell deeper and deeper into depression and was frivolous with money and developed a gambling problem out of depression. I gambled alot of my income and didn’t give my parents the money.28th_February_2021
  • Leeann_What is a Statutory Moratorium?_Can i apply for this if I am already in a trust deed?25th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_North Lanarkshire_Excellent question. An inhibition could only be applied if they first bill you and then eventually take you to Court and obtain a decree. They would have to also raise the action against all owners if they wanted to pursue everyone, as you are all individuals. Then you would be able to argue your liability be restricted only for the period that you owned the property. There are also rules about billing dwelling properties, where if an electricity supplier has not sent you a bill, they can only go back 12 months. This is slightly different as its a close for multiple properties, but I think a good argument could be made that should apply here. To be honest, I am speculating as I have never come across this before and it is a hypothetical situation as no-one has billed you. It’s entirely up to yourself. You could try and hunt down the supplier, but you may be opening a can of worms. You know what they say about leaving sleeping dogs to lie.24th_February_2021
  • H Baird_North Lanarkshire_I live in a private block of flats which is on privately maintained grounds. We are self-factored in relation to communal expenses and maintenance charges with a fund held for this purpose. It has come to light recently that we have not been billed for communal lighting charges by any energy supplier for quite some time – perhaps as much as twenty years and none of the long term owners have chased this up. I have calculated that we may owe as much as £6,000 in arrears. Could the energy supplier apply an Inhibition Order to prevent the sale of any of the properties unitl any bill sent to us is paid? Thank you.24th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi If an employer fails to execute a wage arrestment, then they can be personally liable for the debt to the extent they could have recovered it through the wage arrestment.23rd_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Steven The Short answer is yes. If you feel the Council has done something wrong you should make a complaint and provide them with evidence. You then need to give them time to deal with the complaint (look at their complaints procedure online). If you are still not happy after that point you can appeal the decision to the Valuation Appeals Tribunal. Alternatively, you can make a complaint to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.23rd_February_2021
  • Steven_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi, I have just had Sheriff Officers turn up with a Charge for Payment. This goes back to a debt owed for business rates from June 2019 to May 2020. Whilst at the time rates should have been payable we had an rates appeal against them and received no documentation regarding owning any which we thought was due to the appeal. In November 2019 they had a summary warrant issued for the rates owed. They added a 10% surcharge to the debt. They then removed the original debt because our appeal was successful and said we did not owe anything. However the Sheriff Officers turned up chasing the surcharge. Upon discussions with the council and the office where the Sheriff Officers were sent from, it transpires that every document they sent from initial bills for rates through to all court documents were sent to our old head office address. This was an old private address of a company director that the company had not used and had changed with Companies House over 18 months prior to the matter going to court. The council say it was our responsibility to notify them of our new address despite us using our new address with them from April 2018 to current. Effectively it boils down to us not saying ‘Please update our details’ and the council are insisting on payment. I have sent letters of appeal to the council who have said they have done things correctly. Is there someone else that I can appeal to? The court themselves have said it is pretty much impossible to appeal a Summary Warrant.23rd_February_2021
  • Neil_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_What happens to an employer if they don’t implement an Earnings Arrestment – do they get fines or sanctioned??23rd_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Make sure you and your Mate are registered with the Council for a Student Exemption and get it backdated to when you became Students. Also make a complaint you have been sent a Bill for a Property you were not living in at the time. Send them copies of your Tenancy agreement and detail of where you were living. If they don’t resolve your complaint satisfactorily, make an Appeal to the Tribunal Valuation Appeal Board. Ask the Council how you do this. If your worried Sheriff Officer action may be taken against you in the meantime, you can register for a Statutory Moratorium. These are currently lasting for 6 months if you registered one before the 31st March. It is just a temporary measure until you get things sorted, but the Council should put things on hold until your complaints dealt with, but they may not. They are free, and you can do them online and let the Council and Sheriff Officers know you have done it.22nd_February_2021
  • OB_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hiya, I recently got a letter asking me and my old flat mate to pay a debt for council tax. We are full time students and dont need to pay council tax. Additionally it is from a year that we werent even living in the flat. What should I do?22nd_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Chris They can arrest your wages. The Charge may have been served in other ways, such as on the Walls of the Court, if they didn’t know where you lived. You can dispute the Wage Arrestment if you think procedurally something is incorrect, but that involves going to Court and I don’t see the value in that if you are not denying the debt is owed and they have the correct person. Once they establish your current address, they will just serve another Charge, possibly at a cost to you an serve another Earning Arrestment. You can obviously, enquire with them when a Charge for Payment was served and to what address.21st_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Lee I am assuming you have received a Charge for Payment. If it is they can arrest your wages. The first £529.90 is protected each month, after that they can take 19% each month until the debt is repaid. You can see how much they can take here. You may want to look at a Statutory Moratorium, but that is only a temporary solution until you can received advice. You can contact your Local Advice Agency.21st_February_2021
  • Chris_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi, Can my wages be arrested if I have been out my old address for over a year and the first contact I’ve had from Stirling park have been the wage arrest form that was sent to my work? The address on the form is still my old address so I had no charge of payment etc issued to me21st_February_2021
  • Lee_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi, I owe £351 to Stirling Park for unpaid bus lane fines. I have been given a final 14 days to pay it or I could receive an arrest of earnings. I work as a delivery driver for dominos and barely scrape £700 a month. Can they arrest my wages if I don’t pay it ? Thanks20th_February_2021
  • Leah_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Thanks so much for your quick reply!18th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Linda I think what your Solicitor is telling you is correct. Normally when a Inhibition is in place, the Lender will agree to it being removed on payment of the debt, but they won’t normally agree to incurring the cost of doing that and so would expect the person to agree to pay that cost. I would say your husband has to go back to the Lender and ask for the Inhibition to be removed, as the debt has now been paid, but I would fully expect him to be charged the cost of doing it. They may even say he should get a Solicitor to do it and they will agree to it. There basically is work involved in removing an inhibition and the person that does it normally wants paid before they do it, or want you to incur the costs of arranging it. In the meantime, it will prevent the property being re-mortgaged, as that is what it is designed to do and until it is removed, you are stuck waiting. Obviously, I don’t know your situation, but I am assuming your husband may be waiting for you to re-mortgage the property so he can get paid. This won’t happen to the inhibition is lifted and ultimately, whoever does it, there will be a cost and your husband will have to pay that cost. Its not sufficient to just pay off the debt, which he has done, he has to arrange for the Inhibition to be lifted.17th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Leah Thank you for getting in touch, and so soon after it has happened. If more people sought good advice at this stage, it would solve a lot of problems later. First, of the parking ticket should have information on it about how to appeal it, so that is exactly what you should do and obtain a letter from your Employer that supports your appeal. It may be that people have been using forged parking passes, and this is what has led to you getting the ticket. It may be a overly zealous parking attendant, but either way, if your employer has given you the pass and they support you, I cannot see how this fine cannot be waived. If it isn’t I would be asking your employer to pay it as they led you to believe the pass you used, during your work, was sufficient. In terms of your credit rating, don’t worry. This won’t affect your Credit Rating at this stage. It would have to go to Court and they would have to receive a Court Order against you. You are no where near that stage at this time, so hopefully, it can be resolved by an appeal or a phone call by your employer and you can get a proper parking pass next time.17th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Colin They can refuse, however, it doesn’t seem very reasonable to me (albeit I don’t know all your circumstances). I do think, however, you may have to pay a bit more and I will explain why. Basically, their options are to do diligence, so this means: Arrest you Wages (they can’t as neither your nor your Partner work). Arrest your Bank Account (they can do this, but the first £529.90 is protected, so they can only take amounts over that, which are in the account the day they arrest it). Attach your Car (but if it is subject to finance like HP, Conditional Sale, or PCP, then they can’t as you don’t own it. Also if you do own it and it is worth less than £3,000 and you can show you have a reasonable requirement for it, it is protected) You can also register for free, online a Statutory Moratorium, which protects you from all these things for 6 months (your Partner has to also). They can Bankrupt you, but only if your debt is over £10,000 at present (normally, its £3,000, but because of Covid 19 its being increased temporarily until the 31st March). However, the Council can also request Third Party Deductions from your Universal Credit and take 5% of your Standard Allowance (this is £594.04 for a couple over 25; so 5% is £29.70 per month). This is why I think the £25 per month may not be enough as they can get more via your Universal Credit. However, what is important is come April you also set up a direct debit to pay next years bill directly to the Council, otherwise a Summary Warrant will also be issued for that and be sent to Scott and Co and that is the beginning of a vicious circle. This does mean you will need to pay the Council for your current bill, whilst also paying the arrears. If you are having difficulty coming to an agreement with them, contact your local advice agency for help.17th_February_2021
  • Linda_What is an Inhibition?_Hi there My husband and I are separated, and I was in the process of remortgaging the family home so I have sole ownership on the title deeds. Whilst my remortgage application was going through I received ( at my address for my husband, who no longer lives here) a letter informing him that a schedule of inhibition had been issued against him, due to a large debt that I knew nothing about I informed him of this ,and he duly paid off the debt ( he told me and provided reference details for the payment) Now my solicitor tells me that if he has paid it it still not showing as being discharged, and therefore my mortgage application is delayed. I was told by my solicitor that my husband needed to get a solicitor to register the discharge, and having passed on this info to my husband, his solicitor subsequently told him that it’s not his responsibility to register the dish charge. I am now totally confused as to who’s responsible for this, and all the while my remortgage application is being delayed. Please If you can advise me on this matter, I will be most great full17th_February_2021
  • Leah_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_I work as an support worker providing essential support to people with severe mental and physical health difficulties. When I started at my work I was given a photocopied contractors parking permit by my boss for the private (housing association – Edinburgh) car park beside my office. To be clear, the office is actually a rented housing association house in a block of flats. Today I got a fine which stated that I had an unauthorised photocopied fine. So did one of my co workers. I am going to speak to my boss about it tomorrow, but honestly I have no intention of paying the fine. I do not think this is my fault whatsoever. The only thing I am afraid of is my credit score because I had a CCJ previously which is about to come off my credit history at the end of this year so I would like to avoid a similar situation again. What advice would you give regarding this?17th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi G It is possible for this to happen and the most common way is for Council Tax because they have used a Summary Warrant. There is a less common procedure that some creditors can use, but not for Consumer Debts like credit cards, loans etc. and this is known as Summary Diligence. Basically, these are accelerated processes that don’t require Court Hearings. The Summary Warrant procedure is justified because it is for a tax (HMRC can also use it), whilst with Summary Diligence, you actually have to agree to it. You can pay the debt off quite quickly by contacting the Sheriff Officers who arrested your wages. You can find this out by speaking to your employer as they will have had an Arrestment Schedule served on them. Once the full debt and any expenses are paid, they will lift the Arrestment. Just make sure there isn’t other years also owed, as each council tax year is seen as a separate debt and once one arrestment is lifted, because the debt is paid, they will just apply another. In terms of the Visa, I cannot comment as it will depend country by country, but I wouldn’t imagine Council Tax debt would impact on your ability to obtain a visa as the information is not shared with Credit Reference Agencies (do your own check here for free), so I am not sure how they would find out. Usually, when it comes to Visas the big issue is have you been made bankrupt, which you haven’t.17th_February_2021
  • Colin_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I had Scott and Co at my door last week with respect to council tax arrears. I tried to set up a payment plan online ( £25 a month as myself and partner are on U C). Got a letter today refusing this amount. Can they refuse payment? Many thanks.17th_February_2021
  • AV_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Thank you for your reply, I very much appreciate you clearing that up for me.17th_February_2021
  • G_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hello, I have recently discovered that I have been issued an arrestment of income. Is it normal for a sherriff court to do this without any prior contact? Not by telephone or in person. I am willing and ready to pay as I simply forgot about them in the first place. Problem however is I am a professional and have recently applied for a visa without including this as I wasn’t aware. Would this affect my visa application? How would I pay this immediately as I am worried it would affect my credit score.17th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi AV It won’t affect your mortgage at this point as it is just a claim they have against you. If they ever took you to Court and obtained a decree, that would affect your Credit Rating, but until they do that, it won’t have any impact. I cannot tell you the significance of the small print, but it may be they have no intention of every litigating on this debt, which is possible, so it may never progress beyond just sending you letters. Unfortunately, However, I cannot give you any guarantees.16th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Eva. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what to do. You have basically been ignoring it since 2017. Ultimately, they are entitled to pursue you, but effectively, all they can do is send you letters. I cannot tell you whether at some point they may decide to take it further or not. They may. They may not. However, at present they believe you owe them this money, so they may continue to pursue you. You just have to decide whether you are prepared to continue ignoring them or not. In theory they may take you to court, however, they may not.16th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Gordon Sorry, I am not able to tell you whether she needs to pay or not. Essentially, your Partner has received a notice from several years ago, so the time to challenge it would normally have been then. However, you are saying she has never heard anything since then? I would be inclined to ask them to provide evidence that she wrongfully parked where they say she did, and that no Blue Badge was displayed. The onus is on them to prove your Partner broke the rules, so I would expect to be provided by a photo stamped photograph at the very least.16th_February_2021
  • AV_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi New parking restrictions were introduced at my usually free daily car park in 2016. I had parked for there for 3 days until it was brought to my attention as multiple colleagues had done the same without noticing the new signs. Our union had advised us that the fines were not enforceable in Scotland and had contacted our local MSP to complain about the parking restrictions so I did not pay the fines. I have now received 3 notices for £160 each totalling £480 from a debt collection agency. They state in the small print that this case is not subject to High Court or Bailiff action. I am about to increase my mortgage and am worried that this situation having arisen in 2016 will affect my mortgage application. Can you clarify this for me please?16th_February_2021
  • Eva K._Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_HI, I have a question about unpaid parking charge. In 2017 I was visited by my extended family from abroad and borrowed my car to my uncle who forgot to get a ticket in private car park. He recently passed away and I am not nor was I in touch with the company demanding the fine. To be honest I received some letters in 2017 and ignored them and for a few years it was quiet. Now they started badgering me again. However it is a different company and I am guessing they sold my debt onto somebody else. Now my question is what do I do. Everybody I know says ignore it, it is only an invoice but they make it sound threatening. I don’t want to pay. What are my options? Thanks15th_February_2021
  • Gordon_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_My partner has just received a letter from a debt collector about a PCN for using a disabled space in 2017, four years ago. She has no recollection of receiving any notice at the time. Her mother was alive then, is now deceased and was a disabled blue badge holder so my partner did correctly use disabled spaces when taking her mother to the shops. Does she have to pay? Is the onus on her to prove that she did display a blue badge or even that she was not driving the vehicle at the time?12th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi Joseph First thing first. In relation to the Council Tax Liability and what periods you were liable for, that is something you should contact your local advice agency about, as it is, or can be quite complex. I relation to Stirling Park, the 7 day letter sounds like a routine threatening letter, but I cannot say without seeing it. Sheriff Officers require an Exceptional Attachment Order normally to come in to your home to seize goods and these are not that common. It requires further court hearings etc. They may send a letter saying they can do an Exceptional Attachment Order, which is not the same as having one. If they did have one they cannot only take property that belongs to you, not your landlord and I am sure you will have a tenancy saying it is a furnished flat you are in, which you can give them as evidence if you had to. In addition to that, many items are protected by law (see here). Finally, you may want to look to register a Statutory Moratorium for both you and your Partner. This is free to do, you can do online and gives you six months to contact your local advice agency, sort out the liabilty issues and hopefully come to an agreement with the Sheriff Officers about paying the debt off in a way that is affordable. Have a look at my Downloadable Debt Guide. It covers alot of these issues.11th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Luke You need to contact the Sheriff Clerks Office in Edinburgh Sheriff Court, which I know you have. You need the Extract Decree from the Court. This isn’t normally given out when you get a decision in your favour, as 14 days normally must pass to allow the other Party to appeal any decision. Presuming that hasn’t happened and once the Court has issued you with that, you should be able to take it to a Sheriff Officer. You would need to serve a Charge for Payment before you can arrest the other Parties wages. Just a word if caution all these procedures will cost you money, and if the Defender registers a Statutory Moratorium, which is free to do so and currently lasts 6 months, you would be prevented from taking any further recovery action during that period of time.11th_February_2021
  • Luke_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Using the Civil Online portal I obtained an decree warrant order in my favour on 20th December. Two months have already passed and I contacted a Sheriff Officer to start with an earning arrestment process, however I’ve been told that I need the Sheriff Order, which I already have, and another one that I’ve never heard of, the Decision Form. It’s not on the Online Case page and I didnt recieve any letter during these past 2 months. Tried to contact the Edinburgh Court where the case’s been handled and I havent got any response back. What would my next steps be? I understand that due to covid things my be slow between simple procedure cases and Royal Post, but Im starting to get anxious about time passing and not being able to enforce the judgment. Best Regards.11th_February_2021
  • Joseph_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi. Me and my partner got letters from Stirling park Debt Agency and the last one told us we have 7 days to pay, if not they will take our goods. This is a long story. Our Landlord needed to pay council tax and he didn’t and now we need to pay it instead of him which is not right. We lived 6 months in shared flat and also payed the rent include council tax. One and a half year later we got a letter about this debt. We are no longer in contact with the Landlord, he disappeared. Long story.. Also our furniture’s belongs to our new landlord and I am worried they will take it. It is very frustrating because I am the only person who now works and we have a little baby too. I don’t really know what to do11th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Piotr Thank you for sharing your story. It is an upsetting one to read, especially because of the effect it has had on you and your family. Unfortunately, it is far too complex for me to give you any further advice on. Really you require further assistance from an advice agency or your MP, as he has previous involvement. You should be able to appeal the decision that says you were not occupying your property when you were. You would do this by making a complaint first and if it isn’t resolved satisfactorily, taking it to appeal to the Valuation Tribunal. They deal with Valuations for Council Tax, but also the refusal to give exemptions and discounts. Your local authority should advise you of how you can do this when they give you a final decision on your complaint. Basically, they have to consider all reasonable evidence and to refuse you simply because you cannot provide evidence of a removal van alone is wrong. They must consider all the other evidence you have provided. If you do require further advice, contact your local advice or law Centre. Their details can be accessed here.09th_February_2021
