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    • Thank you for the reply - I'm half expecting them to either drop the whole thing or to spring the "We had to tell the court that you don't want to pay so we're going to restart proceedings" idea given the language in the consent order that I signed with them. Going to read up and prepare to defend in case they fancy playing that game. It'd be nice if they would actually play by the rules for once...
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    • Hi everyone,    They started sending threats:   Wednesday:    We have been instructed to proceed formally on this claim in 7 days in respect of the balance due to Photo Studio Group unless discharged or an arrangement made. This will result in a formal Letter Before Claim and Court Proceedings.    Thursday :    It's not too late to stop legal action. Settle the £1182.89 due to Photo Studio Group.    Friday 8:23am :   The £1182.89 due to Photo Studio Group is overdue we are now instructed to proceed with a formal Letter Before Claim.    Friday 6:28pm:   We are now considering whether to issue Court proceedings to recover £1182.89 owed to Photo Studio Group.        
    • Hi Guys, I would appreciate any advice you can give.   In mid September this year we went to a Caravan company to look at potential caravan purchases, we found one caravan that we liked it was a 2018 model,   however when talking to the salesman we expressed concern that the settee and the bed mattress seemed to be of very poor quality and lacked any real support. The settee and mattress also seemed older than the year of manufacture would suggest. The salesman assured us that the fittings were manufacture fitted and that was, 'Just how they are'. He agreed to look into the matter for us.   As a result we paid a £1,000 deposit on our debit card, the salesman asked us to sign a contract for sale regarding the caravan informing us it was 'a receipt for the money we paid'.   We were due to collect the caravan this week, however, during the period from signing the contract we felt that we were being mislead about the furnishings previously mentioned so we carried out some research.   I sent the photographs to the manufacturer and asked them if they were the original fittings supplied by them, they responded that the settee and mattresses shown in the photographs (Taken from the online sales pictures from the sellers website) were never fitted to that caravan and had never been supplied by the manufacturer. I also downloaded the brochure from the manufacturer that showed the settee and bed mattresses that were fitted to the year and model of the caravan we had paid a deposit on, were nothing like the ones currently fitted.   somebody has taken out the superior Settee and bed mattresses and replaced them with cheaper inferior quality ones which seriously devalued the caravan, notwithstanding reducing the comfort and quality of the caravan. He insisted that the photographs (taken from their website) were the correct fittings for that caravan.   On Sunday 20th October, I sent the caravan sales company a letter stating that we were rejecting the caravan and that we had been mislead as to the quality and provenance of the fittings, that we no longer had any trust in the sales company and under the Consumer Rights Act requesting the return of our deposit.   We received a response the next day that stated, they accept the cancelling of the contract however, they are retaining our deposit against the purchase of another caravan from them.   I think it is a given, that we would never darken their doorstep again let alone purchase anything from them. I would add that all our concerns and the company's responses have been via email, so we have an audit trail of what has gone on.   I have considered chargeback, as we paid on a Visa debit card (I know should have used a credit card) and I am aware that we have 120 days to try and implement this.   I'm looking for advice as to what to write to the company to start with, i.e. Letter of complaint (They have no complaints policy or procedure in their T&C, they are also not signed up to the Dispute Resolution Ombudsman Scheme) or a, Letter before Claim, or do I involve Trading Standards.   Any advice from the wise members of this group would be greatly appreciated.   
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    • Dazza a few months ago I discovered a good friend of mine who had ten debts with cards and catalogues which he was slavishly paying off at detriment to his own family quality of life, and I mean hardship, not just absence of second holidays or flat screen TV's.
       
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      They will of course pursue you for the funds and pass your file around various departments of their business and out to third parties.
       
      Your response is that you should treat it as a hobby.  I have numerous files of correspondence each faithfully organised showing the various letters from different DCA;s , solicitors etc with a mix of threats, inducements and offers.   It is like my stamp collection and I show it to anyone who is interested!
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As that particular department might not be aware of the SAR, if you ignore that letter and await the SAR they may think you're just ignoring them and take further action.

 

Because of this, I'd be tempted to suggest another letter, stating that there may be an explanation for the confusion - explain away - and then state that if this isn't the case, that they definately haven't mixed up her father and her mother then she really is no further forward, and the matter is still in dispute.

