4:19pm Friday 2nd May 2014
By Dale Haslam
A DISABLED pensioner has demanded action against a firm of bailiffs after she claimed they harassed her with late-night letters.
Ann Delaney, aged 72, of Bury New Road, Prestwich, had reduced a council tax debt from £1,000 to £50 by paying regular instalments — until Birkenhead-based Jacobs Enforcement demanded an extra £255.
Workers for Jacobs, contracted to act as bailiffs by Bury Council, twice posted letters through Ms Delaney’s door after 10pm, making her feel intimidated and with no way of responding until the morning.
Ms Delaney also claimed that, on another occasion, a Jacobs representative walked into her house and began noting down what valuables she had.
Ms Delaney, who suffers from arthritis and severe back pain, told The Guide: “They put me through an ordeal I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.
“Fortunately, I complained to the council and they cancelled this £255 payment and I have nearly settled my account. But I can imagine others are living in misery because of Jacobs.”
Ms Delaney claimed a disability benefit until her circumstances changed in 2008 and she fell into council tax debt the following year, but managed to start paying it off when her circum-stances changed again.
Jacobs got involved again earlier this year, demanding the £255, because, they claimed, Ms Delaney was four days late with a payment.
She said: “I paid every week without fail. One minute, Jacobs demanded £92 and the next minute it was £255, though the council quashed it. The council should get rid of them.”
A Jacobs spokesman said the firm had investigated the issue and “had worked with the council to resolve it”.
He added: “All enforcement agents carry formal identification, in addition to their county court certificate and full details of the debt we are collecting on behalf of the council.
“Fees are applied in accordance with the Taking Control of Goods (fees) Regulations 2014.”
A Bury Council spokesman said town hall bosses employed Jacobs in 2008 and, though the firm is closely monitored, there are rarely issues.
He added: “The number of complaints is minimal and they are usually unfounded.
“Each one is closely looked at.
“It is extremely rare for us to overturn a decision made by Jacobs, as the work carried out is always in accordance with the law, however we may review any action or fees as a gesture of goodwill.”
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