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About Pritti

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  1. I recently ordered an item from Cape Town for my daughter as a birthday gift. It was delivered to my home. I paid the costs plus delivery charges. A few days later DHL began to send me texts demanding payment of £74.83 for customs, duty, VAt and some unknown "extra charges". I have been on their website and seen that the receiver is apparently liable to pay them. The point is that I thought delivery charges covered everything. Had I known about this exhorbitant amount I would never have ordered the item. It has more than doubled the original cost. I have no legal relationship with DHL and was never given the opportunity to decide on whether to use them or not. Do I have to pay them?
  2. Hi I don't know where to post my Easyjet story, so if nobody minds, will jump on this one. It is a success story, so please bear with me whilst I outline the steps I took so that it may benefit others. Backstory: We arrived at the security check at Gatwick, en route to France to be told by the security officials that our flight was cancelled. To this day Easyjet has not informed us of the cancellation or the reasons for it. Our fellow passengers made alternative arrangements at great expense (eg five times the cost of the original tickets) or at great trouble (eg. train to Manchester to catch alternative flights). We returned home. Steps: 1. In my very first letter to Easyjet I told them the situation and called for (a) a refund of the money paid,since they were in breach of contract and (b) for compensation as per European Law. 2. I gave them 14 days to respond after which I said I would take legal action. 3. Within days I had a response from Easyjet acknowledging liability and telling me that the first sum had already been refunded but they needed a bank account for the second (!) which I sent. About a week later the compensation arrived. 4. By this time we had searched fruitlessly for reasonably priced alternatives (the law obliges one to seek to alleviate the amount of damages, so I couldn't just get a first class ticket on the first flight over and charge it to Easyjet) and were eventually obliged to use Eurostar 5. When we returned home after our much delayed trip and I contacted Easyjet, demanded payment of the extra costs incurred (the wasted trip to Gatwick, the extra cost of the Eurostar) and after a minor runaround re the format of my proofs, they agreed to pay. 6. They did not pay the full Eurostar costs. They paid a particular sum which, whilst it did amount to the cost of the Gatwick tickets plus Eurostar, did so when taken together with the refund. ie In the end our costs were no more than they would have been had Easyjet not been in breach of contract. 7. This is probably the most a court would award, since we also had the European Law compensation to make up for the inconvenience our entire family suffered and the delay in our family reunion. 8. I think the moral of the story is to get onto them straight away and to give them a definite, short but reasonable time to respond eg a fortnight. Back that up with a reminder a few days before the due date. This is in effect a letter of demand which is the formal letter preceding a summons ie the institution of legal proceedings. 9. I had no doubt that I would win if it came to a court case, since Easyjet acknowledged liability. I did, however have doubts as to how to enforce any judgement. I was told by a lawyer friend that I could send the bailiffs after Easyjet, much as it could set the dogs on me if I owed them money. I would have gone all the way if need be because they really destroyed our family reunion. We are, however, £200 per person better off to soften the blow, which is what compensation is meant to do. 10. If anyone wants to see what I wrote, I can put up a template of some kind. Regards to you all Pritti
  3. I think that, given Amazon's track record on taxes and other issues, such as those raised here, we should boycott it. I know that sometimes it seems easier to go the Amazon route, or cheaper, or it's the only place one can get this or that but really, we lived well enough without Amazon and I, for one, will henceforth join my daughter and husband who already flatly refuse to buy from Amazon. I should have done so when friends and family in South Africa told me that Amazon won't deliver there. Thanks, basic account holder, for firming up my principles. We need to vote with our feet more often - as in walk out on those who take our money and treat us like garbage.
