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Threat of bailiffs over Hove woman's £18.20 ‘debt'
6:35pm Saturday 1st September 2012 in News
A disabled woman was threatened with bailiffs visiting her home and seizing goods – over just £18.20.
Charlotte White, who suffers from an internal condition called colitis, was handed a parking ticket after leaving her car in a blue badge bay outside her home.
The 32-year-old musician, of Wilbury Road, Hove, said she put her valid disabled permit on her windscreen but it slipped, meaning a small section of it was obscured.
However, despite paying the fine in full in July, Ms White said she was “disgusted” when she received a “threatening” letter this week saying bailiffs would visit if she did not repay £18.20 which was owed.
After The Argus raised the issue, the local authority has admitted it should not have pursued the amount.
‘Burst into tears’ Ms White, who works part-time and is on a limited budget, said: “When I first opened the letter I just burst into tears. I put it back in the envelope as I couldn’t deal with it for another day.
“I already face so many difficulties as it is. I can’t handle the stress of having bailiffs arrive at my property.
“I am disgusted by the council’s behaviour.”
The basic £70 parking ticket was issued in January.
The local authority rejected two appeals, claiming it was right to issue the fine as the badge was not displayed clearly, which pushed the amount owed up to £105.
Ms White appealed again to an independent hearing but she fell ill and could not attend to defend her case.
After this, she said she paid the amount owed in full.
A letter was then sent on behalf of the council by IBIS debt recovery team on Tuesday claiming £18.20 was still owed.
Ms White said: “I still do not know where they got this figure from.
“Why did they not contact me to say I owed money? All I could go off was the documents they sent me.
“I’ve already paid the charge as I didn’t want the threat hanging over me.”
A council spokeswoman said: “In this case such a small amount shouldn’t have been pursued.
“All action on this case has stopped and the amount already paid has cleared the notice.”