FAQ
Here is a sample of our frequently asked questions which you may find useful.
Why have I had a letter/visit from Jacobs?
We are instructed by Councils to collect unpaid Council Tax, Business Rates, Penalty Charge Notices, Commercial Rent Arrears, Sundry Debts and Housing Benefit Overpayments.

Council Tax & Business Rates

You will have been issued with a bill, reminder notice, final notice and a summons before a Liability Order was granted by the Magistrates Court enabling the Council to pass the case to us to collect.

Parking

As the Registered Keeper of a vehicle you will have had a Penalty Charge Notice from the Local Authority. Prior to obtaining a Warrant of Control from the Traffic Enforcement Centre you will have had a number of opportunities to pay or challenge the PCN. The Warrant of Control enables the case to be passed to us to collect.

Commercial Rent

We are authorised by the Landlord to collect commercial rent arrears which are equal to a minimum of 7 days rent.

Sundry Debt

You will have been issued an invoice and a number of reminders for payment of a debt for goods or services you have received from the Council, for example, Hire of a Leisure Facility, Pest Control, Accommodation Charges or Social Care Charges. The Council have instructed us to act as debt collection agents to collect the amount due.

Housing Benefit Overpayment

You will have been issued with an invoice and a number of reminders where you have received Housing Benefit for a period that you were not entitled to receive the amount or part of the amount. The Council have instructed us to act as debt collection agents to collect the amount due.

What actions will Jacobs take to collect the debt?
From 6th April 2014, there are fundamental changes to the process and procedures for the enforcement of debts.

Under the Tribunal Courts and Enforcement Act 2007, the outdated, complex and differing ways to enforce a debt have been harmonised. The confusing fee structures, which are different depending on the type of debt that is being collected has also been simplified to make it easy to understand the stages and fees incurred for each stage.

There are three stages:

- Compliance
- Enforcement
- Sale or Disposal

Stage 1 - Compliance Stage

Fee £75.00 per case issued.

When the Council passes a case to Jacobs to collect a fee of £75.00 per case received will be raised.

Jacobs will send an initial letter called a Notice of Enforcement to you. This lets you know that we are now acting for the Council to collect the case and provides you with at least 7days to make payment in full.

If you can’t pay in full then please contact us to discuss your circumstances and see if we can accept an arrangement.

Payment in full – please click on the link to see how and where you can pay. Alternatively you can contact us on 0345 601 2692 to make payment in full over the telephone.

Arrangements – Jacobs may depending upon your personal circumstances accept arrangements. It may be necessary to undertake a means enquiry of your income, expenditure and any capital or savings you may have to establish your ability to pay. In some cases we may signpost you for impartial free debt advice.

To make an arrangement please contact us on 0345 601 2692.

Stage 2 - Enforcement Stage

Fee £235.00 for debts under £1500.00.

Fee £235.00 + 7.5% of the debt referred amount over £1500.00.

Example Table


If you ignore the first letter we send to you or if you do not keep to any arrangements made then we will pass the case to one of our Enforcement Agents.

The Enforcement Fee will be raised when the Enforcement Agent makes their first visit to the address or premises.

The Enforcement Agent will be seeking Payment in full. Where appropriate, the Enforcement Agent may enter into an arrangement on the basis that we Take Control of Goods and you enter into a controlled goods agreement. Goods will remain with you on the basis that you pay as agreed.

If you ignore the visits by the Enforcement Agent then the Agent can proceed to secure and remove goods and/or a vehicle immediately for sale in a Public Auction incurring you with further fees.

If the Enforcement Agent has attended your address and left a notice as you were out, you should contact the Agent immediately by calling the telephone number provided on the paperwork left at your property.

Stage 3 - Sale

Fee - £110.00 for debts under £1500.00

Fee £110.00 + 7.5% of the debt referred amount over £1500.00

Example Table


Plus Potentially:

- Locksmith Fees
- Storage Fees
- Auctioneers Fees

Where despite our efforts in the Compliance and Enforcement Stages the debt and fees remain unpaid then Jacobs will progress the case to the Sale or Disposal Stage. This will incur you with further costs and may result in your goods or vehicle being removed and sold at public auction.

In which case the Enforcement Agent will provide an estimated value of the goods based upon previous auction history. (This is usually significantly less than the replacement cost).

The Enforcement Agent will take photographic evidence of the items to be removed for a record of the condition of the goods immediately before removal.

The goods are usually sold at a Local Auction House, however specialist goods, or valuable collectors/antique items may be sold at a specialist auction to maximise the amount they sell for.

Where the debt relates to a business and the goods are plan or machinery, to minimise the costs the auction may take place at the commercial premises.

You can still prevent the sale of the goods by making payment in full to the Enforcement Agent before the sale takes place.

