South Cambridgeshire District Council will speak to a large volume thousands of customers every day about the debt they owe. Getting chased by debt collectors can be at the very least, a little upset, but at the very worst, it can even lead some people into having suicidal thoughts. No one likes to be chased for money they owe, especially if they can’t afford to pay it back and for many people, debt is a major issue. In cases were you have outstanding unpaid debts or fines, you may find yourself on the receiving end of threats from companies such as South Cambridgeshire District Council bailiffs.
Any kind of contact from bailiffs is hardly welcoming, but you need to deal with it, and the quicker you do, the better you will feel. If you have some understanding of debt collectors, and why they behave in this way, you will be better placed to be able to deal with them appropriately. We will have a look at who South Cambridgeshire District Council are in more detail, how to deal with any visits to your home, and what to do about their requests for payment.
Who are South Cambridgeshire District Council?
South Cambridgeshire District Council attempt to collect Council Tax arrears themselves rather than using a debt collection agency. They send two reminders if you don’t pay on time and if you fail to respond to those reminders, you lose the right to pay your Council Tax by instalments.
At that point, you will be sent a final notice giving you seven days to pay the full amount outstanding. If you fail to pay that full amount, a summons will be issued and you will need to appear at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court. You will be responsible for the costs incurred as a result of the summons.
If a Liability Order is granted by the court, South Cambridgeshire District Council may seek to recover the outstanding Council Tax by an attachment of earnings or by benefit deductions. Alternatively, they may involve enforcement agents. If they decide to use enforcement agents, you will be responsible for the costs incurred.
Ultimately, if the enforcement agents are unable to recover the money South Cambridgeshire District Council may take you back to court and that could result in a prison sentence of up to three months.
South Cambridgeshire Hall Cambourne Business Park, Cambourne, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB23 6EA
Also Known As:
South Cambridgeshire District Council Limited
South Cambridgeshire District Council Ltd
South Cambridgeshire District Council Group
South Cambridgeshire District Council Bailiffs
South Cambridgeshire District Council Debt Collectors
South Cambridgeshire District Council Debt Collection
South Cambridgeshire District Council Agency
What Are The Reasons for Getting in Touch
If you are unfamiliar with South Cambridgeshire District Council, you will probably be wondering who they are, and whether they have the right to chase you about the debt. They are an authorised company, which means that if they are contacting you, they have the right to do so, and you should not just ignore them. These are just some of the main reasons why they may be getting in touch about the outstanding payments:
- Debts you owe to individuals, businesses or other organisations
- Tax that you haven’t paid or tax credit overpayments from HMRC
- Credit card bills which are unpaid and payday loan debts
- Court fines you have defaulted on.
The original creditor, i.e.the credit card company, HMRC etc, will usually pass the account to South Cambridgeshire District Council, as they have been unable to either track you down, or to get an agreement to pay the debt. You don’t owe the debt to South Cambridgeshire District Council, but they have been given the right to chase it up. These are some of the types of companies they may be contacting you on behalf of.
- Major utility companies such as Npower, United Utilities or a range of other gas or electricity companies
- Mobile and broadband companies, including O2, Virgin Media and EE
- Local council debt, such as unpaid parking tickets
Instead of buying the debt individually, South Cambridgeshire District Council will usually buy bundles of debt from the original creditor, as it makes it worth their while. They are not collecting the money for the sake of the original credit company, they are basically chasing the debt to try and make a profit. They pay just a small amount for the debt, so when they start getting payments, they are making profit.
Is There Any Way to Stop South Cambridgeshire District Council From Reaching Out to You?
It is common for the agents from South Cambridgeshire District Council to be extremely persistent in their quest to get you to pay up. You may end up receiving countless calls or letters from them looking to discuss your debt, and if you fail to respond, they may even show up at your house as a last resort. Instead of dealing with the issue, many people decide to just bury their heads, and try to forget about it – in the hope that South Cambridgeshire District Council will too, but you can guarantee that they won’t. They bought the debt, so they need to get payments, as otherwise, they are losing money. It’s important that you just deal with the problem head-on.
Bailiffs like South Cambridgeshire District Council many also, in some cases, be used to serve court documents or to hand out notices and summons. If they do decide to pay a visit to your home, they should provide you with at least 7 days’ notice of the first visit. The best way to prevent them from taking this kind of action is to ensure you pay the money you owe, or at least, speak to them about your current financial situation.
They cannot just do what they want though, they need to adhere to certain rules and regulations, they are some things they are not permitted to do:
- Sending letters that look like court forms
- Calling you at times which would be deemed as unreasonable, such as very early morning or late at night (after 9pm)
- Contact you at your workplace, when you have specifically asked them not to
- Confuse you with jargon or technical terms, you may not be familiar with
You should always endeavour to speak to South Cambridgeshire District Council about the debt situation. If you want to contact them, you will be able to track down their details either through their website or on the correspondence you receive. It is important to speak to them as early as you can, as this will help ensure they don’t visit your home or that you don’t end up with even more charges.
