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Council Tax being awkward with me after a complaint I made

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My local council tax office sent a breakdown of council tax benefit awarded to me for a 4 month period to someone else and I received someone elses breakdown instead. I complained but the woman whose information I received didn't. Whoever recieved my information never sent it to me or returned it to the council and also didn't complain.

 

I went to the Independent Complaints Ombudsman because of their breach regarding data protection and the fact that they kept changing their excuses as to what happened. Whilst they couldn't deny they had sent me someone elses details they wouldn't accept they had sent mine elsewhere. To cut a long story short while the ICO were taking this case on board I received my council tax bill for this year 2010-2011 and it was a nil balance.

 

Last year I claimed council tax benefit for 4 months, I wrote to them to let them know when I was back at work and they sent me a new bill for the rest of the year owing minus tax benefit and I paid it in full. I heard nothing else from them until my new bill came this year to find it was a nil balance.

 

I rang them to ask why it was a nil balance when I was not entitled to council tax benefit having returned to work and earned too much monthly to claim it. The guy I spoke to said 'you didn't tell us you wanted to stop your benefit from last year so it's been carried on hence the nil balance'.

 

I explained that I had stopped it and had paid the rest of the year via the bill they sent me after my council tax benefit stopped. Basically, they'd made another mistake. He told me to send in my wages to see if I was still entitled to claim as it could be that I was still eligible. I asked him which part of what I'd explained to him did he not understand but he would not stop talking general rubbish. He was then attempting to tell me that I had been claiming the benefit when I was not entitled to it and knew I was doing it.

 

All I needed was a new bill for the year telling me the correct amount I should be paying without council tax benefit. It's that simple, or so you'd think. No, instead he sent me a form telling me to send in my wage slips, bank statements etc and I ignored it. That was in March.

 

I passed all this information on to the ICO who told me to stop communicating with them completely and they would deal with it. I've now received an email from them telling me they can write to the council regarding me receiving information that was someone elses but as the council deny they sent my details elsewhere they can't do anything with that. No mention of the council being awkward with me regarding my new bill even though they'd told me to stop communicating with them as it was all part and parcel to the case :-?

 

I've only now just received my new bill for this year with the correct amount to pay although I now have only 6 months to pay instead of 10. They've also sent me a bill they want right now for £350 they claim I am owing from last year. This is because this guy I spoke to cancelled my whole awarded claim for the council tax benefit for the 4 months that I was entitled to it.

 

I went to the CAB today and they spoke to the council on my behalf regarding this £350 and their reluctance to accept that I wrote in to stop the benefit and let them know when I was back at work and even to acknowledge that I'd paid the bill they sent me. I definitley don't owe them anything from last year. Unbelievably the CAB made it worse, they let the council tell them that I needed to send in my P60 for the year last year and my bank statements so they can look again at my benefit claim for the 4 months last year. They had all the info they needed and asked for at the time and I have receipts for everything I took in to them. I'm not sending anything back in when it's their error and inconveniencing myself because of them anymore.

 

All they had to do was send me an ammended bill for this year and say sorry we made a mistake. They're now trying to make out I was purposefully claiming benefit when I actually wasn't claiming anything.

 

I'm tempted to let them take me to court because I have all my paperwork and proof of everything but the CAB kept saying don't let it get to court :-?

 

What would you do?

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How do you know they sent your details to someone else?

 

Why not send them a 'Subject Access Request' (£10) and get back everything they have on file about you.

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How do you know they sent your details to someone else?

 

Why not send them a 'Subject Access Request' (£10) and get back everything they have on file about you.

 

I was wondering that also Conniff. Is it just an assumption OhReally that the person whose details you received must, in return, have received yours??

 

Our Council are a real pain in the neck but they always use window envelopes so that the address on the correspondence is also the delivery address.


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I don't think it is an assumption. The letter shown through the envelope was mine. This letter stated that it enclosed a breakdown of benefit awarded for me. That breakdown included was not mine and was addressed to someone else. I hand delivered it to her whilst the council tried to persuade me to give it back to them. I don't know if the breakdown I should have received went to her, I only know that they had a breakdown there to post for me and it wasn't there so it's not a giant leap to believe they sent it elsewhere.

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Well, when the CAB were fobbed off by the council in which they told me I had to send my P60 and bank statements from last year I've now received the documentation supposedly requesting this and guess what it is?

 

It's a form to be filled in if I want to claim housing/council tax benefit. That's it, that's all that's in the envelope and no mention of any phone call or cover letter. The form is dated from the 15th July 2010. I don't want to claim housing or council tax benefit, I'm not entitled to it, is it just me being unreasonable and thick here or are these people deliberately trying to be obtuse.

 

How am I supposed to get anywhere with this, I'm more than happy to pay this years bill and show them their error regarding last years 4 month council tax benefit that I was entitled to and given, until I rang to query my nil balance bill for this year.

