Have you been visited by a Scott and Co. Sheriff due to unpaid Council Tax, Business Rates, Benefit overpayments or any other debt?
If you have, don’t panic, Council Tax Advisors are the leading not-for-profit organisation who specialise in helping people just like you stop Sheriff action, avoid Wage Arrestment’s and set up affordable repayment plans, ensuring you retain your possessions and can get your life back on track.
So, how can Council Tax Advisors help you solve the problems you face with Scott and Co.?
“Thank you Council Tax Advisors. You have all been so sympathetic, helpful, extremely efficient and have got a result!”
Scott & Co. is the foremost professional debt collection service in Scotland. They are the largest employer of Sheriff Officers with 13 centres in Scotland. Working with a range of public and private sector organisations, they also collect both consumer and commercial debt. If you have been contacted by Scott and Co., Council Tax Advisors can offer advice on dealing with them, as well as how to handle your debt.
Scott & Co are members of the Credit Services Association, the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation, the Institute of Directors and the Society of Messengers-at-Arms and Sheriff Officers.
Contact Scott & Co:
Tel: 0845 345 8980
Address: 12 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7QG
If you have not paid your Council Tax by the date it is due, the council will issue a reminder requesting the overdue amount to be paid within seven days. If there is more than one person in the home responsible for paying Council Tax, each individual will be issued with a reminder. If you do not pay the amount due on the first reminder, you will be sent another reminder but the option to pay in instalments will be withdrawn, however, you will be given 14 more days to pay.
If you have received two reminders from the council about unpaid Council Tax and still have not paid, then the local authority can apply to the Sheriff Court for a summary warrant. If the council are granted a summary warrant they will send Scott & Co. your name, address, and the amount you owe. Please note, that on top of the amount of Council Tax you owe, there will be an additional 10% penalty charge added for the summary warrant. Scott & Co. will send out a summary warrant stating the amount owed and how to pay it.
“I have recently had involvement with council tax advisors and I have to say how much they helped me in particular, Steven Rule and Katie Kearney and what an excellent service they have offered ”
At this stage it is advisable to contact Scott & Co. to come to a repayment arrangement, otherwise the council can obtain a charge for payment. You will be given 14 days to pay. If you do not pay within this time, the council can use diligence, also known as enforcement action and they may give Scott & Co. Sheriff Officers powers to get the money from your wages or bank account, or remove your belongings. The council can also apply to the Sheriff Court for an Exceptional Attachment Order, and they can prevent you from selling your home, land, and property or business premises.
Types of diligence, which the Scott & Co. can use to collect your unpaid debt, are as follows:
You can prevent diligence by making an offer of payment to the council or Scott & Co.
Once a charge for payment has been issued, you can prevent further action being taken by applying to the court for a time to pay order. This will allow you time to pay off your debt in monthly instalments, and will prevent the council from using diligence against you, which would mean making you bankrupt, having your wages docked or having your belongings seized by Scott & Co.
You can apply for a debt-payment programme to pay your council tax arrears through regular payments. If you stick to the agreed payments the council will no longer be able to make you bankrupt or take money from your bank or wages, or have your property taken away by Scott & Co. Also, by joining a debt repayment programme, the interest, fees and charges on your debt will be frozen for as long as you keep up the payments. For more information on the Debt Arrangement Scheme, contact our debt advice partner’s Carrington Dean.
If you have not paid your debt in full or applied for a time to pay order, or debt payment programme Scott & Co. will be able to deduct the amount owed from your net wages after tax, over a period of time, in order to collect the outstanding amount. This is called an earnings arrestment. This will remain in place until the total amount you owe has been collected. You will also have to pay Scott & Co.’s fees, which will also be automatically deducted.
Before you are served with an arrestment, the council or Scott & Co. by law must send you a debt advice information package 12 weeks before serving you with the earning arrestment.
If you have been served with an earnings arrestment there is still time to prevent your wages being docked. If you apply for a time to pay order and it is granted, it will stop the earnings arrestment.
“I just wanna say thank you to everyone that worked really hard to solve this case especially steven. HE was always keeping me update withe whats going on. Am so lucky to have you people here. ”
If you are not able to come to a payment arrangement with Scott & Co, another type of arrestment they can use is a bank arrestment. This gives Scott & Co. the right to freeze your bank account until you give permission, called a mandate, to release an amount to cover either the total amount of Council Tax you owe, or a lump sum towards it. Scott & Co.’s fees for administering the bank arrestment will also be added to the amount that you owe. If you don’t give permission for the money to be released, then the bank will be instructed to release the funds after 14 weeks. During this time you will not be able to use the account and no direct debits or standing orders will be paid out. Any account in your name will be liable to being frozen, even if it is an account held jointly with someone else.
The arrestment only applies to money already in the bank account on the day the arrestment was delivered to the bank by Scott & Co. You will not receive any advance warning of this and could leave you unable to access money from your account or pay other bills, putting you in an even worse financial situation. If your account has been frozen, you can apply to Scott & Co. to release some of the money under the arrestment. You would then have to agree to set up a standing order for the remaining debt. There may also still be time to apply for a time to pay order or a debt payment programme. Council Tax Advisors will be able to offer you advice on the next steps to take. Contact them using the form on this website, or call 01225 667 667.
If you have not paid your Council Tax after receiving two reminders and you have not applied for a time to pay order, or a debt payment programme, then Scott & Co may decide to arrange the seizure and sale of some of your personal belongings outside the home. This is called an attachment of property outside the home, or attachment of goods. You will also have to pay Scott & Co.’s fees for administering the attachment of goods.