  • Piotr_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hello, Quick story about the drama we have with Glasgow City Council. We purchased the house in 2018 January – required complete refurbishment. Due to the huge works undertaken we have applied to Council for exemption on refurbishment, however it was rejected because someone else have taken before exemption in this property before we purchased it, so then we applied for empty property exemption which was rejected too with the same reason! Why we have to be penalized because someone else used exemption?? how does the law work backwards? In April 2018 there came new law which allows Council to apply Empty property premium to the owners for the past years and we received the letter for new council tax year 2019/2020 with new council tax fees plus additional empty property premium for house being empty before we purchased it! It is like paying fine for speeding a car that you bought from someone else, and this previous owner got fine 2 years ago! would you pay?? So for 3 full months Instead £600 -full council tax amount without exemptions we have been asked to pay £2300 for 2018/2019 year. We spoke with local MP who helped us to reduce that to 50% for 2018 but the rest we still had to pay. They forced us to pay this amount by sheriff court officers and threating letters. We paid for the council tax eventually even that we did not received empty property premium and we did not live in the house because of the huge refurbishment and extension being build. We was living in the flat where we were paying full council tax. We thought that will be all and we won’t receive any more letters like that, but we were wrong. Council sent us letter for new 2019/2020 amount – guess how much? again Full council tax amount + empty property premium= £4300!! again! The same story, threatening letters, sheriff court officers visiting our flat and phone calls from debt recovery companies. We start to argue with my wife because of that debt, she wanted to pay that all but we did not have budget for that payment, we were refurbishing our dream house which became drama. We split as this overcome our normal days, argument over the money, constant letters and sheriff court visits and threatening that our salaries will be seized. My wife did not want to lose a job because of that and me either. I’ve packed my things and moved out. I stayed in our “drama” house which we was refurbishing, I moved out eventually in March 2020 and I start living in the house as the refurbishment and works have been almost complete so I could normally live and do some works in house to speed up completion. Because of that constant threatening and my family was broken, I eventually did pay this £4300 again, I thought it will help and it will terminate the bad experience and we will get back together, but guess what, in April 2020 I received new Council tax for the period o 2020/2021 = Council Tax + Empty property premium!! Even if I notified Council about changing the address and providing them evidences that I Live in that property! They did not accept any of the evidences I’ve sent them – proof of notice of change of address which was applied online, – driver license with new address, – bank statement with new address, – car insurances with new address, – employers letter confirming my address, – utility annual statement – can not receive monthly statement as we have “pay as you go meter” They require receipt of removal company as a proof that I moved out and they moved my furniture – when I’ve sent them Insurance for my VAN – why would I hire removal company for that?? They require as a proof receipt for new furniture – If I wouldn’t have to pay empty property premium maybe I would be able to pay for new furniture! This is a robbery ! anytime I appeal is the same story: ” Please provide more evidences”. I have requested number times someone to come to inspect but they excuse is that they can not send anyone due to the fake Covid! but they were able to send Sheriff officers to deliver the sheriff court letter! Scam, robbery, theft, plunder and nothing else. Who can help me to fight with this robbery Council???09th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Can’t Pay Trust Deed or DAS?_Hi Michelle I would suggest you go back to you Money Adviser and ask for a further payment break. The Debt Arrangement Scheme Administrator is currently taking the view they will not revoke any Debt Payment Programme where the person can show they have genuinely been impacted by the Coronavirus financially. It sounds to me like your adviser has taken a formal approach to arranging a payment break for you, by allowing you a one month Crisis Break (your adviser can authorise two of these in any 12 month period, and they don’t need to be consecutive). They also then appear to have got you a 6 month break, which is the maximum that formally can be allowed. However, there is currently an informal approach being used at present also of you just not paying anything and your Money Adviser updating the Notes in the Debt Arrangement Scheme’s system to say your still affected and not able to pay. This isn’t a formal break, but if any creditors request your Debt Payment Programme be revoked, the DAS Administrator will be aware you have financially been impacted by Covid and as I say they are not currently revoking these DAS cases. This will not last for ever, but I suspect the DAS Administrator is not ready to start revoking cases yet, so may buy you more time. You need to speak to your adviser though. If they don’t know your still struggling they cannot help you. In terms of the debts being sold on, this is happening a lot at present as lots of debts are not getting paid by people impacted, so Creditors are just cutting their losses and selling on debts. Many of these debt purchasers are starting to chase people again, often because they don’t know your in a DAS but also some are doing it again as they are not receiving any money. They shouldn’t be doing this, but stopping them is another thing. Don’t worry, however, whilst your DAS is still protected there is not a lot they can do but send letters etc and call you. Just ignore them. Legally they are in the wrong. In terms of other options, there may come a point you need to consider whether the DAS is going to continue to be the right option for you. In terms of the Credit Rating, you are correct if you go bankrupt it may have a further impact on your credit rating. However, think of it another way. If you cannot return to paying your DAS, you may still owe debt longer than you expected (I obviously don’t know long your DAS has to go or how much you still owe), but an option like Bankruptcy may see you become debt free sooner. Also in terms of cars. If they are worth less than £3k and you own it outright, and have a reasonable use for it (you live in rural Scotland), it is protected. Also if it is subject to Hire Purchase, Conditional Sale or a PCP agreement, you don’t own it, so if you can still afford the payments, you may be able to keep the car in bankruptcy. Bankrutpcy is, however, a complex issue, especially if you own your home, so you need to get detailed advice before you go down that route and find out how exactly it will impact you. You should speak to your Money Adviser about this. You may want to see if you can keep your DAS going just now, but I would keep an open mind that there may be better options long term, especially if your circumstances have changed. I hope that is of help to you. Alan09th_February_2021
  • Michelle_Can’t Pay Trust Deed or DAS?_I have been paying a DAS since May 2018 without issue. I have been furloughed 9 out of the last 12 months, I got a month payment break from my financial adviser and DAS administrator agreed a 6 month payment break which has now expired so I have had to restart payments. I am still on furlough and am likely to be for several more months yet as I work in hospitality, and my total income is around 50% of what it was when my DAS was set up. One of my creditors has now sold on a debt because of “missed payments “ despite the agreed payment break and I am being chased by debt collectors My current DAS payment is around 40% of my income. What options do I have? I am not keen to sequestrate as I have a car which I require for work as I live in rural Scotland and effectively I restart the clock on an adverse credit history for another 6 years when I am almost 3 years into the DAS.09th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Get Advice_Hi Emma Thanks for getting in touch. I have found your Bankruptcy from the information you have given me and emailed you a copy of the Extract from the Register of Insolvencies. It shows on it when you Bankruptcy was and what your date of discharge was. All debts you owed up to the date of award or Sequestration was included in the Bankruptcy and cannot be recovered. You don’t say how the money has been taken, but I am assuming it was a bank account arrestment. This normally means you must be left with £529.90 in your account, but sometimes if the Bank are slow in applying it, they take off the money you had in your account when it should have been arrested, but if they are late in applying it and you have spent some money, you may be left with less than £529.90. I do not believe when banks do this, that this is the correct procedure. My view is when they execute it they must leave you with £529.90 in your account. However, it could be the money has been deducted from you benefits before it was paid to the bank. This is different and its actually be Department of Works and Pensions that are deducting the money. I am not clear from what you have told me has occurred. However, as I say any debt that dates before the award of the Bankruptcy cannot be recovered. I would say take the Extract I have emailed you and send that to Stirling Park and ask them what debts arose after the Award of Sequestration date that is showing on the extract. Only these debts can be recovered. If they orginate from before this date they cannot be recovered. I would also email the Extract to your local council and ask they withdraw the debts included in the Bankruptcy from the Sheriff Officers. I have also emailed you details of your local authority money advice service. Can I suggest you contact them and ask for their assistance. I know them and they are very good. I hope this helps. Alan09th_February_2021
  • Emma_Get Advice_Hi £196 of my benefit money was arrested by Stirling Park and I oinly received £320 for the month. I had no idea what this was for as I already pay £30 a month towards my council tax arrears. I call the the bank then Stirling Park and they said I have £725 in unpaid parking tickets and almost 1000 in council tax arrears (but like I said I have alreadyy set up a payment plan for this). I requested a break down of when these fines where from etc. and go as far back as 2014. I was declared bankrupt in 2019. Could I have these written off also as my council tax arrears are from 2015. The Stirling bank gentleman I soke to was very rude on the phone and tried to put the fear of God in me, so I’d rather know what I’m talking about before going futher with this. I only have until the 16th of February or the bank will give most of my monthly Universal Credit payment to them. Please help.08th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Michelle I am sorry you have had this problem. Do you remember paying? Do you know how you paid? By card? There may still be a record on your bank statement to show you paid. Smart Parking should have specified what breach of the agreement you made and also should be able to provide you with proof. They are also members of the British Parking Association, so you can take your complaint to them if the firm is pursuing you for a debt and has not specified what the breach was for or provided any evidence. I honestly would no worry about a lawyer just now, that will just cost you more money and as yet they have not raised any court action. I would submit a complaint about them to the British Parking Association. You can also look into whether you can still appeal via POPLA, but it may be too late. Remember if they do take you to Court, and there is no guarantee they will, the onus is on them to evidence that you broke the agreement and they must have to specify why. They also have to provide evidence if you challenge them. So, if you do receive any court paperwork you can contact your local Citizen Advice Bureau or advice agency.07th_February_2021
  • Michelle_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi I received a PCN back in 2019 for parking in a privately owned car park. I was surprised when I received this, but was not issued with a receipt, I paid via a machine on site and am assuming there was CCTV. I have now been issued with a letter before claim, after the first letter I sought advice from Citizens Advise to see what to do. I also carried lots of research and ‘Smart Parking Limited’ seem to be classed as cowboys. Should I be consulting a lawyer, the appeal process through their own website didn’t work well, they didn’t seem to want to discuss and they are now saying I owe £170.00. The parking was on a Sunday, I remember the cost because my Aunt was over from America and I researched cheapest place to park in Glasgow. They haven’t provided me with details about whether they think I didn’t pay or underpaid. If it went to court, would it cost me more than £170 and should I be consulting a lawyer.05th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi Amy We need to locate details of your Bankruptcy. I have emailed you. If you can forward me some details, I will try and assist. Alan04th_February_2021
  • Amy_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi, I went bankrupt in 2016 and all my creditors were dealt with as part of the bankruptcy. Last week I got an email from lantern debt agency telling me 19 days prior they had bought my paydayuk debt. I explained to the lady at themoneyshop whose dealing with paydayuk’s liquidation that I need a completion order or this company can legally chase me! Also I’ve had a letter from vanquis about the £2503.81 approx) debt I had with them. I said why is this account still active when it should have been closed in 2016 with my bankruptcy? Ring us back next week ( Wednesday 11th February 2021) and we will see if we can tell you. I’m so stressed at the moment. All I’ve got is my bankruptcy number. I can no longer find my details on the AIB register ( I’m in Scotland), I really need some advice please . I’m not sleeping again with the stress. Thank you04th_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Richard When Court Orders are applied for, its normal for them to be for the amount owed plus legal expenses and also judicial interest at 8% per annum. If this is granted, which is routine, then the debt can be increased with the legal and Sheriff officers fees and interest being added on. If you wish a balance as to how much is still owed, I would contact the Sheriff Officers. They should be able to tell you.01st_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi C From a purely legal point of view, my advice may also be to my clients to begin legal action at this point, as normally debts can be written off after 5 years with old age in Scotland. One way of avoiding that is to take the person to Court and the debt can recovered for up to 20 years. However, they may be bluffing and it may be another threatening letter and if you do nothing, they may eventually give up. Alternatively they may take you to Court and you may have to pay legal fees also. To be honest there is no way to tell. That is just a decision you have to take. They have done nothing up to now, so one view is why would they do anything now? Another view is they may, as time is running out for them.01st_February_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Protected Trust Deed?_Hi Michelle Yes there is. If this is a wage arrestment that was in place before the Trust Deed was signed, it should have stopped and your Trustee is not doing his job. Basically it’s not up to the Company to decide whether they want to lift the Arrestment. It also is nonsense they don’t need to because they are an English Company. S173 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016 is clear: the effect of a Trust Deed becoming protected is it stops the wage arrestment. If I was your Trustee, I would be writing to the Sheriff Officers and instructing them to cease the Earnings Arrestment and requesting all funds that have been arrested be refunded to you. I suspect you Trustee is just happy your in a Trust Deed and paying him money now and really isn’t doing his job anymore. I would ask the Trustee have they been in touch with the Sheriff Officers to ask they give instructions to cease the earnings arrestment? If not I would be dropping an email to the Accountant in Bankruptcy and asking they contact your Trustee and investigate the matter. They can give legally binding directions to your Trustee to take certain steps.01st_February_2021
  • Michelle_What is a Protected Trust Deed?_Hi Looking for advice. I entered a trust deed last year and it became protected on the 20th October. I’m still having my wage arrested by one of the creditors and it’s been going back and forth with the trustee. The company says they don’t have to lift it as they are an English company and the trustee just tells me they are keeping on at them. This isn’t helping when I entered it to be out of the rut I was in and with them still arresting three months after it became protected. Is there anything I can do? 01st_February_2021
  • Richard_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi Is a solicitor or lawyer representing a creditor able to increase the value of an order by the sheriff, including legal fees above the origional order. Also what happens when the debt is paid off but money is still coming out.31st_January_2021
  • C_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi, Four years ago I traveled from England to visit a friend in Glasgow. My car was parked in a residential space at his flat, as he didn’t drive my car was parked in his space. I received a parking charge on my windshield and later one to my home. I ignored these as that was the advice I saw online at the time. Four years later I’ve received a new letter from DCB Ltd threatening to advise their client to start legal action against me if I do not pay £160, the letter also says I’m no longer able to appeal. Is the best course of action to continue to ignore? Thanks28th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Dani I can’t say for certain. The £25 administrative charge is normally applied by your bank, but you will need to confirm with your bank whether the funds had already been transferred to your credit cards or whether they have been frozen. If they have been frozen they won’t be available to you and will have been transferred into a separate account. As far as I am aware, the fee the banks charge is the same they charge for a CHAPs payment, which guarantees a same day transfer of funds; so the fact you have been charged this I don’t believe is evidence the arrestment has failed. However, most banks still charge this even if it has failed, but may be prepared to waive it if you ask them to because of financial hardship. It may be your instructions to transfer the funds did beat the arrestment, but the only way to confirm this is to contact your bank. The Sheriff Officers and the Council won’t know yet if the arrestment has been successful. Unfortunately, the fact is the funds arrested, if they have been arrested, are not protected in anyway by the fact you borrowed them for another purpose. I don’t believe this would be a ground of challenge that would succeed. The Council would just argue they have a superior right to be paid before any other creditor as they executed an arrestment, which is sadly correct, legally.27th_January_2021
  • Dani_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, I just got notified of an arrestment for Council Tax. Normally it would have failed because there are no funds in my accounts. However, just on that day I took out a loan to consolidate credit card debt, and so temporarily had a large sum in my account before I transferred it to the credit cards. I can’t tell yet if the payments to the cards have gone through or if they successfully arrested my funds. But the £25 court order charge is on my statement. Is that a good sign that the arrestment failed, or will that be charged either way? Thank you. Also is “I only had funds because I just took out a loan to pay off other debts, and a day sooner or later would have had no funds” a reason to challenge the arrest? Man, being poor is expensive. Thank you!27th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Get Advice_Hi Margaret When you left the property you owned in 2004/2005, you say you moved into a Council property. You will have had a council tax liability for this property. This may be the easiest way to prove you were no longer liable for the property they are pursuing you for. I would make a formal complaint to the Council and inform them where you were living during the period they are pursuing you for Council Tax. They should be able to check whether you had another liability at that time. If they don’t resolve your complaint to your satisfaction, you can then take your complaint to the Valuation Appeal Complaint Tribunal. You can also make a complaint to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman. A sample letter you may want to send or email is: Dear Sir or Madam Re: Formal Complaint – Council Tax Reference Number: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx I am writing to complain that you are holding me liable for Council Tax for the following address, [insert old address], for the period [insert period they say you are billing you for]. I sold this property on [insert date you sold property] and during the relevant period was living at [put the address you were living], where I was liable for Council Tax. I ask, therefore, you correct your records to show that I was not liable for Council Tax for this address, during this period. If you do not believe you can revise your decision, please provide me with information on how I can appeal your decision to the Valuation Appeal Committee. I would also be grateful if you can advise me how I can raise a complaint with the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman. I hope this helps.23rd_January_2021
  • Margaret_Get Advice_Hi, I need advice, please. In November 2020 a Sherrif officer arrived at my door while working from home to serve me with an outstanding Council Tax bill from 2004/5. I think the bill was £61 but with the bill being served at my house it was £81. It was for a property that I sold in 2003, and I moved into council property as I had left nursing due to ill health. I lived there until 2007 when I moved in with my mum (bigger flat, same building) and became her carer. Mum died in 2014 and I got the tenancy and lived there until August 2018 when I moved to my current address. I emailed the Council disputing that I lived in that property at that time and that I had had no letters to ask me for the money. This was quite out of the blue to me and after all of this time quite unnecessary. I didn’t hear anything back from the Council and assumed with Christmas, and COVID everyone was just busier than usual. However, yesterday I received a notice that they will arrest my wages (NHS) and the bill is now at £257.81 and I am worried sick as I have never had anything like this happen to me before. Unfortunately, after so long and several house moves I don’t seem to have anything to prove where I lived at that time. I now don’t know what to do about this and I can’t afford all that amount of my salary in one go. This seems quite unreasonable to me. What can I do? Thanks Margaret21st_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Statutory Moratorium?_Hi G Applying for a Staturory Moratorium is relatively simple and fast and also free. You can do so by visiting the Scottish Government page where you make the application and completing the online form. You do this by Creating a Debtor Moratorium. There is also a Form 33 that must be completed and uploaded when completing the online form. A Staturory Moratorium can usually be added to the Register within 24 hours of you uploading it and it is free to do so. Registering a Moratorium will not usually damage your credit rating, but missing payments to your debts may. Also Moratoriums don’t freeze interest and charges. What they do is stop Sheriff Officers from executing Diligence and Creditors petitioning for your bankruptcy. Even though the online site you apply for a Statutory Moratorium is the Accountant in Bankruptcy Website, you don’t need to worry you are not going Bankrupt. Ths AIB are just the Government agency that deals with them. Unfortunately, I cannot give you personalised advice as to the suitability of a Moratorium for you, or in relation to your personal circumstances (the aim of this site is just to inform and direct people to where they can get help) if your look at the list of local advice agencies I have (Click Here) and contact your local one, they will help you and discuss what the best options are. Although most are not open to the public, they are still operating telephone services. Finally, it is important to remember Statutory Moratoriums are intended to give you breathing space for up to six months. Ideally, if you can get advice and find a solution before then, this is usually best.20th_January_2021
