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    • Thank you everyone for your quick responses I just wish I posted here in the first place    I probably shouldn't have filled in the claim form however on the letter it said I had limited time to do so and because I was dealing with CST law trying to come to an agreement with paying off the debt I didn't think it would get to this point and now I have probably made my situation worst. Of course, I would have posted here first before sending it off had I not been in communication with CST to set up an agreement.    I sent the letter back to the court as some point in early August, the issue date on the claim form is 28th July and the most recent letter I have received 'Notice of fast track' is dated 18th November    If I am honest I can't fully remember what I wrote word for word in my defence, it would have been along the lines of why I left, my reasons and the fact I returned to my old career in an office plus taking a pay cut to do so. There wasn't much room to write a long winded defence so I kept it relativity short.   The above document Andy has posted is the exact document I am now looking at very confused in what exactly I put where    I just want to re-iterate I never agreed with this money I owe due to the training bond but it has gone on for so long at this point I'm happy to set up a payment plan if the balance can get reduced or a small one off payment upfront and this is exactly what I was trying to do prior to receiving the most recent letter    I have had zero communication from CST law, Centrica advised me to deal with them directly and I was waiting for a response from CST with the offer we had put across to Centrica - I chased it multiple times the following weeks and they kept telling me they haven't had a response and when they do we'll contact you which they still have not   Ideally I would rather not give them any money however I feel like I am out of options at what I probably should have done years ago is attempt to get it reduced and set up a payment plan    Please let me know if I have missed any critical info out    Thanks again for everyones help    What is the claim for – the reason they have issued the claim? I left a British Gas apprenticeship within the first 12 months of starting and went back to my old career in an office , my reasons for leaving were down to the completely differant job role which I realised quikcly was not for me and it was impacting my mental health massively. The claim is for a training bond which was in a contract I signed based on a sliding scale Year 1 - £9,000 year 2 £6,000 year 3 £3,000     What is the total value of the claim? £13433    Have you received prior notice of a claim being issued pursuant to paragraph 3 of the PAPDC (Pre Action Protocol) ? Yes   Have you changed your address since the time at which the debt referred to in the claim was allegedly incurred? No  Is the claim for - a Bank Account (Overdraft) or credit card or loan or catalogue or mobile phone account? Training bond due to leaving an apprenticeship before 3 years    When did you enter into the original agreement before or after April 2007 ? After   Do you recall how you entered into the agreement...On line /In branch/By post ? They have sent me a virtually signed document with the contract   Is the debt showing on your credit reference files (Experian/Equifax /Etc...) ? No   Has the claim been issued by the original creditor or was the account assigned and it is the Debt purchaser who has issued the claim. Centrica are claimant, CST law are dealing and the court   Were you aware the account had been assigned – did you receive a Notice of Assignment? I believe so yes   Did you receive a Default Notice from the original creditor? I have had multiple letters like everyone else who has been on the forum over the years regarding this matter   Have you been receiving statutory notices headed “Notice of Sums in Arrears”  or " Notice of Arrears "– at least once a year ? I am unsure, but when I left I had contested the original claim as I was dealing directly with Centrica’s collection team and they never got back to me after the final email I had sent and didn’t hear anything until years down the line   Why did you cease payments? N/A   What was the date of your last payment? N/A   Was there a dispute with the original creditor that remains unresolved? Correct I oringinally contested what was owed back in 2017 and gave my reasons for leaving and I assumed the matter was closed   Did you communicate any financial problems to the original creditor and make any attempt to enter into a debt management plan? No  
    • OK thanks again Andy.   And understood 👍😉
    • Thank you for this. The first thing to be say is that this means that you are winning. It is pretty well unheard of in my experience for the bank to give way and finally return the money. The fact that they have done this under the threat of a judgement for breach of statutory duty indicates even more that they are worried about their position. Nowhere have they indicated that they have complied with the requirements of the Proceeds of Crime Act and informed the National crime agency. I don't believe they have and this is a very serious breach of statutory duty. Not only that it is a very serious breach of the FCA BCOBS regulations in that they are required to treat you fairly. Treating you fairly in this case means that they must comply with the rest of their statutory duties. It appears that they really haven't done this at all and that they have acted in an arbitrary way in disregard of the law and that they are hoping to get away with it. I find myself wondering how many other hundreds of people have been treated in exactly the same way – and you are probably the first ever to have stood up to them and to get them worried. I think I've already indicated that a press contact of mine in the Sunday Times would be very interested in this story. He has already run stories about the very poor standards applied by banks when deciding that their customers are involved in some fraudulent behaviour. The first thing to say about the letter which you have received is that they are trying to apply conditions to releasing your own money. It's your money and there should be no conditions and my suggestion is that you object to this. Secondly, not only are they threatening to continue to withhold your own money – but also they are saying that if they release it to you you will simply have the net figure without any kind of interest or compensation. It's clear that while they have had your money, they have invested it and earn money on it. They have probably been lending it out at between 16% and 20% and although the usual rate of interest is 8%, it seems to me that justice can only be served by repaying you your money plus the commercial rate of interest – at a compound rate. Normally the 8% is calculated at simple. Thirdly, they are not offering to pay you any compensation and clearly they are hoping to get away with it without any kind of sanction or not even a slap on the wrist.   Fourthly, they had the nerve to impose a seven day deadline. Don't worry about their deadline. It's a load of huff and puff. This is all part of their bluff game designed to intimidate you. At the end of seven days – what? Are they then going to insist on going to court?   If they really believe that they had done everything correctly and that the money was fraudulent, then they would not offer it to you back under any circumstances. It would be illegal for them to do so. You can be certain that these people do not want to go to court. In fact they probably wish they had never started.   Finally, they want the matter to be kept confidential – and I can't say I blame them. I would be ashamed if people knew that I had treated somebody else in this way and I'm sure they are worried about reputational damage. I'm also sure that there are extremely worried about what will happen if you get a judgement against them for breach of statutory duty. It will have to be reported to the FCA. It will have to be reported to the NCA. And of course it should be reported to the newspapers because people need to know what is going on. If you want, you can simply accept their proposal – get your money back, given confidentiality – and that's the end of the matter. However, you have no idea how this will impact on your record in the future. I imagine that they will bar you from ever opening an account with them again. – But at least you will have your money and you can get on with your life. However, if you want you can stand your ground and make it clear to them that you are going to be mucked around and treated like this and that you are prepared to go to court if they won't make a proper offer. I understand that you need to pay a court fee of about £350 in the next seven days. I expect that the bank is making this offer now hoping to dissuade you from spending any more money and hoping that you will back down. If you have the money to proceed then I would suggest very strongly that it will be a very serious sign of strength that you tell the bank that you're not interested in that you are paying the fee for the next stage of the court process. If the bank knows that you've called their bluff on this and that you have been prepared to invest further money in moving this legal action forward, then they will start to reflect and I can perfectly well imagine that they will make you another more interesting offer – once again on conditions of confidentiality. Without seeing any further offer, I'm already suggesting that you will probably be best off turning it down. In any event, I would remind you going back several months that I already predicted that the bank would make you confidential offer – and that has happened. I'm not saying that I'm always going to be right here – but I think that now basically the bank have pretty well admitted that they need to pay you your money, there is no chance of you losing it. You will get your money and it really is just a question of how much else you will get in addition. If you'd like to continue then let me know and I will suggest a draft response to them.
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Random Drug Testing At Work


