Richmond Council Overcharged My Mother Around Four Thousands Pounds Worth of Council Tax
Not only were the authorities breaking law after law against me, what’s worse is that they also targeted my mother as well. Because my mother was supporting me throughout this entire ordeal, the authorities threw absolutely everything at my mother and as you will see over the next few pages the authorities have absolutely no regard for the law.
Richmond Council overcharged my mother around £4,000 worth of Council Tax in a five year period. By law, every British citizen is entitled to Council Tax benefit if they are unemployed or on Job Seeker's Allowance provided that they have no savings greater than £16,000.00. My mother satisfied the criteria above and submitted her claim for Council Tax Benefit. However, although my mother’s claim for Council Tax benefit was personally hand delivered to Richmond Council, Richmond Council inexplicably ignored my mother’s claim for Council Tax benefit.
Richmond Council instead charged my mother Council Tax at a full rate. You would imagine that this would be a straightforward matter to sort out by bringing this to the attention of Richmond Council. However, Richmond Council went against their own procedures by failing to respond to my mother’s stage 1, stage 2 and stage 3 letters of complaint and in doing so continued to unlawfully charge my mother Council Tax at a full rate.
Instead of putting things right, Richmond Council summonsed my mother to Richmond Magistrates’ Court and obtained two liability orders against her totalling £3,204.74 [exhibit 1], despite being in full knowledge that my mother did not owe this money.
As a result, my mother was forced to lodge a claim for Judicial Review at the Royal Court’s of Justice to seek redress as Richmond Council were acting outside of the remit of law. However, to my mother’s shock horror, the High Court refused permission to seek Judicial Review outlining that as no Council Tax benefit has been awarded the sum is therefore payable. The High Court added a further £1,000 in costs against my mother.
Due to Richmond Council failing in their duty to respond to my mother’s letters of complaint; and failing in their duty to process her claim form for Council Tax benefit; and due to the High Court refusing permission to grant Judicial Review, my mother was left at the mercy of a bailiff who continually threatened and harassed her for monies she clearly did not owe. My mother felt humiliated and ashamed that she was faced with a bailiff who requested monies that she could not afford and did not even owe by law. This caused extreme hardship and inflicted an enormous amount of stress and strain on her health. As such, on 21 November 2008, my mother had no choice but to ask Richmond Council’s Chief Executive Mrs Norton for an immediate appointment as a matter of urgency to address these matters.
However, just as my mother’s claim for Council Tax benefit was ignored, her Stage 1, Stage 2 and Stage 3 letters of complaint were ignored, so was her request for an appointment with Richmond Council’s Chief Executive Mrs Norton. My mother was left with no option but to submit an appeal in 2009 and as the case was about to go to the Tribunals Service, Richmond Council were finally forced to justify why they were charging my mother Council Tax at a full rate when she was unemployed, had no savings whatsoever and was in receipt of Job Seeker's Allowance.
Richmond Council confirmed in a letter dated 14 April 2009 [exhibit 2] that they had applied the correct charges to my mother’s account as no claim for Council Tax benefit was ever received by the Council in 2007. This was totally incorrect as Richmond Council confirmed receipt of my mother’s claim form with a signature and date stamp in June 2007. [exhibit 3]
Furthermore, Richmond Council even sent out a letter confirming they had received my mother’s claim form and in another letter confirmed that my mother’s claim form was being processed.
Before the case was to be heard at the Tribunal Service, Richmond Council finally admitted their “mistakes” and discharged over £3,000 worth of Council Tax that they had wrongly applied to my mother’s account. [exhibit 4]
After two years of needless abuse and constant harassment, my mother was relieved to have finally had the unlawful debt discharged. My mother had hoped that this was the end of the pain and suffering, however, this was only a prelude as to what was about to occur. Since this date, my mother has faced a further overcharging from Richmond Council where things have gone from bad to worse.
Richmond Council Used "Anonymous" Bailiff's
To Terrorize My Mother
In 2010, liability orders were issued for amounts that my mother was in dispute with as she had evidence to prove that she had once again been overcharged Council Tax by Richmond Council. On this occasion, Richmond Council did not hold back. The enforcement of the liability orders were completely lawless. An unknown “bailiff” performed a levy on my mother’s vehicle on 27 January 2011.
