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  1. Not sure I understand what this is meaning. I read the whole article but still didn't get it. I earn much less than £15,000 a year, but still have student loan deducted from my salary each month. Is it about that, or something else?
  2. Thanks. I did check if the Council had given me any information on how to make a complaint and who to, in their letter to me, or maybe enclosed a leaflet, but there is nothing. My first thoughts were local councillor or CAB but it's not easy to get contact with either of them. Bazooka Boo: not sure what you mean by a final letter. The latest one from the Council has been the one admitting they made a mistake, and no information as to what happens next and what procedures to follow to find out why this has happened and how to make sure they don't do it a third time to me further down the line. So, I've no idea if it's a final letter or not.
  3. Moved from benefits into a job. Paid around £150 each month for both council tax for current year, and arrears. The council threatened to take me to court for unpaid council tax. I explained my payments covered the whole of the current month's installment, plus agreed arrears at an amount I'd agreed with them. Everything I had paid had been agreed between them and me. The council admitted their mistake and said that - as I thought - they'd just been taking my payment and paying it on this year's bill, meaning nothing was coming off the arrears, but my current year's council tax was paid way in front of the installments due. They admitted their mistake in writing, apologised and said it wouldn't happen again. Problems with Royal Mail meant a lot of my mail went astray, so when it turned up, it appeared I had been sent a Summons, sent to court and a Liability Order granted by the council for my Council tax - all without my knowledge. And even better, all for something I didn't owe. Yes. yet again, the council had been taking my payments, putting it all towards the current year's council tax installments and yet none of it had been taken off the arrears - their mistake again. I wrote to the council explaining what they had done. They replied in writing, apologising for sending me to court, acknowledging they had made a mistake and I shouldn't have been taken to court at all, and that they would not be charging me the court fee. Nice of them! So, what do I need to do next? Where do I complain to? Does the Liability Order I should never have been given, affect my credit rating? Not surprisingly, I am absolutely fuming and have no idea where to go next, what to do, where I stand. Tempted just to ring the local newspaper but want to stick to jumping through the right hoops for now.
  4. The full story was that I was going to the railway station to pick up one of my daughters because her train was late into the station so she'd missed her connection. Didn't want her hanging around in a deserted railway station for two hours to wait for the next train. Although in hindsight, it would have been probably cheaper to send a taxi to pick her up. Or a bl**dy chauffeured limo...
  5. I'd be grateful if anyone has any advice. I got a police "Notice of Intended Prosecution" this morning, for driving through an "average speed check" camera on the M1. At no place on the route does it say anything other than an "average speed check". There are dozens of cameras on that stretch, and all are clearly labelled as "average speed cameras" which are claimed to be only there to regulate traffic flow by monitoring the average speed of the traffic. I admit I probably could have been doing the 67mph on the M1, in a 50mph zone, as they claim. However, in my somewhat limited attempt at mitigation, there were no roadworks being carried out at the time throughout the whole of my short journey on the M1, no workers nor even any machinery present, and absolutely no other road users in sight as it was just before 5am. I was still driving under the usual speed limit for a stretch of motorway with no actual roadworks happening. There are no actual clearly marked speed cameras, only cameras marked as "average speed check" cameras. Surely claiming a camera is only carrying out an "average speed check" is a lot different to it actually being a camera specifically targetting a speeding driver? If there is a genuine speed camera on that stretch, targetting specific drivers, it is clearly not labelled as such, as they all just say "average speed check". Every last one of them. I know because I and my daughters went back and checked. I drove while they videoed all the cameras, and every single one of them was clearly marked as "average speed check" cameras only. The letter says it is going to prosecute me, despite my never having had a speeding ticket or even as much as a parking fine for the whole 20 years I've been a driver. Why not just a fine for a first offence on an empty motorway, going past "average speed check" cameras, rather than threats of courts and prosecution? Anyone have any ideas how to proceed on this? Thanks.
  6. Thanks for that. Not really what I was hoping to hear though. My daughter feels misled because the only reason she took out a contract with 3 was because they stated they had coverage in the area she was moving to, and it still claims that even now on the website even though there clearly isn't coverage. You'd have thought a major city centre would have had better coverage! The Citizens Advice Bureau booklet we got says "If you think the contract was mis-sold to you on the promise of good network coverage, you should complain." which is what my daughter spent 9 months doing. I had hoped it could be dealt with using then Prescott v Orange case model. We'll try the David Dyson option and see where that gets us.
