MONDAY, 19 MAY 2008
DRAKES GROUP and a FORM 4 COMPLAINT.
This complaint was made to Middlesborough County Court in February 2008 by a disabled lady, who is confined to a wheelchair.
The bailiff’s certificate was revoked and compensation awarded to the lady.
A parking ticket had been incurred and a bailiff from Drakes Group ( now Marston Group) had visited her home early in the morning and clamped her car BEFORE knocking at the door. The car was clearly displaying a disabled blue badge and the warrant in the possession of the bailiff was in the name of Motability Finance. It was therefore clear to the bailiff that the vehicle in question was a disabled vehicle. The bailiff charged £553.36.
The bailiff also maintained that he had visited the house the previous afternoon which was denied by this lady as the family run a business from their premises with staff. Drakes Group, in attempting to prove that a previous visit had taken place provided satellite navigation print outs which the court dismissed as they only proved the bailiff had been in the vicinity….not at the house.
At the hearing, the Judge was critical of the bailiff, but in particular was most critical of the company; Drakes Group Ltd for the following:
RE: THE CAR BEING CLAMPED BEFORE KNOCKING AT THE DOOR.
“There appears to have been absolutely no reason to do that except to bump up Drakes’ fees…..which had already been bumped up, it seemed to me, by a heavily unjustified charge the day before”.
RE: THE ALLEGED VISIT THE PREVIOUS DAY.
“I regard it as significant that there is no copy of the letter left (the previous day). I am told that this is a system of Drakes, but Mr X is the only person who can carry the can for an unsatisfactory system.”
RE: THE CHARGES OF £553.36
“Looking at that document ( breakdown of fees) which contains five figures, there is a maximum of one which is accurate , all the others are excessive”. He also said that “it seems to me that Mr X is trained to seek excessive amounts by is employers”. The Judge confirmed that the “correct figure would probably have been something under £200 made up of the original £95 (PCN), letter and two visits if one took a favourable view about the first visit, certainly NOT £553.36”
RE: SUMMING UP, THE JUDGE SAID THE FOLLOWING:
“All in all, this is a disgraceful performance, which I find particularly disturbing since it seems to be in accordance with the policy of the employers Drakes Group Ltd. I find it a matter of considerable regret that there is no body which governs the company rather that the individual bailiff. If there had been, it seems to me that Drakes Group ought to be taken before it and deprived of any licence it had”.
“It seems to me that it is perfectly clear that firms of this sort ought to be licenced and ought to operate under a statutory code of conduct rather than regarding themselves as……having a licence to rip off debtors”.
Posted by Bailiffadviceonline