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I need some help for a nephew today. He has been employed for 3 years almost with the same firm. He has never had a day off sick, let them down, or been in any trouble whatsoever.

 

His firm (A) are currently sub-contracting to another larger firm of civil engineers (b). A is his employer.

 

Today reps from B arrived on site unannounced, and selected three men for a random drug test. Nephew was told if he refused he would be kicked off the site (this would mean the loss of a days pay) and if he took it and failed he would be off all their sites forever. Nephew is hard up at the moment, so felt co-erced into signing their form and providing a sample.

 

Now, sometimes nephew smokes pot. He doesn't even smoke ciggies or drink, this is occasional if one of his friends turns up, or maybe if he is out with mates at the weekend. Never, ever if he has to drive anywhere, and most certainly never at work. I may not approve, but its his life and if I chuff 40 fags a day, what can i say to him about what he does? Plus he's 32 so a tad old for me to start lecturing him.

 

So, of course his test has come back positive for cannabis. Firm B forced him off site and he had to sit in his van for to wait for boss of firm A to sort this out. Firm A Boss arrived, very annoyed, ordered nephew and colleague to another nearby site where Company B have no dealings, work continued. 2 hours later firm A boss rings him up and has suspended him without pay and will see him on Monday.

 

In nephews contract with FIRM A there is no mention of being required to submit to drug testing whatsoever. There is no mention of the subject whatsoever. And of course nephew has no contract with Firm B at all. (Although I realise that boss A does have a contract with Firm B by way of sub-contracting.)

 

I looked on ACAS and they suggest that nephew did not have to take this test at all, as it is not in his contract of employment. None of the men throughout the company have been made aware that this may happen, so it really was completely out of the blue. ACAS suggest that after consultation between either the staff and the boss of A or the company health and safety rep and staff of A, that only then should a new term be entered into the contract. It also states that employers cannot control an employees private life, and that a tribunal may find in favour of unfair dismissal if presented with such a scenario where recreational drugs have been used out of working hours.