If they are attempting to collect debt which doesn’t even belong to you, you would be able to ask them to provide evidence of the debt, including a full breakdown of the costs. The Financial Conduct Authority’s guidelines have more information on this (see section 7).
Do South Cambridgeshire District Council Have Any Powers?
As they are an enforcement agent/bailiff, South Cambridgeshire District Council do have legal powers in relation to your debt, and their right to try and collect it. However, they don’t hold all the powers – you also have rights and you should make use of these.
Bailiffs are permitted to visit your home to collect the debts, and they would usually only do so as a last resort i.e., you have failed to contact them or reach an agreement. In many cases, they would even have the power to enter your home and remove some of your belongings to sell, in order to make up for the debt. If you do not allow them to enter your home, and you do not make any arrangement to pay them, they may go as far as to take goods from outside your home, such as your vehicle.
If you receive a visit from someone from South Cambridgeshire District Council and you advise them that you have no intentions of paying them, they can have the right to take some of your luxury goods, in order to clear the debt. For instance, they may take your TV, games consoles and in some cases, even antiques from your home.
In some cases, such as if you have unpaid criminal fines, stamp duty or income tax, bailiffs will be able to force entry to your home, but this will be done as a last resort. If it is just normal circumstances, they would usually not have the right to force entry in these main ways:
- Entering by forcing their way into your home
- Accessing your property when there are only vulnerable people at home, or individuals aged under 16.
- Unsociable hours, such as after 9pm or before 6am
- Any way aside from the doors, such as the windows or another opening.
How Should You Deal with a Visit from South Cambridgeshire District Council?
Unless they are dealing with extreme cases, such as if you have failed to pay court fines, you do not have any obligation to allow bailiffs to enter your property. They will probably advise you that they can enter your property and that they full intend to, but this is not the case. The only way they will be able to force entry is in cases were you have not paid your tax debts or you have court fines which remain unpaid. They have the right, in these circumstances, to make use of a locksmith to get access to your property, but they will not be able to break your door down. If they do this, you can contact the police.
If you do receive a visit from a representative from South Cambridgeshire District Council – or any other bailiff for that matter, you should always ensure they are able to provide identification. Otherwise, they could be anyone pretending to be from the company. These are some forms of ID which will be acceptable:
- ID card, badge, or certificate, or other ID which proves who they are
- Details of the company they are representing (for instance, South Cambridgeshire District Council)
- A breakdown of what you owe, together with proof
- Proof that force entry, such as a warrant or writ
You will be able to request that they pass these documents through the door and you can have a closer look at them. Some things to look at are whether they are in date and are accurate, with all the correct, relevant and up-to-date information on them.
If they do not have permission to force entry into your home, you may tell them to leave your property and you can advise them that you will contact the South Cambridgeshire District Council head office and arrange payment this way. If the debt is not in your name, they would not be able to chase you for it. You should advise them that you will contact head office and let them know that it is not your debt.
South Cambridgeshire District Council are likely to keep trying to pursue the debt, which means that if you can’t prove it’s not yours, or you are unable to pay it, you will still continue to hear from them.
Is There Anything You Can Do if South Cambridgeshire District Council Take Your Goods?
If a South Cambridgeshire District Council bailiff has already been into your home, there is every chance that they have already taken your goods to sell, in an attempt to recover some of the debt from selling your goods. You can get them back, but you would need to act quickly.
The simplest way to get your goods back is to clear your debt, before the goods are sold. Another option is to come to an arrangement to pay back the debt, or you may even want to buy back the items in order to clear off your debt.
If the South Cambridgeshire District Council enforcement agent has failed to follow the correct legal procedure, there may be options to get your goods back. You may want to contact Citizens Advice to find out more information about recovering your debts.
How Should You Deal With Any Contact from South Cambridgeshire District Council
When you are initially contacted by South Cambridgeshire District Council, these are some of the things you should do to deal with the situation.
Discuss your situation
You should definitely not ignore any calls or letters you receive from South Cambridgeshire District Council under any circumstances. Ignoring the contact won’t suddenly make it go away, you can be assured that they will not just stop contacting you. There is also the additional issue that enforcement agents like South Cambridgeshire District Council may end up adding on some additional charges, depending on the action they need to take to deal with your debt.
- Compliance – £75. This is a charge you receive if you have been sent an enforcement notice asking for payment.
- Enforcement – £235 (or 7.5% over £1500). They may charge this for having to visit your home to try and recover the debt
- Sale of goods – £110 (or 7.5% over £1500). This is a charge for selling the goods.
