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Dragonlaird

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About Dragonlaird

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  1. An interesting topic for me as I just read this in the CAG mailshot. As most people do, I skim these mailings "in case" there is something interesting/useful then move on to more pressing emails like the usual spam for increasing the size of my manhoo... erm bank account. This one surprised me as I've been a subscriber of Experian's Credit Expert for quite a while now. Like many people, I rarely read the T&Cs of a reputable(?) company when I agree to a *FREE* trial and I provided my credit card details as requested (over SSL - remember, they're reputable) to allow them to confirm and subsequently charge for their credit checking service, if I wanted to continue after the free trial. Since then, my old credit card has expired and I've renewed my details using my Debit card as I found their service quite useful - checking my credit status, confirming my details were correct etc. All of the above is a prelim to my questions (2 off - bear with me). I don't recall seeing anything about their supposed ID protection when I signed up to the free trial (quite a few years ago now), maybe this didn't exist then? Perhaps like most, it was in the T&Cs and I simply checked the "Yeah whatever" button?. After a couple of years of using their service, I started receiving emails from them saying my online exposure was fine - My thoughts were "Thanks Experian, didn't expect this - Nice to see my money is being invested, I thought I was paying to see what the lenders had access to but now I see you're providing me with a pseudo real-time service". After another year or 2, my bank sent me a text saying my account was overdrawn. Strange... I phoned my bank, my identity had been stolen and someone had attempted 2 transfers totalling around £2000 to other (unknown) accounts. My bank were very quick to refund the money (same day so no charges were incurred) and apart from signing a pre-printed letter they sent to say I did not know the intended recipient(s), the matter was resolved (from my perspective). Now, my 2 questions are this... (*phew* - Told you to bear with me).... 1. If I received emails telling me my online profile is safe/good etc (BTW - They also have me listed as Rating 999 - A safe credit risk). How was it that my bank account was hacked [i forgot to mention, the ID theft also involved blocking access to my online login]? I'm extremely careful when I use my bank card and I never give personal details to unauthorised persons - Damn, I even help stop the [s-p-a-m]mers (CAG renames "s.p.a.m" [no dots] to "problem") on the phone and a lot more behind the scenes. 2. If I had insurance - Wouldn't I have used it in this circumstance (had I known about it)? Or would it even have have been covered since my bank (god bless them) dealt with it entirely? So am I potentially owed a: a refund of insurance money as the service was not provided or b: compensation for my identity being stolen> Maybe I should put in a claim to refund the payments I've apparently made for this service, that I never knew existed or I had paid for. I'm truly dismayed that PIP (essentially this is what they have [mis]sold - Insurance I didn't ask for, tagged on to my monthly payments without me realising) exists outside the banking industry but I suppose given the close relationship, I should be surprised.
  2. Firstly, being paid by dividends is nothing new, this is a way to help minimise tax payments but not avoid them completely. this is a trick often used by contractors, directors and high wage earner. The full amount of dividends paid still needs to be declared to HMRC. A common trick by absent parents who are paid this way is to delay being paid their dividends for a few months so they do not appear on pay slips etc however, they still appear on a P60 (I believe BICBW). If you were married previously, did you have a joint bank account? If so, you could provide bank statements with his previous pay deposits in support of your claim. You could also ask them to request his latest P60 so they can confirm or deny his salary claims. They may also be able to request disclosure of his financial details from HMRC direct but I suspect they will require a court order to obtain this. If he was previously paying you maintenance at a higher rate, you could ask them to explain how his circumstances have changed to warrant such a drop in maintenance as to your knowledge, his employment and salary have remained constant but they are unlikely to discuss this with you as that is considered personal/private. You could counter this by explaining that you do now wish to know his financial details, merely for them to confirm that they have seen a sufficient drop in his annual salary to justify their reduction in maintenance. If they cannot confirm this, ask them to request confirmation of his drop in salary from his employer.
  3. The basic rule of thumb for the CSA when calculating payments is: 15% Net Pay for 1 child, 20% for 2 children and 25% for 3 or more. This is for children whom you pay maintenance for via the CSA. Any monies received should be split equally between the children and paid to the parent(s) with care although this ratio can change depending on the children's ages. It would be common sense (sadly not a quality often demonstrated by some of the CSA 'advisers') that the total amount of maintenance you should be expected to pay for 2 children is 20%, even though one of them is being supported directly, thus you could argue that you should only be expected to pay 10% for the child you are supporting through CSA. They may ask to see evidence that you're supporting your baby but a letter from the mum would usually be sufficient, preferably with a note that she does not require the 'services' provided by CSA to collect any maintenance you have both reached a mutual agreement regarding this. Such a comment would ensure the CSA does not become involved in maintenance for your second child and does not discount the possibility that either of you may want their involvement in the future.