 

Anyone got any suggestions on how I'm supposed to get this sorted, the CAB are clearly not able to and no matter who seems to deal with it at the council they still keep getting it wrong? The complaints procedure for this council is an online web page form and it's not adressed to anybody. It even asks if you want a reply! Who do I write to that's not going to pass it to the very dept that can't get it right?

Edited by ohreally

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Write to the housing ombudsman about their behaviour and see what s/he will adivse. Also write to your MP about it.

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It is an assumption. Officer could have printed off a breakdown for the lady, then was about to get your account up when they were interrupted by a phone call, etc, they then go back print off the breakdown forgetting that they haven't brought up the correct screen. Or they could have had the lady's screen up as they had still to do something on her account and your screen up and printed off the wrong one. Stupid mistake to make but just because you got the wrong info it does not follow that the other person got your info.

 

You could go to your MP or local Councillor but complaints/enquiries usually will be allocated to someone in the department the complaint is about first of all. You could also go back to the Ombudsman and ask them what they have found out about the problem reminding them they told you that they would handle it.

 

When a case goes to Court it is a liability hearing. All the Judge will do is agree whether or not you are liable for the Council Tax for the property in question not whether you can pay, or whether the bill is correct, etc. So if it goes to Court and the Judge asks do you live there, etc and you say yes, they will find you liable to pay the Council Tax and you will get Court charges added to your account.

 

Although Council Tax and Council Tax Benefits ususally come under the same Council department they will be different teams. If I were you I would contact the Benefits Team to find out what on earth is going on with your CTB and then take it from there.

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Just thought I'd update. I managed to get the council tax benefits manager to hold back the summons for the £350 until he'd looked into it and the up shot is, he believes I do owe the money and they made a mistake.

 

They gave me a bill from the period I went back to work covering Oct 09 to Mar 10 telling me I owed them £165 and I had no reason to believe that bill was wrong. I had no idea how they calculate their breakdowns for council tax benefit and this bill had a breakdown of what they'd awarded me. The bill itself wasn't added up wrong. I paid this bill. The manager tells me the £350 should have been included in this bill but how am I supposed to tell when their bills are wrong? Like anyone else, I have to trust, hope and rely on them to make sure the bills sent to me are correct. He admits it's their error and told me I can appeal.

 

He asked me if it didn't occurr to me that this amount was a bit low and I told him I had no bloody idea what council tax benefit they'd awarded me after a 100 pages worth of breakdowns and they clearly had no idea themselves otherwise they wouldn't have awarded me more benefit than I may have been entitled to and sent a bill out that was incorrect. I also told him it was outstanding work from his team coming to me 6 months later to ask for it outrightly. They'll try and make it your fault no matter what, the dam cheek of it.

 

Do you think I'll have to pay it? They've put me in a right mess financially having to pay this years bill in a 6 month period as it is, I don't have the money to pay £350 up front and he told me the only thing they could do would be to extend the 6 months to 8 months but they'd have to include the £350 on top of what I have left of this years bill.

 

I can't even begin to tell you how angry I am. All this because they made mistakes.

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I don't know if there is a legal obligation to do so, but if they made a mistake concerning the amount you owe then it would be a gesture of good faith to remove the summons. Whether they would actually do that is a totally different matter!

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I've got to be honest and say that I know where you're coming from with this Ohreally.

 

I receive CTB also and have had similar 20/30 page breakdowns that I can't make head nor tail of. On the basis that the written information I've supplied to my Council is correct, then I can only presume that their calculations are similarly so.

 

Although it's their mistake, I think that you're probably going to have to pay whatever it is that they say you owe them. All you can do is to negotiate a repayment period which is affordable for you. If the 8 months is unaffordable to you then write back and tell them that you want longer.

 

You can escalate this as a formal corporate complaint to the Chief Executive to see if they are any more sympathetic and equally as disgusted by the incompetence in their benefits office.


If you feel I've helped then by all means click my star to the left...a simple "thank you" costs nothing! ;)

 

Restons MBNA -v- WelshMam

 

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Council tax bills? Easy. Here is how they work it out as far as I can see:

 

Take the tax band of your property. This is the council tax you should pay if working etc. Next divide it by the number of council employees who smoke, take away the number of letters received by Take-That official fan club from under 10s, add to this the number of Subway sandwich shops in London. Now, the easy bit. If you own a Vauxhall Omega then multiply this figure by the number of cylinders on your neighbours car (Neighbour to your left). With me so far?

 

Next add up the number of days in the year. It must never be equal to 365 or 366! Then take away the number of Tescos express shops in Manchester. Now count the number of bank statements the client sent in and double that. This is the number of pages you must send them with the breakdown.