  • G_What is a Statutory Moratorium?_HI I would like assistance to stop any arrestment and to give me breathing space, in order that I can get my affairs in order using the Statutory Moratorium Procedure. I have never been in this position, so would request some direct advice and support to get me through this as soon as possible. I work long hours at present in a legal sector job from home and whilst trying to care for two of my three children as well. Anything you can do to support me with a Staturory Moratorium application to cover me for up to a period of 6 months would be greatly appreciated. I may also have other associated queries about some recent events which have happened to me financially today and which I may require immediate support and advice about.20th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Donna I do recall you from before and I am glad you have had a partial refund. What is going to be really important here is that you can evidence that when the Earning Arrestment was executed, that is served on your employer, you had a Statutory Moratorium in place (bearing in mind when you put it on this time last year it would only have lasted 42 days). If you can show that you could argue it was incompetent for them to execute it (see s197(3)(b) of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016). It should, therefore, follow it should fall and all funds recovered using it and the costs of them doing it, should be refunded to you. They should then have withdrawn it and executed another one during a period when you have not had a Moratorium in place. Now if you believe you can prove this, preferably with documentary evidence, then you can ask the Sheriff Court to review the Arrestment and whether it was valid under s50 of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. You can ask the Sheriff to order it be lifted as it was not competent for them to serve it when they did and also for a consequential order requesting all the funds taken under it be reimbursed to you. To do this there is a procedure under the Act of Sederunt (Proceedings in the Sheriff Court under the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987) 1988. The relevant provision in that legislation is Regulation 40 (click on link). The actual form you use is Form 32 in the Schedule (click link). If I can suggest something, it is you possibly seek advice from your local advice agency. There is a Citizen Advice Bureau in your area. There is also a Council Money Advice Service that are very good and may be able to take it up internally, though I don’t know if they could represent you in court. You could also take your argument and evidence to the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officers first. I believe making an application under s50 of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 is free, but the Sheriff Clerks Office should be able to clarify that. Most applications under the 1987 Act are free to make.19th_January_2021
  • Donna_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi, you gave me advise previously which I used to get a Sheriff Officer to admit they had continued an earnings arrestment which the council had told them to withdraw, they simply allocated the continued payments to another year. They refunded the extra payments (thank you!). However this meant they still had an earnings arrestment in place when they tried to serve another. I have since discovered when my employer told them there was an existing arrestment, they simply emailed them to just start using the new one served and they would send a withdrawal letter for the existing one. I have enough proof built up now and want to apply to sheriff court to have the new arrestment declared not competent, invalid, (it is now finished and want to request a refund), but I am unsure which procedure to use…the new simple procedure or would there be a specific application for this? Any help much appreciated! Thank you19th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Gary It is common for Firms to put debts out for collection to one Firm for a while and if they don’t get paid, take it back, or sometimes be given it back. They, therefore, then give it to another Firm. As a general rule, therefore, always write to who sent you the last letter, but ask them to pass the debt back to the original Firm that gave you the debt and ask they consider writing it off, as its their decision.16th_January_2021
  • Gary McAlpine_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hello again, I now have a file with letters from 4 separate companies, I am unsure whether to write to one or all four. Can you give me further advise please? Since the incident in early July 2020, I have received 7 letters over a 6 month period; 2 from Gemini Parking Solutions followed by 3 from Debt Recovery Plus, folllowed by 1 from Zenith Collections and finally a letter from CST Law dated 7/1/21 and giving me until 21/1/21 to pay the fine. Many thanks, Gary15th_January_2021
  • Gary McAlpine_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Many thanks for your prompt reply and for confirming my next course of action. Kind regards, Gary15th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Yvonne Contact the Sheriff Officers and explain the mistake. Your partner’s employers should reject the wage arrestment if it is not in his name and it is incorrect and should not arrest his wage. However, if the debt is one you are both joint and several liable for, like Council Tax, they may just issue another wage arrestment in his name, which they can do and try and arrest his earnings. They are legally entitled to do this if he is liable for the debt. He can apply for a Statutory Moratorium which will give him protection for six months, to try and sort things out. However, the Moratorium will only work if they have not already executed a competent wage arrestment. If they have then the Moratorium will not lift it. There are other ways to lift wage arrestments, and you should contact your local advice agency about this. If the debt is only in your name, then the wage arrestment against your partner should fail and he should not get into trouble as he cannot be held responsible for your debts.14th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Gary I have heard this being said before that advice agencies are saying these debts are not enforceable. They are. That’s not always to say they will go to Court, but it is an option. If you want further evidence they are enforceable, here is an article in the Glasgow Herald dealing with a case where the court upheld the tickets. It is an extreme example but illustrates they should not be ignored. However, that said, the Firm must ensure the signs are on display before your enter and visible for drivers. They will most likely also be members of a private parking body and must follow their codes of practice and you may have rights to a late appeal to those bodies also. However, from what you are saying I think I would write to the Firm and do what you have suggested. Explain the circumstances and ask if they will exercise their discretion in this case to waive the fine. You can possibly get assistance from your local advice agency.14th_January_2021
  • Gary_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hello, In July 2020 I was assisting my elderly disabled mother in a small local shopping centre near Glasgow with its own private car park. My mother’s Blue Badge was clearly displayed on the window of my car and so we thought we were parked legally. We did not read any of the signage pertaining to car parking as I was with a registed blind person and we were busy dodging puddles in what was a very poorly drained area during a heavy rain shower. I have so far ignored the several demands for a fixed penatly of £170 but the case has now escalated and I’m now being threatened with court action. In their letter the Debt Recovery Company’s lawyers are citing a scenario whereby the court awarded the claimant £24,500 for multiple unpaid charges (I only have one). I considered writing to the Debt Recovery Company earlier however was advised by another agency that these cases are not enforceable in Scotland. Further research has since questioned this advice. Should I write now explaining the mitigating circumstances or is it too late now for that now that the case has escalated?14th_January_2021
  • Yvonne_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Sheriff Officers have sent a wage arrestment in my name to my partners employers with their date of birth. My partner will get into trouble as this breaches the code of conduct they work by. How can I get them to put it back to me.14th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. As far as I aware POPLA won’t hear appeals for periods before they became available. However, I would just suggest contacting them and asking (see here). Realistically, there isn’t any way to force them to take you to Court other than just continuing to refuse to pay. After 5 years the debt, even if it is recoverable, is legally unenforceable because of prescription law.14th_January_2021
  • Mike_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hello, I got a parking notice three years ago before POPLA was available in Scotland. They continue to send letters demanding I pay or they will take me to court. Is it possible to appeal to POPLA now that they are available in Scotland even if the original charge was from three years ago. Or is there a way to force the private firm to actually make good on their threat of taking me to court?12th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi Ian Forgot to mention only Sheriff Officers can execute Exceptional Attachment Orders, but there needs to be another hearing in front of the Court first, so you are best seeking advice from a Lawyer. You can apply for the Order yourself from the Court, but as its quite intrusive a procedure, I would expect a Court would be reluctant to grant it without a lawyer being involved. You can then give it to a Sheriff Officer to execute.11th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi Ian You should normally be told by the Bank after 3 weeks from a Bank Arrestment being executed whether any funds have been attached. You should ask the Sheriff Officers if they have received any notifications. All you will normally be told is if funds have been attached and if so, how much. Alternatively, they may tell you no funds have been attached. You won’t receive any further information than that. You won’t be told if they held an account with that bank or not. Also you won’t be told why no funds were attached. It may be the account was in overdraft, or if it had funds in it, it may have been below the £529.90 Protected Minimum Balance. It may be you have been unlucky in your timing. If the arrestment had been executed on another day, it may have been successful, as there may have been more funds in the account. This underlines the most important thing you can do before you begin debt recovery and that is think about what you know about the person. Do you know where their account is held? Do you know on what day they get paid? If you are thinking about attachment of property outside the home, do they own a car? Is it their car or is it registered in someone else’s name? Is it subject to car finance, like a Hire Purchase, Conditional Sale or PCP agreement? If it is, they don’t own it, so any attachment will fail. Unfortunately, Exceptional Attachment Orders can be more difficult. There has to be a further application to the Court made by you for the order. You will have to show you made reasonable efforts to recover the debt by other means, or if you didn’t, that was because it was unlikely to succeed. You need to show that if the Exceptional Attachment Order is executed, it will raise sufficient funds to cover the cost of carrying it out and also £100 towards the debt. This isn’t easy to do, as it suggests you need to have knowledge of whats in the home. Also so many items in the home are protected (See Here). The problem is all this will cost you money and is speculative: you may succeed, but equally you may not. Also do you know the financial situation of the person you are pursuing? If they lack the means to pay you, you may be throwing good money after bad. Also they can currently register a 6 month Statutory Moratorium for free at the moment because of Covid 19 Crisis, that protects them from Sheriff Officers. (You can check the Register here). Debt recovery is always difficult and risky. You have not been paid, so when do you stop risking losing more money? You need to ask yourself what you know about the person and weigh up the risks of taking any action. However, you do have a decree, which means the debt won’t be prescribed (written off) for at least 20 years. Also this may not be the best time to try and recover it, as I think its unlikely any Sheriff would allow an Exceptional Attachment Order under the current social distancing rules. In terms of some other options you may have. Some debt collectors may agree to recover the debt for you without charging you, but for a % of what they recover if anything. That will possibly just mean sending out letters and trying to phone the person. This can sometimes work. Also you could speak to a lawyer who may not charge too much to send them a letter and advise on other options, such as an Inhibition, if the person owns their home. This can be quite effective, but is a more long term strategy. I think, being honest, I would be prepared to take a long term approach. With the current crisis, lots of people are being impacted and I get that may include your business too. Unfortunately, these things tend to have a knock on effect. However, the law at present, because of Covid, is not geared towards Creditors getting their money back. However, a lawyers letter, I believe may be the least expensive and also possibly the most likely to succeed option you have. It is also on you to try and contact the debtor to try and recover the money, but a lawyer acting on your behalf may have more success at this, as its less personal.11th_January_2021
  • Ian_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_My Company, based in Scotland, undertook work, on behalf of a Sole Trader for a third party. On completion of the work we raised an Invoice but payment has never been made despite the Sole Trader being paid by the third party. We have raised an action under The Simple Procedure, with a Charge for Payment being served then a Bank Arrestment, but no money has been paid by the debtor. We have never been informed that it was the correct Bank and if there was any money in the account.We are now considering an Attachment Order but we also notice that there are Exceptional Attachment Orders that can be raised. Who actually carries out these Exceptional Orders and what is the cost involved. During the process up to the Bank Arrestment no one has talked to the debtor to try and arrange a payment plan to enable the debt to be paid. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you11th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Cameron Thanks for getting in touch. What you are describing is extremely common at present and there is a lot of support available. Now what you are describing also sounds temporary and things may improve again shortly, so this is not the time to be making big decisions. The first thing I would do is speak with your Lenders and ask if they can give you some breathing space, possibly in the form of payment breaks. Lots of Lenders are doing this at present, to help people, but you need to contact them and explain, financially you have been impacted by Covid. Hopefully, they will give you some time. Most will allow you to request help if you visit their website. However, regardless of whether they will or not, you need to be aware that not paying your debts can have serious consequences for you. They can still add interest and charges and your credit rating can be damaged. Your ability to remortgage or get a fixed rate mortgage may be affected. Also they can pass your debts to debt collection agencies, so you can expect lots of letters and phone calls. They can also ultimately take you to Court, so Wage and Bank account arrestments are a possibility in the future and that can also mean legal and Sheriff Officer fees being added. In addition to that, the six years you referred to is in relation to Limitation laws where debts get written off after six years. These are English Laws. In Scotland, it is called Prescription and is five years. However, where they take you to Court it can become 20 years. In the worst case scenario, you can be made Bankrupt if your debts are large enough (its currently £10k because of Covid 19 Emergency Laws, but is normally only £3k). Bankrutpcy, as you are a home owner, could put your home at risk. However, it is not all bad news. First, as I mentioned lenders are taking a more sympathetic approach to people experiencing genuine financial difficulties. Also, even if your financial difficulties are going to be more long term, there are other options, such as the Debt Arrangement Scheme. This is a Scottish Government Scheme that allows your to repay your debts back at a rate you can afford, whilst freezing all interest and charges and protecting you from bankruptcy and Sheriff Officers. Its free to go into and every penny you pay goes to your debts. You also only make one payment per month. Also, as of Monday the Scottish Government are launching a new approach to the Debt Arrangement Scheme, called a Low but Grow Approach. This will allow people who are financially affected by Covid, like yourself, to begin with smaller than normal payments until you get back on your feet. You can then increase the payments. Here is an article about it that was in the Glasgow Evening Times (New Debt Rules will provide Breathing Space for Workers affected by Pandemic), and you can find your Local Advice Agency here09th_January_2021
  • Cameron_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_I’m in debt of over 25k. It’s came to a point I can no longer pay the debts due to covid and I have been taken off my shift pattern at work, so that has been a huge reduction in wages. My debts are bank loans, overdrafts and a catalogue account. I’m almost ready to just stop paying and letting myself get defaulted on for the 6 years or so. I pay my mortgage, council tax, so my question is can I be forced by the court to pay these loans (wages arrested, taking goods from me)? From what I’ve read, they only force you to pay council tax arrears, child maintenance, government stuff.09th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi L Well I think you have grounds to challenge the Debt Collection Fees, as they are clearly in excess of what the sign says, so they have no contractual basis for charging £70. In relation to the charge and how much they are charging you per minute, unfortunately, I don’t think this is the way they will look at it. They will, I assume argue their pricing model is that they charge a flat service charge if you exceed the allowed time limit. This is a normal pricing model for these firms. You can appeal, if you do so within the allowed time they allow for appeals (which is normally 14 days, but may differ for different Firms), but I am assuming that time has now passed if it has been passed to a debt collection agency. If they are Members of a professional body, they may allow late appeals, but there is normally a charge and you need to provide a good reason for not appealing within the set times. Ultimately, they could take it to court and you will need to decide at that point if you wish to defend it or not. If it does progress that far, you could be liable for legal expenses also, and it could damage you credit rating.08th_January_2021
  • L_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hello, Great website – very informative. I have received a PCN of £100 for allegedly overstaying in a car park in Scotland. The allowable time is 90 minutes, and the timestamps on the evidence they have included on their PCN shows that the car was in the car park for 14 minutes longer than this. This would mean that they are charging over £7/minute. Could this not be see as excessive, or a penalty? It is also noted that the signs in the car park are clear, and they state that should they pass the debt to a third party for collection, they they will apply an additional £60 charge. They have passed this to a third party, but the third party (ZZPS) has added a £70 charge. Is this not a breach of contract? Thanks for any help/advice you can offer, L07th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Also Bob, if you are going to appeal make sure that they also met all the other conditions for applying charges, such as displaying their terms and conditions on a legible sign that was visible before you entered, as if they didn’t, this is another grounds for disputing a ticket. Take photographs if you have any concerns the sign didn’t meet these standards.07th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Bob There is no definition in any legislation, so if you were going to challenge any level of charge being excessive, it would ultimately be for a judge to decide. That would mean disputing the level of the charge with them and waiting to see if they took you to Court and then defending the action on the basis you think the amount is punitive or excessive. I would not recommend this course of action for a number of reasons: This could drag on for months if not years and you would lose the right to the discount they have offered you. Second, if it went to Court you could be liable for legal expenses and this could significantly increase the level of the debt. You may not also win. I have looked ParkMaven up and it appears to me they are a software provider for Car Parks, so I am not sure if they are actually the people who have sent you the charge. Parking Firms should be part of one of two Parking Associations. These are the British Parking Association and also the International Parking Community . If they are not members of one of these Associations then the DVLA will not provide them with your details. To be members of one of these organisations they need to adhere to their Code of Conduct, which includes a right to appeal any charge. You should also have a further right to an Independent Adjudicator after that. That is not to say that if a Firm is not a member of one of these bodies they cannot pursue you for a ticket. It will just be harder for them. I would try and find out who is the Company that has given you the ticket. As I say I don’t think it is Parkmaven, but I may be wrong, and ask what body they are a member of and what is their appeal process. You could then appeal on the basis you believe the charge is excessive and not a reasonable service charge. Basically, the law as it stands at present, is these firms cannot charge penalties, as penalties under contract law are illegal, which is why for years people believed these tickets were unrecoverable legally. However, there have been Court Cases since that have established they can charge Service Charges, to cover their costs and also like any business make a profit. However, the question is when does a Service Charge become a penalty? Unfortunately there is no clear answer to that, but there is nothing to stop you arguing it is excessive in any appeal. I just would not personally take it any further, especially as you are conceding you over stayed. Be aware of and deadline for appeal or taking advantage of any discount and enquire with them, if you do appeal and lose, will you still be able to pay and take advantage of the discounted amount.07th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_Get Advice_Hi Pauline You have to be careful here, as although you have now received your discharge and your Trustee has also had their discharge in January 2021, there is a rule in Bankruptcy called the Acquirenda rule. Basically, the Acquirenda Rule states any assets that you acquire within 4 years of your Sequestration in Scotland can vest with your Trustee. Now in your case your Trustee is out of office, but it is possible to reopen a Bankrutpcy in Scotland. The relevant provisions are contained in section 86 of the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016. What this states is: (4)Subsection (5) applies where any estate, wherever situated— (a) is acquired by the debtor on a relevant date, and (b) would have vested in the trustee in the sequestration if it had been part of the debtor’s estate on the date of sequestration. (5)The estate vests in the trustee for the benefit of the creditors as at the date of acquisition. The relevant date is defined in s79 of that Act that states (5) In this Part “relevant date” means a date after the date of sequestration and before the date which is 4 years after the date of sequestration. Although Pensions are protected, this is providing you don’t draw them down during your Bankruptcy. If you do draw them down, then they can vest (although the Trustee cannot force you to draw them down). Now in a practical sense, you are out of your Bankruptcy and your Trustee has also received his discharge, so they may never discover if you do draw down a lump sum from your Pension, but legally, there is an argument that if you did, it could vest in the Trustee as Acquirenda. Now that doesn’t mean they would decide to reopen your bankruptcy, but I would be cautious. I would maybe contact the Trustee and ask if they can give you an assurance if you draw down the lump sum they will not try to claim an interest in it. Remember, they can’t make you draw it down, so if you tell them and they don’t give you such an assurance or state they would seek a contribution from it, you can decide to just leave it until the 4 years are up. I appreciate you may be reluctant to do this, but equally I am sure you don’t want to lose any money. The only other suggestion I would make is to take legal advice from a solicitor before you proceed any further.07th_January_2021