  4. You can ask the CSA to request a review of circumstances with regards to eligibility. I was lucky when a similar thing happened to me and the advisor explained this was an option. It can take up to month to complete (mine took around 2 weeks) as they have to request a check on CHB eligibility which may in itself cause CHB to investigate such eligibility if sufficient cause or suspicion is evident. I did this over the phone to CSA but you can also request this in writing and perhaps include copies of any such social network postings as supporting examples causing the concern although these are obviously easily faked and may be ignored.
  5. I've tried watching it *yawn* and I can't seem to find her, I confess I've left it playing so I could hear it when I was making a coffee (several actually to keep me awake, the old-boys network really do drone on) but apart from an independant called June, I didn't hear another woman speaking - any tips to narrow down where the snippet is? 60% is a little vague and I'm sure I've gone over that area a few times now.
  6. I agree fully sillygirl1, I still have no idea how much I'm supposed to owe for my CSA debt, despite many calls to the CSA asking for statements and asking for confirmation that their 'accidental' court action has been fully expunged and the 2 court orders lifted. If they had to produce this sort of information to the courts when applying for the order or had been instructed to seek alternate methods of re-imbursement, they may have actually checked their own records and found the debt was actually being paid in a timely, agreed manner and that they had made a mistake even considering legal action when none was required. I would be interested in finding that link concerning another Sherforce (should that be pronounced 'sheer farce?') bashing.
  7. Incidently, whilst the above story is purely fictional, it still raises a couple of salient points. Such as why aren't these companies made to produce evidence of their costs? Shouldn't our solicitors/lawyers/barristers be asking for this to make these people justify/earn their money? Why do they always seem to attend court heavy-handed? Is it to incur more court-costs to hopefully pass on to the individual?
  8. A little light-hearted look at a serious hypothetical situation - A little long since it is a short story but wouldn't it be nice if something like this actually happened? Mr Smith owed a debt and as so often happens, things seemed to get away from him and before long they began to spiral out of control. His creditors had a policy for such debts which was automated by their accounts system. As soon as X payments were missed or the figure rose above a certain amount the debt was passed off to a debt collection agency to recoup their losses. Not an uncommon practice in business these days. Bear in mind, by this time the credit agency knew Mr Smith had already been contacted regarding this debt by the creditor and there is little point in following the same practice of constantly chasing Mr Smith for the money as he has already proven he is unwilling to pay. That said, a threatening letter demanding full payment should be sufficient to introduce themselves as the new owner of this debt and sometimes it's sufficient to achieve the desired result. So, the usual 'pay now or else' letter was sent out, fully expecting it to be ignored. To their surprise however, Mr Smith did actually phone them but as always seems to happen, these debtors phone at the most inconvenient of times so let's just tell him we'll phone him back later. Another hour or day goes by and Mr Smith is on the phone again about this letter he's received. Fair enough I suppose, he's making an effort but there's a bit of a panic on with another case right now. More promises of a call back should keep him quiet for a while, someone remember to phone this guy later. OK, so let's be honest, maybe Mr. Smith wasn't so persistent. After all, is he likely to respond to threatening letters? Maybe he has called, possibly even called many times but the outcome is always the same. Some bleeding heart story about how they can't afford it all at once or some friend of their sister has just been diagnosed with a rare illness and they've been too distraught/distracted/disgruntled to deal with this. Or more likely they just ignored the letter completely, after all they didn't bother to settle the original debt with the creditor before it was passed over, why should they make an effort now? So the deadline for the demanded payment passes and to everyone's surprise, the debt is still outstanding. Time to bring out the big guns. Let's get on the phone to the court and make this legal so we can chase our money. The court gave us the go-ahead huh? Yeah, they always do. It's just a formality to them these days. Now, let's send in our friend Mr P. Bailiff, he'll get our money for us. Make sure he has all the paperwork and remember to add on a nice bonus for his efforts. Oh yes, he might need a locksmith, better add on that cost to. Van hire? Good point, add it to the list. Oh yes, storage costs, I nearly forgot about those. Put it on there too. Don't forget to add a little something for yourself, oops I meant costs for your time Miss Secretary. Yeah, that figure is looking a little more profitable. Give it to Mr Bailiff so he knows what he's meant to 'ask' for when he pays Mr Smith a visit. Mr Bailiff phoned? Did he get our money? Great, he never lets us down. What a guy he is. After a few days, a letter arrives. Oh, it seems Mr. Smith isn't too happy with us. Boo hoo, well he should have paid his debts. It's our money now so he can whistle for it. Another court letter arrived too? Is it approval for Mr Bailiff to do some more work? Oh, it's a court date. Regarding Mr. Smith? Hah, these fools never learn, he's throwing good money after bad. Pass it on to Mr Legal, he'll tear him up in court