 

Proceed to explain that she was caring for her father up until March 2002, and all they have provided thus far is a determination with little in the way of evidence which demonstrates an overpayment on the basis that she stopped caring for him any sooner than she actually did. For example, what notification had they received, what did it consist of, how did this conflict with your wife's statement of what date the caring ended, how did this show on the balance of probability that the notifcation they received was fact and your wife's statement fiction. Ask what other evidence did they use to make a determination that the caring stopped sooner than it did.

 

Also explain that you have submitted a SAR for all information relating to the alleged overpayment and are currently awaiting a response to that (enclose a copy of the letter of acknowledgement from DWP) and reiterate that she disputes that there was an overpayment because she cared for him for more than 35 hours per week continuously until March of 2002.

 

That's what I would do - but this is you and your wife's decision to make.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

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  • 3 weeks later...

My wife has received another letter from the DWP acknowledging her intention to appeal and are asking for her to provide more information as to why she thinks their decision is wrong with any supporting evidence.

 

I am surprised they are letting her appeal as it has been almost 6 years since the decision of the overpayment was made, but she did not receive that letter due to her no longer living at that address, so maybe that's why they are letting her appeal now.

 

What we are stuck with now is what kind of evidence can we provide to prove she was still caring for her Father between November 2001 and March 2002. She has not spoken with her Father in about 7 years and does not know his address or phone number, so it would not be possible to ask for a written statement from him to confirm this.

 

In the last letter she sent to them she already told them everything she knows, and has asked them to provide details of whom informed them that she stopped caring sooner than she actually did etc. So apart from sending a very similar letter stating the same information, i'm not sure what else she can provide to prove she was still caring inbetween those dates.

 

We are still waiting for a response to the SAR request, which they have until the 21st September to repond to.

 

Any advice on what to do next would be appreciated.

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I'd be very suspicious of the word "appeal". A late appeal can be admitted where there are good reasons as to why the appeal is late, however no appeal, absolutely none, can be accepted more than 13 months after the date of the decision, regardless of reasons for lateness, and would not be admitted by the Tribunals Appeals Service. The DWP can perform an "anytime revision" but not an appeal outwith the absolute time limit of 13 months, which is an entirely different thing.

 

So your wife sends a letter asking them for evidence of how they reached their conclusion, she did not state she wanted to appeal but rather that she disputed the decision and required evidence of how it was reached - but in response they do not send this evidence, instead sending a request that your wife gives them further information.

 

As I understand it, when a person claims a benefit, the burden of proof falls to the claimant to show that they are entitled to the benefit. Where either party requests a revision of ongoing benefit, the burden of proof falls to the person who instigates the revision - in this case it would be DWP - to prove their case. They received information which suggested that your wife may not have been entitled to the benefit for a period of time and came to the conclusion that she indeed was not entitled to that benefit. However in reaching this conclusion did they discharge the burden of proof? It's impossible to know because your wife has not been given the information she has requested to show how they reached this conclusion, which is precisely what she wishes to challenge. As she wishes to challenge the decision then the burden of proof shifts back to your wife which is why they ask for further evidence from her, however if they did not discharge the burden of proof when it was on them (when they made the decision she was not entitled for that specified period) then there is not really a case to answer.

 

In your first post, you said that your wife thought she had stopped claiming the benefit in October 2001. Is she now certain that she was caring from him until March 2002? I ask because it's very important that she is consistant with her dates when relaying information to them.

 

If all evidence has been given, she can write another letter stating that she has told them everything she possibly can, and re-iterate that they have yet to provide the evidence to her which supports their decision in 2004, despite having asked continuously for it to be provided. Perhaps also mention that relations broke down with her father and that she has no contact because no doubt they would rely on using the fact that a carer could easliy obtain a signed statement from the person they were caring for to prove their case and will use the fact that this has not been done to throw doubt upon the case. If she explains that they are now estranged, this leaves no room for inference to be drawn from a gap in the evidence such as the theory I described. She doesn't need to go into too much personal detail. I'd be tempted though to hold off on such a letter until she has the information requested from DWP.

 

I'm very suspicious of the fact that they have not provided information despite repeated requests from your wife (though they are still within time limit) yet ask for information from her. Particularly as it's been some time since you submitted the SAR and have yet to receive a response to it.