 

Finally use the equatiion systematic quantizing erational multiplication directive and effecitively make it so that no normal human would ever understand it. Here is an example of that equation:

 

A man has two cats. How many cats does he have? Not 3. Why? Because it if you say he has 2 cats that makes our job look silly easy. So, we must justify this whole phoney baloney department by making up utter nonsense. So, the calculation would be like this:

 

Number of cats: Less than 15

Number of applicants: Not 4

Calculation = number of legs times number of heads divided by 5 (less amutee adjustment) plus a notional adjustment for the first 3 legs x number of bank statement pages, less day of week time car park spaces left.

 

Answer is not 3.

 

I hope this makes it all clearer for you. It really is easy when you get the hang of it.

 

NURSE...... I need my medicine!

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This is exactly what happened to us with the Malvern/Worcester council tax offices. You try to be honest and upfront and do the rigyt thing and they screw it up and then suddenly youa re at fault. I have sicne learnt not to communicate with them by phone by ratehr by recorded mail and even that they lost. Won in the end though as they made an "official" mistake by the regulation states that they need to write it off. If you did it all correct and can prove it and they made the mistake then you are NOT liable.

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Brilliant, superb, fantastic...what a great howler..made my day thank you so much I haven't laughed for so long and so loud for years. Do give up the day job and concentrate on comedy sketches you will get rich very quickly.

 

ps. then donate to CAB

 

WD

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Wonkeydonkey if you are referring to my post, read the housing and council tax regulations section 100 where it clearly states that if they make an official mistake they cannot pursue it! I will accept your apology! Read http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2006/213/regulation/100/made

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Surfer1

please read post 11 and assuming you have a sense of humour you will realise why I offer no apology,

 

WD

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Right next time make reference to the post as it helps identify the post.. Apologies to you. :-)

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Dragons Dennis that was class :madgrin: loved it!

 

I've just received a letter from the council benefit team manager and he says 'I apologise for the delay in ending your council tax benefit which led to the overpayment that was created. It has been decided that the overpayment is recoverable as you would have known that you were being overpaid'

 

I wrote to the them telling them when it should stop and they sent me a bill for the rest of the year owing and I paid it. I didn't hear another peep until this years bill came at a nil balance. Then I rang them to tell them it was wrong. How would I have known that I was being overpaid? I sat and had a meeting with this manager who was absolutely not thick by any means so I have to assume that by writing that he's not unwilling to be ridiculed about the fact that this is a rather low standard of management skills.

 

I should also send my appeal to him and he'll pass it on to where it should go.....I don't think so :jaw:

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I took my appeal in by hand to the council offices this morning and asked them for a receipt. The look I got was priceless and the woman who dealt with me immediately emmanated an air of unhelpfulness and misery. I asked for the address of the appeals service since it was meant to be an independent service.

 

She rang upstairs, they use a few different ones so they couldn't tell me which one it would be. I know I shouldn't but I lost my temper. I asked for her to give me them all then but no she suddenly didn't know any of them and neither did anyone else. There was suddenly no one available to come down from upstairs and speak to me.

 

How are they going to pass my appeal on if they claim not to know the address or which one they use? What's the big secret?

 

I got her to write on the receipt that she wouldn't give me the address and took the name of the person she rang upstairs for advice. She wasn't very happy and made out like I'd leaned over the counter and strangled her.

 

They really are a bunch of utter d*ckheads. I can only imagine how much money Trafford Council are raking in that they may not be entitled to. Mine was a straightforward cased and they couldn't get it right. I don't think any of them have any idea what they're doing.

 

How do I go about getting the address they're supposedly sending my appeal to?

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You must have a local newspaper you can pass this on to, if not try the Sun or Star.

 

Ask for an appointment with the boss of finance, if that will be in a year or two, then write to him, mark it 'Personal' and hand deliver it as you did this one.

 

Nice job your insistance and making them uncomfortable.

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Put all your concerns/problems/complaints in writing - address it to the Chief Executive of the Council and mark both letter and envelope "Formal Complaint", failure for them to then investigate properly then gives you an avenue to the LGO and will go on the Council's record.

 

PT


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They are quick up your neck of the woods to send out appeals and then get the summons out.

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I've had the final notice - cancellation of instalments threatening the summons if I don't pay in full this morning. They really are complete imbeciles. When it's gone to independent appeal are they allowed to still send those out?

 

I'm doing the formal complaint to the Chief Exec as we speak, thanks for that info.

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You need to be careful. Waiting for a decision on Benefits or for CT Benefit alone is not sufficient reason to withold payment. You are still supposed to pay in the interim and any credit you may build up is either refundable (on request) or knocked off what you still may owe. Liability for CT is only a Yes or No answer, there is no middle ground.

 

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The previous post is correct in that Council Tax Liability takes no consideration of benefit appeals.

 

The council can legally proceed with action against you - council tax takes council tax benefit in to account only as it would any other payments due from yourself, it gets no special treatment.

 

Saying this though, in my dept we do often hold action on the request of our appeals section but only of its apparent its going to make a big difference in the amount outstanding.

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