A notice of distress was left at my mother’s premises outlining that distress has been levied upon her vehicle and requesting that a payment arrangement is made within 5 days, however, the “bailiff” failed in their duty to provide their name, credentials or even their contact number on the Notice of Distress. The “bailiff” was completely anonymous. How is it possible to make a payment arrangement with the bailiff within 5 days, when the bailiff fails in their duty to provide their name, credentials and even a contact number?
The reason why the bailiff’s name does not appear on the paperwork was because extra unlawful charges were added to the levy which were not in accordance with the statutory legislation. So the anonymous bailiff is effectively saying that my mother’s car is now his property and if my mother wants her car back she must make a payment arrangement within 5 days which includes paying the anonymous bailiff extortionate fees which the bailiff is not allowed to charge by law. This was pure theft by the bailiff and the bailiff tried to cover his tracks by not providing their name or credentials on the Notice of Distress on the off chance that they would get caught out. It is wrong for a bailiff to terrorise the most vulnerable in society by fleecing extra money from them that they do not even owe. It is even worse when they are doing this anonymously when they are in full knowledge that bailiff’s must be identifiable by law.
As such, my mother intended to make a form 4 complaint against the anonymous “bailiff” which is in essence an application to the County Court to have the “bailiff’s” certificate (if indeed it was actually a bailiff) revoked on the grounds of lawlessness to ensure that this does not happen to anyone else.
As the “bailiff” omitted his name from the Notice of Distress, my mother sent a letter to Newlyn Plc, the Debt Collection Agency instructed by Richmond Council requesting the name of the “bailiff” . However, Newlyn Plc inexplicably refused to provide my mother with the “bailiff's” name.
My mother was forced to submit a Subject Access Request under the Data Protection Act and provided £10.00 as payment to obtain the “bailiff's” name which should have already been in her possession on the Notice of Distress if the levy had been conducted lawfully. However, although my mother paid £10.00 under the Data Protection Act, Newlyn Plc cashed the £10.00 cheque and confirmed in writing that they will not be providing her with the “bailiff's” name at this stage as they “do not want my mother to pursue an innocent member of their staff.“ [exhibit 5] My mother was the innocent party and Newlyn PLC cashed her cheque for £10.00 and twisted it by saying that their bailiff is the innocent party. If the “bailiff” is an innocent member of their staff, then of course there would be no need for the “bailiff” to remain anonymous.
My mother was forced to make complaints to Richmond Council as Richmond Council are legally responsible for the enforcement carried out by Newlyn Plc. [exhibit 6]
Just as Newlyn Plc refused to provide my mother with the name of the bailiff, Richmond Council's Chief Executive Mrs Norton also inexplicably refused to provide my mother with the name of the bailiff who performed the unlawful levy at her property. My mother served a letter of complaint to Richmond Council's Chief Executive Mrs Norton requesting the name of the bailiff in order to seek redress through the County Court to stop unlawful bailiff's taking advantage of the most deprived in society. [exhibit 6]
However, it seems that Richmond Council's Chief Executive Mrs Norton was not concerned that bailiff's were adding excessive unlawful charges to the poor and most vulnerable in society. Instead of providing my mother with the name of the bailiff, Richmond Council shockingly stated that if my mother writes to Richmond Council again about these matters, they would commence vexatious proceedings against her. [exhibit 7]
Richmond Council would prefer to spend tax payers' money on a vexatious case against my mother rather than supplying her with the name of the bailiff which she is entitled to know by law. Richmond Council have a duty to be fair, open and transparent at all times as stated in their procedures. However, Richmond Council were far from being fair, open and transparent by refusing to provide my mother with the name of bailiff, when if everything was conducted lawfully on 27 January 2011, my mother would have already been in receipt of the name of the bailiff.
Still to this day, my mother does not even know if it was actually a bailiff who performed this levy at her property as Richmond Council have effectively gagged her with their threats of a vexatious case.
Many senior officials have been written to regarding this matter including local councillors such as Liz Jaegar and the Leader of Richmond Council Lord Nicholas True, however, they do not even provide a courtesy of a response. Similiarly, the major newspapers and media outlets have been contacted but also have never provided a courtesy of a response. A notice of publication was also sent to Richmond Council, Newlyn Plc, Liz Jaeger and Lord Nicholas True to see if they have any issues or objections to this publication and to provide them with their right of reply. All parties chose not to respond.