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21-8-2012 11:04 pm  #1


Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Border Force (BF) will try to intimidate you into not appealing against the seizure of your goods. They do this by saying that you will face costs of £1500 plus if you take your case to court and lose. However, HMRCs recent tactic makes these Border Force threats totally irrelevant. HMRC wait till the time lapses that you can appeal (1 calendar month) and the Condemnation Proceedings are rubber stamped and THEN they hit you with a Duty Bill of £198.10 per kg! This surely removes any doubts you had about appealing

When you have your goods seized by Border Force, the first thing you must do is send for a Subject Access Request (SAR) to get a copy of the seizing officer's notebook. This is because you won't get a copy of it at the time of the seizure. The SAR will take up to 40 days ... 10 days longer than you have to appeal.

Even if you audio recorded the whole interview, you still need a copy of said notebook to compare it's contents to the transcript of the audio recording you made. Hopefully you did not sign the officer's notebook as being a "true and factual account" of the interview.

For those of you that didn't record the interview and also signed the officer's notebook ... all is not necessarily lost.

The next thing you have to do is appeal against the seizure (if you can find a solicitor who knows his business and you can afford one ... do so if you wish) . You have 30 days to do this. You should also have been given a 156 notice that states what Border Force seized off you and the ID of the officer that seized them. Also on here should be a reference number and an address that you send your appeal to. Unfortunately these are often missing or intelligible, so the address to send the appeal (recorded delivery) to is:-

National Post Seizure Unit
Border Force
3rd Floor West Point
Ebrington Street
PLYMOUTH
PL4 9LT

Tel 01752 765817
Fax 01752 765816
e-mail plymouthpsu@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Photocopy the 156 notice and send it with your appeal (keep a copy of your appeal for your records). Also send a copy of your appeal to your MP.

We now come to the appeal itself. The advice given on HMRC's website is confusing to say the least. Because you are appealing against the seizure of your excise goods that were for personal (and gifts), that means you have to put in a Notice of Claim (NOC) this is your Appeal Against Seizure. There is no need to be nice, be forceful (not abusive).

Many people mistakenly take the other option which is 'Restoration'. The reason is, as stated by HMRC themselves :-

You will not be given a decision on restoration if your reason for that request is that things were not legally seized or, in the case of excise goods, they were imported for your 'own use'.

We like to head the appeal letter with Appeal Against Seizure (Notice Of Claim) followed by Urgent Assessment Requested. We used to put 'Review' but now put 'Assessment' because of the internal language now used by the National Post Seizure Unit (NPSU).

NPSU do not use the word 'review' when dealing with Notice of Claim appeals. The word 'review' is only used when dealing with 'Restoration' claims. What NPSU carry out is a Pre-Condemnation Assessment' (PCA) and then they send you their findings in a 'Pre- Condemnation Assessment Letter' (PCAL).

No, don't ask ... HM Customs used to be perfectly happy calling them reviews. There is the likelihood that NPSU could refuse a request for a review because you didn't ask for an assessment. Don't laugh, it has just happened to someone!

So, make it clear for the NPSU PCA Officer

You can just put in an NOC and wait for the court case but your aim should be to get this resolved at this stage so to as not go to court. To do this you have to show that the reasons the BF officer gave when they seized your goods are wrong so you'll have to address each reason in detail. Supply NPSU with documents and facts to prove your case. Go further than this and throw everything at them including the kitchen sink. Write it in such a way that others like the magistrates (should it end up in court) can see that you did everything possible to avoid your NOC going to court. The inference being that NPSU's decision to take it to court was totally unreasonable. The contents of your transcript of your audio recording should give you plenty to work with. Pick up on every minor detail no matter how small.

For those of you that didn't record the interview and signed the officer's notebook, try and remember everything you can and write it down as early as possible. lf you feel you were pressurised or intimidated into signing this notebook ... put it into your NOC. The officer will state that you read the contents of their notebook. Did you? Could you read it? Did you understand it? ... if not, put it into your NOC.

When NPSU receive your NOC then all you have to do is wait for the reply. lf in the meantime your SAR turns up and you find things in it that support your case ... write them down and send it to the NPSU.

When you get your reply (the PCAL) from NPSU you'll invariably find that not only has the PCA Officer rejected your evidence in favour of the seizing officer but they've probably added a few other completely spurious reasons for seizure. DON'T BE FAZED by this, it's common practice in our experience. We call it a reply by the 'coffee machine'.

Write back and tell them to look at it again ... and to read it this time. If they have added other reasons, address these too but be forceful. Keep on at them by phone, fax, e-mail, letter ... and keep at them. By this time you should definitely have your SAR so use anything in it that you can.

We've seen lately that the NPSU seem to be using another tactic and that is to press on with taking your NOC to court regardless ... and then just as your case date is very near ... they give in! This in our view is another variation of their Maximum Disruption policy to cause you as much inconvenience as possible. No doubt hoping that you won't cross-border shop again because of the recent experiences inflicted on you. lt should however prove to be the exact opposite because you WON! (grin)

Last edited by Smoking Hot (28-4-2013 9:08 am)


http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png We don't do nice ... we do right!

