How To Deal With Debt Letters From Equita Limited
Equita Limited is part of the Capita group, and is a long-established company with over 140 years’ experience in debt recovery. Equita employs almost one thousand people to provide debt collection and high court enforcement services to both public and private sector clients.
Equita Limited has been awarded the following industry standards, accreditations and memberships:
- Credit Services Association (CSA)
- British Parking Association (BPA)
- Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA)
- City & Guilds Accredited
- Civil Court Users Association (CCUA)
- High Court Enforcement Officers Association (HCEOA)
- Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation (IRRV)
- BS EN ISO 9001:2015 for Quality Management
- BS EN ISO 14001:2015 for Environment Management Systems
- BS EN ISO 27001:2017 for Information Security Management Systems
- Contractors Health & Safety Assessment Scheme (CHAS)
- OHSAS 45001:2018 for Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems
- ISO 31000:2009 for the Assessment and Management of Risk Systems
- ISO 22301:2012 for having an effective Business Continuity Management System
- ISO 10002:2014 for Customer Satisfaction Management Systems
- Silver accreditation under the Fleet Operator Recognition Scheme (FORS)
Why Have I Been Contacted By Equita?
If Equita have been in touch, chances are you owe money to their client. Equita work with a number of different sectors, including central and local government to recover debt on their client’s behalf.
Equita works with over 200 local authorities across Britain to recover money owed for unpaid council tax and business rates.
Council Tax is a local taxation applied to domestic property, based on its value. Council tax revenue pays for local services such as policing, refuse collections, street lighting, social care and maintenance of public spaces.
Non-domestic (business) rates
Local authorities charge business rates for most non-domestic property. Business rates revenue is distributed evenly between local and central government.
What Will Happen If I Don’t Pay?
If you do not pay your council tax or business rates, the local authority may apply to the magistrates’ court for a Liability Order.
A liability order is the decision of the court that you officially owe money or are ‘liable’ for a debt. Once granted, the local authority can instruct Equita to use enforcement action to make you pay.
They can do this in a number of different ways, including taking the money directly from your wages or benefits (called an ‘attachment of earnings/benefits’), or appointing Enforcement Agents (bailiffs) to recover the debt by seizing your goods.
Parking – Penalty Charge Notices
Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) are issued by Civil Enforcement Officers (traffic wardens, usually employed by local authorities) if you park or drive in contravention to the rules and restrictions that apply. They can be issued for violations such as overstaying in a car parking space, driving in a bus lane, going against no entry signs etc.
Parking Charge Notices
Parking Charge Notices (confusingly, also known as PCNs) are issued for violating the rules of private car parks. Private car park operators issue Parking Charge Notices for parking over the lines of a parking bay, overstaying the permitted time, misusing spaces for customers only, etc.
High Court Enforcement
Continued non-payment of your debt may result in further action being taken against you, in order to recover the amount owed. Equita provides High Court Enforcement services with over 450 enforcement officers across the UK.
Equita Ltd are authorised to enforce unpaid County Court Judgements and High Court Writs.
I’ve Received A Notice of Enforcement – What Should I Do?
The first step in the High Court enforcement process is the issuing of a Notice of Enforcement. This gives you at least seven ‘clear’ days to settle your debt. Clear days do not include Sundays or bank holidays, and begin the day after you received the Notice. You mustn’t ignore this notice, even if you can’t afford to pay, or you will face further enforcement action and mounting costs.
High Court Enforcement Fees
High Court Enforcement follows a 4-step process, and you will be liable to pay fees at each stage. The fees are set by the government in the Taking Control of Goods Fee Regulations 2014.
|Stage||Fixed Fee||% Fee|
|Compliance stage – writing to you about your debt||£75||None|
|Enforcement 1 – first visit to your home||£190||7.5% on debts over £1,000|
|Enforcement 2 – visiting your home again||£495||None|
|Sale or disposal – taking and selling your goods||£525||7.5% on debts over £1,000|
If your goods are seized and sold, you may also have to pay ‘disbursement costs’ to cover the costs of storing, advertising and selling your belongings.
What Happens If I Can’t Pay?
If you can’t afford to pay in full, you may be able to prevent further action being taken by proposing a payment plan. This allows you to consider what you can afford to offer by way of repayment. If you can come to an agreement to make regular payments, bailiff action should be put on hold.
It is important to note, however, that action will be resumed if you fail to keep to the arrangement.
If you are in over your head, you can seek help from a debt specialist like scottishtrustdeed.co.uk. We could help you establish a manageable debt repayment plan, or have some or all of your debt written off.
What Can High Court Enforcement Officers Do?
High Court Enforcement Officers can visit your home to take control of your goods and remove them to sell at auction, using the money raised to pay off your debt.
There are a number of items they cannot take, including most essentials like cooking equipment, clothing, bedding and heating and lighting.
Complaints about Equita
If you feel that Equita, or one of their enforcement agents, has treated you unfairly, you can make a complaint by writing to:
The Complaints Manager, Equita Ltd, 42-44 Henry Street, Northampton, NN1 4BZ.
Equita will attempt to resolve your complaint, but if you remain unsatisfied after their response, you can refer your complaint to the Credit Services Association or Civil Enforcement Association (CIVEA).
Credit Services Association, 2 Esh Plaza, Sir Bobby Robson Way, Great Park, Newcastle Upon Tyne, NE13 9BA.
CIVEA, PO Box 745, Wakefield, WF1 9RJ
Should I let bailiffs into my home?
No. You should always keep bailiffs outside your property and talk to them through the door or an open window.
Can bailiffs force entry to my home?
Bailiffs are not allowed to break your door down or push you out of the way. They are only allowed to force entry in very rare circumstances, with prior permission of the courts, for certain types of debt.
What goods can’t be removed?
Here are of the items which must not be removed:
- Medical equipment
- Necessary heating and lighting equipment
- Essential cooking equipment
- Fridge and washing machine
- Dining table and chairs for each occupant of the house
- Beds and bedding for each occupant
- Necessary work tools or study text books or equipment, up to a value of £1,350
- Vehicle needed for your job, up to a value of £1,350
Bailiffs can take luxury items like cash, jewellery, TVs, games consoles etc.
Services Offered By Equita: Bailiff & Process Serving, Consumer Non-regulated Debt