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    • claim letter sent as an email with signed PDF attached. Now waiting for a response....
    • Look at some respected Viral epidemiologists working on this new virus on Twitter versus the crazy unverified reports of people 'dropping like flies'. Plenty of conspiracy theories from people trying to sell books too.   It's widely thought that some of the increase in cases is due to not having tests available at the beginning, and that there are large numbers of people who had mild symptoms, that never got detected.  Therefore it's likely that the mortality is much lower than thought. Also think about how many people are lining up in hospitals who might only have a cold but are terrified from all the panic.   However all are urging caution, that much more will be revealed over the coming weeks as the infections accelerate.   It is terrifying to see a city on lockdown, but also worth understanding even a 0.5% fatality rate in China is 10's of millions of people. That's why they are acting like it's a Hollywood disaster movie.    
    • Hello, can anyone help please?   As part of new City regulators affordability rules I'm about to have my barclaycard (£6000 balance) taken away from me as I'm only meeting the monthly payments and never clearing down the balance. Barclaycard wrote to me and asked for £750 a month which is way out of reach on my income.    Having been around this site for many years I'm very reluctant to speak to them, does anyone have any advice on how I should proceed here? This card is around 5yrs old and I'm committed to paying off the debt. Stopping the interest and agreeing a payment plan would suit me but will they go for it? Should I let it default and just deal with the debt agency?    Any advice would be most welcome.   many thanks
    • Thanks for the revision.   The other odd thing is that the recorded delivery letter I sent to the alleged recipient has never been signed for -  the tracking simply states 'we've got your item' although it was sent 1st class on Wed 22nd - it's now the 28th.  So I can only conclude that it was refused 
    • Thank you for all your help and advice, I do appreciate it.   I think really I just need to understand why, after going to all the effort of obtaining a warrant, Spark or Marston's wouldn't do a quick check on the electoral register to see who lives here.  If not there seems the potential for them to be breaking into homes without the correct information all the time.  If there were a debt from another previous tenant that I am unaware of then using that logic they could obtain another warrant and enter again could they not?   This has left me very upset and shaken and unfortunately echoes the same feelings as being burgled a few years ago.  I really hate the thought of someone I don't know having been in my home when I'm not here.   I'll just follow the complaint procedures with the energy companies and see where I get to and try not to shout at Spark when I open the accounts to clear the balance.  The balance I am talking about clearing is mine as Spark tell me they've been supplying the property since November, not either of my preferred suppliers so I have no choice but to give them money.  I really don't feel like giving them anything under the circumstances but I'm certainly not going to do anything to make the situation worse!    
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Myself and my wife had to go onto Universal Credit and this is the only income we have at the moment. We were in arrears with our rent and council tax but had been in constant communication about this. Our landlord was fantastic about it and still is. The council on the other hand have been a bit of a nightmare.

 

We submitted all the budget statements etc so they can see we only have Universal Credit as our single source of income. Yet they expected us to pay £100 per month council tax. To be clear our monthly Universal Credit is £1077 out of which we pay £875 rent. That leaves £202 per month for water, gas/electric, food and other bills.

 

We applied for discretionary housing payment to top up the rent portion of our UC and are still waiting on a response. That would free up money to pay council tax and bills...I think, although it's often the case that they give with one hand and take away with the other.

 

So always been in constant contact with the council. They know our situation but still took us to court which I suppose they are required to do.

 

I did talk to their recovery dept about that and the woman there said not to worry, it is only a liability order and as the council are dealing with our situation and know about the Universal Credit it should be fine. It wasn't!

 

A couple of weeks ago we received an enforcement notice from Rossendales stating that we needed to pay the full outstanding balance by the 13th September plus a £75 enforcement fee or bailiffs will visit and take control of our goods etc. Good luck with that. We sold everything we had in an attempt to stay off benefits!

 

However this was still at the compliance stage so I was aware I could possibly make an arrangement over payments. I phoned Rossendales and at first they wanted a minimum of 75% of the outstanding debt but we got that down to two payments of £237, one on the 18th of this month and the balance on the 18th next month.

 

So far so good. It means we are going to have a problem with rent but I will figure something out.

 

My main concern now is that I have no written agreement with Rossendales. A bailiff could still turn up...although of course I won't let them in but my car is outside the flat and I am concerned they will simply go ahead and place a control on that.

