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When my husband died last year we were in arrears with our Council Tax.

I went to the Council and an arrangement was put in place which I've adhered to.

Until yesterday, no problem.

 

Yesterday, two letters come through the post from Ross & Roberts addressed to my husband.

 

They were pay up within 7 days or we will take you to Court letters.

 

Being somewhat bemused by these letters,

I had a vision of letting them take my husband to Court,

me going to Court to "represent" my husband

and asking the Judge if the Court could employ the services of a Medium

so my husband could state his case from beyond the grave!!!

 

Being serious now.

Someone, has slipped up - badly.

I don't know if this is the fault of the Council or Ross & Roberts

and I'm not sure whose cage to rattle first about this but cage rattle I will.

 

I haven't had anything from the Council themselves, just this DCA.

 

I'm wondering if I can sue them for harrassment and causing distress.

It would be nice to turn the tables on them for a change.

Any advice welcome.

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I think in the first instance you need to speak to the Council.

 

Were they aware that your husband had died. They were almost certainly aware of the arrangement they had made to allow you pay in installments, so I cant see why they have now passed this on to Ross n Roberts.

 

Your thread has been flagged for site team so someone should be along to advise soon.


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Hi Lady

 

So sorry to hear of your loss and dont worry you will get help to sort this out just sometimes the weekends can be quiet but you will get the help.

 

I have asked if this issue may be better suited in the Debt Collection Forum as DCA is involved althougth employed by council.

 

Now the DCA DO NOT contact or speak to this DCA on the phone. (If this happens by accident and you realise its this DCA just inform them that you are unwilling to discuss this issue on the phone and you wish all contact to be in writing. Nothing else and hang up).

 

Next you need to contact the council if its by phone ensure to get the persons name and follow it immediatley with a letter comfirming your conversation and CC the DCA into the letter and foward them a copy (send all letters recorded delivery).

 

Inform the council of this letter from the DCA acting on their behalf and explain about your husband and that you will forward the original death certificate (sorry to mention this) but must have the original back and you require them to stop this DCAs action as the Account is "IN DISPUTE"and also ensure you title your letter "ACCOUNT IN DISPUTE".

 

other should be along to give more advice hope this helps


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I assume that the Council are looking at how long it will take to pay things off and as Council Tax is subject to joint & several liability they have now decided to chase your OH. Without appearing to be flippant I'd be tempted to give them his "new address". I suspect if & when you ring the Council you will get the runaround from them - are you aware that most Councils outsource their back office procedures to a firm called Capita, they in turn own 2 Bailiff Co's one of which is Ross & Roberts. Therefore when you ring the Council you will probably just be speaking to a Capita employee and it is in their interests to be non-cooperative. If it were me I would be contacting my local Councillor(s) and getting them to intervene, if they are reluctant or refuse then go straight to the Leader of the Council and his opposite number.

 

PT


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Hi Lady

 

So sorry to hear of your loss and dont worry you will get help to sort this out just sometimes the weekends can be quiet but you will get the help.

 

I have asked if this issue may be better suited in the Debt Collection Forum as DCA is involved althougth employed by council.

 

Now the DCA DO NOT contact or speak to this DCA on the phone. (If this happens by accident and you realise its this DCA just inform them that you are unwilling to discuss this issue on the phone and you wish all contact to be in writing. Nothing else and hang up).

 

Next you need to contact the council if its by phone ensure to get the persons name and follow it immediatley with a letter comfirming your conversation and CC the DCA into the letter and foward them a copy (send all letters recorded delivery).

 

Inform the council of this letter from the DCA acting on their behalf and explain about your husband and that you will forward the original death certificate (sorry to mention this) but must have the original back and you require them to stop this DCAs action as the Account is "IN DISPUTE"and also ensure you title your letter "ACCOUNT IN DISPUTE".

 

other should be along to give more advice hope this helps

 

The Council have seen the death certificate and no doubt have a copy of it. The agreement with me was put in place last June and I've kept to it. As for the DCA, they state in their letter that "Despite numerous visits by our Bailliffs you have failed to clear your outstanding amount of..." I'm in most of the time and no Bailliff has come near my house chasing Council Tax. They speak with forked tongue! I know not to phone DCAs but to put everything in writing and send Recorded Delivery.