  4. Several weeks into the post-ESA struggle for existence and I received the oddest phone call today from my "benefits advisor". Essentially it amounted to her pleading with me not to close my ESA claim. It was so mind-boggling, given the current climate of attack on the benefits system, that I have to set it out here in some detail. The advisor was responding to my letter declining the appointment made between me and her by the powers that be. Essentially I'd said - if they've stopped my ESA to what end would I be attending the appointment. I assumed that the people who stopped my benefit forgot to tell those making the appointments about the stopping. We are all accustomed to government departments which lack joined up thinking or performance. The woman says she's received my letter but please, why don't I apply for income based ESA. I tell her that (a) I can't face going through the whole assessment procedure again because of the stress and negative impact on my health and (b) when my husband was forced into early retirement he got his lump sum which is just enough to put me out of the running for benefit At which point she plays another card. They'll still be paying my NI benefits so I can't get away with not attending the appointments. I then say fine, stop them. Surely you can't expect me to drag myself an hour's journey each way for the sake of a meagre NI payment? It knocks me back for a whole day. The same woman who gave me such uphill the few times I saw her then proceeds to plead with me to let her keep my claim open, register that she spoke to me so I don't have to keep the appointment, and thus buy myself time to rethink the issue. What's going on here? I don't for one minute imagine that she's concerned for my welfare. Or at least not beyond not wanting me to be another addition to the scandalous statistics of the despairing poor, ill and infirm who have died as a consequence of the attacks on the social health and welfare systems. I reckon she's merely acting on instructions to go through the motions of seeing that people who come off benefits are given "assistance" and "advice". Meantime, we all know that people like me, the walking wounded, are the targets whom Ossie Ostrich has in his budgetary sights. Someone in my situation would be declined for ESA were I to apply afresh today. An asthmatic epileptic with a history of biomechanical and mental health problems is considered perfectly fit for work. (Cross the floor of the job centre to the desks dealing with JSA and they would deny this but there you go...............) Then there's that pesky £16 000 my husband received after 30 years of public service. It makes us "wealthy retirees" - we can eke this out over the next few years. If we're careful and only use it to build his monthly pension to two thirds of the official poverty line, it will last three years or four years. By the time we run out of all our resources and have absolutely nothing, not even our ability to work, to depend on, state assistance of any kind will have disappeared. So why's this woman calling me? What's she after? .
  5. Hi everyone Thank you all for the advice and just for being there. It's taken me ten days, but I am finally ready to face writing this letter the advisor told me to write. The problem is that I don't quite know what to put in it. Should I simply say that I', writing, albeit late, because my personal advisor told me she doesn't think I am fit for work related activities and shouldn't be in the WRAG? She said they'd call me in for an ATOS exam and then decide. The thought almost makes me want to throw up. But this is what she said. Maybe I should just crawl under the covers...........and hide.
  6. I'm sorry to be on here again, but my husband thinks that, even if I have no direct advice to ask or offer, then relating my experiences may be of use to others. Well here goes - Following on from that first visit, I saw the same advisor today. This time her attitude was one of "What are you doing here? Why aren't you in the Support Group?" The entire session was spent with her persuading me to look to other options, first the support group and failing that, DLL (now PIP). I argued that I was way out of time and even more out of energy, inclination, hope, whatever - and that it seems only the terminally ill( and sometimes not even them) get put into SG. She countered that she had had many clients who are like me and successfully got moved to SG simply by writing a letter to the "benefits people". She said that there were no forms to fill out. I'd simply have to write a letter and perhaps be examined. What? Really? I have no idea of what's going on. From this woman seeing me "overcome" my epilepsy and asthma to her now seeing me as a permanent and complete invalid? Now I have the freepost envelope she gave me, plus the number to call if I don't have a response to my letter in one week. Has anyone else had this bizarre experience? What does it mean?