Please note that if the goods have already been removed and are released back to you before the sale, you will be responsible for arranging for them to be transported back to the premises.

What fees do I have to pay?
From 6th April 2014 Fees and Charges are set by Regulation 4 and the Schedule to the Taking Control of Goods (Fees) Regulations 2014.


* Percentage Fee is incurred where the balance at the commencement of that stage is over £1500


How can I pay the debt?
We offer a variety of local and electronic payment options including:

- Cash to the Enforcement Agent
- Debit Card
- Credit Card
- Jacobs Swipe Card for payment at local PayZone™ or Post Office® outlets (Please contact our office for a card to be issued – 0345 601 2692)
- Standing Order via your bank
- BACS transfer via your bank
- CHAPS transfer via your bank
- By Post (address at the end of this section)

Alternatively, please click on 'Make a Payment'. This will navigate you to the online payment facilities.

You can also pay by using our automated payment line: 0330 008 0430

Please have your account details ready. The phone line is voice controlled and will guide you through the process.

Payments should be directed through the Enforcement Agent in Charge of your case, so they are aware of your actions and may prevent an unnecessary visit.

Alternatively you should ring head office if you are on a payment arrangement scheme.

Please call : 0345 601 2692

To make a postal payment please address to:

Jacobs Enforcement Agents
6 Europa Boulevard
Birkenhead
Merseyside
CH41 4PE

You are advised not to send cash in the post.

Where can I get free and impartial debt advice?
Jacobs work alongside a number of national and local organisations that provide impartial and free debt advice to customers.

Here are some of the national organisations you can contact:

AdviceUK
www.adviceuk.org.uk

National Debtline
www.nationaldebtline.org
0808 808 4000

Money Advice Service
www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
0300 500 5000

Gov.uk
www.gov.uk

Citizens Advice
www.adviceguide.org.uk

Please note there is a charge for calling these numbers

England
08444 111 444
02081 850 710

Wales
08444 772 020
02081 850 717

Other free advice is available

I don't think I owe this debt
If you do not think you owe the debt you must contact us immediately and explain why.

However, before contacting us you may wish to check the details of the debt and any reference to the date of the Liability Order or Warrant of Control if one has already been obtained through the Courts.

Please do not ignore the situation otherwise we will continue to make contact with you and make visits/add fees to your account.

I have just lost my job and/or suffering severe financial problems, what can I do?
We advise you to contact the Benefits service at your Council.

There may be benefits that you are entitled to but not claimed.

This will not stop us visiting, writing or contacting you to discuss the debt with you, but may assist you potentially reduce the amounts you owe.

Here are some of the national organisations you can contact:

AdviceUK
www.adviceuk.org.uk

National Debtline
www.nationaldebtline.org
0808 808 4000

Money Advice Service
www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
0300 500 5000

Gov.uk
www.gov.uk

Citizens Advice
www.adviceguide.org.uk

Please note there is a charge for calling these numbers

England
08444 111 444
02081 850 710

Wales
08444 772 020
02081 850 717

Other free advice is available

I have received a letter/notice from Jacobs addressed to somebody who does not live at my address
Please contact us immediately by telephone: 0345 601 2692 or the telephone number on the notice left by the visiting Enforcement Agent.

If you are not the person the letter is addressed to, please let us know. By contacting us we can stop sending you letters or visiting your property.

We will ask you to supply information as to your identity and occupancy so we can remove your address from records.

We will make various further enquiries to trace the debtor.

If you know the person that the letter is addressed to and/or have a forwarding address and/or telephone number, providing those details will assist us remove your property from our records and cease further contact.

We would also request that you ask the debtor to contact us direct.

I have received a letter/notice from you but need more time to pay- Can I make an arrangement?
Remember, the sooner you contact us to discuss your payment options, the longer we may be able to give you on an arrangement to pay and the more chance you have of keeping the fees raised to a minimum.

We will consider an arrangement to pay at the Compliance Stage and on occasions at Enforcement Stage.

Jacobs Telephone Collections Team and Enforcement Agents are fully trained to undertake a means enquiry. They can discuss repayment options based on your circumstances and clearing the debt within timescales set by the Council. We will also signpost you to impartial free debt or welfare advice groups for additional support where we think it is necessary.

Arrangements made and kept at Compliance Stage means that an Enforcement Agent WILL NOT visit your property, and fees are kept to a minimum.

Arrangements made and kept to at Enforcement Stage will be on the basis that a Controlled Goods Agreement is in place, securing the balance with your goods.

If you cannot keep up the repayment of your arrangement, please contact us immediately so we can review the situation, and avoid further action from taking place.

To make an arrangement please contact our Telephone Collections Team on: 0345 601 2692 or the Enforcement Agent in charge if you have received a visit.