 

I assume that the Council are looking at how long it will take to pay things off and as Council Tax is subject to joint & several liability they have now decided to chase your OH. Without appearing to be flippant I'd be tempted to give them his "new address". I suspect if & when you ring the Council you will get the runaround from them - are you aware that most Councils outsource their back office procedures to a firm called Capita, they in turn own 2 bailifflink3.gif Co's one of which is Ross & Roberts. Therefore when you ring the Council you will probably just be speaking to a Capita employee and it is in their interests to be non-cooperative. If it were me I would be contacting my local Councillor(s) and getting them to intervene, if they are reluctant or refuse then go straight to the Leader of the Council and his opposite number.

 

My (flippant) attitude to them is go ahead. Take my late husband to Court. They're going to look really stupid trying to sue a dead man. I wonder if they would like me to go out with a dustpan and brush to his final resting place and sweep up his ashes? Now there's an idea. Let these idiots take my late husband to Court and I turn up to "represent" him...complete with the urn. I'm so tempted to do that just to see the look on their faces. Would be priceless.

 

We have a very good local councillor here so a quick word with him might be good. I can contact him tomorrow as he only lives a few streets away and is very approachable.

 

I don't know whose error this fiasco is but somebody needs their behind kicked. In the meantime, I'm not going to lose any sleep over it. I'll let you all know what transpires tomorrow.

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ross and roberts are bailiffs not a dca.....

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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ross and roberts are bailiffs not a dca.....

 

dx

 

Thanks for that DX.

Still, Bailliffs or DCAs, somebody's got it very wrong and they lie in their letter.

 

No-one has been here chasing Council Tax.

 

No doubt, when it gets sorted out, someone will blame it on a computer error as usual.

 

No wonder our Council Tax is so high with errors like this.

 

What a complete waste of time and money chasing a debt from a dead man which is being paid by his widow and was transferred into my name in June last year after my hubby died.

 

Just sheer and total incompetence.

 

I do wonder how many more widows/widowers are being chased for the same thing.

Quite a few I bet.

 

The whole lot of them should hang their heads in shame.

 

It's bad enough losing your husband/wife without these people harrassing you for something that has already been sorted out.

 

I shall be going on the warpath tomorrow with the Council. We'll see what they've got to say for themselves.

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you miss the point....

 

dca's can be forgiven as they are computer generated threat-o-gram merchants.

 

a bailiffs IS NOT!!

 

a person did this

and

the COUNCIL are their gov'nrs!!

 

time for compensation me thinks.

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, the whole DCA industry would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Hi

 

And "Formal Complaint" to the Council.


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you miss the point....

 

dca's can be forgiven as they are computer generated threat-o-gram merchants.

 

a bailiffs IS NOT!!

 

a person did this

and

the COUNCIL are their gov'nrs!!

 

time for compensation me thinks.

 

dx

 

Ah. Point taken. How would I go about getting compensation? Getting one over on that lot would be soooooo good :-)

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In the first instance you need to send FORMAL / OFFICIAL COMPLAINTS to both Ross and Roberts and the Council

 

They are obliged to respond properly within a certain time scale.

 

Then you will be able to move onwards with any further action you need to take.

 

Having established that this is a bailiff company I am going to move your thread to that forum, where you will get a lot more people "in the know" look in on you.


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You might like to read this thread - http://www.consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?165123-I-m-dead-but-DCA-please-come-amp-collect!!&highlight=ash

 

Also if you have an arrangement to pay the council and you have maintained it then there is no way they can take you to court, as if they do the isuue of promissiory estoppel (i.e. which means you have come to an agreement and kept to it - you can't be taken to court as the judge will throw out their claim due to promissiary estoppel) then it becomes your pathway to claim costs and get the judge to rule in your favour...


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Sorry for your loss, and the obvious insensitivity and appalling lack of concern by the council, It looks like the council may have obtained a Liability Order in your dead husband's name , and which they have now handed to the bailiff, who will want his fees, not too sure if estoppel is applicable to LO's as they are basically a kangaroo nod through at magistrates court. Whether it would stand if it was obtained after a persons death is doubtful, but we all know what muppets councils are.

 

I would ask the council

How many Liability Orders they hold on your late husband (tat this point they may try to hide behind data protection

How much are they for, as now the bailiff is inviklved their costs also come into the equation

When were they obtained, key as you have been paying without a problem

When were they handed to Ross 'n Robbers for enforcement.

ask them by phone today, backed up by email, and post back what they say. It may be useful if indeed they have obtained a liability order, and it is dated after death, ask them how they intend to enforce the liability, as their obvious insensitivity means Council CEO, leader, Councillor, mp will get Formal Complaints, along with the press.