  7. So - now I've been for my first interview.......... I know that every first interview and every advisor is different, but thought I'd share this morning's experience in case anything about it is useful to anyone else. My husband accompanied me, on advice from this site which proved invaluable, though very upsetting for the "advisor". We got there early and weren't kept waiting very long by the advisor who at the outset worried me with her deep frown and offhand manner. She was very young and seemingly terribly inexperienced (enough to be rattled by the presence of a third party keeping records and asking questions) but managed to launch into a garbled version of what I recognized as the cribsheets Margaret recommended that I look at. She checked my personal details, then ran through an explanation of what ESA was, and what the WRAG was. She then went on to say that I could appeal against my allocation to the WRAG - she couldn't stop me. I told her I thought that I was too late, hence turning up for this interview. I explained the reason for not taking the appeal procedure up was that I was emotionally drained after losing my beloved father earlier this year and having my equally beloved mother sink into dementia and not recognize me. I couldn't cope with more stress like the whole ESA thing, so just accepted what was done by DWP. She proceeded to act like this appeal was a real option. This is something I must look up - whether I can appeal outside the 30 day period. I asked her to explain what advice or help was meant to give me. Her response to me was that they were specifically and strongly urged NOT to give claimants advice (hence the name "advisors" !) but simply to get information from us. I told her that even if I was going to appeal against my WRAG allocation and even if I ended up in the support group (!) I would still want to know about all manner of things - what training was on offer besides the basic stuff all of which I am way beyond, what they'd pay for (turned out that they emphatically would NOT pay for anything but the basic literacy and numeracy), whether I'd be allowed to do permitted work and how much if I was SG allocated, etc. I insisted that this was what I'd come for - advice and assistance about work, whether permitted whilst on ESA or after leaving ESA as the DWP decides. No, she insisted, she had to simply elicit information from me. That information, it turned out, was mainly my medical history. I felt she was a kind of lay i.e. non-medical - assessor. The cribsheets Margaret referred me to state very clearly (to advisors) that the first interview is "a mandatory diagnostic interview" I think they mean "diagnostic" in the medical sense. Diagnosis by lay people as replacement for ATOS failures. She asked me whether I'd had an assessment and when I said no, asked me whether I was a new ESA claimant and when I looked surprised and said I'd been moved from IB, she said "Oh, that's why you had no assessment," and proceeded to elicit my medical details herself. I asked her why she didn't have my folder or at least have everything about me on her computer (such, after all, is the purpose of computers, to give us joined up record-keeping) to which she responded that she had no such details and wasn't allowed to have my file. She was, however, allowed to get the details from me and oblige me to explain my condition. At this stage she noticed that my husband was typing notes on his ipad and became extremely agitated about him keeping records of the meeting. I explained that my epilepsy means that I have petite mal episodes as well as grande mal seizures and that these are followed by memory lapses, hence the need to have someone else present to record things for me to go over afterwards. She reluctantly went back to typing notes on her computer about my condition, asking him to spell the two types of seizure to her and explain what each meant. My husband is probably older than her father but she rudely referred to him as "you" this and "you" that, never once asking his name or speaking politely to him in any way because he was just quietly recording things. Then she went through my employment history and qualifications. Mysteriously, though she did not have my all important medical records on file, she did have my CV and didn't have to get it all out of me - clearly what was important to have on file was what would put me into work, not what would keep me out of it. Again I asked what advice she had about training, distance or flexible working, permitted work, etc. She said of course she'd let me know all this, but at a later interview because we were running out of time (we were 20 minutes into the interview and had learnt little thus far) and she could see I wasn't well so what she'd do was tell "them" to contact me in a COUPLE OF MONTHS to let me know what WRA they would expect of me. Here I again pushed her to know the range of WRA she meant, because I am convinced that unless they offer decent training, any work programme is futile, stressful and a waste of state money. At this stage, out of the blue, she proceeded to tell me that she thought that I could "overcome my barriers". {Someone really should report the DWP to the Plain English Society - conditionality? barriers? conducting an intervention?} and that she'd seen many people do this. Many? Really? When I judged her working life to be no more than a year or two? And she'd seen people cured of both epilepsy and asthma? Either the Christmas Miracle or the DWP is up for the Noble Prize for medicine, having discovered a cure for both of these. Anyway, she hastily packed us off, saying "They" would be in touch. So - I need to think it through, read up some more, see whether I can handle the strain of appeal or whether it's best just to let things run their course. I am tired of it all and now that we don't have dependent kids any longer and we're used to living frugally..........is an appeal worth the damage it will do to my health?.