  7. I'm asking this on behalf of my daughter. It's quite a long history, so you might need to sit down with a cuppa if you can get through it all. We really need some help and advice on this matter because we're banging our heads against a brick wall. My daughter got 3 mobile and mobile broadband in August 2011. She gave 3 my home phone number until her phone connection was up and running, everything was fine. She gave them my phone number and address as she was moving away to university shortly. Then she moved away from the area in September 2011 to start her second year at university, and asked 3 to now remove my details from their files, gave them her new address, and they already had her mobile phone which was working just fine... right up until she moved into her student home - a home which, according to the 3 connectivity page, had good connections. It had none whatsoever. The only connection she could get was if she walked to the nearest KFC half a mile away and went onto their wifi, or climbed over the 6ft tall back fence of her property, across a college field and right into the furthest corner of it - no matter how bad the weather conditions were, how dark it was, how much dog mess she walked through, and that's the only way she could get any signal to get in touch with anyone. Even then, it would cut out 3 or 4 times every minute until she became so frustrated that she was often in tears. At one point, she fell seriously ill, and had to wait for a housemate to come home from their university lectures so they could run to the nearest phone box (they were with a different mobile phone company, but also had zero mobile connectivity) to ring for an ambulance. She contacted 3 through their webform to explain that since her move, she was no longer able to get the connectivity she was paying for so her mobile and mobile broadband were unusable and she therefore had no use for them. This was in September 2011. 3 wrote to her and asked her to ring or email them. She wrote back and explained she couldn't because clearly she had no signal for her mobile phone or mobile broadband so she'd put the cancellation request in writing. This happened a few times. 3's only response was letter after letter telling her to ring them. Impossible with no mobile phone signal or mobile broadband. The last thing she wanted anyway was to ring them to cancel and have them giving her the hard sell to try and force her to change her mind. This went on for another 9 months. She'd kept paying by direct debit for the service she wasn't getting, then decided enough was enough so she gave them advance warning she was going to stop paying them. By this point I think she had cancelled in writing at least 3 or 4 times, but probably more. Next thing was I got a phone call at my home from 3 threatening my daughter with court, bailiffs, legal action. I explained she hadn't lived here for 10 months. Didn't stop me getting call after call from 3, up to 5 or 6 times a day. I asked them to remove my phone number and address from their system and they promised they would. A month or so later, there was a debt collection company letter sent to my home (Credit Solutions Limited), for my daughter, despite the fact my daughter by then had not been living her for over a year. I explained this to them in writing, and explained the issue to them in full, and the debt collection company backed off. 3, however, continued to harass me by phone trying to get hold of my daughter (where she did not live, and they knew this) 7 days a week, anywhere between 8am and 10pm. They still sent threatening letters to my address for my daughter. Each time I responded to them what my daughter's issue was, how many times she had cancelled the contract in writing etc. All they did was demand she paid the two payments she had stopped and asked me to get a letter signed by my daughter, saying I had authority to speak for my daughter if she was mentally disabled! It wasn't my daughter I was speaking for, it was to stop the threats of debt collection, court and bailiffs to MY home, where my daughter had not lived for over a year. Yet still the pestering continued. So on a 12 month contract, she'd paid for 10 months of service she had never received more than a week or two weeks of, before moving house, and because she had been refusing to pay for the final two months of it. Then last month, 18 months after my daughter first asked 3 to cancel the mobile and mobile broadband, I got a letter for my daughter at my address from a second debt collection company, this time the company was called Past Due Credit Solutions. I wrote to them and explained my daughter did not live here, and hadn't done so for 18 months. I sent a copy of everything to them, and to 3 also. They told me I wasn't allowed to speak "for" my daughter without filling in forms so say she was mentally deficient and I was her carer . I told them I was speaking as the owner of the property they were threatening to send court letters and bailiffs to, and had already set two debt collection companies onto. I contacted 3 in writing and got the same