When cross-border shopping, take your Statement of Truth etc and ALWAYS record the Border Force interviews and NEVER EVER sign their notebook ... Period!
 

22-8-2012 6:03 am  #2


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Excellent. Simply bloody excellent! This guide is what has been missing.

Uncannily enough , while I was just reading through it the radio announced that the government is planning on simplifying the SAR and ,hopefully, speeding it up by allowing it to all be done telegraphically instead of having to resort to carrier pigeon, quill and ink.


"I, uh, let her out the trunk...heard what, err, She snarled at THEM...."

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22-8-2012 6:41 pm  #3


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

When they sent me a letter to let them know if I intend to appeal, the letter said that they usually ask for £2500 costs, I know that this is intended to scare you into not appealing.

It looks like they put any figure there, depends on who writes it!

 

22-8-2012 7:01 pm  #4


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

IT WAS £1500,but i think they increased it to £2500 (errr)


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17-11-2012 7:59 pm  #5


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

I was stopped on 10 of nov they took 6kg and 80 menthol fags. I told them they were  for my partner and kids, gave ages of kids. She would not let me record the interview. I gave her sot she did not sign it. I signed the notebook saying that I was fit for interview but did not sign at the end.

She did not tell me that the interview was finished she said we were going to see her boss, they both came to me and said that she was satisfied that I was taking them for commercial use. Also she kept my receipts, I told her that I travelled once a month, one month for baccy and one month for wine and spirits, she did not want any reciepts for spritis which I had.  I said I  would not be travelling for a while [as I am going in for a knee replacement on jan 4]. She did not ask me to show her any baccy out of my handbag, or roll any, or the reciept from the bank account from which I had drawn out to pay for the baccy.

I told her that I had been passed a few months before with 6kg. She kept me waiting for so long I ran out of my ready rolled so I opened a packet of the menthol which were a gift for my bingo mate, and smoked about three before she came back to me with her boss. Twice I asked for a copy of her notebook she refused. I don't no wether to appeal or not wondered if there was any legal help at dover or if you have to appear as I may be in hospital. Any advice?

Last edited by Smoking Hot (17-11-2012 10:06 pm)

 

17-11-2012 8:25 pm  #6


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

My eyes hurt! Can you put in some full stops, commas and the like?


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17-11-2012 9:30 pm  #7


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

sorry i hope this is better

 

17-11-2012 10:07 pm  #8


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

The clock is ticking so let's get down to business. If you don't appeal within 30 days of seizure, the condemnation is rubber stamped and you are likely to be charged the import duty (currently £164.11 per kilo which comes to £984.66 for the baccy alone) Firstly, appeal to the post seizure unit as a matter of urgency. (Signed for, recorded delivery) Next, you need to apply for a SAR (Subject Access Request) to get sight of the notebook. When you have done these two things and only when, write down everything you can remember about the stop/interview/seizure. The devil is in the detail here. To the best of your knowledge, write a full account of what was said, who entered and left the room, how many times,etc. What may seem like a trivial detail now may prove invaluable when you see what unbelievable bullshit is in the notebook. You were within your rights to record the interview and were obviously bullied into stopping. That's for next time though. This time we'll deal with what we've got. I wouldn't be surprised if your receipts get lost somewhere along the way so I hope their presence was recorded on the seizure form. In any event, make sure it is in your full written account.
Don't worry too much about grammar and spelling on here. As long as we get the gist of it, we can help you.

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UKBA can "manger la merde et mourir" if you'll excuse my french.
 

17-11-2012 10:12 pm  #9


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Agree with Ewan but l tidied up your original post anyway. 


http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png We don't do nice ... we do right!

When cross-border shopping, take your Statement of Truth etc and ALWAYS record the Border Force interviews and NEVER EVER sign their notebook ... Period!
     Thread Starter
 

17-11-2012 10:30 pm  #10


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Hang on let's paint the full picture.

If you don't appeal you will probably get stung for over £1000 in duty. If you do appeal and lose you will likely get stung for £2719-50 in court costs. How confident are you that you can convince the court that the seizure was illegal?

Normally you would send in NOC (appeal notice) within 1 month and apply for SAR (subject access request) which should give you any data that BF hold against your name.

If you have been travelling monthly can you justify those purchases? You need to have the calcs on paper and the figures need to add up to what you smoke and give away.

Let's go from there.


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Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

 
 

17-11-2012 10:36 pm  #11


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

eezyrider wrote:

Hang on let's paint the full picture.

If you don't appeal you will probably get stung for over £1000 in duty. If you do appeal and lose you will likely get stung for £2719-50 in court costs. How confident are you that you can convince the court that the seizure was illegal?

Normally you would send in NOC (appeal notice) within 1 month and apply for SAR (subject access request) which should give you any data that BF hold against your name.

If you have been travelling monthly can you justify those purchases? You need to have the calcs on paper and the figures need to add up to what you smoke and give away.

Let's go from there.

l'd still appeal Eezy as you get the chance to drop the Condemnation Proceedings anyway when the coffee machine replies.

lt would be interesting what the SAR brings up about the notebook. Do you think there will be any mention of refusing to record? ... or for that matter, the SOT? (wink)


http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png We don't do nice ... we do right!