and make us even more money. In fact what's the date on that letter? Next week? Great, I fancy a day out from the office, put me down as attending court too. It all adds to the costs we can charge and I get a day-break and a nice hotel stay. After a comfortable flight with the usual in-flight bonuses, food, nice view, maybe a movie, the pair land and grab a taxi from the airport. A mental note made to ensure next time there's a limo waiting. Taxi's are great on the expense sheet but so annoying that they have to be paid for by cash/card. And so the court session begins. Is that Judge Lapdog or Judge Griller? I can't quite tell from here, wish I'd remembered my glasses. Oh well, never mind, it's all the same anyway. Let's get the customary stuff out of the way. You know, protection for Mr P. Bailiff and the like, we have to keep him on our side and show we look after our friends. It's an automatic thing anyway, I mean the courts aren't likely to say no since he's effectively employed by the Judge. Judge: How does the defendant plead? Mr. Smith: Me? I'm not guilty Sir, I want Ms. CEO over there to give me back the money they took. Judge: Quite right Mr Smith, in this court room you are innocent until proven guilty. Ah, it's Judge Griller, I remember that line from his last case. No problem, he gave us a bit of a hard time then but I suppose he has to make an effort to show justice is being done. We might not make the lunchtime flight back though, Miss Secretary had better of made reservations at a decent hotel with standby return tickets in case we're done by 3 p.m. Judge: Does the prosecution have all the relevant paperwork? Mr. Legal: Yes Your Honour, it's all here. Judge: Pass me the top-sheet please, let me see what sort of figure we're looking at here. Here's where that course in Microsoft Excel pays off, took me ages to make that look fancy and it never fails to impress. The Judge looks down the list of items, there's the original debt, the usual admin charges, money for bailiff, costs for the locksmith, van hire etc Yep, it's all here as expected. Looks quite pretty too and at least it doesn't smell of perfume like the last lot we saw in here. Strange how most of the figures seem to be round numbers but it makes for easier reading. Should probably make a show of 'examining' the facts though, wouldn't want Mr. Smith thinking he's been ripped off by the court. Judge: Very well presented Mr. Legal, you must have a good finance package back at the office? Mr. Legal: Yes Your Honour, it cost a small fortune but it was well worth it, it's the SumSeempleExpense package. Judge: I've heard of that application and I agree, you should compliment your Financial Controller on your return. I see you're based in London correct? Mr. Legal: Yes Your Honour Judge: That explains a few things. Might I suggest when dealing with companies a little further away, like near here, you don't just accept the first quote your receive? Some of the local companies here know that you Londoners expect to pay higher prices and tend to modify their quotes accordingly. Mr. Legal: We'll take that on-board Your Honour. Now that we've skimmed over the figures, the document is set aside to hear the stories of both parties, a boring duty but I suppose it's required to show we're paying attention and acting in the best inter... Hang on a minute, they paid how much for a locksmith? Hmmm, I suppose it's possible with these guys being Londoners and all but I suppose I should show a bit of investigative process to keep Mr. Smith happy. Judge: I'm thinking of having some work done at my house in a few weeks Mr Legal and I saw the figure you paid for the locksmith, do you happen to recall who they were? I wouldn't want them working on my home at those prices. Mr. Legal: Erm, not off-hand Your Honour, I didn't bring that sort of information with us. Judge: Fair enough Mr Legal, perhaps Ms CEO can recall? Ms. CEO: I'm sorry Judge, I don't. Those sort of details are usually handled by Miss Secretary back at the office. Judge: Do you have your mobile with you Ms. CEO? Perhaps you could give her a call? Ms. CEO: I will phone her later for you Judge and see if she remembers. Seems a little cagey this Ms CEO. Her eyes are a little too close together for my liking and Mr Smith is still over there looking like a lost sheep. Maybe I should exert my authority to impress him and make him feel like someone has listened to his side. Judge: Phone her now if you would Ms CEO, I'd like to get this case resolved as quickly as possible. Hmmm, maybe I could have worded that a bit better, now it looks like I'm wanting to close the case and head off to the golf course. Now there's an idea, hit a few balls and head back to the clubh... Oh damn that Ms CEO interrupting my thoughts, what does she want? Ms. CEO: I'm afraid Miss Secretary can't remember exactly which firm she booked Judge, maybe I'm working her too hard, she sounds like she needs a break. Now I *am* getting suspicious, those eyes seem to be getting closer together and I never really liked the look of her anyway, let's make her squirm for a bit. After all, Mr Smith hasn't had much chance to say anything yet and if I put on the old 'pit bull' act, maybe we can shorten his version of events and get this over with quickly. Judge: I see Ms CEO, in that case phone your Financial Controller and have him fax or email me over the Invoice/VAT Receipt/Pro-Forma Invoice or cigarette packet with the locksmith's company stamp. I knew my night-school course in basic accounting would come in handy one day, I bet Ms CEO wasn't expecting me to know what a Pro-Forma Invoice was, let alone a cigarette packet. I wonder if I should call a recess and go have a cigarette, no that would only delay my golf, let's make this as quick as we can so I can get off. Oh there's that shifty-eyed woman again, I wonder what she wants now. Ms. CEO: I'm sorry Your Honour, our