response - they couldn't talk about it to me unless my daughter had given me her permission, but this was to MY home and MY phone number! The second debt collection company then apologised and say they have now removed my details from their files. By this time, the Ombudsman said in a letter that they would do nothing as more than 9 months had passed thanks to 3's stalling techniques. They gave us no suggestions as to where we could go next for help. We found limited advice online, which said we needed to get everything in writing, never speak to them on the phone, by webform or email, and that my daughter needed a deadlock letter. So my daughter explained this to 3 in writing and asked for the deadlock letter. So far, no sign of a deadlock letter. We tried to get to talk to the CAB, but they refuse to see anyone unless they have an actual court date, because they don't have enough staff except to deal with the most serious cases involving court. However, since yesterday, I've had around 8 phone calls to my home from 3 asking for my daughter to ring them. That's despite the fact they said they'd removed my details from their system over 6 months ago. And again, threats of court, debt collectors, bailiffs etc. Yet again, me painstakingly explaining my daughter has not lived at my home for over 18 months, and again, asking them to remove my details and phone number from my database. And yet, here we are today, 3 more threatening phone calls to my home from 3 today so far. I refuse to pass on my daughter's mobile phone number (she is with another network now, one who actually have a mobile phone signal) because of the fact that 3 have refused to resolve this matter in writing, and my daughter has refused to speak to them on the phone, in line with advice everyone has given her. Where does my daughter go now and what can she do next? How does she get these idiots off her back? How can she stop them ruining her credit record like this? How do I get these ***expletive** idiots at 3 to stop them making threatening phone calls to my ex-directory phone, and giving my address to debt collectors for them to send threats to my home where my daughter hasn't lived since September 2011? We don't have cash to throw around in a small claims court, or to send 3 solicitors letters or anything like that, to stop the harassment. All we want is for 3 to stop hassling us. My daughter doesn't even care if she gets back any of the 10 months she paid 3 for almost zero connectivity because she is at the end of her tether with them, as am I. It is clearly deadlocked since the day she moved home and found she had zero connectivity, as 3 have refused to deal with this issue in writing, and both myself and my daughter are only prepared to deal with 3 in writing because of the dreadful way this is being handled by 3. My daughter has cancelled in writing at least 7 or 8 times now. So, if anyone has read this far and can offer any advice before we both tear our hair out, that would be great. Please help!
  8. According to a lot of sites about nuisance calls, they are ringing a lot of people, with nuisance calls going back to 2010. When people pick up the phone, there is a recorded message asking to speak to someone they've have never heard of and asking them to press 1 or 0 to be connected - which apparently turns out to be an 0844 number. In my case, the calls have been for someone called Paul Robinson, although sometimes asks for someone called David something-or-other or Graham something-or-other. All wanting me to call them back over someone I've never heard of. Total nuisance.
  9. It could be partly because the Royal Mail are hopeless? I run my own online business, and between 20% and 40% of items go missing every single week - whether items sent to me, or sent by me. I get proof of postings for them all, but it doesn't stop the massive percentage of items disappearing without a trace. It is something that is often complained about on online sites like Ebay in their forums. If you use the Royal Mail, then a lot of your stuff is, unfortunately, going to disappear into a big, black hole and never be seen again. Of course, it could be that yes, the payday loans companies are on the fiddle, pretending they haven't had payments when they have, because none of us would put it past them.
  10. Nah, they charge self-employed a fortune too. I went from unemployed to self-employed, social, domestic and pleasure only, and my car insurance doubled.
  11. Unfortunately, you'll probably not have a leg to stand on where gender/sexual discrimination is concerned. A friend of mine has a friend's child staying over with her weeknights, because youngster's lone parent dad works away Monday-Friday. Dad gets the child benefit, my friend doesn't, so in theory, my friend will probably have her housing benefit cut despite this arrangement. She gets no money for the child's keep from lone parent dad because he was happy to leave the 13 year old home-alone all week while he went to work 180 miles away, Monday to Friday. Short of social services and court intervening, it would appear she is stuck.