Even if the debt is incorrect, you should speak to them and let them know your situation. If you speak to them, there will be less chance that they will turn up at your home or hassle you further.
Find out if you owe the debt
If you have been sent a letter which claims that you owe this money, the first thing you should do is to ensure the debt is accurate. It may be that the debt isn’t yours, but instead, it belongs to someone with the same name as you. Otherwise, it may be a debt you have already cleared, and the letter has been sent to you by mistake.
In cases were it has been over six years since you made a payment to the account, or spoke to the creditor about the debt, you may not be obliged to pay it. If you were pressured into signing the agreement, or there was no proper check carried out to ensure you could repay the money, this may also mean you don’t need to repay the debt. Find out if you owe it, and if you the original creditor has acted in the correct way.
Clear off the debt
If the debt belongs to you, and it is recent enough, and South Cambridgeshire District Council are able to provide you with evidence of this, you would be liable to pay it. If you are financially able to, the best move is to clear off your outstanding debt. When you do this, the company will stop contacting you, which will take some stress off your shoulders. If you do make payment, ask them to give you a receipt, incase you need this i the future.
In cases were you are not financially able to clear the full debt, you can set up a repayment plan, which will allow you to pay it at a slower rate. You can contact South Cambridgeshire District Council and let them know more about your financial situation, and how you would like to move forward. They are likely to let you pay the debt in installments, which means you may not need to pay any extra fees.
How to Get Help to Deal With South Cambridgeshire District Council
Do you need help in dealing with South Cambridgeshire District Council? There are various actions you can take. If possible, you should speak to them and clear the debt. If you are not able to do this though, these are some options available to you. The option you choose will depend on your individual circumstances, as not every option is right for everyone.
An IVA is an option which allows you to combine your debts together, and it is most suited for those with substantial debts. This is relevant to those based in England, Wales and Northern Ireland; Scotland also have a similar debt management option, which is called a Trust Deed. You would make one monthly payment to the debt, and this would usually be at a lower rate. Outstanding debt will be written off within a set period of time.
In addition to the IVA, there are also other debt management options available, and the choice you make will be dependent on your circumstances. The other debt management options include debt management plans, consolidation loans, and bankruptcy. You should always explore your options here and if you are unsure of what step to take next, you should seek advice from the professionals.
If you are worried about dealing with South Cambridgeshire District Council or you are confused with the correspondence they have sent you, and you don’t know what to do next, you should consider contacting Citizens Advice. They will be able to provide you further information on how to deal with the bailiffs.
You only need to take a look at the Trustpilot reviews of South Cambridgeshire District Council, to find out more about other people’s experience of them. You will see words and phrases such as ‘bullies,’ ‘threatening,’ and ‘mistreated,’ and many more which are extremely negative. If you believe that South Cambridgeshire District Council have failed to treat you properly, you would be able to make a formal complaint.
If you want to complain to the bailiff company you can use our free letter template which outlines exactly what you should say.
If South Cambridgeshire District Council fail to respond to this appropriately, and you are unhappy with the response, or lack of response, you would be able to contact the Financial Ombudsman Service and take the case to the highest level.
South Cambridgeshire District Council – Conclusion
There is nothing pleasant about having to deal with debt enforcement agents such as South Cambridgeshire District Council. If you understand your legal rights though and what they can and can’t do, you will be in a better position to know what to expect. The worst thing you can do is ignore letters or calls from companies such as South Cambridgeshire District Council, even if they are contacting you about debt that doesn’t belong to you. Should South Cambridgeshire District Council decide to visit your home, you do not have any obligation to let the bailiff, with the exception of them being able to produce a court-certified warrant or writ. In this case, you should advise them that you will speak to the head office to discuss the debt instead.
What rights do I have if a bailiff turns up?
Bailiffs will only have the right to come to your home between the hours of 6am and 9pm and they will also need to provide you with 7 days notice. They are not permitted to use force to gain entry into your home.
Is there a maximum number of times the bailiff can visit?
There is no limit to the number of times a bailiff can visit you, but there are restrictions on the times they can visit. They must visit during normal hours.
What if I refuse access to the bailiffs?
If you do not give permission to the bailiffs, they may end up turning up with a locksmith to gain entry.
Does a bailiff have permission to break down my door?
Bailiffs are do not have the right to break your door down. If they need to get access, they must use a locksmith. Bailiffs must also only enter your home through the door, and not through the window etc.
Can bailiffs remove my vehicle, even if I need it for work?
Bailiffs do have the right to take your car, even if you require it to get to work. If you decide to park it elsewhere, you should know that they are used to these tactics. If the vehicle is parked on private property which does not belong to you, they must not take the vehicle.