  • Pauline_Get Advice_My sequestration started in 2018. A Debtor Contribution Order (DCO) was initially set up for £58 month then reduced to zero two weeks later as I had initially forgotten to include an expense. I had been providing proof of income and expenses every six months until September 2020. The DCO was continually zero and so in November 2020 the trustee quashed the DCO, trustee was discharged and my case was closed in January 2021. My question is, now that the case is closed, can I now access a lump sum from my private pension (which the trustee was aware of), without the money vesting with trustee?06th_January_2021
  • Bob_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hello, Can you please advise what constitutes a fair & reasonable parking fine. An organisation called Parkmaven has issued me with a fine of £100 (reduced to £60 if paid within 28 days) for a stay of 28m 52s. This is more than £2/minute. I don’t dispute the time, just the amount. Can I appeal? Regards Bob 06th_January_2021
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Derek It depends on what type of charge it is. It is most likely an Inhibition, which is used to secure a debt where the person who is owed the money obtained a court order against you. They can’t use this to make you sell you home, but you cannot remortgage or sell your home without paying it. Inhibitions actually expire after 5 years, but they can be renewed for another 5 years and so on. There are possibly other less common things it could be, so it is best to get a solicitor to do a search on the Register of Inhibitions and Adjudications for you.30th_December_2020
  • Derek_What is an Inhibition?_Hi there, I have recently applied to remortgage, but it has come back I have a charge on the property. This was in March 2005, I have no idea what it is for but does it not expire after 12years in Scotland?30th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Shirley Well if your not working the wage arrestment ends, as you have no wage from where it can be taken from. If you do go to another job, your current employer is legally required to tell the Sheriff Officers where you have moved to, if he knows. If you claim benefits, like Universal Credit, then it can be recovered from that by deductions if its Council Tax Arrears. Finally, Sheriff Officers can look at other forms of Diligence to recover the debt, such as bank account arrestments.28th_December_2020
  • Shirley_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Thank you. Also, if I leave my job what happens to the debt owed if I do not have another job for them to arrest wages from?28th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Donald As I said it is your choice what you wish to do and I am not going to tell you what to do. That’s your decision. In terms of contract law and car parks, this is well established in Scots Law that when you park in a car park and the terms are displayed before you enter you accept them. The two main Parking Associations also allow a period of grace in their codes of conduct for people to enter and then leave immediately if they don’t like the terms. If you dispute the terms were properly displayed you should raise this in any appeal. The fact someone did not read the terms makes no more difference, than if they were to sign a contract and not read the small print. The Law takes the view there is offer and acceptance here. You sending someone an invoice and stating if they don’t respond they will be liable, lacks acceptance and failure to respond would not be accepted by a Court as acceptance of your terms, just like you failing to respond to their demand for payment doesn’t constitute you accepting liability for the debt. The issue of lack of evidence or only over staying by 1 minute, is something you should raise in any appeal or if you want to wait to they take Court action (if they do) you can. Its for the Sheriff to decide. The link you sent to me from Martin Lewis’ website related to the Protection of Freedoms Act and only applies to England and Wales in relation to Notice to Keepers. As I stated in Scotland s95 of the Traffic Scotland Act 2019 is the relevant law in relation to Keeper’s Liability. As far as I am aware it has not commenced yet, but its not really my area so you may wish to seek specialised advice on this. If it is has not commenced yet, then there is no keepers liability in Scotland, so you can argue you were not driving, but they will likely ask who was. If you don’t tell them, which you are not required to, they will most likely continue to pursue you. If it gets to Court, you can rely on this defence if s95 is not in force yet. The Sheriff just then decides if he believes you or not and may ask you who was driving. If he did not believe you, he can presume you were driving. If s95 has been commenced then keepers can be held liable even if they were not driving, if the correct procedures have been followed. For some people this is a matter of principle and they want to fight it and take it the whole way, which is fair enough. I wish you all the best and hope I was able to help.27th_December_2020
  • Donald_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Thank you for all these helpful points. Re writing to them, invoicing them for my time and saying that writing back to me would constitute acceptance of my terms. You say this would not be valid. In what way is this different from them saying if you drive into their car park that is accepting their terms (even if no driver could possibly have read the terms prior to going into the car park then getting out of the car to read them, by which point they will already have been deemed to have accepted the terms simply be being in the car park?) I should also say that the original CNP claimed a breach of less than 1 minute. No evidence has been provided. The original letter also made threats about CCJs which, as I understand it, don’t exist in Scotland. Does this not make the letter invalid? The original notice did not follow Notice to Keeper rules as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act. Does this not make it invalid? (Ref Money Saving Expert Advice: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets/ )27th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_One last thing Donald. As far as I am aware the Keepers Liability Law that is contained in Section 95 of the Traffic Scotland Act 2019, has not yet commenced. It is, therefore, if I am correct, a defence to argue you were not driving the vehicle. However for the Firm to stop pursuing you they will want you to provide details of who was driving. They cannot, however, make you do this, but if they take it to Court, the Court may presume you were driving unless you say who was driving (they can do that). If you did disclose that at that point, they would have to raise the action against your wife. Again, as far as I am aware the Keepers liability laws are not in force yet, but I cannot say for certain, so I would advise taking legal advice on that. https://www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2019/17/part/8/crossheading/right-to-recover-unpaid-charges-from-keeper-of-vehicle/enacted26th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi In terms of the 1st option. I think that is fine, however once they raise a Court Action, you will require them to agree to any settlement, otherwise they can continue with the Court Action and seek expenses. They will, in all likelihood by that point want more to settle than they are currently seeking. You would have the option however, of defending the action at that point; but again the risk is if there has to be hearings, then their expenses can increase further, which they would seek to recover in any court award. In terms of the second option, if you indicate to them you will not pay, as a matter of principle, they may respond in three ways. 1) Ignore your letter are continue to pursue your wife for payment; 2) decide to just write off the debt, but I think that is highly unlikely; 3) Escalate the account to their litigaton department sooner than later, if they have one. In terms of billing them, there is no legal basis for doing so. You have no contract with them. They on the other hand will argue they had one with your wife when she parked in their car park (it is considered to be implied acceptance of their terms when you drive onto their property. The terms have to be displayed on a sign before you drive on). You can say if they don’t respond that is deemed acceptance of their terms, but that is unilaterally dictating terms to them and no court would accept that. Contract requires offer and acceptance, that has to be express or implied. The person must do something. So someone sees a parking firms terms and drives onto their lot. That is implied acceptance. People cannot just write to other people and say if I don’t hear from you, you owe me £300. No Court would uphold that. Where deemed consent is allowed in law, its usually contained in an Act of Parliament or Regulation. Finally, in terms of your third suggestion. If you authorised a payment from your credit card, knowing from the outset you are going to dispute the payment, the Credit Card would be in their rights to treat you as in breach of your agreement with them and seek to terminate your agreement. It is acting in bad faith. Also although s75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 allows people to recover money they have spent when they buy something that is faulty or if they pay a deposit on something and the Company goes into liquidation, this is not the case here. Section 75 is intended to give people a remedy against a supplier or retailer, who either provides faulty goods or fails to supply a service. This is not the case here. I think you have three choices. 1) Refuse to pay and wait to see if they take you to Court. At that point you can dispute the debt or settle. At this point unless you defend the action and succeed, be prepared to pay more. 2) Appeal to the Independent Appeal Service, although there will be a £15 charge. 3) Accept, that as unfair as it is, this is a multi million pound industry and Parliament, including the Scottish Parliament have recently passed laws that make it easier for these firms to operate, including introducing a Keepers Liability law that allows them to hold the owner of a vehicle liable when they cannot show who the driver was. In addition to this there have been test cases in the UK Supreme Court that established the legal basis for these charges, so they are recoverable if the firm does everything correctly. At the end of the day, you pay and draw a line under it; or you don’t and hope they go away. However, you have to accept they may not and may go to Court and if they do, it may cost you more to settle and if you defend and don’t succeed, it may cost you more again. It is just a choice you have to make.26th_December_2020
  • Donald_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Thanks for speedy and thorough reply. What would be your view on the following: 1) Continuing to ignore. If they move beyond threatening court action to actually taking court action consider paying at that stage. 2) Writing to them saying not paying and giving reasons, and also invoicing them for same amount for my time in having to write to them – saying any further correspondence from them would constitute acceptance of these terms. 3) Pay by credit card and instructing Credit Card company to recover fee, providing case outlined at outset. Best wishes, Donald26th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Donald At a time like this, I would be surprised if I was the only person not shocked that someone working to help people may be facing a fine for going to work. From a strictly legal point of view it appears your wife broke the terms upon which she parked in the parking area, by doing so in an unregistered car. However, that aside, I think a bit of common sense is required here and I am shocked Parking Awareness Services have not used their discretion to waive the fine on this occasion. Could she raise it with her employers? In terms of her options. I am always very wary of advice that proceeds along the lines, we have never actually heard of them taking people to Court. The problems with this, is it’s what I would call pub advice. Its basically very common advice and the type you may get in the pub from someone not in your situation: just ignore it. The problem is the £60 fine then becomes £100-120. Maybe they are correct, but if your wife chooses to ignore it, I think that decision should be an informed one. It may well be the case, that they won’t take your wife to Court (but, they could wait up to five years). If they don’t, it’s just a demand and nothing more. Its has no more legal consequences then if I was to say your wife owed me £120. However, if they do eventually take her to court or sell the debt to someone else, who takes her to Court, the action needs to be defended or they will add on legal expenses. If they do, they would raise a Simple Procedure Action against her. If they were successful, you can expect several hundred pounds being added onto the debt in legal fees. Also if she then gets a Decree granted against her, you have one month to clear it or it will be registered on her credit reference file and remain there for six years (even if later paid). This can make accessing credit in future more difficult. Even if she does pay it off in a month she still has to apply to the Registry Trust to have it removed and there is a small administrative charge to do so. The consequences of this is it will damage her credit score, until sorted. My preference is, therefore, to advise people what these firms can do. These debts can be enforced and recovered and that is why I always say they should not be ignored. The Firms may work on the basis that most people will pay them, so they may be slow to take people to court. The ones that pay are low hanging fruit,so obviously they focus on them. However, that is not to say they won’t and, in my view,there is a point to taking cases to Court: people learn these debts cannot be ignored and more people in future pay them. Doing nothing is a gamble. My view is if people are happy with that risk, that is fine, as long as they are aware what it is and what the possible consequences are. I see, however, Parking Awareness Service are registered with the International Parking Community and also the Independent Appeals Service.. Your wife can still appeal any decision to the IAS, up to 12 month from a decision by Parking Awareness Service. There is, however, a £15 charge (its free of you appeal within 21 days of the PAS decision). I am not sure, however, what the chances of success will be, if PAS have strictly applied the rules and have not broken any. It may be worth looking at the signage to see if it is clear staff have to register the car they are using and as I said, if her employers have any influence. Ultimately, it may be the fine has to be paid, which I appreciate you don’t want to hear, but if the debt does end up in Court, the amount owed could be more and the consequences worse.26th_December_2020
  • Donald_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Alan My wife is an NHS Doctor in Scotland who received a Parking Charge Notice from Parking Awareness Services for parking in her work car park. She parks in the same car park every day she goes to work, and has done so for years. On the day in question she used my car to go to work as hers was not available and she had patients booked in. This had not previously been registered on the system, but is now. She is now being chased by a debt collector for £160 and threatened with legal action. We informed Parking Awareness Services that my wife works in the building, is entitled to use the car park and is now registered to park there using either of our cars. The response was this was irrelevant, she wasn’t registered to use my car at the time and so is due to pay the penalty (originally £60). We originally planned to ignore on basis this is clearly ridiculous as it is her official work car park. According to Citizens’ Advice Scotland they are not aware of anyone ever having been taken to court for not paying a single PCN. What should we do? Thanks for help. Donald.26th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Shirley It is a relatively easy process to pay off a debt that is being recovered by a wage arrestment. Contact the Sheriff Officers that arrested the wages and ask them for a balance first of the full amount you owe, not only for that debt, but any other debts they are collecting. The reason I say this is because where it is Council Tax debt in particular, it is not uncommon for several years to be owed. Each year is treated as a separate debt, and collected individually with one wage arrestment at a time. Once one is paid off they apply the next wage arrestment. If your aim is to stop the wage arrestment, you will need to pay off all debts, or come to an agreement with the Sheriff Officers that if you pay off the one the arrestment is for, they will enter into a repayment plan with you for the rest and not just execute another wage arrestment. However, if it is just the one debt and you can repay it, you do this via the Sheriff Officers who will then instruct your employers to stop the wage arrestment. If you cannot afford to pay it off and you need it stopped, there are other ways to stop wage arrestments (How to stop Wage Arrestments).22nd_December_2020
  • Shirley_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi, I have an Arrestment on my wages. If I pay this off what happens and is it a straight forward process to pay it off?22nd_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi Matthew Before an Exceptional Attachment Order can be granted, there has to be a hearing in front of a Sheriff to determine whether it is likely to succeed in attaching sufficient assets for it to go ahead. Obviously, it is important to attend that hearing and dispute whether there will be sufficient assets. However, the Creditors can lead evidence to show there would be. That may be someone who has been in your home, for example, like a Sheriff Officer or in theory a police officer. They may also have observed stuff through your windows. I suppose also it could include evidence of purchases. Its important to remember these are not criminal hearings, so the level of evidence does not need to show beyond reasonable doubt. In relation to proof of ownership,in Scots Law there is a presumption that if you are in possession of something, you own it. Hence the old saying, possession is 9 tenths of the law. You would be in possession of something if it is in your home, although I fully accept it could also be your partners. To be honest, I think Sheriff Officers may take items they believe are yours, unless you can prove otherwise, at the time, to their satisfaction and then remove them. It would then be for your Partner to appeal to the Court within the necessary time limits and ask the Court for them to be released,by providing proof of ownership. You could provide evidence that you had gifted these goods over to your Partner, but this would not be an unusual argument for someone to make, so it would be for the Sheriff to decide if this was a genuine transaction or a contrived one, designed to defeat the claims of your creditors. There is also a presumption against gift in Scotland, so it would be for you or your partner to satisfy the Sheriff there had been one. Finally, in relation to a Creditor Petition for your Sequestration. The minimum debt level that need at present is £10,000, but that is a temporary rule for Covid 19, so come the 31st March 2021, could revert back to £3,000. One option you could look at, at present is a Statutory Moratorium, which may give you some protection from Sheriff Officers. You may also want to look at what items are protected and which are not. What can Sheriff Officers Take?20th_December_2020
  • Matthew_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_If an exceptional attachment is made do sheriff officers have to prove ownership of items as being the debtor’s as opposed to other occupants. I live with a partner, who has no connection to any of my debts, in their house (I am not on any title deeds) and own none of the items other than personal clothes. Two years ago I signed all my assets over to Crown as part of confiscation order leaving me with just the proverbial shirt on my back and having had no job, income or bank accounts since then I have not been in a position to acquire any new assets. Having owned many of the non-essential contents for decades it would be very difficult for my partner to prove proof of ownership through payment as receipts will likely no longer be available. None of the Explanations I have seen on the subject make any reference to ownership, simply to what is “in the home”. Similarly the criteria for being able to show reasonable prospect for there being attachable items gives no explicit qualification (from what I have seen) that the items are owned by the debtor rather than by another occupant. As avowed I have no assets so cannot simply pay any demands and it would seem unfair that the only way to protect my partner’s assets would be to leave them and deliberately make myself homeless. The debt is not tax related and does not meet the current minimum criteria for creditor enforced sequestration.20th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Ann You can also visit their professional bodies website that has a list of them. https://smaso.org.uk/17th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_One other thing Ann, there will be Sheriff Officers who are authorised to act in your area. Most people know the name of their local firm as they are usually the ones that do all the work for the Local Authority to recover Council Tax. However, if you don’t know a local firm, just Google Sheriff Officers and Messenger at Arms and some firms should come up, who if they can help will tell you. Their fees are all set by law, so you don’t need to worry about shopping around to get the cheapest.17th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Ann Thanks for your question. What I would say if the Sheriff Clerks office should usually be able to give you advice as to what to do next as you are a Party Litigant (representing yourself). If its procedural, they will assist. However, I am not sure what stage you are at. You say the other Party has not responded? Contact the Sheriff Clerk and confirm this. If they haven’t then look at Part 7 of the Simple Procedure rules. You have two weeks to make an application to the Court for a decision. If you don’t, the case may be dismissed. Once the Sheriff makes the decision, you then must wait 4 weeks, to allow the other Party to appeal or recall the decision (there may be a legitimate reason why they didn’t respond). Once the 4 weeks are up, you can then enforce the decision. How you do this is up to you. You could write to the other Party and provide them with a copy of the decision and ask they pay within a set period of time (14 days for example). Or alternatively you could go straight to legal recovery. To do this you need to take your decision to your local Sheriff Officers (who are Officers of the Court, but not the same as the Sheriff Clerks, who are employed by the courts and help organise and administer it). Sheriff Officers are Scotland’s equivalent of Bailiffs and are the only people who can legally recover debt in Scotland using Diligence. They are private firms and will charge you for taking action. So the first step normally would be a Charge for Payment, which is a 14 day legal demand for payment of money. Alternatively you can go straight for a bank arrestment, but you would normally need to be able to tell the Sheriff Officers where the person banks. If you serve a Charge for Payment and the Person does not pay, you can look at other options, like Wage Arrestments, Attachments and Inhibitions. The thing is all these procedures cost money and may not succeed. If they don’t they will cost you money. You can recover your expenses normally from the person, but first you have to get them to pay. I would, therefore,speak with a Sheriff Officer and ask what type of recovery they think would be most likely to succeed17th_December_2020
  • Ann_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi. Using the Simple Procedure through SCTS civil online portal, I have obtained a Decree Warrant in my favour. As far as I am aware the respondent has neither responded nor engaged with the process. Having read part 8, 13, 18 of the simple procedure rules, it looks like the next step is for me to “formally serve a Charge on the other party by sheriff officer using a method of formal service mentioned in rule 18.3”. Should I contact the sheriff court directly and ask them to ‘serve’. I don’t have legal representation and am trying to work through this myself. If I have to contact a sheriff office, should it be one local to the sheriff court area? Thanks for your help, Ann17th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Joseph Essentially what you enter into when you enter the Car Park is a contractual relationship with the Car Park owner (which may not be the Hotel). They are allowing you to Park on their property, subject to their terms and conditions. What these are must be displayed for you to see before you enter the car park. If you then drive on, you are deemed to have accepted them. You, therefore, need to go back and look at what the sign said. If it did not exclude or make any exceptions for the spaces where you can charge an electric car, then it is likely they will be covered by the terms and conditions on the sign. The recharging facilities sounds like it is just another service they offer the users of their car park, but ultimately, it sounds like they expect you to be bound by the terms and conditions. It is not possible for me to say without having seen the sign and the car park.14th_December_2020
