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About Alastrum

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  1. It is indeed baffling, and I intend to speak to the Council today about it. The good news is that my bank agreed that the terms of the DD have been breached, and they reversed the DD there and then. When I returned from the bank, I found a letter from the council telling me that I was £40 in arrears with my Council Tax, and that they would be taking steps to recover the outstanding amount, which is just over £300. So, 1) if they feel they can raid my account with impunity, why not simply take the £40 arrears and bring me up to date? And 2) if the total remaining for the year is only £300, why did they take over £800? In either case, there's still no clue as to how the figure of £800+ was arrived at, nor is its even mentioned.
  2. I have been into my bank this morning, and they agree that the DD guarantee has been broken. Unfortunately, that particular branch has a power cut this morning, so can't reverse the DD for me. They've told me that if I go to another branch before 3pm and explain the situation, I should be able to get this reversed today.
  3. Hi, Not sure if this is quite the right place for this, but here's the situation: I'm on a low income, and I receive Working Tax Credit, Housing Benefit, and Council Tax Benefit. For the past month, my Housing Benefit has been suspended while being reviewed (just a normal annual review, after I'd sent in my Tax Return, bank statements etc). The Council are taking their time, which is unusual as they're normally quite efficient. I've emailed them twice last week as I was growing concerned that they wouldn't finish their review in time for my next due rent payment on 28th Feb. They didn't respond to either email, and I heard nothing. Concerned that I wouldn't be able to meet my rent (I rely on Housing Benefit for about 75% of my rent), I borrowed £1000 from a family member, which was paid into my account on Friday evening. I woke up this morning to discover that the Council have TAKEN over £826 from my account by Direct Debit, completely unexpectedly. This has left me hundreds of pounds overdrawn, and of course means that the standing order for my rent has failed. At a single stroke, I'm almost £2000 in debt and under threat of losing my home. Until I speak to the council later today I don't know what has happened. I'm guessing that, because my HB is suspended, they've decided to take all of my remaining Council Tax in one go. Or perhaps, in their review, they've decided that I've been overpaid? Whichever it is, my concern here is are they allowed to do this? I had a Direct Debit set up with them to pay my Council tax. That DD was set up with a specific agreement as to how much they would take (£20 a month). Surely by exceeding that amount so vastly, without any prior warning, they have broken the DD agreement? Even if they have decided I've been overpaid, and have decided to take back what they consider they are owed, how can they simply raid my account without any prior warning or agreement, using the Direct Debit system as simply a means of access to my bank account? If they can, then this means that the Direct Debit system is not fit for purpose, as it simply giving anyone a key to your account and an open invitation to help themselves to as much as they like. This can't be right, surely? Any advice welcome. Many thanks.
  4. Yeah, but what are YOU paying? My question isn't about what to do about it, it's how my bills compare to other people.
  5. Unfortunately, it's in the lease that I can't change supplier. The meters are all in a locked cupboard on the ground floor: meter readers are supposed to ask the caretaker for the key, but I guess many of them don't bother and just estimate.
  6. Sure, but I need to go to them with more than just a feeling! They could easily fob me off. But if I can say, look, here's a family of 4 in a 3-bedroomed house paying less than me, and here's a family of 3 paying less than me, then I have a case for them looking at my usage. On the other hand, if other single people are paying around the same, then my bill may be about average. At this point, I just don't know...
  7. Just trying to get a sense of whether I'm paying too much or not... I'm paying £135 per month direct debit. I'm a single man living alone in a one -bedroom flat. I have gas central heating and a gas cooker. No TV or hi-fi, but my computer is on all day. As a single man, I don't do a lot of cooking:), so the oven doesn't get used much. I have a washing machine too. The property is rented, so I can't change suppliers: they're set by the landlord. The supplier for both gas and electricity is e.on. I've just been reading about a family of 6 who say their combined energy bill is around £80 per month. How can my bills be £50 more than theirs? OK, maybe they don't all have computers and hi-fi's, but they must cook, and wash? So, how does my bill compare with other people's? What do you pay? Is mine about average, too little, or too much?
  8. Nystagmite: avoiding the truth is a completely different thing from lying. osdset: You're a genius. That will do it. Thanks!
  9. But for me that would be lying, and I don't want to lie to her.
  10. Long distance... so there was a distance between you. That's not going to work in my case, I'm afraid. I don't have an excuse like that.
  11. So what did he actually say to you? How did he go about it?
  12. Yeah dammit LOL. And as I'm not the kind of guy women throw themselves at on a regular basis, i don't have much experience in rejecting them. I'm usually grateful for the attention LOL. I did think about having a quiet word with one of her female friends, but as you point out, the first thing they're likely to do is tell every other woman they know what a bastard I am.
  13. I honestly feel that telling her straight is going to destroy our friendship. Of course, she's going to be upset when she realises anyway, but at least if she thinks I don't know she fancied me, she can maintain some dignity. Think about it: would YOU want to hang around someone who'd just turned you down? I'm trying to avoid getting to that point, so we can stay as friends.
  14. LOL, that WOULD be brilliant, but I bet the advice I'd get would be unrepeatable LOL.
  15. Yeah, I know, but it's not really a relationship thing is it? More of a friendship problem.... and this particular forum is supposed to be for off-main-topic chat.... so I just thought I'd ask.
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