I have forgotten to make payment(s) - what will happen?
You should contact us immediately- 0345 601 2692, to explain why you have missed the payment and arrange to bring them up to date.

If you miss payments we will write to you immediately asking you to bring the payment up to date or pay in full. You may lose the agreement to pay by installments.

Your account may be issued to an Enforcement Agent and further costs may be added to your account

Remember– if you have entered into a Controlled Goods Agreement with an Enforcement Agent, your goods which have been taken into control are at risk of being removed should you fail to pay your debt.

I have made an arrangement but cannot afford to keep paying regularly
You should contact us immediately 0345 601 2692

We understand that people’s circumstances can change. Please let us know when your circumstances have changed. Our Telephone Collections Team are trained, not only in discussing repayment options, but also when you may be in need of Debt or Welfare Advice, and if there may be a benefit you are entitled to claim.

We may be able to discuss further payment options.

You should never reduce your payments without agreeing with us as your case will be issued to an Enforcement Agent and further costs may be incurred.

A Jacobs Enforcement Agent has called, how do I know they are an Enforcement Agent?
With effect from 6th April 2014, Certificated Bailiffs will become known as Certificated Enforcement Agents. This is because the law has changed.

Our Certificated Enforcement Agents will always carry 2 forms of official identification.

They will have their Jacobs Employee ID Card, which has a picture of the Enforcement Agent displayed with the name and job title. There is a contact number on the card that you can use to verify the Enforcement Agents details.

The Enforcement Agent will also carry his/her Certificate which is granted by the Court. This Certificate will also show a picture of the Enforcement Agent, their name, and the dates that the Certificate is valid from and to.

The Enforcement Agent should produce their ID on the doorstep on request

An Enforcement Agent has attended my address and left a notice of attendance whilst I was out. What should I do?
Please contact the Enforcement Agent in charge immediately on the telephone number provided on the paperwork left at your property.

The Enforcement Agent may arrange for a convenient time to call back to discuss the debt with you. This may include discussing different options on how to pay.

If you do not make contact, the Enforcement Agent will make further visits to make contact.

We can assist – but only if you contact us.

I have been advised not to open the door to the Enforcement Agent
If you make contact with us when you receive your initial Notice of Enforcement (Compliance Stage) and make payment in full, or enter into an arrangement which you then maintain, you will not receive a visit from an Enforcement Agent.

We will only ask an Enforcement Agent to visit you, if you do not work with us at the Compliance Stage and your case has to progress to the Enforcement Stage.

If the Enforcement Agent visits the premises, please do not ignore this matter – Your debt will not go away by itself.

If you refuse to open your door or make contact with us we will make various visits both in and outside office hours and weekends. Your account will incur additional fees of at least £235.00.

We don’t need to gain access to the premises to take control of goods. There may be items outside your property which can be taken, including vehicles, caravans, garden furniture, etc.

The case will progress to sale stage if we remove items for sale. You will incur further costs of at least £110.00 and fees such as Auctioneer fees will be removed before any money raised at the sale goes towards clearing the debt and fees outstanding.

Ultimately the debt will not go away and the local authority has the further enforcement options available such as application for Committal to Prison, Bankruptcy, and Charging Order against your property.

Please talk to us – we can assist you and will always fully investigate options of payment by installments.

We may also be able to help you and refer you to the right advice agencies – please don’t bury your head in the sand.

Goods are going to be removed. Can I avoid this from happening?
Taking your goods is the last thing that we want to do. However at Sale Stage you will have had many opportunities to clear the debt and at this point it is usually too late to pay by installments.

The Enforcement Agent in charge will always consider your current circumstances, the value that the goods will fetch at auction and make an informed decision based on the best options available to clear the debt, especially if you are in a position to pay a lump sum towards clearing the debt.

Please do not ignore the situation, please contact the Enforcement Agent in charge to discuss the matter urgently.

How can I complain about Jacobs?
Jacobs are committed to getting things right and we take any complaints very seriously.

A complaint is an expression of dissatisfaction about a service provided by Jacobs or someone acting on behalf of Jacobs.

We welcome complaints which may lead to an improvement in our working processes; however a complaint is not a complaint where we have simply gone about our legal duty.

At Jacobs we will treat people with courtesy and respect. Our employees and Enforcement Agents are all trained in legislation, and have a Code of Practice which they must work to.

Complaints are acknowledged within 2 days and a full response will be issued within 5 days. In the event of the complaint requiring longer to investigate, we will advise you of this in the acknowledgement letter.

All complaints and responses are logged on our system and are reviewed monthly.

As we are acting on behalf of the Council, your complaint and the outcome will be shared with them.

Our Complaints process consists of 4 stages and each stage provides escalation of the complaint through our management structure.

How to complain