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fpeeped

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  1. Well, just to update, our local MP has been immensely helpful so far. My son sent him a (very long) e-mail, detailing exactly what happened, and asked for help . He attached scanned copies of the hand written documents as evidence. Our MP immediately responded saying he was on the case. The next day he updated us with an e-mail he had sent to the regional Jobcentre office. Few days later he updated us with a prompt reply from the Jobcentre office manager. They basically re-stated everything already said, and noted the decision would be made after the Mandatory Reconsideration in another 2+ weeks. They also said the MP's correspondence would be forwarded to the decision maker. It's obvious that the MP's attention has really made the Jobcentre stand up and take notice of my son's dispute. For that reason alone, I would recommend contacting your MP to anyone going through a similar situation. Get everything in writing from the Jobcentre/DWP, and audio record any telephone/Jobcentre staff interactions if possible. Promptly send a Mandatory Reconsideration request, then politely get in touch with your MP and carefully detail everything. We'll update this thread when we hear back from the Mandatory Reconsideration DM. If they still claim my son & partner failed to attend without a good reason they will appeal to the First Tier Tribunal, as they truly believe this has been a set-up. Thanks to everyone's helpful comments in this thread. This website is a goldmine for anyone in trouble.
  2. So, today they both attended a Hardship Payment interview at the Jobcentre. They were asked to submit a bank statement. At the time of the interview, they had £275.00 in their bank account as they received their last joint claim payment only 8 days ago, and the pair of them are very careful not to waste or frit away any of their JSA money from week to week. They always try to save a good piece in case of an emergency, or an interview comes up for a job in their field of work and they would have to travel by train, as they don't currently have a car. In fact, they were trying to save up, little by little, to pay for driving lessons so they could realistically apply for jobs further afield (we live in the sticks with terrible public transport). So, because they have £275.00 (now less than £200.00 due to the purchase of groceries and necessities) the Jobcentre adviser decided they were not eligible to receive ANY Hardship Payment for the remaining 2 weeks of their sanction. They will survive, of course. I imagine a lot of, if not most people, would REALLY struggle if they didn't have family support. As per the advice here, they have written to their MP and are also considering writing to the national press (maybe the Mirror would be a good place to start) and the local newspaper.
  3. antone, you posted just as I was writing the last message. Thanks. We will look into the proper procedure for applying for Mandatory Reconsideration then.
  4. Hi reallymanwoman, thanks for your reply. During their conversation with the Jobcentre Enquiry Line agent, they asked if they could immediately request a Mandatory Reconsideration instead of waiting to speak to, and hear from, a DM. The agent skirted around the question and "strongly advised" that they should first agree to speak to a DM, who would listen to their side of things and immediately give them a decision there and then, on the phone. He argued that the DM department had already viewed their case, and had taken a dim view of their side of things, and therefore he did not want to unnecessarily prolong matters... especially if they are struggling for money due to the JSA sanction. The agent was firm and "very strongly" advised that they should wait to receive a callback from the DM, which they agreed to. So, after waiting 3 hours for a call this afternoon, the person calling from the DM department listened to their argument, but declined my son's offer to send scanned copies of the timetable in their My Work Plan booklets (hard evidence) saying that she would submit my son's argument to the real decision maker - who would then take anything up to a MONTH to reach a decision and inform them in writing - in the meantime, they should apply for a hardship fund which they may or may not be eligible for. Disgusting. They have been recording their phone calls to the DWP since the start of this problem, so they do have evidence of everything said so far. In your opinions (which I value more than anyone who is acting on behalf of the DWP, at this stage!) should they call again and demand a Mandatory Reconsideration? They certainly cannot afford to be led on for months while faceless, unreachable Decision Makers decide their fate. Is writing to our MP likely to have any effect?
  5. Just to add, they called the DWP JSA telephone line and the agent said that in fact both my son and his partner were being sanctioned, and that neither will be receiving any JSA money from 23rd July to 19th August. Again, this just adds to the confusion. A decision maker will be calling them in a few hours to go over all of the details again, and reconsider if necessary but they don't hold much hope at this stage.