  • Joseph_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi. I recently charged my electric car for the first time at a Hotel Car Park. Although the signs indicated that ParkingEye monitored the Car Park I didn’t appreciate that this applied to the BP Polar chargepoints where you pay to charge. This wasn’t clear. Can you advise? Thanks. JH14th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi Kerry Bankruptcy, or sequestration (as it is called in Scotland), may well be an option for you, but there may be others, such as the Debt Arrangement Scheme or a Protected Trust Deed. To enter any of these options, including bankruptcy you need to take advice from an approved money advice service or a Licenced Insolvency Practitioner. Either one will give you free advice. You can find you local advice agency here. Alternatively, as I say you can ask a private Insolvency Practice to give you a call.13th_December_2020
  • Kerry_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi I am looking to go bankrupt, as am in lots of debt and can’t afford to pay it back. I do not earn enough and owe about £20,000. My wages are now getting arrested.13th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi Steve Sheriff Officers have no powers in England or Wales. However, as the Local Authority will have a Summary Warrant for the debt, there is a relatively easy process they can use to register a debt for enforcement in other parts of the UK. If they do they can then hand it over to the Bailiffs for collection. Bailiffs have different powers to Sheriff Officers. You can find out more here. I would suggest contacting the Council and trying to enter into a repayment plan.08th_December_2020
  • Stephen_Should you be worried about Sheriff Officers?_Hi I have lived in Scotland all my life, and in the last 4 to 5 years, have accumulated council tax arrears. I am willing to pay it back in instalments as I was doing before I moved home. I now live in England and have received a letter from the Sheriff Officer advising me to pay my debt or risk wage arrestment or auctioning of goods or posessions. Do they have the same power they did when I lived in Scotland?08th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Angela The Fee is the Sheriff Officers expenses for serving the Charge. The fact it is handwritten and not printed doesn’t stop you being liable. Its common for things to be handwritten at the time they are served. I am disappointed they have served you a further charge on top of the original, as the initial Charge would be effective for 2 years. However, I cannot think of any reason they cannot do it and reapply another fee. They could also now arrest your wages or attempt to freeze your bank account (which themselves can incur additional fees). I would seek to repay this debt, even by instalments if you cannot pay all at once. If you are worried you are going to be hit with further fees before you can pay it off, speak to the Sheriff Officers and see If they will enter a repayment plan. You can also use a Statutory Moratorium, which you can register for free online and gives you 6 months protection from Sheriff Officers.08th_December_2020
  • Angela_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi, I had a visit from a sheriff officer today who handed me a charge certificate on behalf of Glasgow City Council because I had mistakenly driven in a bus lane in Glassford Street in April 2013. They had been trying to contact me at an old address so I was unaware of this at the time. I paid the £90 fine in March 2019 when they had posted a letter through my letterbox at my correct address. I never paid the £81.16 expenses of charge fee as this looked like it was handwritten on the letter and not printed so thought I didn’t need to pay this provided I paid the money owed to the council within the specified period. I’ve now been hit with another charge of £81.16 on top of the original charge. I’m I liable for both charges ?08th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Stewart You can have two debts being recovered by Earning Arrestments at the same time, but it doesn’t mean you pay twice. It is called a Conjoined Earning Arrestment and the money is split between both debts. It’s unusual for Councils to run two wage arrestments at the same time, they normally do the oldest first and when that finishes, put a new one on for the later debt.07th_December_2020
  • Stewart_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi, I currently have 2 earnings arrestments for council tax,. Question, can they take 2 at the same time07th_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi April I hope you are okay. You sound really worried. First, I don’t think they are going to come into your home. A special court order is required for this and is called an Exceptional Attachment Order and they are very rare. Many of the letters suggest they can get these, but doesn’t say they have one. They are intended to frighten you and the letters, which are demands for payment, can be misleading. It sounds to me like you should have been entitled to Full Council Tax Reduction Benefit for the times you are referring to and should only have been liable for water and sewage charges. I am just wondering if you were getting the correct benefits and whether you are now? In terms of what they can take when they do come into your home, its very limited as many essential items are protected (*see here*). What I suggest April is you Get Advice from your Local Advice Agency . Also you can register what is called a Statutory Moratorium (click here) and that will give you full protection from Sheriff Officers for 6 months, whilst you get advice. Hope this helps.04th_December_2020
  • APRIL_What can Sheriff Officers take?_Hi I got a letter Notice of Legal Action for Sheriff Officers to enter my home to remove assets, as it’s been a while since I paid Council Tax, probably since 2011, when I lost my job and was only getting Job Seekers Allowance. I have since found a part time job, but even then it was hard to pay as I wasn’t earning enough. Since last April I had to leave, due to anxiety, depression and now this Co-vid Crisis is taking it toll on me and making my health worth. What items are they allow to take, as I rely on lot of things and most of them were gifts from parents and would cause me stress. It did say to contact within 7 days. The date on the letter is 20 November and only just got it on the 30 November. Was going to call but can’t make any sort of payment till 22nd Dec as when next get paid, and scared and don’t know what to do.03rd_December_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Sharon Interestingly, some people say Mcdonald’s are actually a real estate firm that sells food, rather than a fast food firm that owns property. Property management is a huge part of their business. This sounds like a strict application of the rules and I am sure the reason she has the fine is because a camera will have taken a photo and will have had registration plate,reading technology. It will automatically process the charge, as technically the rules have been broken. However, for the firm to know who she is they would have obtained her details from the DVLA This means they will be members of a Parking Association. This means they will have rules about how you appeal a parking fine and, if unsuccesful at the first step, appeal it to the Association. I think she needs to appeal the decision and also request evidence. They should provide time stamped photographs of her car entering, leaving and also entering again. Ensure the times are correct and she has re-entered within the prohibited times. However, also tell them her partner was a customer. The cameras tell them she broke their rules, so they can fine her. What they don’t tell her is the circumstances or the story behind why she broke them. Explaining this and if the fine will cause her financial difficulties may persuade them to use their discretion in this case to waive the fee. If the Parking Firm don’t waive the charge, take it to their Parking Associations Adjudication process. Be aware of any time limits governing the process and try and make sure she appeals within them. Don’t ignore the fines. They can be legally enforced and it is these Firm’s business to do so. They can also increase if ignored.30th_November_2020
  • Sharon_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi my daughter drove into a McDonald’s with a car park not belonging to them ,to meet her partner for food , he was running late so she drove to collect him and drove back into car park .They bought the food at drive through then sat about 15 min and ate in car park . She is now being fined for this as a sign has written in it no return within a set amount of time . Surly this is enough to challenge fine ?30th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi Brian I don’t give personalised advice, as I obviously don’t know your full situation and try to not get into too much detail, as these comments are public. In terms of who can sell your home in Scotland. Only those whose debts are secured over your home, like mortgage providers, or Trustees in Bankruptcy and Protected Trust Deeds. Basically, you are, therefore correct to be cautious, as you do have an asset, in that you own your home (you are the owner, albeit it has a security over it securing your mortgage). It really depends on the level of your debt what is the correct option. If your unsecured debt, like credit cards, loans, council tax etc. Can be repaid in a reasonable time frame, the Debt Arrangement Scheme is a viable option and will not risk your home, even if you have equity, providing you maintain your mortgage payments. Bankruptcy can be more risky, as can Protected Trust Deeds, as your Trustee would have an interest in your home, and in theory could force a sale, but only if there is sufficient equity to make it worth their while. The problem is they can hold onto that interest until it is worth their while. However, in Scotland where you enter a personal insolvency arrangement and own a home, the practice is the Trustee should enter an agreement with your at the outset as to how the home will be dealt with. This is to reduce the risk of you losing it and to allow you and your creditors to know at the outset, how it is going to be dealt with. This agreement has to be registered with the Accountant in Bankrutpcy, who runs Scotland’s Insolvency service. These agreements normally, in the case of a Bankruptcy, where you have zero equity agree that the Trustee will relinquish his interest in your home for £500, or some may say a £1,000. Now you cannot pay this during your bankruptcy, as if you have money you have to pay it to your Trustee during your Bankruptcy. The deal may be, therefore, you will pay it after you have made your 48 monthly payments to your Bankruptcy. Alternatively, it may be agreed a family member will pay it for your during your bankruptcy (this is called a third party buy out). All good and well. Providing you have no equity. Also providing you stick to the agreement. If you don’t stick to the agreement, they can revalue your home at a later date, so although it may not have equity, you could have later and if you cannot pay that, they can force you to sell your home. Where you do have equity, say £10k, a Trustee may agree before you go bankrupt they will disregard £5k of it (to reflect the cost for them having to sell your home if they had to). If they agree to this, it may just be £5k that needs to bought out during the bankruptcy or at the end. Its the same deal though: don’t stick to it and they can revalue your home later (and it can go down or up in value, but I would not advise taking that gamble). So, I would suggest if you are thinking of going bankrupt you may want to appoint your own Private Trustee, as you can discuss this and agree things before you sign anything. If you appoint the Accountant in Bankruptcy (AIB), you don’t get this opportunity until after you are declared bankrupt. If you had zero equity and did want to appoint the AIB, I would get your own valuation done first (not a homebuyers survey, just a straight valuation). You would want to use a reputable surveyor to give you a value and also get a redemption figure from your mortgage provider, so you can be as certain as you can about whether you have equity or not. There are situations you may want to appoint the AIB: you have no equity in your home and cannt afford to make a monthly contribution to your Bankruptcy, so the cost of the solution is paid by the AIB (but they would want something for your home). The AIB usually will accept £500 or £1,000 where there is no equity, but tend to, in my experience want 100% equity realised where there is anything more than zero equity. They also don’t tend to disregard any equity like private Trustees do by taking a more commercial approach. The AIB are driven more by minimising the cost to the public purse and getting as much back for creditors as possible. Trust Deeds are similar in many ways, but only private Trustees can do them. Legally an agreement should be entered into at the outset as to how the Home will be dealt with. Negative equity or zero equity is dealt with as in bankruptcy, with the trustee seeking £500 to £1,000. Where there is more equity, Trustees can have more discretion in a Trust Deed than in a Bankruptcy, but the same applies regarding any agreement. They are only good if you stick to them, otherwise they can revalue the property. Extending Trust Deeds for a year or two is very common to allow you to buy out the Trustee’s interest in the home. Finally, all this is dependent on you continuing to pay the mortgage during any solution. Stop that and the mortgage provider can call up the security. As to where you get advice. Well you have a choice. I have a list of all Scotland’s free local debt advice agencies (Get Advice – see here), however, you can also contact a private Insolvency Practitioner (IPs). Many of them also do the Debt Arrangement Scheme for free and won’t charge you a fee (they recover their costs from the Creditors). In every Debt Arrangement Scheme, no matter who does it, all Creditors must pay 22% (2% to the AIB and 20% to the Payment Distributor). This is a cost to them, not you. Everything you pay reduces your debt. Private IPs can also do Bankruptcies (and as I said, when you have a home and you expect you will have to pay something to your bankruptcy, appointing a private IP can be good as you agree everything beforehand). Privage IPs are also the only people that can do Trust Deeds. So, my advice is if you want, you can use my list of free advice agencies. If you want a private Trustee, just make sure that it is an Insolvency Practitioner you call, not a lead generator who will pass your details onto a licenced insolvency practitioner. I hope also, I have given you enough information, so that you know what to ask and what your options are. There is also nothing wrong with taking advice and then getting advice from someone else and comparing it. If you do get a chance, I appreciate any feedback you can provide via my Trust Pilot Page.30th_November_2020
  • Brian_What are Exceptional Attachment Orders?_Hi I am a home owner with a repayment mortgage and the property has no equity. Can they force me to sell my home when it’s clear it will not cover any of the debt? Who would advise me correctly, as there are so many scammers out there? I was wondering if it would be better to go with sequestration, but I don’t want to end up homeless, as the Leander owns the property until it is paid. Please advise.30th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Colin I would say first of all the folklore you refer to is out of date and dangerous. There was a previous argument that private parking penalties were illegal or could be illegal as penalties are not allowed in Scots Common law or under Scots Contract law. However, since then there has been a UK Supreme Court which takes the view they are not penalties, but lawful service charges, so ignoring them is dangerous, in that not only can these charges be legally enforced in Court, but they can increase over time. However, what you are describing may be slightly different. You appear to have parked in a non-designated parking area of Braehead. I am not sure if there are signs up saying you should not park in these areas and if you do what the charge is. If there are none, I am not sure if a private parking firm can apply a charge. Generally the principle about private parking fines is you have parked in a designated parking area, that had signs on display that tell you the terms of parking there (length of time etc.) and if you breach the terms, you effectively either accept the terms of parking in that area and any charges that apply, including any charges if you breach the terms. If you park in a non-designated area, it would depend on whether these parking signs cover those areas also. That may be something a judge has to decide. If they decide they do, you will have to pay the charge. If they don’t this may be a case of trespass, which is a civil wrong. The problem with trespass in Scotland is damages are not payable unless it can be shown that damage has been caused. Normally, if you wrongly park somewhere it is the Police or Traffic Wardens that give you the ticket; or possibly a Local Authority Parking Attendant if you are in breach of local by laws. These would be payable, unless you can show you were not illegally parked. Without knowing the signs or where you parked, I cannot decisively say. However, I would say this firm may well take you to Court and you would have to defend the action or they would likely get a court order against you. They could also get their legal expenses, which could significantly increase the amount you owe. If you are not prepared to pay the debt, I would write to the firm and dispute it and outline why you don’t think you should pay it. They will also usually be a member of a professional Parking Association, so if you cannot resolve it with them, you can usually appeal it to their professional body, but you need to be prepared for them taking it to Court if you are not successful. I would not in future ignore any parking ticket. Hope it works out. If you have a chance, I appreciate any feedback via my Trust Pilot Page.29th_November_2020
  • Colin_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Good morning. Over 3 years ago I took my motorcycle to Braehead shopping centre with my son as pillion passenger. As I could find no car parking spaces where there was something suitable to lock my motorcycle to, I looked for an area where I would not be causing an obstruction, but where my motorcycle was secure. I found a place, off the route of pedestrians and not blocking any accesses. Surprise surprise I got a ticket which I have so far ignored. On seeing the ticket, I took photos of where I had parked, Now I have a letter from an English based debt recovery company asking me to set up a payment plan for debt of £150 else face potential court action. Is this legal in so much as parking was free anyway, so Braehead has not lost any monies by me parking as I did? Pub folklore says never enter into communications as this is seen as an admission of guilt. Is it OK to continue to ignore? Thanks Colin29th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Edward Further to my earlier comments, see Section 169 of the Bankruptcy and Diligence Etc (Scotland) Act 1987, which introduced a new Part 1A into the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987. The new Section 15K of the 1987 deals with recalling Diligence on the Dependence, including Inhibitions.28th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Edward It sounds like a inhibition on the dependence, if the case was dropped. Basically there are two types of Inhibitions. One is an Inhibition on the Dependence and an Inhibition in Execution. The first you can apply to the Court to register when you raise a court action against someone. This is to secure the assets of the person, incase they try and dispose of them before the Court action is concluded. The Second, in Execution, is when you get a court order against someone and lasts 5 years, but you can renew it. If you say the court action was abandoned on 2016, this is what make me think it is the first of the two. If this is the case, you should be able to request it be recalled if the other Party won’t, but you will probably require a solicitor to do so and there will be a cost. It may be worth speaking to the solicitor you were going to sell your home about this. You may also may wish to obtain a credit check (check your credit report) and make sure no one did obtain a court order against you. If they did and this Inhibition is of the latter type, then they will not lift it until the debt is paid or your solicitor gives an undertaking that when he receives the funds from the sale of the property he will repay it. He will want an irrevocable mandate authorising him to do this, from you first though. As you can imagine, if it is the first type of inhibition, without the agreement of the other party, it won’t be possible to get this lifted without a court order.28th_November_2020
  • Edward_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Would like abit of advice a notice of inhibition was placed on my property in 2016, but the case aas also dropped in 2016. I went to sell my property recently but noticed on my deeds the inhibition is still on my property and cannot sell my property. Since march I have been asking to get it removed, but the person who put it on my title deeds is not replying to me. Is there anything i can do to get it off myself?28th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Jane A Sheriff’s decision is not binding on another Sheriff. So you can get two conflicting decisions. Generally, however, a written decision by one Sheriff, where they have taken the time to give a well considered reasoned opinion can be highly persuasive on another Sheriff. This is more the case if the Judge is know to have some expertise in the area. So Sheriff Reid, in the PRA case is a well thought of Judge with specialist, Commercial Law experience, so this is possibly why he got the case. However, another Judge can say, I disagree. Sheriff Appeal Court Decisions and Inner House of the Court of Session decisions are binding on Sheriffs. The PRA Case was just a Sheriff Court Decision, I believe. What is more likely, is if you can distinguish your case from the PRA case by showing your case is so different on the facts that another approach is warranted. That may be hard to do here. However, if you could make a different legal argument based on say the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (as discussed in my article Old Debt Create Debt Sewers) a Judge can come to a different decision based on a different legal argument, without saying the other Judge was wrong. Again, wait and see they may not try to rely on English Law. You need to see what their pleadings are. They may claim the debt has been relevantly acknowledged or claimed within the last 5 years, so prescription doesn’t apply. I would also caution getting caught up on a matter of principle. If this case drags on, they can argue a different procedure is required (Ordinary Cause) as it involves complex areas of law. This can mean if you are unsuccesful you can be held liable for their legal expenses (this can happen in Simple Procedure too, but expenses can be higher in Ordinary Cause). This may mean if unsuccesful you can end up owing a lot more. Thats why its important to Get Advice from you Local Advice Agency. There may be other courses of action, such as negotiation that are less risky.23rd_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Advice and Information_Hi John In theory you could be. A Council Tax debt will normally last 20 years, but the 20 years can still running again everytime a payment is made to the account, or the Council make was is known as a relevant claim by executing a wage arrestment or a bank account arrestment, or carrying out another form of Diligence. I would contact the Council or the Sheriff Officers and say you want to dispute the debt if you think it has become Statue Barred and request evidence from them of when the last payment was made.23rd_November_2020
  • Jane_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Sorry – a final quick question. Is the decision of one sheriff binding in Scotland? Happy to review via Trust Pilot! Thanks. Jane23rd_November_2020
  • John_Debt Advice and Information_Hi Am I still liable for a council tax debt thats over 20 years old. I received a letter a few days ago regarding an unpaid amount of £68 Council tax from a company called Walker Love saying we owe money from over 20 years ago. I’d appreciate any help you can give. I am from Scotland. This is really stressing me out. Thanks for reading this email.23rd_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Mike Bailiffs cannot enforce debt recovery in Scotland. It has to be a Sheriff Officer. However, many Bailiffs also work as debt collectors and can try and recover the debt from you using letters, telephone call and visiting your home (though they cannot enter). There are also procedures for them to get a court order in Scotland and send the debt to Sheriff Officers to be recovered. The fact the debt dates back to March 2019 is not long enough ago for the debt to not be recovered. To enforce the debt they need to go to Court, but the time delay wouldn’t prevent a court granting a court order. You can send them a letter to say you dispute the debt and ask they return it to the original creditor to ask they provide proof it is owed. This should cease any debt recovery action until UKPC provide you with evidence as to how the original debt arose and how it has increased to £160.21st_November_2020