Before you are served with an attachment of goods, Scott & Co. must send you a debt advice and information package within the 12 weeks before they have been instructed by the council, which explains your rights and gives you details about how to get advice. However, this can be delivered by Scott & Co. on the same day they carry out the attachment to seize your property.
Scott & Co. cannot gain entry to your home to enforce an attachment of personal property. However, they do have the right to enter outbuildings, garages, or business premises, even if they are locked.
Some personal property is exempt from attachment, such as tools, books or equipment that you reasonably need to carry out your trade or business, up to a total value of £1,000, any vehicles that you reasonably require up to the value of £3,000, or a mobile home if it is your only or main residence.
Once an attachment is complete, Scott & Co. must give you a list of the goods being removed and the amount they are valued at. The goods can be removed and sold after seven days to cover the cost of your debt. You will still be liable for any debt that has not been covered by the sale of the goods. Before the sale of the goods, you will be given the right to buy the items back at the same value within 14 days of the attachment. Also, a friend or relative can buy them back for you.
If you feel that Scott & Co. have not carried out the attachment properly, such as removing any items that are exempt from being attached, or someone else’s belongings, you can apply to the court to challenge it.
“Receiving letters from bailiffs wanting money I could never afford, I was honestly terrified. Council Tax advisors have been so friendly, understanding and extremely helpful. Without their help I would still be having sleepless nights. They arranged on my behalf a payment plan I can afford ”
Only as a last resort may Scott & Co. enter your home. A Sheriff Officer from Scott & Co. may be able to enter your home between 8am and 8pm Monday to Saturday, if the court has granted them permission to do so under an Exceptional Attachment Order. You should always check the identity of the Sheriff Officer, and you are allowed to request to see the court document, which will state that it ‘grants warrant for all lawful execution’. If you have been shown a document but are unsure as to whether it gives Scott & Co. the authority to enter your home, you should call Council Tax Advisors right away on 01225 667 667 for advice.
If a Scott & Co. Sheriff Officer has shown you the correct authority from the court to enter your home, and you do not let them in, they can use ‘necessary reasonable force’ to gain entry. This means that they can force a door, or break a lock or window. You could also be charged with breach of the peace for obstructing an officer of the court who has been given permission by the court to enter your home.
If Scott & Co. Sheriff Officers forcibly gain entry to your home resulting in a broken lock or a window, then the council will have to pay for the replacement, however, sometimes the charge may be included as part of Scott and Co.’s fees and be passed on to you.
For Scott and Co. to enter your home under an Exceptional Attachment Order, there must be someone at home who is at least 16 years old, who understands what is going on. Scott & Co. will not be able to gain entry if the person in the home does not speak or understand English, or does not seem to understand the situation because of a physical or mental disability.
There are certain items that cannot be attached in an Exceptional Attachment Order such as clothing, bedding, basic household furniture, a refrigerator, and cooking equipment. If a Scott & Co. Sheriff Officer thinks that you do not have reasonable need for an item, they can choose to attach it.
If you have an Exceptional Attachment Order against you, you should urgently call Council Tax Advisors on 01225 667 667, who will be able to help.
Yes, you may have to pay Scott & Co.’s charges on top of any other amount you owe. In the case of a summary warrant being granted, an additional 10% will be added to the amount you already owe.
Some of the fees per person for Scott & Co. administering each stage of debt collection are outlined below:
Plus there may be some other clerical and administrative charges such as for making copies of documents. If you have any questions about additional fees you might be charged by Scott & Co., please contact Council Tax Advisors through the web contact form on this website, or by calling 01225 667 667
If you believe that a Sheriff Officer from Scott & Co. has behaved unreasonably in carrying out their duties, you should first of all write to Scott & Co. asking them for an explanation.
If you are unhappy with the response you have been given you can make a further complaint to the Sheriff Principal at the local sheriff court, who will look further into the matter for you.
“Thank you Council Tax Advisors. You have all been so sympathetic, helpful, extremely efficient and have got a result!”
In the same way as outlined above, the local authority can apply for a summary warrant from the Sheriff Court and instruct Scott & Co. to take the steps above to collect the unpaid Business Rates debt from you. Scott & Co. Sheriff Officers will have the same debt enforcement powers as for collecting unpaid Council Tax. You will also be given the option to apply for time to pay or a debt payment programme to avoid further diligence, however, if the council has already applied to make you bankrupt then it will be too late for a time to pay order.
The council can also take the further diligence of making you bankrupt if you cannot realistically repay your debts, your arrears amount to more than £3,000, and Scott & Co. has not been able to recover the money in any other way. There are some advantages and disadvantages to becoming bankrupt, however, it is a drastic step and your home, assets and employment could be at risk, so you should contact Council Tax Advisors on 01225 667 667 for further advice on this.
If you have been paid too much Benefit, you will be notified by the council and asked to pay the amount back. As with Council Tax and Business Rates debt, if you do not pay, the council will apply to the Sheriff Court for a summary warrant and Scott & Co. will have legal powers to come to a debt repayment arrangement with you. The same steps as detailed above will apply. Contact Council Tax Advisors using the web form on this website or call on 01225 667 667 if you are unsure about how this will happen.
If you owe money on credit cards, bank charges, loans or any other type of consumer or financial debt, Scott and Co. Sheriff Officers will have the same rights and powers as explained above to collect the debt from you. However, there may be some differences, so if you would like further explanation contact Council Tax Advisors.
If you need to speak with Scott & Co. directly they can be contacted in the following ways:
12 Drumsheugh Gardens, Edinburgh, EH3 7QG
0845 345 8980
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