Financial Controller is on holiday/away for lunch/can't find it/dead at the moment. Perhaps I could ask him to send you the details after the hearing is over? Judge: You run a company who deals solely with finances and legal matters and you expect me to believe you only have one person in your office with access to your accounting package Ms CEO? I want that invoice! That should show her who's the boss in this court room, Mr. Smith looks a little happier now. I think I've done my bit to show justice has been done. Tee-time is looking closer by the minute. Mr. Legal: I'm sorry Your Honour, I'm afraid we just can't put our hands on the invoice right this minute, I think it's been sent off to the accountants for book-keeping. Perhaps we could ask for an ajournment to present it at a later date? That Mr. Legal, telling me what I should do. I'll show him. Judge: Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Legal, I think you misunderstood my intentions here. You're obviously thinking I want to see that invoice to justify your costs listed on this nicely formatted piece of paper? Let me correct my mistake. I want to see ALL the invoices for this case. I want statements, accounts, invoices, in fact the whole package. Next time I ask you if you have all the paperwork ready for this case, do not lie to me in my own court room! I want those invoices on my desk today. Mr. Legal: But Your Honour, that could take ages to procure, not to mention the disruption it would cause to business. Judge: Since you mentioned the finance package you use earlier Mr Legal, I happen to know it quite well. My own accountant uses it and it's relatively easy to find all the invoices associated with a statement. Since you produced this list of charges levied against the defendant from it, it would take a couple of minutes to retrieve them all and send a report to me by fax or email. I want that report Mr Legal, find it now or tell your Miss Secretary she has just lost your company thousands of pounds! If it isn't on my desk within one hour, I will order a full audit of your accounts and have every statement your company has produced, checked against the vendors invoices and confirm with the vendor they issued that specific invoice! Ms. CEO: Oh f**k
  9. The CEO mentioned she had 2 people working full time on that specific case (very doubtful given the number of cases they deal with) and that the costs incurred were as a result of this. Since the amount for the charges had already been told to the couple upon their first arrival at the premises, does this mean Sherforce automatically assign 2 highly-paid people to every case, full time for every case they deal with? If this is so, they must have a very large, highly qualified and skilled workforce. After all, this case was like any other they handle until the couple fought back. So my question is, how many staff do Sherforce actually have? How many are legal or financial professionals? How many cases do they typically handle at any given time? If their claim is true then these simple figures alone would justify their cost structure. So come on Sherforce, save me digging into your annual returns and visiting Dunn & Bradstreet etc. Turnover, staff size and searches on legal/financial institution sites would provide the figures to investigate this but here's your chance to tell me I'm wrong.
  10. Damn you hallowitch, stealing my thunder That was the point I was trying to make and not only did you beat me to it, you said it better than me and went even further lol
  11. Maybe Sky have sold you the box making it your property, but if you have had it less than a year then you are still under contract to keep the box on your premises and connected to your phone line - A fairly minor point given the values concerned I'm just trying to follow up on a couple of points already mentioned in this thread (by hallowitch & PT above) where only individual items items listed on the Levy can be lifted and that the value of these goods must cover their fees and a substantial part of the debt owed. If we can scratch off some of those items listed you may be in a position to have the entire Levy rejected, especially if the remaining items are of little/no value when compared to the overall sum alledgedly owed. Just a thought to try and give you a little more ammo when push comes to shove. The more you can throw back at them, the more you will show their incompetence if they try to present this stuff in a court.
  12. Hi, just a quick question that maybe others can answer. Since I'm a cable customer I'm not sure how Sky works but for me, the box installed at my premises belongs to them, not me. If I were to cancel my contract with them, they take away the box. Does Sky have a similar setup? If so, that's another item you can scratch off the list.
  13. I suspect that would contravene a huge number of laws if it was used today hallowitch, even more-so in Scotland since we not only have British and European laws to adhere to but Scottish laws too. The courts would be overrun with complaints. Imagine the embarassment. I wonder if the papers also had to print retractions when warrants were issued in error since I doubt this practice is a recent trend.
  14. Good points PT, another point the CEO glossed over/ignored... In the interview, the reporter mentioned the court order Sherforce to re-imbursed the couple. I can't recall if it was all funds or just the fees charged. The CEO was also heard to say at the end of their interview that they would always be seen in a bad light with these types of cases - Surely that should ring alarm bells for her? Doesn't her own words indicate they know they are doing some things wrong? Shouldn't that prompt them to review their own practices and ensure this sort of thing doesn't happen again? Time they woke up and smell whatever they're peddling.
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