  • Mike_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi I’ve received a notice of debt recovery from an English bailiffs DCBL for a parking charge issued by UKPC in March 2019. Do English Bailiffs have any rights in Scotland? I don’t recall receiving any previous notices from UKPC relating to this? As a result is it enforceable? Can I refuse to deal with them and ask for a copy of the original notice and only deal with UKPC? £160 seems unreasonable for staying over the time limit.21st_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_No problem Jane and thank you for getting back to me. It may be worth contacting your local advice agency and seeing if they can provide you with any assistance. If you can find the time, it really helps if people can also provide feedback through Trust Pilot.20th_November_2020
  • Jane_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Thanks, your site has been really helpful. I thought at first, it was a very straightforward defence but realise from reading here and looking at the case you refer to that I basically have to decide whether ‘m going to take my chances. I feel that on principle I will defend it. Thanks for your help.20th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Jane Unfortunately, there was a case called PRA Group v Reilly, where Mike Dailly represented the Consumer, where Sheriff Reid held the English Limitation Act 1980 could apply in Scotland in a Consumer contract, where the contract said the Governing law was English Law. So the six not five year rule applied. However, you should maybe seek advice from your Local Advice Agency before you present your case. There may also be an argument made under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (see here). You can read an article about Mike’s case here.19th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_See also section 95 of the Debtors (Scotland) Act 1987 Donna.19th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Fantastic you got to bottom of this Donna. Good digging and I am glad I could help. I have seen this type of sloppy practice in the past, where Sheriff Officers have just left earning arrestments running and reallocated funds. Also where one has ended and the full amount for that month has been recovered, but only part of it was owed, so rather than refund they have allocated the funds to another debt. This is not allowed. An earning arrestment is for a specific debt. When it ends the arrestment ends and they must execute another one for other debts. Therefore, if a debt has ended and they have allowed it to continue they must refund the funds arrested. If they have already paid them to the creditor that is their problem. They had no legal authority to do so, and don’t negotiate with them, in my opinion, insist politely on the funds being refunded to you in full by them and if they refuse take in to SMASO. If they still refuse, write to the Sheriff Clerk at your local Sheriff Court. If you also need help contact your local advice agency or law Centre. I will also give you a tip. There is also a name, I believe for what they did, that is little known, as its so unusual, but its an actionable legal wrong in Scotland at Common Law. Mentioning this may get them to take you serious. Its called wrongful diligence. I haven’t written about it (yet, but may need to in this climate), but here is a link to some stuff on it from the Scottish Government website (Wrongful Diligence). Importantly the action is against the Sheriff Officers, not the Creditors as Officers of the Court. Best of luck. Hope it works out and let me know if you can.19th_November_2020
  • Donna_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi, thanks to your advice and some digging it turns out there was a previous earnings arrestment which had been running since 2018 but the council withdrew the balance from Sheriff Officers in October 2019 (C Tax band change etc), and Sheriff Officers just kept it running and taking payments. So when they tried to serve this new arrestment on 7th January this year my employer told them there was still one running. They apparently then just emailed on 29th Jan to tell my employer swap them – I signed the moratorium early February. The continued payments they took from previous arrestment after October 2019 were allocated to an old account with odd ref numbers then suddenly to this current one once I pushed them for full statements. They’ve now withdrawn this current arrestment as the balance was suddenly paid off earlier than expected. So from what I can see the new arrestment wasn’t competent and will now push for a refund. And new moratorium signed, thankyou so much as they would have got away with this, and quietly just keep taking deductions last year.18th_November_2020
  • Jane_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi – I’m looking for some info about the potential of defending a Simple Procedures claim in Scotland. The debt is from 2008, last acknowledged November 2014. I’m struggling to figure out if I have grounds to defend. I was pretty confident that it is time barred in Scotland but just read here about a sheriff finding for the claimant because the original agreement was governed by English law. I’m now really unsure. Is this standard that English law would be considered relevant??? Thank you for any advice you can offer.18th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi Martin Its extremely unusual it has taken this long for this to be processed. Normally the ticket will have been attached to your windscreen at the time. I am wondering if the delay has been the result of the lockdown. You still have a right to appeal at this time, now you have received the Notice to Owner. You must do so within 28 days of receiving it or pay the fine, or the Council can increase the fine by 50%. If you do appeal and it is rejected, you can then appeal to the Independent Parking Adjudicator. The Council at that point will tell you how to do this. You can mention the delay between the incident and receiving the notice and this is something they may take into consideration, but I am not aware of any “grounds” legally to object on the basis of the delay, so I believe it is still enforceable. Other than that, if you are appealing, I would concentrate on the grounds why you should not have received the fine.17th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi Irene Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I am sorry this has occurred. I obviously don’t know all the details, so I am not sure the Chip Shop owner can do anything. Highview Parking are a private firm who will be managing the site for the owners, who may or may not be the chip shop owners. I believe they are now part of a firm called Group Nexus. The key question is was there a sign visible before you entered the parking space. Saying you never saw it won’t usually be enough. You are expected to ensure there are no restrictions when you park, so the onus is on you. If there was no sign, or it was not easily visible, you may have grounds for appealing the ticket. Highview will have details of how you can appeal on their ticket. Also see here (click on link) you can do it online. If the sign was not very visible, or too high up or obstructed, so you could not read it, you may want to take a photo and send it to them, as part of your appeal. Also you may want to check what the terms on the sign state and check you did breach them. You may have been allowed for a period, without being fined. If this is the case they should have photographic evidence on when you entered and left the site. Check this is correct. Ultimately, these fines can be legally enforced, so don’t ignore them. You can also request they waive them on the basis of your disability and you were visiting the chip shop at the time as a customer. They may do this, but its probably at their discretion, so you cannot force them. Ultimately, if you are not happy with how they deal with your case, I believe they are members of the British Parking Association, a trade body and you should have a further right to appeal to them. If you need any assistance, contact your local advice agency. See here for your local agency. Remember if you get further tickets, these will need to be appealed, so maybe best getting a photo of the sign and speaking to your local advice agency. Also bear in mind there are strict time limits you need to adhere to when appealing, so don’t delay.17th_November_2020
  • Martin_Parking Fines: What do you need to know?_Hi, I received a PCN notice from Aberdeen city council, the offence was 22nd January, and just received a NOTICE TO OWNER dated 10/11/20 to say I have to pay the £60.00 fine. I didnt know I had a ticket and NOTICE TO OWNER is the first I have knew about it. I wondered if they can still pursue me for this after the ticket was from 10 months ago?16th_November_2020
  • Irene_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_Hi I have received a Charge Notice from Highview Parking for parking overstay in Livingston outside a chip shop. We actually never seen the signs, also the chip shop should have told us to put our car registration number into a box on the wall and that would have dealt with it. Three times we were there and no one told us this. We have now receive the first of what I presume will be 3 fines. I have asked the shop manager to deal with the firm for us an let them know that we were customers, but they wont. What can we do. I am disabled and have a blue badge on the car.15th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Kevin The 10% surcharge that councils can apply is legally recoverable under the Summary Warrant that is issued, so can be sent to the Sheriff Officers to recover, as ridiculous as that is. However, before the summary warrant is issued the Council should have sent you a 7 day letter followed by a 14 day letter. You may want to see if you can speak to them about paying it and avoiding further fees, as Sheriff Officer fees will soon dwarf the debt itself.13th_November_2020
  • Kevin_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi, I have a quick question. I have received a Walker Love letter demanding £15.90 to be paid within seven days (council tax). I have no outstanding debt with my council for this financial year. It is apparently a 10% fee that was put on after a late payment from the final monthly payment on last year’s council tax (things were a bit crazy for us around April/May) I was notified very recently about the missed payment and paid it straight away but didn’t notice anything about an extra 10% late fee. I was wondering whether it is right to receive a summary warrant from them (Walker Love) for monies that aren’t actually my council tax and can they add on their own fee onto that small late fee? Thanks13th_November_2020
  • Mr Smith_Debt Advice and Information_My Moratorium was registered on 19th October 2020, i received the charge for payment from Sheriff officers that day also. I could not see a date that the earnings arrestment had been obtained, i assume it would not have been that same day as it stated i had 14 days to pay in full. There is a date of 9th November that i assume was when the arrestment was obtained, so definitely after i had registered the Moratorium. After contacting the sheriff office they have stated they do not have the authority to lift it and they are no longer involved with the case, strange? As you say it will fail anyway as i am not employed by the address it was sent. The Sheriff office is now ignoring my emails as to why they cannot undo there actions. I will wait for the outcome from the SMASO. Thank you for your advice with this12th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Advice and Information_Hi Mr Smith Basically, they may have thought you worked there and took a chance not realising your relationship is not an employment one. Also, I suspect they never checked to see if you were on the Register of Moratoriums, this is common, though they should. The law is clear. It is not competent to execute diligence whilst a Moratorium is in place, so their actions had no legal authority to do what they did as the Moratorium stops that. It is their responsibility, therefore. They are Officers of the Court and must act lawfully when executing their duties. By serving a wage arrestment whilst you had a Moratorium in place they acted wrongly. The Arrestment will fail as you are not an employee, but make sure you also don’t get lumped onto your debt the expense of them carrying out the arrestment. Hope it work out. I am hopeful SMASO will resolve it.11th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_No problem Donna One other thought, if it was put on when your Moratorium was on, it should be lifted and you should be refunded all sums that have been deducted. The law is clear, putting on a wage arrestment when a Moratorium is active is not competent. They cannot do it then just let it continue after the Moratorium. Its fruits from the poison tree. If the wage arrestment was incompetent everything that flows from it was incompetent, so you would be entitled to a full refund in my opinion. If you do succeed in this or getting it lifted, remember, they can just put another one on. Also if you got money refunded and paid into your bank account, they could just arrest your bank account. So if this looks likely, you may want to register a new Moratorium. Previously, you could only do one a year, but that rule has currently been waived because of Coronavirus and as before they only lasted 6 weeks, they currently last 6 months. I hope it works out.11th_November_2020
  • Mr Smith_Debt Advice and Information_Thank you for that and for the quick response, very much appreciated, so I have received a copy of the arrestment today to my home address through the post, the address they sent the arrestment to i am not employed by, also i contacted them to ask why it was served during the Moratorium there reply was as follows: We thank you for your recent email, however do not have the authority to withdraw the Earnings Arrestment. We would suggest that you make direct contact with our instructing agent regarding this matter. We have returned all documentation back to them and no longer have any involvement in this case. I have made a complaint to SMASO as I am not happy with there reply, do you think it was justifiable? Thanks again!11th_November_2020
  • Donna_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Thank you so much. I will confirm the dates with my employer as they claim they lodged it with them on 7th January however I am sure they had an existing arrestment still in place then. The awful thing is they served the charge for payment on 17th December (an hour after I totalled my car and was just stood there after the police just dropped me home) so you don’t really get the 14 days with the court over christmas closures etc. Disgusted they planned this so you have less time to apply to the court. Thank you anyway.11th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi If the wage arrestment has been executed then it is likely the Statutory Moratorium will be too late. It does not lift the wage arrestment but only prevents it being applied for a while (currently six months). The Charge for Payment is a precursor to recovery action being taken, such as a wage arrestment and remains active for 2 years after it was served. It also usually cannot be served without a court action being raised first. So it would appear the former employer has taken your husband to court and got a court order. This means the debt is now owed. The time to dispute it was then. The best way to check is to obtain a free Statutory Credit Report, as this show if a Court Decree has been obtained. There is another process that can be used to execute a Charge for Payment called Summary Diligence, but I would not expect that to be used for a debt like this. It maybe your husband may have to consider his options: allowing the wage arrestment to continue, paying off the debt via the Sheriff Officers or looking at other ways to lift a wage arrestment (see here).11th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Donna If your Moratorium was active they were not allowed to execute another wage arrestment during the live period of the Moratorium. They should have checked the Moratorium register, but if they didn’t, they should lift the arrestment and refund any money taken immediately. They should also remove any fees attached. The best thing to do is check the register for your Moratorium and send them a print out from it. You can check it here. Ascertaining the date the arrestment was executed should be easy as it is on the Schedule of Arrestment your employer was sent. If you are having difficulties finding your name on the Register, email the Accountant in Bankruptcy, they should be able to confirm whether it was registered or not. If the Sheriff Officers refuse to lift the wage arrestment, make a complaint to their professional body the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officers (SMASO). If they have arrested your wages whilst a Moratorium was in place what they have done is illegal. Ultimately if you don’t get a resolution, and I am sure you will at the SMASO stage if not before you can complain in writing to the Sheriff Principal of your local Sheriff Court. Mark your email for the attention of the Sheriff Clerk. Visit the Scottish Courts website to find details of your local Sheriff Court. If the Moratorium was not active they will have been allowed to arrest your wages. However, there are ways of getting wage arrestments lifted. See here. Also Moratoriums are only temporary so you should seek advice from your local advice agency as soon as possible to find a permanent solution.11th_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Debt Advice and Information_Hi Mr Smith If your Moratorium was active they were not allowed to execute another wage arrestment during the live period of the Moratorium. They should have checked the Moratorium register, but if they didn’t, they should lift the arrestment and refund any money taken immediately. They should also remove any fees attached. The best thing to do is check the register for your Moratorium and send them a print out from it. You can check it here. Ascertaining the date the arrestment was executed should be easy as it is on the Schedule of Arrestment your employer was sent. If you are having difficulties finding your name on the Register, email the Accountant in Bankruptcy, they should be able to confirm whether it was registered or not. If the Sheriff Officers refuse to lift the wage arrestment, make a complaint to their professional body the Society of Messenger at Arms and Sheriff Officers (SMASO). If they have arrested your wages whilst a Moratorium was in place what they have done is illegal. Ultimately if you don’t get a resolution, and I am sure you will at the SMASO stage if not before you can complain in writing to the Sheriff Principal of your local Sheriff Court. Mark your email for the attention of the Sheriff Clerk. Visit the Scottish Courts website to find details of your local Sheriff Court. If the Moratorium was not active they may have been allowed to arrest your wages. However, there are ways of getting wage arrestments lifted. See here. Also Moratoriums are only temporary so you should seek advice from your local advice agency as soon as possible to find a permanent solution.11th_November_2020
  • Donna_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_I signed up for a Moratorium which was approved on 12th Feb this year after a charge for payment was served in December. I understand a wages arrestment finished in January and think they applied another (another year of council tax) during my moratorium. Can you advise where I stand with this as I am trying to confirm dates with them and they seem reluctant to confirm, what can I do if they did proceed with an arrestment during that moratorium? Any advice appreciated! Thanks10th_November_2020
  • Mr Smith_Debt Advice and Information_I wondered if you could help? I received a Charge for Payment order from Sheriff officers on 19th October 2020 giving me 14 days to pay outstanding. As I am not in a position to pay in full I registered a Statutory Moratorium on the same day for some breathing space I have since been sent a wages arrestment should the Moratorium have stopped any further action? Thanks in advance for any advice, it is very much appreciated and I hope to hear from you soon10th_November_2020
  • Rebecca_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi, My husband has received a Earning Arrestment Schedule letter from Stirling Park on 4th November 2020 stating he owes £3500 to a previous employer, we knew nothing about this until we received the letter! We have tried calling and emailing Stirling Park and are getting nothing back from them. We have spoke to Citizens Advice and to be honest they were no help at all. It states on the letter that a charge for payment was served back in 2019, we have never had anything from this previous employer or anyone else until now, if we had, then we obviously would have dealt with this when we had received it. He has filled out a Form 33 and registered this on the AiB website today. We just want to know what should we do going forward? If he has registered on the AiB will this stop the wage arrestment from going ahead? We have no idea what this debt is for, he didn’t take out any loans from his employer nor did he owe them any equipment. We just want to buy ourselves time to investigate why his previous employer is stating he owes them money. Any help or advice is greatly appreciated.10th_November_2020
  • CJ_What is a Summary Warrant?_yeah, its all a bit nuts. It also occurred to me, when the waived the council tax fee , last year, they never told me i would be liable for the sheriff fees, or i would have raised the issue last year. So its almost as if they realised after that point, that someone still has to pay them. I should get a reply today or tomorrow. im hoping they agree that charging me is ridiculous. Its hard to find the time to chase these things when you work full time.02nd_November_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_No problem. I hope they sort it out. It doesn’t sound like the length of time you were in arrears should have led to a Summary Warrant and the Sheriff Officers being involved as they normally give you a 14 day demand followed by a second 7 day demand. However, if they have waived it, it shouldn’t matter.31st_October_2020
  • CJ_What is a Summary Warrant?_Thanks for the advice. I have emailed them, after I spoke to them on the phone as they said they would escalate it to a supervisor to review. They gave me a little more information and said I was actually in arrears for a payment between the 6th and the 20th of June (the month I moved out) but they said ‘they made an exception and waived that amount’. In my email, I told them that there was no effort made to contact me, prior to the warrant. I assume I wont hear anything back until midweek, but knowing this council (they are notorious), I may have a fight on my hands. thanks again31st_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi CJ Make a complaint to the Council formally. If you were not in arrears they must have wrongly issued a Summary Warrant against you. They would have required that to instruct the Sheriff officers. They should either agree with their Sheriff Officers the fees should be waived or pay them themselves. I also don’t understand how they couldn’t find you, they have your address, the property you are liable for. If they don’t resolve your complaint satisfactorily, ask it be escalated to the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman.30th_October_2020
  • CJ_What is a Summary Warrant?_I had 2 sheriffs appear at my door last year, without prior notice, I spoke to the council and they agreed that I was not in arrears with any payments and it was a mistake. I have now received a letter from the Sheriffs, saying that i owe them for their visit. I spoke to them and they confirmed the council withdrew the debt but said I am liable for Sheriff fees. Just spoke to them, they said it was because they couldnt find me. Despite the fact I had phoned them twice before the sheriffs arrived, once to set up my new council tax at my new property and a 2nd after receiving a letter to confirm who lived at my new property, where i gave them my lat known address for paying council tax. This is the most ridiculous situation, ‘we were wrong, but we are making you pay them for it’ – not cheap either. what should I do?30th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_I cannot give you a definitive answer, however, the basic principle is executors can be personally liable for the debts owed by an estate if they have not would the estate up properly. However, estates do need to be wound up, so there has to be point when debts have to get paid. The Local Authority should have submitted a claim on the Estate, and generally, the lawyer should have paid it before distributing funds to beneficiaries. I would go back to the lawyer. Did the Council submit a claim, was it paid? The debt may exist, but that doesn’t mean your wife is liable for it if everything was done correctly. One final point, was the property lying empty for a period. Have you discussed with the Council if there was a period the property may been exempt from Council Tax28th_October_2020