 

Perhaps a letter to state that she has requested this information twice from them and in addition has sent a SAR, as she has previously already advised, but has yet to receive information and she would prefer to wait until she has this information from them before engaging in further correspondance. Ask them to provide a statement of reasons for the 2004 decision, whilst you await the full SAR evidence, and advise them of the date that the SAR response is due by. (40 days from date of receipt, unless they have requested more information to satisfy your wife's identity or information to enable them to locate the information she seeks, which they don't appear to have asked for).

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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The last letter she sent off asking for information she did not put her signature on, as i've read cases where debt collectors (not the DWP) will copy signatures in trying to force people to pay up.

 

The letter she has just received states:

 

In reply to the letter received on 06 September 2010.

Unfortunately you have not signed the letter. Please sign the enclosed letter and return to us as soon as possible.

I have sent a copy of your unsigned letter to our Decision Makers so they are aware of you intention to Appeal however they will not review the decision until they receive a letter from you with your signature. Please also provide more information as to why you think our decision is wrong with any supporting evidence.

 

She did not ask for an Appeal in the letter she wrote, just for them to provide evidence and that the debt is still in dispute. A copy of the SAR acknowledgement letter which she had received previously was also sent to them. She has not yet mentioned her relationship with her Father, so they are not aware she is no longer in touch with him.

 

Should she sign and return the letter with her signature?

 

Regarding the accuracy of the dates, my wife got a bit mixed up initially, she originally thought the overpayment letter was referring to her Mother who passed away end of October 2001, even though it was her sister who claimed this benefit it was my wife who was looking after her throughout this time, it wasn't until after a conversation with her sister she realised that it was her Father who she was receiving the carers allowance for and not her Mother. She was definately claiming for her Father until March 2002 which was when she left home. The only date she has told the DWP is March 2002.

 

The letter which she received from the Data Protection Officer about the SAR request states:

As a Data Protection Officer, I am given 40 days to clear your request from the date your letter is received in our office. The final day I have to respond to your query by is 21st September 2010.

If a problem arises and I am unable to meet the 40 day deadline, I shall contact you promptly, explaining the reason for the delay.

 

Well, they've got 2 days left to supply this information.

 

We will prepare a letter stating what you suggested above, and also mention that she no longer has contact with her Father. Is it important that she signs the letters?

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Yes, the DWP aren't DCA's. They won't recview anything without a signature, and are not obliged to release any information without a signature; such a request is not considered "duly made" in the absence of the claimant's signature - this does appear in the legislation. For example, if someone asks for a review of a decision they are not duty bound to accept it in the absence of a signature from the claimant or the legal appointee - they will check the signature against that on the claim form or other documents they hold to verify it is the signature of the claimant.

 

If you are concerned about it being "lifted" (which with the DWP I have never come across and it's hardly a surprise, given that their computer systems are from the dark ages - they won't have the facilities to photoshop), sign over something, like a set of crosses, or on a shaded background. I advised someone to do this before, and that was accepted no problem - so long as they can make the signature out, they have to accept it.

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Thanks for you advice once again Erika, it is much appreciated.

We have prepared another letter stating we have yet to receive the requested information, pointed out the date of the SAR request and asked for to wait until we receive this information before we engage in any further correspondence.

We've also signed and returned the copy of the last letter which they had sent back to us.

We should hear something from them end of the week about the SAR request.

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My wife has received another letter from the DWP Debt Centre Trafford this morning with some of the requested information for the SAR request. The letter says:

I apologise for the delay in contacting you with regards to your Data Protection Request. As the overpayment to recover is for Carers Allowance, I have forwarded your query onto the Data Protection Officer for this Department. They will provide you with the information they hold as soon as possible.

For the moment, I am able to provide you with a small amount of information. Please see the following details:

Debt Manager Computer System Print (Item 1)

Debt Manager Computer Abbreviation List (Item 2)

Decision for an overpayment of JSA of £39.75. The balance of this shows as nil (item 3)

If you wish to discuss anything about this matter, please contact me etc....

If you do not receive any details from Carers Allowance by the end of October, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will chase up the paperwork on your behalf.

 

Item 3 is referring to a different matter all together, which we are aware of, this is referring to a brief overpayment of JSA in 2004, but they have yet to request this money back.

 

Item 2 is just 3 pages of 'Diary Entry Codes'

 

Item 1 is rather more confusing, consisting of various sheets of paper from a computer printout.