 

So, am I right in thinking that nephew stands a good chance of fighting back if he needs to after Monday's meeting? My instinct is that his main argument would be that he has never at anytime agreed to be drug tested, has never been warned this might happen, has no contract with the company doing the testing (B), and felt co-erced into doing it because they threatened him with being kicked off site and losing money. (He was given no explanation or opportunity to check on his rights in this matter, he was told it was compulsory and company B policy). As well as what I read on the ACAS site.

 

Any advice or pointers I could give him? By the way, I know the tests are meant to be completely random, and we don't believe there is anything wrong there, because of who was selected, one lad came from a completely different company again - and when his boss arrived he was sacked on the spot.

 

Over to you. I'd like to help him if i can, I don;t really approve of wacky backy, but I feel very strongly that something is wrong here. Anyway, each to his own.

 

Thanks.

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BUMP. Nephew's misfortune has gone round company like wild fire - about 60 employees. Many of his friends are ringing him to confirm that they have never been made aware of any drug policy what so ever, it is not in their contracts and no-one has ever seen a company handbook.

 

I'm afraid chaps, we now have a large group of working guys wantring advice on this. Some of them, rightly or wrongly, its not for me to judge, are now worried sick. The owner of Firm A has admitted he is going to have to take legal advice on this, and nephew's site manager is already onto ACAS over it, so will have found the same information I have.

 

The owner of firm A is known for employing people worthy of a second chance, lots of them are just young lads, well, we all know what we used to get up to when were that age, so a fair proportion of them probablyare worried. Its fair to say they are a rough old workforce, but they have to work hard for the minimum wage, and have little prospect of another job if they lose this one, and they know it. He's the sort who makes unlawful deductions out of wages, won;t pay paternity pay without an arguement, but these guys put up with it to keep working. The boss is ok, despite all this. He is very worried himself about this but I suspect for two reasons, loss of contracts with Firm B and possible ET's.

 

But he can sort himself out, he has enough money safe aside anyway, this is a little help for these guys, if anyone can help. I hope my nephew doesn;t see this post, because I am going to say he works for this firm because he's not the brightest one in the box, and its preferable to factory work for him. He's a lovely guy, just not academic!

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He could print out some of the information from the links below to take to the meeting.

You'll need to scroll down in a couple of them

 

Drug Testing False Positives - Drug Test False positive with marijuana and other drugs

 

Blood and Urine Drug Testing for Cannabinoids

 

ICO - The Employment Practices Code

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this happened to my son (he is 34) works in construction

all the lads got a letter telling them they had to go for drugs test he thought he would be OK he only smoked it occasionally when he had weekend off 1 weekend off in 4

he was suspended on pay for 10/12 wks then went for another test which was OK

now I'm not 100% sure about this (was so mad with him i wouldn't listen to him when he was talking to me about it ) but i think if you have worked with company for a long time they might not be able to sack him but have to send him for drug counselling

I don't know if this was his firms policy or if it is for all firms

I know he looked into it so i will phone him tomorrow and ask him

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Oh thanks you two, I am getting a headache from all these lads and men ringing the nephew and then him ringing me to update me! Its caused a right stir because not even the foremen and contract managers are aware of any drug policies.

 

I'll have a good read, and in the meantime if anyone else can help that would be great.

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Oooh mariefab, look what i found on the ICO link - they are talking about testing as well as medical records.

 

In general employers should only collect health information where this is necessary for the protection of health and safety, to prevent discrimination on the grounds of disability, to satisfy other legal obligations or if each worker affected has given his or her explicit consent.

If consent is to be relied on, it must be freely given. That means a worker must be able to say ‘no’ without penalty and must be able to withdraw consent once given. Blanket consent obtained at the outset of employment cannot always be relied on.

Consent should not be confined to the testing itself, it should also cover the subsequent recording, use and disclosure of the test results.

 

I'll print that lot out - thank you.

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Well, I worked at a company site, but as an employee of another company, and the company site's management gave everyone, including those of us who were not their direct employees, notice that there would be random drug/alcohol testing.

 

There was no requirement to change our contract of employment. We didn't sign any agreement up front. We didn't like it, or didn't turn up for a random test when called, then the company site didn't want us working there.

 

Quite frankly, I wasn't particularly bothered at the time (I've since moved on) and the only day my random test came up, I was on holiday. Part of me thinks that it could even be a good thing in jobs where the health and safety of others may be compromised by a person under the influence of drink or drugs.

 

However, this kind of thing will crop up more and more, so it would be interesting to hear exactly what an employee's rights are.

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