  • Stewart_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_My father in law passed away in 2017. My wife was the executor and concluded his estate in 2019 once his house sold using a solicitor. Included in this , was a payment for council tax (£90). She has now received a final demand for an outstanding council tax balance of over £500 which seems surprising as we were led to believe everything had been settled. Is she still liable for this as it’s now nearly 18 months after everything was wound up and we were led to believe that the solicitor had paid the original debt?28th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi George It really depends on what type of Parking Fine you have and what procedures they have used. Parking fines given by Police Officers or traffic wardens are different from those issued by local authority parking officers or private firms. They are all enforceable legally, normally, but you may be able to appeal or challenge a ticket. How they can be enforced also differs. See my page on the type of tickets you can get and what your options are. Click Here.27th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi No this should not happen, however, it may depend on where the account is based, if it was opened in a Scottish branch, and where you lived when the Court granted the order. But generally if you are living in England, the action should be raised in the County Courts and how the debt is recovered should be governed by English Law and enforced using Bailiffs. If you need advice on English Law visit the National Debtline (click on the link).27th_October_2020
  • George_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_HI Can they arrest Universal credits or take your car off you for a unpaid parking ticket? 26th_October_2020
  • pvenkman_Wage Arrestment: How Much Can They Take?_Hi, Can a Scottish court arrest wages from someone living and working in England?26th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Kerry It is likely some legal advice is required for this. Inhibitions are personal and are, therefore, over the person not the property. They affect all heritable (houses, land etc.) that is held by the person. The type of person they can be registered against are natural or legal persons. Legal persons include partnerships and trusts. It, therefore, depends on who the court order is against (and it is worth remembering partners can be held liable for partnership debts, unless it is a Limited Liability Partnership) and whose name the property is registered under on the title deeds.21st_October_2020
  • Kerry_What is an Inhibition?_Can you apply for an inhibition order against property that is held on trust for a partnership?20th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Julia Unfortunately, there is not a lot you can do, other than put it up for sale, which as you have said will cost money you don’t have at present. Its at a local authority’s discretion how they treat vacant properties after 12 months and they can charge up to 200% council tax, to discourage essentially properties being left empty and force owners to either sell the property or to make it available for rental. This is particularly the case in rural areas where there may be a shortage of suitable housing for local people. If this is the approach of the local authority of the area where your property is situated there is not alot you can do. The only way, however, the local authority can hope to recover the debt at present and force the sale of the property, however, is through sequestration (bankruptcy). That however is only possible if you owe enough to them and at present because of Covid emergency laws that amount has been increased to £10,000 (it was £3,000 and may return to that after March – or next September, if they extend the laws again). I would imagine it will be no where near this at this point, so it is likely your property is not at imminent risk at present, and hopefully you will be able to return next year and get things sorted.17th_October_2020
  • Julia_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hello I am a dual UK Australian citizen who lived and worked in Scotland for many years ( I own a small flat in rural Scotland ) . I am currently in Australia and blocked by Government policy from being able to come back till the end of 2021 it seems . Though I have tried to negotiate with my local council they are still charging me council tax and after one year will charge 200% of this tax as the flat will have been empty for a year but still has a bed and couch in it ( which I couldn’t move out because of the covid lockdown at the time) . I am unemployed with little savings and am very worried I will lose everything . I am not sure what to do or who might help me now that I am so far away and worry I will have to abandon the flat .Its quite old and though I put a lot of money towards doing it up , it is still not suitable for long term rental and I have no money to pay for a home and energy report to consider a sale yet . Can you advise me if any positive steps I might take, or legislation or organisations that might be able to help while I’m so far away during this pandemic?16th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Mark Sorry in not getting back to you sooner. Basically, prescription does not start running until after they have demanded full payment, so the debt cannot be statute barred until then. However, just cause you have no recollection of them demanding payment, doesn’t mean they didn’t put the debt into default. It may be possible to find this out by obtaining a Statutory Credit Report and seeing if the debt is on your file and if it has a default date. Just note, cause it is not on your file, doesn’t mean it may still not be owed, as debts can drop off after 6 years. If it is on and a default has been put on, then prescription runs from that date and providing you don’t acknowledge the debt within 5 years or make any payments to it, it should be expired. If your do, the 5 years begins again. Some Creditors may argue the period is 6 years as English Law applies to their debts, so best giving it another year to be on the safe side. If they have already obtained a court order they could still do a bank arrestment by serving the paperwork to Sheriff Officers (if you are in England now visit the National Debtline for English Law Advice on Bailiffs). One last thing, banks don’t need to do a bank arrestment if you owe them a debt and you have money in another account they hold. This is called a right of Set Off.13th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Stevie The Minimum Protected Balance applies to Bank Account Arrestments (legally known as Actions of Arrestment and Furthcoming). It doesn’t matter what type of debt the Arrestment is used for: if your account has £529.90 or less in it, it is protected. However, the protection may not apply where you have multiple bank accounts with the same bank and although none of the balances are more than £529.90, as a whole they are. Equally, it does not mean the Sheriff Officers cannot still try to execute a bank arrestment (even if it fails). This may mean you get Sheriff Officer fees added to your debt for this. Also if a bank arrestment fails, this does not stop your bank adding a £25 admin fee to your account, as the Minimum Protected Balance doesn’t apply to this. You can ask your bank to waive the fees. You should also bear in mind that Sheriff Officers may attempt to recover the funds using other procedures, such as Wage Arrestments and Attachments. The Council may also apply for direct deductions to be taken from your benefits, if you are in receipt of any, to recover Council Tax Arrears If you are worried about any Sheriff Officer action and want protection whilst you seek advice and assistance, you can do this by applying for a Statutory Moratorium. This gives you 6 months protection and stops all Diligence, including Bank Arrestments. Also check if you were entitled to any reduction to your bill doing a Benefit Calculation online.13th_October_2020
  • stevie_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Dear Scottish advisor, I would like to know if the “minimum protected balance” applies with council tax arrears? So, if I have any less than £529.90 in my bank account at any one time, then my account cannot be touched. Is this correct?13th_October_2020
  • Mark_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_From Scotland: I had an old debt with a bank, but to my knowledge, the bank has not demanded full payment or served a Notice of Default. Can they now, after nine years take the money out of my account, or by any other means force me to pay the money: bailiffs etc.?07th_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi Jenna I am assuming you live in Scotland, as this site only deals with Scotland. It sounds like you have had a Sumamry Warrant awarded against you for non paid ofCouncil Tax. This is the equivalent of a Court Order, but doesn’t require you to be taken to court. Your local authority should have served on you a 7 day letter asking you to make a missed payment of council tax first, then a 14 day letter demanding payment of the full amount for the year. After that they can obtain a Summary Warrant by applying for it from your local Sheriff Court, but you are not notified or given a date. It is automatically awarded. They then can pass the Summary Warrant to Sheriff Officers, who can execute a number of different types of recovery action know as Diligences. The first of these they must use is a Charge for Payment and this gives you 14 days to pay the full amount owed. After that other options open to them include Bank Account Arrestments. Legally, they cannot arrest benefits, if that is the only funds being paid into your account, although some Sheriff Officers take a different view. However, as they don’t know what funds are in your account they often still execute an arrestment, even when you are on benefits, as you may also be receiving earnings. The first £529.90 in an account is protected, although they can take amounts over this. This is what I think has happened to you. You can object to this procedure and there is a process for going court to do so, but it can take some time. Instead I would contact your local advice agency (click on link to find your local agency) and ask them for help. They can advise you and negotiate with the local authority and Sheriff Officers, which may be quicker. They can also ensure you are receiving all the correct benefits and council tax discounts, which may reduce the amount you owe.04th_October_2020
  • Jenna_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi. I have been on my online banking to find there been money taken from court for unpaid council tax. I haven’t been told about this or served a notice. The only money thats is paid to my account is DWP benefits as I’m currently unemployed. I wasn’t aware of being taken to court and I have had no contact from the company. Is there any thing I can do regarding this thankyou.04th_October_2020
  • Aneka_What is an Inhibition?_Many many thanks. I think I will sleep better after this.03rd_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Aneka Unfortunately, this is not an easy situation and I cannot give you personalised advice. However, I can give you some basic information. First, I could not say how much a court order and an inhibition would cost you, but a lawyer should be able to give you an estimate, but costs can vary if the action is defended. There is also no guarantee you will succeed in getting a court order. Nothing is a certainty. Also, Inhibitions don’t allow you to sell the property, only to recover what you are owed if your Son tries to sell or remortgage it. Also, the Inhibition will only cover the amount the decree is for. It does not increase if the debt increases, though the amount should increase by 8% per annum with the judicial rate of interest. Arguably, if your Son’s DAS is approved before you register the Inhibition, then there is an argument you cannot register it if your debt is included. If your debt is not included in the Debt Arrangement Scheme, then arguably you could still apply the Inhibition, although your Son could try and include your debt into the DAS through a variation. You can only include mortgage arrears into a DAS, so it there are no arrears, he won’t have included it. If he has, then at least the DAS will be making payments to them. As far as anything else goes, I would say you need to seek legal advice. Not paying the mortgage may be the only solution, as it may make your Son face up to his responsibilities if he is at risk of losing his home. There also is substantial equity in his home, so this would allow you the chance to recover some of what you are owed. He also may lose his home, but that doesn’t mean he will become homeless. He may get social housing or a private tenancy. Its his decision if he doesn’t want to pay the mortgage. On a positive note he is entering the Debt Arrangement Scheme to deal with his other debts, so this is responsible and means he is dealing with them. That is a positive sign. Maybe you should say to him if he is serious about the DAS he has to include in his expenditure a provision that allows him to pay his mortgage. That is standard good practice anyway. Finally, you should maybe try to speak to him again or if not you, is there another family member who can. Its not uncommon for children to not understand their parent’s financial circumstances. If he is used to you just paying everything, he might assume you can just keep doing this to help him. Explain your situation to him and don’t give him the choice, tell him you cannot pay the mortgage anymore and ask he speaks to his debt adviser about how much he has to pay, as otherwise he may lose the home. If you cannot do it and no-one else can, get a lawyer to send him a letter. That should not cost too much. I wish you all the best.03rd_October_2020
  • Aneka_What is an Inhibition?_I have a joint mortgage with my son who is the sole owner on the title deeds (sole owner proprietor). He got family help to pay the deposit so the mortgage is 50% of the property value. Stupidly there is no legal agreement that protects me in this situation. I am now paying the mortgage. He is not working and is making illegal life choices that I could never ever foreseen (total personality and attitude change and using the property for the illegal sale of substances). I have tried many many times to help him emotionally and financially but he is not cooperating (has not paid a penny to his debts in over a year and I can no longer help). Legal advice is that I can stop paying the mortgage which will lead to repossession of my son’s home (in which case I would not see him homeless) OR take court action to recover the mortgage payments and then lodge an inhibition. I have no income so the mortgage payments are eating into my small savings. I do not own a property. My son is in the process of applying for a DAS (he claims he hasn’t included the mortgage in it). My questions are: 1) How much is a court order and inhibition likely to cost me? A rough estimate please. 2) If I am continually paying the mortgage and costs continue to rise will that be reflected in the inhibition? Say he owes me £10,000 in mortgage payments at the time of the inhibition but in four years time owes me £20,000 will that be reflected in the inhibition? 3) If my son gets a DAS will that affect my ability to get the inhibition? He claims he is not including the mortgage in his DAS. 4) Is there anything else I should be aware of? Any information or advice would greatly ease my stress and ability to choose the right course of action. Many thanks.02nd_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi Gordon Deliberate non-payment of fines may result in being incarcerated, although its not something I normally advise on other than to say you should treat any criminal fine as a priority. If you have trouble paying it you should speak with the Court and Fines Enforcement Officer. Criminal law tends to be devolved to the Scottish Parliament, but the UK can also impose fines for reserved matters. Best to speak with a criminal lawyer.02nd_October_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi Ieva I wouldn’t want to comment on the question of whether the Minimum Asset Bankruptcy is the correct course of action for you to take, as I am not aware of all your financial circumstances and you have taken advice on this from someone already. Certainly before Brexit applying for Bankruptcy in Scotland would not have affected your status or right to remain in the UK and I would like to think it wouldn’t now. However, as this is not something I am an expert on, I would not like to give an opinion. What I would suggest is maybe speaking to the Ethnic Minority Law Centre in Glasgow, who I hope would be able to give you expert legal advice on any impact that going bankrupt would have on your settled status. Their offices are closed, but they are still taking phone calls01st_October_2020
  • ieva_What is Sequestration (Bankruptcy)?_Hi, I have been advised to go for minimal asset bankruptcy as my circumstances changed and i have no longer can afford to pay for my debits .I am a EU citizen ,have already recieved my settled status.My concern is to loose settled status along with my life here in Scotland . I have been a carer for my foster daughter she has learning disability hence i had to leave my employment .I hope to get it ofcourse neither i asked for covid to happen but i am have anxieties over this all current situation can’t cope and make a right decision. I wish i could just pay it all but adviser said i have nothing left to do so. I hope you can advice me for the matter losing my settlers status as i don’t want to do anything before i have all the questions answered .Thank you in advance30th_September_2020
  • Gordon_Bank Arrestments and FAQS_Hi, with the latest round of draconian government measures concerning fines for breathing, is it possible to take jail time rather than pay a virus fine ? Or should I take all my cash out of my bank account, seeing the bank will not take my side if this arises. Many thanks, you may be asked this question quite a lot very soon. And, does the UK government rules/law apply to scotland in this matter.29th_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi Angela Thank you for all the information you have provided. Obviously, there is a lot I cannot comment on as I would have a lot of questions I would need to ask first. Basically, though I think you probably need to take legal advice. There are multiple issues that need to be looked at, including whether the landlord can hold you to the lease and also how they are arriving at these estimated costs for the dilapidations. There is then issues how they have been able to instruct Sheriff Officers. Have they done this because they have taken you to court, or have they registered the lease agreement for preservation and execution that allows them to do Summary Ďiligence? Also there is a question about possible solutions if you are liable for the debt. Are you a Limited Company? Are the vans owned by the Limited Company? Was it the Limited Company that signed the lease? If so, the solution may be liquidation but there may be other options too, such as Company Voluntary Arrangements. Or is it a Partnership and if so, what type. Or are you a Sole Trader? These then allow you to explore other possible options. Due to the complexity of all this and the multiple legal issues, you do need to take legal advice. It will cost, but it may make the difference between having a business at the end or not. Also there may be ways to keep the business, but let the Company go into liquidation. Again this probably needs an insolvency practitioner (IP) with corporate insolvency experience. I would be looking to get advice from an IP also, even if you get legal advice and they recommend court action, as that can be expensive, whereas an IP may be able to suggest an alternative route that allows you to cut your losses and move on.24th_September_2020
  • Angela_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi this is quite long winded, we rented a unit (5 years) where we had no end of issues with tenants from another unit where there was a danger to life and police were called to be told it’s a civil matter as it was private land, this resulted in us asking the landlords agents how much notice we needed to give as we could no longer function there and we were told under the circumstances, none (we did not get this in writing). To cut a very long story short the landlord agreed to let us out of the lease if we paid up till May 2020 (this was October 2019) I agreed to pay at £1000 per month, they then hit us with £6000 of “dilapidation’ s. We ourselves completed all the works the said and paid the 1st £1000 as agreed only to get an email stating the dilapidation were in excess of £20k, this has now resulted in an order for £16k plus, the sherif officers have attached our company vehicles twice now, the last time today, we have made an offer to pay at what we can afford which has been rejected and don’t know where to go from here other than liquidate, the debt has gone up by circa £6000 since the last attachment (few months) and they have stated they are now going to hold us to the full term of the lease (2022). We have never been due anyone any money before so don’t know where to take it from here and so far it has cost us circa £5k in legal fees23rd_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi David The Statutory Moratorium currently is providing 6 month protection because of the Covid 19 Crisis. It normally is 6 weeks. It will protect you from any future Diligence such as Attachments and Wage Arrestments. It can usually normally stop Charge for Payments, but as that has been done for this debt it is too late, but it protects you from further action for the 6 months. It is best to contact the Sheriff Officers and let them know you have a registered a Moratorium, as they should check, but don’t always. You can get copy of your Moratorium from the Moratorium Register. See here21st_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Minimum Asset Bankruptcy?_Hi Wayne What you are experiencing is quite normal. There is no need for you to be losing sleep, as there are options open to you. Can I suggest you find your local advice agency (see here) and get some advice on your options.21st_September_2020
  • David_What are Attachment Orders?_Hi, I received a Charge for Payment last week. I was advised to apply for a Statutory Moratorium with the AIB, which has been accepted. Can the Sheriff Officers still attach my stuff and carry out other recovery action, as the Charge for Payment was served before the moratorium was accepted, or does it give me the 6 weeks breathing space? Thank you in advance20th_September_2020
  • Wayne_What is a Minimum Asset Bankruptcy?_Hi I’m Wayne I’m almost around £7/8000 of debt and I lose sleep at night.18th_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Dominika I am not aware of any limit to the number of renewals that can be made, providing the debt it is trying to safeguard still exists. This is where the Law of Prescription becomes relevant, and as the debts protected by an inhibition will probably have a court order enforcing them, the 20 year prescription rule will apply, and that of course can start running again everytime the debt is relevantly acknowledged or a relevant claim is made. One thing though, there can sometimes be gaps between when inhibitions expire and can be renewed, if the creditor is not attentive to the expiry date every five years. If this happens, no inhibition will affect the property.12th_September_2020
  • Dominika_What is an Inhibition?_Hi, How many times , after expiring, can inhibition be placed on the the same property?12th_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Tracy Yes it means Scottish Earning Arrestment. The reason why it specifies the type is there are different types of devices that can be used to arrest wages. See here. The best way is to ask your payroll as they will send the money to a Sheriff Officer firm. You can then call them and ask them who is arresting your wages and how much is left to pay. Be careful though, as often when it’s for Council Tax, they will wait for one years debt to be paid, then apply another years after that. This can go on indefinetly unless you start paying the current Council Tax. There is also ways you can sometimes stop wages arrestments. See here.10th_September_2020
  • Tracy_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Can you tell me what 1st scottish EA means? ..and how do i find out where and who to my deductiond are going to? My monthly pay has been getting deducted with an EA since March. 10th_September_2020