  6. An update: Today my son and his partner both received a letter each from the DWP/JSA. The letter addressed to my son says "We have looked at your claim following a recent change. From 23 July 2014 your allowance will be £72.40 a week. ABOUT MS PARTNER This is because we recently told you that a decision would be made about a doubt: on whether you failed to attend an interview with an Employment Service adviser or officer on the date specified. We have now decided that you failed to attend this interview and that you did not have sufficiently good reasons for doing so. This decision applies from 23 July 2014 to 19 August 2014." The letter addressed to son's partner (an Estonian national who has been living in the UK with my son since 2012) says "We have looked at your claim following a recent change. We cannot pay you an allowance from 23 July 2014 to 19 August 2014. ABOUT MR SON This is because we recently told you that a decision would be made about a doubt..." (letter then follows much the same as my son's) 23 July was the last time they attended the JC to see their adviser for a signing appointment. So, basically, they have temporarily reduced their claim from a joint one, to a single one in my son's name, for 4 weeks as a punishment for failing to attend. Of course, we disagree with everything about this decision. What is the best course of action to follow now? We noticed that their last JSA payment, following their 23 July visit to see their adviser, was paid in full on 29 July 2014. So, as someone hinted at in this thread, someone at the Jobcentre indeed pressed a button on their system to release their payment despite accusing them on failing to attend. To recap, we have written evidence that the JC adviser postponed the date of their next scheduled signing appointment, pushing it back from their normal signing day of Tuesday 22/07 to Friday 25/07, because he himself was not able to attend the JC due to his own training commitments. He signed this amended date & time in the appointment timetable in their My Work Plan booklets. He gave no other verbal or written instruction that, despite this new Friday 25/07 scheduled appointment, they should indeed attend on the Tuesday. Indeed, such an instruction would have been contradictory and illogical. On 23/07, after being asked to attend the JC ASAP via telephone, my son asked the adviser if they still needed to attend the JC on Friday 25/07. They both witnessed him confirm that they didn't need to attend twice in one week. They have been set-up to fail by their JC and they are furious to learn that they will now be financially punished. Can anyone advise please? Thank you
  7. That is good to hear. Thank you very much for your insight, antone. We will wait to hear the outcome of the decision now. Thanks again. It seems that both of my Jobcentre related posts have been merged by the mods into this one thread now... so if anyone has any knowledge of applying for training funding through the Jobcentre please can you help. My question is in the 3rd post of this very thread... Basically, my son is claiming JSA and wants to do a chainsaw safety qualification. He found a training centre which is registered on the Jobcentre's funding scheme list. His JC adviser has been very positive about it all, until his last JSA signing appointment when the adviser's tone had changed and now demands that my son provides a letter from a future employer stating 100% that IF son acquires this chainsaw qualification, then he will be offered a job. This seems like an intentionally impossible task because no employer is going to make a firm job offer to someone who may or may not pass an exam, when they have many other candidates applying for the position as well. Also, there is no way an employer could enforce an offer of work upon my son even if he does pass his chainsaw qualification. It seems to be very discriminatory and unfair. What can we do? Do we have grounds to launch a complaint?
  8. Yes, that's another thing which adds to the confusion... He told them at the signing appointment that their JSA would be processed as normal and should appear in their banks on Monday. Therefore, they (allegedly) failed to attend their signing appointment, yet still the payment for this fortnightly period has been triggered as normal.
  9. Just to be clear, the adviser did not want them to attend both appointments on Tuesday AND Friday. They only needed to attend a single signing appointment, which the adviser had postponed until Friday (due to his own absence). The adviser changed their appointment date/time, THEN later told them regardless of this specific instruction, they should have attended on Tuesday (their normal signing day). He also stated they do not now need to attend on Friday. It makes no sense!
  10. My son and his partner are claiming JSA and have attended a few 1 day courses at the local college (First Aid, Health & Safety). These were funded by the Jobcentre and son & his partner did not have to pay a penny. My son has been applying for jobs on rural estates. He has great experience in related areas. The employers have so far all said that the job involved a fair amount of tree felling and to be considered he needs a certain chainsaw certificate, and if possible, a qualification. The course for which costs from £500-600 pounds and is a 5 day short course. My son has been in touch with his Jobcentre adviser for close to a month about the possibility of securing placement. At first, the adviser was wholly positive - telling my son to find a training centre which is on their "funding list" and then he could enroll, and funding would be arranged. Now, after some confusion due to scheduling which resulted in my son and partner missing a supposed appointment (the fault of the Jobcentre adviser, it seems) the attitude of the adviser has markedly changed. He now tells my son that in order to secure funding for this course & exam, he must provide written proof from a future employer that if my son acquired this qualification, then he will 100% be employed. This sounds absolutely impossible, as no employer would make such a promise when hiring a candidate. Of course, you wouldn't unquestioningly promise a job to someone who may or may not pass an exam. It seems to me that since my son's last appointment at the Jobcentre, the JC adviser & his management have had a weekly team meeting and the idea of funding was bounced around. As I understand it, having worked for the council as an NVQ Assessor, they should not be allowed to discriminate or obstruct people who legitimately have a need for funding for training to improve their job prospects. At the start of these conversations with his adviser, the only stipulation for funding was that the course must be a part-time, short course and that the training centre must be on the Jobcentre's funding list (i.e - the training centre has secured a contract with the Jobcentre). My son has found two listed training centres which offer this course within a reasonable travel time, and now feels like he is being actively prevented from bettering himself. I would like to ask if a) you think this is reasonable from the JC and b) what my son can do to challenge this. Many thanks in advance for your help!