When cross-border shopping, take your Statement of Truth etc and ALWAYS record the Border Force interviews and NEVER EVER sign their notebook ... Period!
     Thread Starter
 

17-11-2012 10:37 pm  #12


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

If the method of payment was cash, would it be possible for the receipts to be reissued by the tobacconist?

 

17-11-2012 10:41 pm  #13


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

shopperleighonsea wrote:

If the method of payment was cash, would it be possible for the receipts to be reissued by the tobacconist?

In my opinion l don't put much emphasis on the receipts and never have.


http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png We don't do nice ... we do right!

When cross-border shopping, take your Statement of Truth etc and ALWAYS record the Border Force interviews and NEVER EVER sign their notebook ... Period!
     Thread Starter
 

17-11-2012 10:42 pm  #14


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Smoking Hot wrote:

eezyrider wrote:

Hang on let's paint the full picture.

If you don't appeal you will probably get stung for over £1000 in duty. If you do appeal and lose you will likely get stung for £2719-50 in court costs. How confident are you that you can convince the court that the seizure was illegal?

Normally you would send in NOC (appeal notice) within 1 month and apply for SAR (subject access request) which should give you any data that BF hold against your name.

If you have been travelling monthly can you justify those purchases? You need to have the calcs on paper and the figures need to add up to what you smoke and give away.

Let's go from there.

l'd still appeal Eezy as you get the chance to drop the Condemnation Proceedings anyway when the coffee machine replies.

lt would be interesting what the SAR brings up about the notebook. Do you think there will be any mention of refusing to record? ... or for that matter, the SOT? (wink)

Quite agree SH. I'm just saying nobody mentioned the court costs in the event of it all going tits-up.


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Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

 
 

17-11-2012 10:50 pm  #15


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

..."Officers should note that seizure is not the end of the process with condemnation proceedings as the only option left open to you. After seizure of the goods you may continue your enquiries, including conducting an interview, in order to gather all necessary information to make a reasoned decision on the status of the goods. If you are then satisfied the goods are not, or are no longer, liable to forfeiture, you may release them. Otherwise you can maintain the seizure." ...

Ask for another interview by telephone, record it, then apply for the SAR for the notebook. That will be interesting.

 

17-11-2012 10:50 pm  #16


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

eezyrider wrote:

Quite agree SH. I'm just saying nobody mentioned the court costs in the event of it all going tits-up.

Seems to be a concerted effort by Border Force to stop people recording them ... what with redacting out all reference to the right to record in their Excise Interview manual re FOIs and all. lt MUST be hurting them bad!


http://i45.tinypic.com/24uxqug.png We don't do nice ... we do right!

When cross-border shopping, take your Statement of Truth etc and ALWAYS record the Border Force interviews and NEVER EVER sign their notebook ... Period!
     Thread Starter
 

17-11-2012 11:01 pm  #17


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

Smoking Hot wrote:

eezyrider wrote:

Quite agree SH. I'm just saying nobody mentioned the court costs in the event of it all going tits-up.

Seems to be a concerted effort by Border Force to stop people recording them ... what with redacting out all reference to the right to record in their Excise Interview manual re FOIs and all. lt MUST be hurting them bad!

Yep, also comes back to the attitude in Dover and Coquelles which is bullying and intimidatory. I suppose if a complaint went in about not being allowed to record the answer would simply come back along the lines of "the interviewee was requested to stop recording".

Of course the OP may be one of the lucky ones whose case does not get to court within the 6 month time frame. (happy)

Just a thought-in any other customer service issue you could call for a supervisor if you felt the situation was not being handled properly. Could you insist on speaking to a manager perhaps?

Last edited by eezyrider (17-11-2012 11:06 pm)


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Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

 
 

17-11-2012 11:26 pm  #18


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

I should think the clandestine methods come from a lot further up the food chain than you or I will have access to. Just quote them their own written operating procedures, you know, the ones they are completely oblivious to and tell them the recording continues. Mal, we've dumped a nice bit of work in your inbox but a look at your SOT and any paperwork the Skedlings gave you would be helpful, when you have a moment. Personal details redacted, of course.

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UKBA can "manger la merde et mourir" if you'll excuse my french.
 

19-11-2012 1:21 pm  #19


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

sorry that i am a bit thick but do you send for sar  on the same letter as noc or is it seperate do they go to the same address. I did not get a recording i dont know if she wrote it down i was all confused. Did talk to her boss at the end when they took the goods her reply was the interview was over.

Last edited by mal3003 (19-11-2012 3:16 pm)

 

19-11-2012 2:09 pm  #20


Re: Appeals Against Seizure ... the Process

mal3003 wrote:

sorry that i am a bit thick but do you send for sar  on the same letter as noc or is it seperate do they go to the same address. I did not get a recording i dont know if she wrote it down i was all confused.

Have a look at this post, click on the link within and follow the instructions precisely or else it will be rejected.

http://n2d.boardhost.com/viewtopic.php?id=40


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Please ensure you do not divulge any information which could identify you as Border Force will use your posts here as evidence against you in court.

 
 

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