 

Don't worry you will be helped to sort this out, and I'm sure the bailiff experts will be along very soon now


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I had a thought that perhaps the Council have..

 

Changed the CT into your name including the arrears which you have an arrangement to pay.

 

However, it wouldnt surprise me at all to discover they have at the same time, left the original arrears in your Late Husband's name and they have passed that on for collection.

 

What is the sum of money that R&R are chasing ? Does it take into account any of the monies you have repaid ? Or is the sum that was left owing at the time of your Husband's death ?


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@ citizen B perhaps the LO is in the late husbands name, as the letters OP said were addressed to her late husband which may help OP get the account back to the council from Ross 'n Robbers, on the pain of press involvement.

 

It is further evidence how the computer driven system and use of back office providers like Capita with their allied bailiffs id treading all over fairness and due process.

 

Wonder what TT and the others make of this one, personally I am horrified.


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@ citizen B perhaps the LO is in the late husbands name, which may help OP get the account back to the council from Ross ;n Robbers, on the pain of press involvement.

 

 

 

If what the OP says in her first post is correct, R&R have written to her late husband and it is him they are threatening to take to court.. so yes, I guess the LO is in his name.

 

If it were me, I would certainly be involving my MP, Local Councillor and the press. Whatever the reason for the c*ck up - they have caused great distress to the OP for no reason. The money is being repaid and the Council were advised of the death by way of a copy certificate.

 

I can just see them crawling behind the "admin / computer error" excuse.. but IMHO, there is no excuse for this kind of incompetence.


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If what the OP says in her first post is correct, R&R have written to her late husband and it is him they are threatening to take to court.. so yes, I guess the LO is in his name.

 

If it were me, I would certainly be involving my MP, Local Councillor and the press. Whatever the reason for the c*ck up - they have caused great distress to the OP for no reason. The money is being repaid and the Council were advised of the death by way of a copy certificate.

 

I can just see them crawling behind the "admin / computer error" excuse.. but IMHO, there is no excuse for this kind of incompetence.

 

Trust me they will find an excuse, and when castigated rightfully in the press, or whatever way OP sees fit, will make mealy mouthed platitudes about a "legal obligation" to collect council tax, lessons will be learned etc


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I get housing/council tax benefit. Had to do a reassessment recently and it's left me confused.

 

Haven't heard from them since I submitted the information they asked for so phoned them this morning.

 

She said to start with that from 7th May, I was over the limit for Council Tax/Housing Benefit. Since I've been in receipt of these since my husband died in May last year and the only change is I have less coming in as of next month due to my son being told he is now fit to work and was taken off Income Support and put on JSA, a drop of approx £70 per month.

 

My total income is my late husband's two pensions of £189 and £72 per month, £146 Bereavement Benefit which ends this week and my son's £141 JSA (not sure of the exact amounts of the two benefits), the last two amounts are the fortnightly payments.

 

Not a lot of income by any means and this has to pay rent, food, gas, electricity and all household bills.

 

I may have misunderstood the lady and seemingly a letter has been sent out by 2nd class post but as yet I have not received it. I'll have a better idea of what's going on when I read it.

 

She did say she would ask for a recalculation to be done (don't think she thought it was right either) so we'll see what comes out of that.

 

Based on the figures I've given, does anyone have any idea what I should be entitled to? I currently can't work due to a badly broken wrist - waiting for an appointment with a specialist so have put in a claim for ESA.

 

Right now, I'm a very worried person :sad:

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Your income is approx 542 pm -

I've just been knocked back for housing benefit on an income of 560 pm, so you may be right on the limit, even without the bereavement benefit.

 

It might be worth taking a look at the benefits calculator below:

 

http://www.turn2us.org.uk/benefits_search.aspx


Carpe Jugulum

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Your income is approx 542 pm -

I've just been knocked back for housing benefit on an income of 560 pm, so you may be right on the limit, even without the bereavement benefit.

 

It might be worth taking a look at the benefits calculator below:

 

http://www.turn2us.org.uk/benefits_search.aspx

 

I used the benefits calculator. Seemingly according to that I have to pay £51 a week for rent and about £80 for council tax - basically all council tax. How I'm going to be able to put food on the table and pay for gas and electric is beyond me.