  8. Thank you Margaret, for the invaluable advice. I've checked the links you sent me. At the end of it, the DWP person should have seen me - sweating, trembling and finally rolling on to fullblown fits. These are the things brought on by all this worry. Cluster-fits. This is the kind of thing which makes my daughter tell me to tell the DWP to sod off. Poor child, she's just started work and doesn't know what's down the road and round the corner but wants to support me herself. So - all you helpful Caggers - fingers and all else crossed for me tomorrow. Many thanks Pritti
  9. Oh, and one last question - Does anyone know whether the rules regarding permitted work have changed? Can one now do permitted work as self-employed, through agencies, or offering services to a number of different people? This is the kind of work which is most flexible and makes the most sense for someone like me because if I get a few hours here and there I can move them around when I have cluster-fit days which really exhaust me. Though goodness knows how I'll balance out whole weeks of fugue. Many, many thanks
  10. Thank you so much. The bit about taking time to think through things (I tend to accept things for the sake of peace or pleasing others) is really important. My husband has been told to remind me of this. Pritti
  11. My appointment with the adviser is tomorrow. Can anyone please tell me what to expect, what to be prepared for? And how often would I have to meet with the adviser? Many thanks for the advice so far. It's really helpful. And so is just knowing there are people out there who care. Pritti
  12. Hi Mr. P. The letter is from my local jobcentre - unsigned, simply "on behalf of the manager", though which manager they mean, I don't know. The manager of this programme? Of the centre? It is a standard letter with my name after "Dear" and a date, time and the first name of the person I am to meet. It says the appointment can be up to one hour. I will take my husband with me, because else I don't know how I will make it there, let alone through an hour. Do you have any idea as to what they will ask me, what they will suggest re jobseeking? Is it like being on jobseekers allowance when people have to prove all the time that they are chasing down every job the adviser thinks they should chase? Will I have to do a CV or go to training? Is it possible to ask to do permitted work for a little while and would something like tutoring a couple of hours per week count as permitted work or does that have to be with a set employer? A friend suggested this and knows someone who needs a tutor for her kids for two hours per week, but obviously on a self-employed basis. This is the kind of work which might suit someone like me because I could re-schedule or cancel when I don't feel well without the employer being affected. However, I don't want to put ideas into the adviser's head and find myself without a lifeline while I try out something like this. Thanks for the help. Pritti.
  13. Hi I was too ill to protest in time when the letter arrived some months ago moving me to WRAG. Now a letter has arrived within a week of an appointment made for me. My husband, who has been made redundant, is going with me. Is this allowed? The very thought of this has brought on my depression again, and with it, my epilepsy has kicked off. What I'd really like to ask any adviser is - who would emply a 56 year old woman who has worked for years and has suffered from chronic depression, anxiety and epilepsy? But I suppose I should just get on with it. People on this site have been so helpful to me in the past - please can you advise me of what to expect and what I should do? I am so nervous that I haven't slept since the letter arrived yesterday - I am shattered, rattled and dizzy with epileptic symptoms. Will these people give me help of advice if I say I could try to work a few hours here or there? I have a degree (decades old) but I could do things like help kids with homework, as I've been helping friends' kids. I could take and fetch kids from school like my husband does, though he does it for friends, unpaid. I suppose this would involve registering with all sorts??? Please help And many thanks in advance to all you wonderful people Pritti
  14. Thank you for the advice. I appealed a decision once before, with the help of people on this website. I felt able to then. But this year, since my beloved dad died and my equally beloved mum has sunk into dementia, I've just lost the ability to argue or fight back. I just want to crawl into my hole and be left alone by all these people who make my life hard. Perhaps when the time comes or when I feel able, I will appeal. Again, thanks.
  15. I have just had a letter to say that I've been moved from IB to ESA - the WRAG. The letter also says that my contributory ESA expires in a year. My husband has been made redundant/forced into early retirement and we want to move somewhere quieter (for my health) and cheaper (so we can live on his pension plus part-time earnings). He says that the whole benefits thing has got me into such a state that it's making my various medical conditions (epilepsy, anxiety, depression) worse eg I have more fits than ever. He therefore wants me to get off the thing which is causing me such anxiety viz the ESA and says we will manage somehow. Is this something I should do? My husband is worried about what the impact of regular interviews and sessions will mean for my health. Every time a benefit issue arises, or I see something about it in the paper, I panic and stress and the fits come on. I've burnt myself several times, I've fallen, I've dropped things, all because the stress has worsened my epilepsy. I should think of my health rather than the money, shouldn't I? Should I tell the DWP that I no longer want to be on benefits and explain why? Or should I just try to go to the meetings and when I can't manage just let them sanction me. Or should I try to go and hang on until they kick me off in a year anyway. I am 56 and unlikely to get any work, even if I could manage, or they think in these interviews that I could. Who will employ a 56 year old with a long history of ill-health? I would welcome any advice And thank you all for the brilliant support I have had from this site over the years.
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