One sheet consists of 'Overpayment Details', this says the following:

Router Account Number (System Reference No): ***********

Overpayment Recorerable Start Date: 5/11/2001

Overypament Recoverable End Date: 17/03/2002

Total Non Recoverable Amount: £0.00

Total Recoverable Amount: £***

 

Another sheet consists of 'Transaction/Payment Details', this just lists the dates of 2 small payments which they deducted from her benefits when she was claiming JSA briefly in October 2009.

 

Another sheet consists of 'Debt Details', this is listing the details of the Debt, such as First Transaction Date: 29/09/2005, Benefit Type: CA, Client Code: DWP, the current and working balance, and the dates of 'Last Document Sent', 'Last Diary Entry' and 'Last Payment Date'.

 

The last set of sheets are 'Diary Details'. The earliest date on this diary is 03/02/2006, most of these details do not make much sense to me, it looks like it is a record of every time they receive a phone call or letter, or make an amendment to the account. There are 4 entries dated 03/02/2006 relating to 'Migrated Notes', the next entry is on 28/03/2007 which is an 'Amendment to gender' it says 'Changed M to F... BRMIA' ?? There are then no more entries until 08/09/2009 which is when my wife was claiming JSA briefly and they got in touch with her informing her that they would be deducting payements from her entitlement.

 

The information which they have provided does not appear to show any evidence whatsoever of how this overpayment has come about, the only thing it tells us is the dates of the overpayment (05/11/2001 to 17/03/2002) which we already knew.

 

So they have forwarded the SAR request to the Carers Allowance department, I thought they would have done that in the first place? Does this mean that they now have another 40 days (end October) to collect this information?

 

We have not yet sent the letter which we wrote yesterday, so i'm guessing if we just re-word it slightly acknowledging the information they have sent us from the SAR request, but point out that it still does not prove anything and we are still yet to receive the requested information, and to wait until we receive this information before we engage in any further correspondence.

 

Does that sound like the best plan?

Edited by SteveMetal
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  • 2 weeks later...

My wife has now received the SAR request and it is starting to make some sense.

 

It appears that my wife has mistakingly told the DWP herself that she stopped claiming Carers Allowance on 29th October 2001, as they have supplied a copy of forms and a letter which she filled in and returned back in 2004.

But they have also supplied copies of a statement from both herself and her Father dated February 2002 confirming that she is still caring for her Father.

 

The only thing I can think of is that she started employment between 1st and 30th November 2001, so maybe she stopped claiming on 29th October 2001, and when her employment ended she resumed caring.

 

We are going to write back to them attempting to explain this and enclosing copies of the statements from February 2002.

 

Do you think there any chance of them reviewing this overpayment?

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  • 3 months later...

RESULT !!!

 

My wife has just received a letter from the DWP.

 

They say:

 

We have looked again at the facts and evidence we used to make our decision and as a result we have changed the decision.

 

The overpayment has been recalculated as follows:

 

It now stands at around about £60 ! I'm sure we can pay that off no problem!

 

So for anyone else who is certain they have been wrongly accused of owing money to the DWP, put the debt in dispute and send for an SAR request, and if you receive evidence proving your innocence, then send copies of it to them, and they just might change their decision.

 

Thanks to Erika and everyone else on this board for your help in resolving this.

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Great result!

My advice is based on my opinion, my experience and my education. I do not profess to be an expert in any given field. If requested, I will provide a link where possible to relevant legislation or guidance, so that advice provided can be confirmed and I do encourage others to follow those links for their own peace of mind. Sometimes my advice is not what people necesserily want to hear, but I will advise on facts as I know them - although it may not be what a person wants to hear it helps to know where you stand. Advice on the internet should never be a substitute for advice from your own legal professional with full knowledge of your individual case.

 

 

Please do not seek, offer or produce advice on a consumer issue via private message; it is against

forum rules to advise via private message, therefore pm's requesting private advice will not receive a response.

(exceptions for prior authorisation)

 

 

 

 

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Glad it worked out for you :-)

 

Wish it had for me :-(

I QUESTION THEREFORE I AM!! [sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Unfortunately i'm not an expert in any given field legally and my advice and that of the Consumer Action Group and the Bank Action Group is given without prejudice and without liability so please if in any doubt whatsoever seek help from an insured qualified professional. Contents of my posts are purely my own personal opinions and not condoned or endorsed in any way, shape or form by CAG. Thank you! :p

 

 

I have been smoke-free for 4yrs

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