  12. I just found these Q&As on the local housing association website: Sorry, I can't give the link, the forums won't let me with me being a newbie. *** We look at a few examples of how the changes could affect different households. I have lived in the same two bedroom house for 30 years. I am 75 and don’t think that I could cope with moving house. What will happen to me? Kenneth, York The Advisor says: Kenneth, you don’t have any reason to worry. The under occupation penalty only affects people of working age, so anyone between the ages of 16 and 61, meaning the changes will not affect you. *** We live in a three bedroom house. My son is six and my daughter will be ten next June, do the under-occupation changes mean that we will have to move? Janek, Doncaster The Advisor says: Although the under-occupation rules mean that you qualify for a two bedroom house, within three months of the changes to the rules (which will happen in April 2013), you would qualify for a three bedroom house. I would advise that you start making some savings now if you can, so that for those three months you can afford to pay the difference in your housing benefit. *** Our children have left home, so we know that our housing benefit will be reduced because of under-occupation. Do you have any advice about what we should do? Jean, Skipton The Advisor says: You may want to consider moving into a smaller home. You can do this through a mutual exchange or registering on a Choice Based Lettings system and bidding for smaller properties. Alternatively, if you’d like to stay in your home, you could consider taking in a lodger. Get in touch with your Neighbourhood Officer to find out more about these options. *** I live on my own for most of the week but my children come to visit at the weekend. I have two bedrooms that they stay in when they visit, will my benefit be reduced? Donald, Malton The Advisor says: Your benefit will be reduced by 25% because your children are not classed as living with you. Perhaps you can enquire about taking some more hours on at work to boost your income. We understand that this may not be easy at the moment but we are here to help and can offer and suggest a number of training and work experience opportunities. And, make sure that you are claiming all the benefits that you are entitled to. If you don’t already do it, start budgeting carefully, there may be small savings that you can make each week that will help towards the shortfall such as changing your energy provider. For budgeting and benefits advice, why not make an appointment with your Money and Benefits Advisor? *** My wife sleeps in the spare room because she has a respiratory disease. Will our benefits be reduced? Frank, Wakefield The Advisor says: Your benefits will be reduced because the under occupancy rules say that an adult couple are entitled to one room. The government has put more money into housing payments for situations like yours so make sure you are claiming all the benefits you are entitled to. *** I’m worried about the benefit changes. I’m a single mum on housing benefit and have two sons over 18. Will I still be able to afford to live in my house? Maria, York The Advisor says: Because your sons are over 18, they may be classed as non-dependants. A non-dependant is someone who lives with you who is over 18. I expect that you already have money deducted from your housing benefit for this, but those deductions will increase in April 2013. The amount deducted will depend on whether your sons work (and for how long each week) and whether they are eligible for other benefits. If either of your sons is a full time student, has been in hospital for a long period of time, is in prison or you are claiming middle or high rate Disability Living Allowance, no deduction to your housing benefit will be made. If none of the above apply, then perhaps you could ask your sons to pay half each towards the shortfall? Your sons can also claim housing benefit in their own right, so make sure that you’re all claiming everything you are entitled to. *** I’m on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and have heard that there are going to be changes. Can you tell me what those changes are? Betty, Harrogate The Advisor says: DLA will have a new name, Personal Independence Payment, or PIP, from April 2013. This is a tax free benefit for children and adults with disabilities to help cope with the extra cost of living for people with a disability. All working age claimants of DLA will be reassessed for PIP, which does mean that some working age claimants may have their benefits reduced. If this does happen, contact your Benefits & Money Advisor for advice and support.
  13. Thanks for that info. It doesn't appear in any of the rules and regulations that are being sent out. I'll definitely make sure my kids pass it round anyone whose parents are in the same situation. Is there any information yet about absent parents having children stay over for contact? It's not relevant to me, but it is to a lot of absent parents I know who are worried they could lose overnight stays, weekend visits or school holiday stays from their children if the child doesn't have their own bedroom if they stay over.
  14. Same problems as I have brought up about this matter. By April, I'll have two kids away at university term-time, meaning I'll only be allowed a one-bedroomed house or lose almost all housing benefit. I can't afford to move to somewhere else and if I did, my kids would have to sleep on the floor of a one-bedroomed house over Christmas, Easter, and between June and October. Does that mean when my eldest finishes uni in June 2013, we then have to go on the 10-year+ long waiting list to get a 2 bedroomed house so we can both have a bedroom to live in? Councils or housing associations often won't allow tenants to take in lodgers (neither do most mortgage companies or private lease properties). Those in housing association or council housing with arrears will not be allowed to move to smaller houses until they have paid up their arrears. But they'll be unable to pay up the arrears after losing perhaps two thirds of their housing benefit. A Catch 22 getting them further in debt every week. A lot of absent parents will be turned down for weekend contact as they won't have a bedroom for their children to stay in. I've also heard a lot of problems will be caused by kids who are in hospital a lot, i.e. with heart or kidney problems etc. They'd be forced to take smaller accommodation, and no room for their sick child when they eventually come back home, or be left out of pocket every week because of the cut in housing benefit, even more than they already are by having to travel to hospital daily.
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