The Council may use certificated Enforcement Agents to recover debt for unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCN). Enforcement Agents are entitled to add statutory fees to the debt. Before this recovery action takes place, the registered keeper of the vehicle will have been issued with a Notice to Owner, a Charge Certificate and an Order for Recovery.
If an Order for Recovery has been served and if no payment or Witness Statement has been filed in the time allowed, we can request authority from the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC) to use an Enforcement Agent to recover the outstanding debt arising from the PCN. This is done with a legal document called a Warrant of Execution.
Once a Warrant of Execution is obtained, the debt will be passed to an Enforcement Agent so that they may recover the debt on behalf of the Council. The debt outstanding will include:
- the amount due for the PCN
- statutory and reasonable fees incurred as a result of enforcement action
Enforcement Agents have to follow a 3-stage process - they can charge you a fixed fee for each stage as shown in the table below.
If your debt is over £1,500 they’re also allowed to charge you an extra fee. The fee is only charged on the amount of debt over £1,500 rather than your full debt.
|Stage of process||Fixed Fee||Percentage extra for debts over £1,500|
|Writing to you about your debt (called ‘compliance’)||£75||None|
|Visiting your home (called ‘enforcement’)||£235||7.5%|
|Taking and selling your belongings (called 'sale')||£110||7.5%|
Once the warrant is with the Enforcement Agent, payment must be made directly to them using the reference and details provided on their correspondence. Despite a Warrant of Execution having been issued by the TEC, it will not result in a County Court Judgement (CCJ) being issued against your name or address. This will not affect your credit rating.
What can I do if an Enforcement Agent contacts me?
You can apply to file a Witness Statement. Before the Enforcement Agent was instructed to recover the debt an Order for Recovery (form TE3) would have been served on you. The Order for Recovery would have shown the statutory time period in which a Witness Statement (form TE9) or payment could be made.
If you wish to make your Witness Statement (form TE9) outside of the statutory time period you will need to make an application to file a Witness Statement out of time (form TE7). Both the Witness Statement (form TE9) and the application to file the Witness Statement out of time (form TE7) must be filed at the TEC. A valid reason why the Witness Statement is being filed out of time must be provided.
You may obtain Witness Statement (form TE9) and the application to file the Witness Statement out of time (form TE7) from the TEC website or from us. Completed forms must be returned to the TEC and not to the Council.
If TEC allow your late Witness Statement to be filed, they will then ask us if we accept or oppose your witness statement. The TEC will then inform you and the Council of their decision.
If the out of time Witness Statement is accepted by TEC, the Council will act upon the instruction given by TEC. If TEC decides to reject the out of time Witness Statement, then the warrant can be pursued and recovery action will continue.
If the debt is not settled, it is important to know that the Enforcement Agent may remove goods from your property.
If you are contacted or visited by an Enforcement Agent working on behalf of the Council, the following information may be useful:
- an Enforcement Agent must have knowledge of the Warrant of Execution, which must be less than 12 months old. The Enforcement Agent does not have to be in possession of a physical copy of the warrant; however, a copy can be made available on request.
- an Enforcement Agent acting on behalf of the Council, must be County Court certificated and must show you their certificate if requested.
- the Enforcement Agent is obliged to provide you with a clear explanation of their fees and any other charges applying to the recovery of the debt.
- an Enforcement Agent may clamp your vehicle to render it immobile until the debt has been paid and may remove the vehicle and offer it for sale in order to settle the unpaid debt.
- an Enforcement Agent can only enter your home by invitation and have a right to remain, in your property, when so invited.
- examples of items that can be removed are televisions, radios and luxury goods.
- an Enforcement Agent may enter into a payment arrangement or exercise their discretion in certain circumstances.
Complaints about Enforcement Agents
If you wish to make a complaint about the Council’s Enforcement Agents, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or write directly to the Revenues Manager, North Hertfordshire District Council, PO Box 10613, Nottingham NG6 6DW.
The Council currently uses two Enforcement Agents to collect unpaid PCNs:
Penham Excel Ltd
Whyte & Co
7 Whiteoak Square