 

For the first time in my life I don't see a point to living anymore and the sickening thing is I've worked and paid tax all my life, leaving school at the age of 15. I'm about to lose everything and there is nothing I can do about it.

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Things have got much worse. Now they're saying I've been overpaid rent and council tax benefit to the tune of £3000 going back to the day my husband died. How they've managed this is beyond me as I supplied them with all the information they required (several times). No explanation of how this "error" has occurred. I have never tried to cheat them or lied to them. Everything they have asked for they have been given.

 

The CAB has lodged an Appeal until we can get this mess sorted out.

 

With what they're now asking me to pay in rent and council tax, paying off arrears my late husband kindly left me plus repaying the "overpayment", I have more coming out than I have coming in. An impossible situation.

 

I have been told I may have to declare myself bankrupt - a path I do not want to go down if I can possibly avoid it.

 

They have given no explanation for this "error" either.

 

Yesterday I received another letter asking for the information they've had since May last year again. I have never seen such complete and utter incompetence in my life but I am now struggling to keep the roof above my head because of it.

 

And to Bigegg. My income without the bereavement benefit is £260 per month - not exactly a huge amount. I could understand all this if it were a weekly sum but it's not.

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Thats seems a lot of BB are you sure you have got that figure right :(

If you get awarded ESA and its Income Based you will get full housing benefit.

Appeal your overpayment, they cant do anything untill its heard, this will give you some breathing space.

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as your bereavememt benefit is due to end are you aware which other benefit you may need to claim?

If you are not capable of working due to ill health then you need to visit your GP and get a fit note to determine that you can apply for ESA (this will be an income based award as you have not worked to qualify for contribution based ESA recently in the ast 12 months).

If your GP cannot give you a fit note then you will need to consider a claim for Income Based JSA.

 

Based on the fiure of your late husbans pension that receive I calculate approx £43.61 for the first and £16.61 for the second per week.

income related esa/jsa is £71.00 per week and you have to deduct your pension payments from this figure so I estimate £10 per week ESA/JSA which will entitle you to help with your HB/CtB claim in full.

You sons JSA award will not affect your ESA/JSA award.

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The Benefits Office landed me with a shocker earlier this year - a bill for overpayment of Housing and Council Tax Benefit to the tune of £4500.

 

They allege that I never informed them of the two small pensions I received after my husband died. I did, several times.

 

Anyway, to cut a long story short, I appealed this and the hearing was last Friday. I missed the hearing due to our town centre being gridlocked, the buses running up to 40 mins late, couldn't get a taxi in time either so went home and phoned the Court. They got a message to the Judge hearing the case just in time so it has been adjourned until after January.

 

However, I got a letter on Saturday from the Court - and it made my day. The Judge is obviously on the ball and he picked up several discrepancies in the amounts claimed by the Benefits Office.

 

He has also ordered them to appear at the hearing (so I presume they were so arrogant that they just thought I'd keel over and drop the appeal or not turn up at Court - I didn't get to the Court but it wasn't for the want of trying). They have been asked to explain themselves and the Judge has already told them that there is no way I could have realised something was wrong (or words to that effect).

 

Naturally, I am fuming about this. The Benefits Office have messed me around since my husband lay dying in the hospital. It wasn't until he transferred to another hospital who had a very good social worker that we finally got benefits put in place.

 

It's almost as if someone there has a vendetta against my late husband and now me.

 

This is the first time I've had to claim benefit and it's only housing and council tax. I'm not on JSA or ESA as my combined pensions are £3 over the government's ridiculous figure of £71. Financially, things are very tight and my house is seriously at risk. Until this mess is sorted out I have to pay £40 a week out of the £74 I get. Doesn't leave much for gas, electricity, household bills and food.

 

My son is also vulnerable as he is partly deaf and has had a kidney transplant. Our house is cold because we can't afford to run the central heating so that puts him at risk as he has a compromised immune system due to the anti-rejection drugs he's on. We're both trying desperately hard to get jobs but my son keeps getting turned down and I seem to be considered too old (in my 50s) even though I could run rings round younger people.

 

I am going to SAR the benefits office. See what comes back from that. If I'm going to go down, I'm going to go down fighting.

 

It was bad enough losing my husband last year but for these incompetents to heap on the misery is just pain disgusting :mad2:

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I know you're not asking this but; if you have a disability which affects your ability to work, you could claim ESA. After 13 weeks (or whenever they assess you; it'll be backdated) you should be put into a group and should receive some extra money.

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