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incompetence of council!!! - advice please


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I am going to try my best to cut a long story short.

 

A council tax reminder was sent to me. Shortly after that a court summons with £50 costs added was also sent. Unfortunately I was working away and only became aware of the reminder and the courts summons a few days after the summons was posted.

 

I emailed the council explaining why I hadnt acted on the reminder. They told me I was still liable for the costs. I read the council tax reminder carefully and realised that the council had taken action against me 2 days earlier than they should have.

 

I then went to court (which comprised of a bunch of council tax employees taking information from people who owed council tax). I disputed with them the £50 cost. They admitted that action had been taken earlier than it should have and that they would cancel the £50 cost. Unfortunately I did not get this in writing. At this point the amount I owed was £0.00 (because I paid my full council tax bill).

 

A week later I received an enforcement notice (threatening me with bailiffs). The enforcement notice stated that the liability order amount was for £125!!!!! and the amount outstanding (on the enforcement notice) was for £75.

 

At the point the court summons was issued, I saw that the council had added £50 costs but they stated that if a liability order is granted then they will add a further £25. This means that the maximum the liability order amount could have been for is £75.

 

I have repeatedly asked the council to explain to me (with a full breakdown) how the liability order amount of £125 was arrived at. They have so far just ignored my request. Basically they made a boo boo.

 

I have also asked them why they subtracted £50 from the liability order amount to leave a total outstanding of £75 considering I had not made any payments between the date of the liability order being granted and the date of the enforcement notice. this query seems also to have fallen on deaf ears.

 

Five days after the enforcement notice was sent to me, a council tax manager responded to my email stating that as a gesture of good will he will remove the £50 costs. Unfortunately he did not state what the balance outstanding is. I am totally confused since I know they have just been plucking numbers out of thin air. I have no idea what they think I owe.

 

I have sent them another email basically demanding to know what amount they claim I currently owe.

How they got a figure of £125 for the liability order.

Why they subtracted £50 when they sent the enforcement notice since I had not made any payments and at this point the council tax manager had not made the decision to "waiver" the £50 costs.

 

Am I alone in thinking that a prerequisite for anyone who works for a council is to be a complete and utter incompetent dumbhead? The council tax managers appear to think that they are extremely clever because they have managed to rise within the ranks to become the Kings of the Dumbheads.

 

Sorry for ranting

 

:-x

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You could try to contact the Chief Executive's office or the Director of the service about the issue and the problems you have been having getting a response as then the Chief Exec or the Director will want to know what the response is. Or you could put in a complaint as this and the response will go through a central team.

 

However, since I work for a Council and in your words am a "complete and utter incompetent dumbhead" you may not want to follow this advice.

Edited by Aviva
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Aviva...maybe its just bradford council then.

 

Conniff...Yes they took court action 2 days before they were supposed to. The council have not finally accepted (in writing) that I owe nothing and no further action (bailiff or court) will be taken against me. They are still not providing me with a breakdown of the £125 liability order that they had issued against me. They know they've made a cock up. I think they are hoping that if they ignore me now for long enough i will lose interest and leave them alone. I am angry that even when they agreed that I owed them nothing they still continued with the liability order. and to add insult to injury the liability order was for the wrong amount.

 

hb

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Sorry I've been away.

 

That's another good suggestion from Coniff. I think it's important for you to get someone else at the Council involved with your query as you are having no joy from the manager you've been dealing with.

 

All SARs for Bradford Council should go through their Data Protection Compliance Officer. Here is the online form wiith more information about applying.

 

I really would not want to work in Council Tax. I work in Housing and have had tenants come to me with Council Tax problems and there seems to be very little leeway/help available. It feels to me like a debt collection agency whereas we try to help with Benefit problems, budgeting/debt advice, etc. We have a joint working project that has been running for a few years now with the CAB that has been a great help to many tenants.

Bradford SAR.pdf

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