  • tp_Debt Advice and Information_Way cool! Sօmе verу valid pⲟints! I aрpreciate yoᥙ writing thiѕ ᴡrite-uр and also the rest of thе site is realⅼy good.08th_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is an Inhibition?_Hi Debs Inhibitions are personal, so what this means is they affect your ability to deal with any heritable property you have, such as a flat. This mean you cannot remortgage, sell or gift the property without getting permission from the inhibiting creditor, who can prevent you doing any of these things without their permission or until the debt is paid. Inhibitions last 5 years, but can be renewed by the Creditor. You don’t say how much profit there will be from the sale of the property. If there may be some, even if not enough to pay the debt in full, they may agree to the sale if they are going to receive a partial payment from the sale. They will only agree to this if you give your solicitor an irrevocable mandate that allows him to pay any profit over to them. This would mean there is still a debt to be paid, but you could then offer to repay them this by instalments afterwards. If there is not likely to be any profit to pay them, they will be less likely to allow the sale, but equally if they think you are just going to stop paying the mortgage and let the mortgage provider force the sale of the property and then go bankrupt for any debt left over, getting even a committement to enter a repayment plan with them may be better than nothing. If you do go bankrupt, Inhibition debts no longer get any priority over other debts, such as credit cards and loans, so the debt is included in the bankruptcy and your liability for it is discharged when your discharged for other debts. Inhibiting Creditors can make a claim in the bankruptcy like any other ordinary creditoe, but are effectively treated the same. So if they get 3p in the £, so does the inhibiting creditor. This is important as if you go bankrupt, your Trustee in Bankruptcy has a choice. They can sell you property themselves if there is any profit to be made, particularly if you don’t object and the proceeds will go to them. They then pay off any mortgage, the costs of the sale and then can use the sum to pay their fees. If there is any money left this goes to the Creditors, but the Inhibiting Creditor doesn’t get paid first over other debts like credit cards and loans, they just get a share. You can see, therefore, even if there is some profit to be made from the sale of the home, its probably in their interests to agree to the sale, as if they don’t, you could go bankrupt and they will unlikely receive much if anything. For you it may help you avoid going bankrupt. It is entirely up them, however, and they can be what you may deem to be unreasonable if they want. However, it may be a letter to them from your solicitor explaining if they don’t want to come to an arrangement you will go bankrupt, and how this would not be in their interests, will result in a change of heart. If not, and you don’t want to keep the property you may have to go bankrupt. If your Trustee in Bankruptcy does not want to sell the property, which he may not if he doesn’t think it would be profitable enough, then the only option is to look at Voluntarily Surrendering your property to the mortgage provider to let them sell it. You should seek advice on going bankrupt before you go any further and on Voluntarily Surrendering your property to your Mortgage Provider. You can get free advice here if your Solicitor cannot provide it.05th_September_2020
  • Debs_What is an Inhibition?_Hi My factors have placed an Inhibition on me which I found out about today for the first time because I was due to complete the sale of my property next week. My lawyer has said this now can’t go ahead as there isn’t any profit to pay off the debt. They sent this to an old address and I found out about it today. I don’t have the money to pay it. If I am sequestrated does the inhibition disappear as part of the sequestration?04th_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Get Advice_Hi Shona This sounds really bad the way you are being treated and on top of that, what is exacerbating matters is your supplier appears to have very poor customer service, making it hard for you to get a resolution. There are obviously a number of issues here. First how you ended up in a credit in the first place, why you don’t appear to be able to get a refund and their treatment of you throughout this process. If you don’t want to pay by Direct Debit, thaf is fine, however, the problem is alot of the tariffs you get access to lower prices through, require you to have a direct debit set up, so my cancelling it, the Firm appears to be saying they are taking you off that tariff. The Problem is I totally understand why you don’t want a direct debit set up as this firm should not be making monthly deductions whilst you have a credit. They should be offsetting your credit against your bill. They, however, are not allowed to just hold onto that credit for that purpose, it is your money, you dont owe them it, so it should be refunded. All I would say is taking this to the Ombudsman is the correct thing, but it does take time and you understandable want a resolution. Have you considered switching suppliers? You are in credit, you have no arrears. This doesn’t stop you pursuing your complaint and also demanding your fund back? Is there a penalty? There can be sometimes if you are in a fixed price deal, but it doesn’t sound like you are. The only additional advice I would give is contact the Citizen Advice Consumer Helpline, if you haven’t already.03rd_September_2020
  • Shona_Get Advice_I have been having problems with my energy company. Since 2017 I’ve had no issues with them, until this year when I tried to get my credit reimbursed. I checked their reviews and they’re now at 2 stars on Google reviews and 3.5 on Trust Pilot. My refund has now failed 5 times and they keep making ridiculous excuses. So, I cancelled my direct debit which worked in the sense that they have started emailing me directly (though, despite my requests, they haven’t called me back or put my through to management when I call them) . They then argued that they cannot refund unless I have an active DD, saying they cannot access my bank account any other way. They have since changed their mind (again – they have u-turned on a lot of things!), telling me I will be refunded in 3, 5, 10 or 15 days (this varies). In addition, they want to refund me random amounts (the latest was £100, a fraction of what is due to me). Everything I’ve read (legally) suggests I need to keep paying my direct debit and fight but I’m reading reviews where customers have switched suppliers and are owed up to £1k and haven’t heard anything from the energy company for 6+ months. It feels like I’ll just be literally giving them money, I have no hope of receiving a refund and want to just cut my losses. As it stands, I have enough credit in my account to potentially last 8 months. But since cancelling my direct debit, they are threatening to put me on a higher tariff, which is approximately double. I have started the process with the Ombudsman, but it’s a long process to getting refunded and financially I am in a precarious situation as a result of the pandemic. It’s clear the company is struggling. Where do I sit, legally with cancelling my direct debit and asking them to deduct my direct debit from my credit until it is resolved or balanced? Will this impact my credit rating? I’m not sure if you publish this information but the energy company is Tonik. They are based in Birmingham but the call centre suggests they are further away.02nd_September_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi Sundaram The best thing to do is just write to the Local Authority and ask they provide you with a copy.31st_August_2020
  • sundaram_What is a Summary Warrant?_Hi, I was issued a summary warrant for council tax arrears more than 4 years back. To be fair, I also did not receive the initial 2 reminders and tried to push back a lot, but with not much success. I finally settled to avoid attachment etc, but I was wondering if I can get a copy of the warrant for my records..where can I find that as I don’t have a copy.30th_August_2020
  • James_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_I had a wage arrestment threat. After reading this I found an agency that managed to get me on a payment plan, Thanks for the information on this post because I had no idea about wage arrestments [edited].27th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_I suppose I would take a commonsense sort of approach. I will often park in free parking spaces where the T & Cs are not that visible before I park. However, I will usually get out my car and look before I leave my car there. If I am not happy with the T & Cs I would leave. Where I would have to drive through a barrier and take a ticket and could not read the T & Cs before doing so, I would read them once I parked my car. I would not expect to be charged if having read I then decided to leave. If you think the T & Cs were not easy to read, obstructed etc. I would take a photo for use in any appeal. The basic principle is you should be able to see and read the T & Cs before you enter into a contract with the parking space provider. One way of looking at it, is you do that when you drive into a parking space, having read the T & Cs before entering. Another way is when you park, read them and decide to leave your car, (if you couldn’t see them before you drove in). They should still be clearly visible and at a height, font that allows them to be read. What a court would look for is the provider offered parking services on certain terms and conditions and these were made clearly visible and you impliedly accepted them by driving onto the lot and leaving your car.23rd_August_2020
  • Tom F_Parking Charge Notice (Private Firms)_A general query. It says in a lot of the guidance detail about private parking that the terms & conditions must be displayed in a place prior to you entering the parking lot. From my experience most of these T&C signages are located on the public highway or footpath with no place to stop (without causing a traffic obstruction) to allow you to read the detail prior to entering parking lot. How does this scenario work then if you cant read the T&Cs without first parking in the lot to then go back and read the signage?23rd_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Stuart As I say I cannot say why your Moratorium has not been registered yet, if it hasn’t. There is a Form 33 that must be signed and uploaded when you create it online. This is explained on the Register of Moratoriums Homepage (See Here). The Form (Form 33) can also be emailed to moratorium@aib.gov.uk. You can also email that address if you have any questions about the Moratorium you have tried to create. Contacting the Sheriff Officers to let them know you need more time is not a bad idea, but they do not need to give you it, and may ask for an immediate payment to put things on hold. As I said before a Moratorium, is the only legal way to immediately put things on hold. Other options like the Debt Arrangement Scheme, Time to Pays, Bankruptcies and Trust Deeds can all also provide you with legal protection, but none are as quick as a Moratorium as first you need to get advice and your suitability and eligibility has to be assessed before applying through an advice agency. Advice Agencies can help you put Moratoriums on also.(Click on link). Finally, you don’t say but a wage arrestment is only an immediate risk if you have had a Charge for Payment served on you by Sheriff Officers for the debt in the last 2 years.20th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Stuart It should not take more than 24 hours for an moratorium to be registered. I appreciate you say you have heard nothing back, but have you checked the register to see if your details have been added? You can apply for a Statutory Moratorium yourself, but you can also get help to do it, but check it has not been registered first. If you need help details of your local advice agency are here.20th_August_2020
  • Stuart_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_I sent off an online application for a statuary moratorium 48 house ago but have heard nothing back, I think this may now ruin my chance to stop wages being arrested. Is there any other way I can possibly do this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again.19th_August_2020
  • Stuart_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Thank you for your reply. I have sent the request off by email 58 hours ago and not heard anything back yet. I am worried this has now effected my chances and that my wages will be arrested. Is there anything else I can possibly do, I will give the sheriff officers a call again tomorrow but I highly doubt that they will stop. All advice is highly appreciated.19th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_I know it says Register of Insolvencies, but you are not Insolvent, its just where the Scottish Government posts the Moratoriums so Sheriff Officers can check before they do a wage arrestment, as if a Moratorium has been registered they are not allowed to. It comes off after 6 months when the Moratorium expires. If you have any question email the Accountant in Bankruptcy (Scottish Government Agency) who administer them at moratorium@aib.gov.uk.18th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Check tomorrow its on the Register (See here). You only need your name and post code to search. Also let the Sheriff Officers know your now on and give them the reference number and ask they note it on your file. Ideally email them too. They should check before taking any action, but they often don’t and you have to get them to recall the action, which can be a pain. I would then use the time to get advice and help and advice on all your options (see here for a list of free advice agencies).18th_August_2020
  • Stuart_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Thank you very much for your reply I really appreciate it. I have sent an application off, what are the next steps I would need to take? Thanks again!18th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Moratoriums don’t require you to do anything. The legislation for them is contained in the Bankruptcy (Scotland) Act 2016,but that is just because the idea is people should Use them to get advice including on Bankruptcy, Trust Deeds and the Debt Arrangement Scheme. However, you don’t need to do anything. I can promise you using a Moratorium does not require you to do anything. You can even negotiate an informal repayment plan whilst you are using a Moratorium and start paying the debt, like you intended,but you will need the Sheriff Officers to agree to it. Legally you cannot force them to agree to your proposal or to take no further action. The Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) is different in that they can be forced to accept it and if approved they cannot take further action (so understandably they wouldn’t want you to apply for this). However, DAS requires you to include all your debts, including credit cards and loans, so can damage your credit rating and ability to obtain credit in future. You can also apply for a Time to Pay Order just for Council Tax, but this has to be done through the Courts and may involve a hearing in front of a Sheriff if they refuse to accept it. It is free to apply and just involves the debt you apply for it for. They are quite time consuming to get into place. I would suggest if you are worried about the danger of a wage arrestment and the Sheriff Officers won’t accept a reasonable offer or are demanding a lump sum payment, applying for a Moratorium now will protect you, and give you more time to seek advice and consider all your options. You also may want to read up more on wage arrestments,before they apply for one. They have to serve a Charge for Payment first, if they have not already, but this can see fees being added to your debt.17th_August_2020
  • Stuart_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Thank you for replying, will this enter me into bankruptcy though as I have looked it up and it gives that impression. I work full time so want to start a payment plan again but when I phoned the Sheriff officers they said this would not be possible. Is this the only way?17th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi Stuart It sounds like the Company you are dealing with is a Sheriff Officer firm. You can do something to stop the wage arrestment, but you need to act fast before they serve the arrestment schedule on your employer. You can apply for a Statutory Moratorium yourself online, which stops all Sheriff Officer action for 6 months. You can find out more here. You can apply for a Moratorium online for free through the Register of Insolvency Homepage, see here. Once you have done that and it’s been registered notify the Sheriff Officers, as they should not attempt the wage arrestment once the Moratorium has been registered. A Moratorium is usually Registered within 24 hours of applying. If a wage arrestment is executed after the Moratorium, it has to be withdrawn. However, if the wage arrestment goes on before the Moratorium, it cannot recall it. Time is of the essence, therefore. There is other ways to recall wage arrestments after they have been executed. See here. Moratoriums should not damage your credit rating, though not paying debts may. Councils do not share non-payment of Council Tax with Credit Reference Agencies. Once the Moratorium is on, though, don’t relax, it won’t last for ever. You should look at what options are available to you,like the Debt Arrangement Scheme, for example, which protects you from Sheriff Officers and is free to apply for. There are other options too. I hope this helps. If you get a chance, I would be grateful if you could maybe give us a review and rating on Trust Pilot.17th_August_2020
  • Stuart_How do you stop a Wage Arrestment?_Hi There I have been told that A debt company are going to arrest my wages due to council tax arrears. I missed the deadline to come up with a payment plan by one day. Is there anyway I can have this stopped and still come up with a suitable plan. I fear I could lose my job through this.17th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Charge for Payment_Hi Eric You can ask for any errors on your credit reference files to be corrected, but it seems unless your saying this debt was not yours and or the court order was not against you, you would be only asking for the name on your credit reference file to be corrected. In terms of the Charge for Payment, that is served on the back of a Court Order or a Summary Warrant,which is the equivalent of a court order. Charge for Payments only allow a creditor to bankrupt you for 4 months after they are served or to be used to execute Diligence for two years after they are served. However, as the debt lasts 20 years or more until paid, they can just serve another Charge for Payment. The problem you have is the debt is still owed and can be recovered and has been constituted by a court order or equivalent. To remove it from your credit reference file you would need to have the court order recalled and this would not be easy if at all possible. There would also be a cost to having it recalled, so unless your denying you owe the debt, it may be pointless. The information should come off your credit file after 6 years, but does not mean the debt cannot be recovered.15th_August_2020
  • Eric_Charge for Payment_Hi, I received a charge for payment order in 2016 but it was sent to an old address and I didn’t know about it until several months later so didn’t get a chance to defend it and I have never received any correspondence about it since. It shows on my credit file as a court decree and has incorrect first name. Can I get it removed?15th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Rachel You need to be careful when arguing a debt has become statute barred. The reason being is the prescription period (5 years in Scotland), only begins running after the firm has demanded full payment or served a Notice of Default. Prescription can also be interrupted and begin running again if you make a payment within the 5 years. It could be the debt has become Statute Barred if full payment was demanded before August 2015 and you have made no payments and not acknowledged to them in writing you still owe the debt in that time; and they have not taken you to Court. However,even if it is statute barred you cannot demand they remove details of your loan from your credit reference file. Details of the debt can be kept on there for up to six years from the last payment or default, even if the debt was statute barred. You can ask for information to be removed by the Credit Reference Agency after it is more than 6 years old. Arguing a debt is Statute Barred is best done only if the firm contacts you and tries to recover payment,otherwise sometimes its best to let sleeping dogs lie. If you have time I would appreciate if you can give me a Trust Pilot Review. Thanks13th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi Vicky I am presuming the £1036 is the net amount, after tax and deductions. If that is the case,divide it to get the weekly amount. £1,036 divided by 4 is £259. For a normal wage arrestment, the weekly protected amount is £122.28. That leaves £136.72 (£259-£122.28). Of that only 19% can be took (£136.73 x 19%). That is £25.97. Multiply that by 4 to get the 4 weekly amount. The most they can take is £104. (*see here for wage arrestment tables). However, remember that is its a wage arrestment. If they freeze your bank account, they can take everything above £529.90. Find out how you can stop wage arrestments here. If you have time I would appreciate if you can give me a Trust Pilot Review. Thanks13th_August_2020
  • vicky_Earning Arrestments and FAQs_Hi. Could you please tell me the maximum amount that can be taken off a 4 weekly pay of £1036?13th_August_2020
  • Rachel_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi I have a small loan I took out in January 2014. I have made no contact with the company and the last email they sent me was in January 2015. Can I advise them this debt is now statute barred and should be written off? Do they have to remove the debt from my credit file?13th_August_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi Pamela There are two things here. The first is arrears and then there is your current liability for Council Tax. You should be getting full Council Tax Reduction if your only income is Universal Credit and also possibly a 25% Single Person Reduction. However, you are also liable for Water and Sewage, so although you may not have any liability for Council Tax, you are still liable for Water and Sewage. Everyone has to pay this, even if you are in receipt of Universal Credit, although you may be entitled to a 25% reduction if you are a single person. This sounds like, what the £28 per month is. I am not sure what the £92 is. It could be arrears for the months you have not paid since April. Councils will not normally accept an offer as low as £10 per month towards arreara as they can deduct more from your Univeral Credit for arrears. It may be if you have arrears, they may accept somewhere in the region of £10 per week (towards your arrears and current liability). They may also extend your payments to February and March to allow you to catch up (as you normally only pay between April to January – 10 months). This may mean you can pay a bit less. If your not sure you should speak to your local advice agency who can help you negotiate with the Council. You can also do an online benefit calculation to see if there is anything else you can claim.30th_July_2020
  • Pamela_Dealing with Council Tax Arrears_Hi I got a letter saying that I have to pay £92.05 by the 3rd of Augus. I did not remember getting any letters in March saying this, but they said I did they are wanting £28 a month. I told they them that I can not afford that much as I am on Universal credit. Someone told me that if I offer to pay it back at £10 a month they have to accept that offer. I just want to ken if this is true ? Any advice you could give would be very helpful30th_July_2020
  • Scottish Adviser_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi Eileen I am sorry to hear this. It must have come as a shock to you after all this time. Unfortunately, in Scotland there is what they call a presumption against gift. What this means is there is a presumption in law that when someone gives you money, even an inlaw or a parent, that the money is a loan not a gift. The evidential burden is on you to prove it was a gift, not for the person adminisitering your ex Father in Law’s Estate, to show it was actually a loan. It is presumed to have been. The fact he never asked for the money back when alive, doesn’t support the argument it was a gift, although some have previously argued it does. Courts have generally held its for the person or their Executor to decide when to recover the money and unless its specified in writing they had do it by a certain date, its basically their choice. The fact they haven’t demanded the money back at any point, would also work in the Executor’s favour as it will have meant that prescription has not started running, which is when debts can be written off through old age. You may wanted to take legal advice as it may be the Executor may raise legal action to recover the debt. Lindsay’s the Scottish Solicitors have written a good article on this problem. (When the Bank of Mum and Dad Calls Up)20th_July_2020
  • Eileen_When Does A Debt Become Statute Barred?_Hi I have received a Lawyers letter claiming I owe my now deceased ex father in laws estate £15,000 from june 2004. I do not remember much as this was 16 years ago and was still legally married to my then husband. He never asked in all those years for any money to be repaid even though his son and I seperated in 2005. They claim I was given this as a loan.20th_July_2020
  • 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_Debt Advice and Information_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_Debt Advice and Information_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_Debt Advice and Information_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