  11. Hi there. My son and his partner are joint claiming Jobseeker's Allowance. I hope someone who has Jobcentre experience can help me out. We have a two part question - first part is relating to appointment scheduling, and the second is about funding for training. I'll stick to the question about scheduling in this post. Their normal signing day is on a Tuesday in the a.m. However, at their last appointment 2 weeks ago, their Jobcentre adviser told them that he was going to be absent from their next scheduled fortnightly appointment due to a training course he had to attend. So, he said the next appointment would be scheduled for the following Friday. He wrote in both of their "My Work Plan" booklets, on the appointment timetable, that their appointment was set for Friday 25/07/2014 at 09:00 and signed his name. Fast forward to today 23/07/2014 and my son telephoned their adviser directly to speak about funding for a training course. Adviser said he was "just about to call" himself as my son and his partner had missed their Tuesday signing appointment. Son explained what he had told them, and also what he wrote in their work booklets, at their last Jobcentre appointment. First of all, the adviser did not comment on this. He simply stated "You should have come in on Tuesday. You need to sign every 2 weeks." My son kept his cool and repeated why they had not attended. The JC adviser then sounded a bit flustered and gave two "sorry"s in the middle of a garbled sentence about their being some confusion. He then asked if my Son & partner could attend later today - they confirmed this was convenient and attended. At the appointment, adviser said "they have some paperwork to do. But not to worry - it's for me, not you!". He clicked onto a screen on his monitor and then posed the question to them "Why did you fail to attend your last Jobcentre appointment?" then paused for a verbal response from son. Again, son repeated what he had just explained on the telephone. He also directed the adviser to the page in their booklet with Friday's date/time and his signature. Adviser then typed a paragraph or two summing up what had happened. The title of the screen on his computer was something akin to "Give the reason why you failed to attend your last appointment". At this point, son asked adviser if this could negatively impact their claim for JSA? Adviser said (cheerfully) "Very possibly!" and that after he had typed this up, it would be sent to a decision maker and it was now out of his hands! Son then asked, given that the Jobcentre now informs them that they should have attended on Tuesday, should they also attend Friday's scheduled appointment? Adviser laughed and said no, "we wouldn't make you come twice in a week!". What should we think about this? Adviser said the decision should be made soon and we would hear back reasonably quickly. It's totally unfair and it seems like constructive dismissal to me. Any advise would be very gratefully received as we would like to get a head-start in case of a sanction.
  12. I understand what you're saying. Thanks again for everyone's input. Hopefully this is my first and last experience as a defendant.
  13. It's not a clear as you make out, or at least, I hope it isn't. If I had been a "dodgy" ebay seller with negative feedback from other users on my account, or if I was a very new Ebay user with hardly any feedback from previous sales, then I might agree with this argument. However, I have hundreds of positive feedback ratings on my Ebay account from other users - both from sales and purchases. I have 100% positive feedback, and have never had a negative one since I joined Ebay nearly a decade ago. Don't forget the very same item was advertised on Ebay. Nobody bought it and the auction ended. Then Claimant (who has less than 30 ratings on their Ebay account) asked if they could purchase the item for a lower price. The very same item which I advertised on Ebay, as fully working, was sold to the Claimant, and they are fully aware of that. Surely that gives me a stronger position? The more I think about going to court, the more scary it gets actually.
  14. Thanks for the clarification. As the Ebay listing ended in December 2013, i'm not sure if I can find the Ebay advert now, and all the details it contained, but it was listed as used condition & fully tested and working (which it was) After Claimant returned it, it no longer displays any images on the back screen. It's just a solid colour. to be honest, I can't even tell if the camera is the same one I sent, as it was a 8+ year old camera with scratches, marks, etc on it from years of use. *Just checked Ebay and it's impossible to retrieve any information about unsold items listings if they are more than 60 days has elapsed. So it looks like I have no way of printing a copy of the camera's advertised info.
  15. Absolutely brilliant, everyone. Thank you so much. Yes, the sale was between two individuals and was not commercial. The claimant contacted me after an Ebay item I had listed ended with no bids, and the item remained unsold. Claimant offered a price and we came to an agreement on the sale that way. I do have one more question... In my correspondence, following their first complaint to me about said item Claimant said he was returning the item to me (without a request fro me to do so) and then Claimant stated at the end of a message to me (paraphrasing): "So, it's up to you then whether you refund me for item x or not!" Regards, Claimant." As I had already clearly stated my position on the dispute in my previous message to Claimant, and was not prepared to enter into an an e-mail back and forth argument, I did not reply to Claimant's last letter. I took Claimant at their word. Then, of course, 6 days later I received more e-mails, more demands, etc. Would this be a solid element to my defence, too? It seemed poignant and meaningful at the time, and still does when reviewing all of the evidence I have. What do you think?
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