 

So apologies for the long winded post but my real question is are Rossendales to be trusted when an agreement has been reached over the phone? Should I move the car just in case?

 

My wife is ill and on medication. She really doesn't need this sort of stress right now. Neither of us has ever had to claim benefits before and It certainly has been an eye opener to how people are treated, especially by their local councils.

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You have come up against the bureacracy that exists in local authorities possibly without realising it The department that deals with benefits probably does not communicate with the department that administers Council Tax. In many instances the work done behind the scenes in Councils is usually hived off to private companies. When you made your claim for UC did you claim for the housing allowance to get help with your rent? Have you made a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction? If so how long ago was this done?

 

 

Even if you are awaiting benefit decisions you are still expected to pay your Council Tax - difficult if you have nothing and it is abou time the powers that be introduced another level of non-payment to account for this. have you checked to see if you are getting everything you are entitled to, a useful benefit checker can be found @ https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou


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You have come up against the bureacracy that exists in local authorities possibly without realising it The department that deals with benefits probably does not communicate with the department that administers Council Tax. In many instances the work done behind the scenes in Councils is usually hived off to private companies. When you made your claim for UC did you claim for the housing allowance to get help with your rent? Have you made a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction? If so how long ago was this done?

 

 

Even if you are awaiting benefit decisions you are still expected to pay your Council Tax - difficult if you have nothing and it is abou time the powers that be introduced another level of non-payment to account for this. have you checked to see if you are getting everything you are entitled to, a useful benefit checker can be found @ https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou

 

Thanks for the reply. Yes I couldn't quite believe how complicated these things become. I always knew of course that people struggled with the benefits system but councils are a whole new level of mismanagement and incompetence!

 

The housing allowance is part of Universal Credit but of course it doesn't cover our rent. I think it's capped at £620 and our rent is £875. We were paying that fine for over two years and then of course my wife became ill, my work dried up...really just a "perfect storm" of events that landed us in this situation. I must say though, all our creditors have been pretty good. All have accepted token payments..which of course keeps the debt live, I know that but still it helps. In fact the ONLY people we have a problem with is the council.

 

It seems we are dealing with two or three different departments within the council and non of them are speaking to each other or even bothering to use a calculator and add up what we have coming in and what is going out. We did seek debt counselling at Citizens Advice and by their calculation if we paid everything we should pay we would be minus £230 per month!

 

We have done all the checking on what benefits we are entitled to. We do receive council tax benefit but for some reason despite having just Universal Credit as income they only reduced it by £32 per month. Not exactly sure how they calculated we could pay the remaining £100 per month.

 

There has to be a better system than this?

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You have come up against the bureacracy that exists in local authorities possibly without realising it The department that deals with benefits probably does not communicate with the department that administers Council Tax. In many instances the work done behind the scenes in Councils is usually hived off to private companies. When you made your claim for UC did you claim for the housing allowance to get help with your rent? Have you made a separate claim for Council Tax Reduction? If so how long ago was this done?

 

 

Even if you are awaiting benefit decisions you are still expected to pay your Council Tax - difficult if you have nothing and it is abou time the powers that be introduced another level of non-payment to account for this. have you checked to see if you are getting everything you are entitled to, a useful benefit checker can be found @ https://benefits-calculator.turn2us.org.uk/AboutYou

 

Good advice above but your immediate problems can be sorted out very rapidly.

 

Google, your local councillor / head of local council

 

Call local councillor and send an email explaining your position, copy in and ring the head of the council.

 

These are elected people with an interest in protecting their constituents, who also have the absolute power to override Bailiffs, The Revenue department, and anyone else. Someone gave me the same advice when I was in a desperate situation with C/tax, honestly I wasn't expecting anything but it was resolved within 15 minutes.

 

If you need any advice on what to say, let me know,


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Thanks for the advice. I now have written confirmation from Rossendales confirming the arrangement put in place. So at least that lessens that part of the stress problem.

 

I will however follow this up with our local councillor because I don't think it is at all right to put anyone in this situation. Many of the people facing these problems are not those who simply won't pay but are those who for whatever reason just can't pay.

 

It is stressful enough dealing with creditors but being terrorised by your local council, who should really be there to help people is something I never imagined was possible in the UK. You certainly live and learn!

 

Will update as things progress just in case it helps anyone else in our situation.

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It is stressful enough dealing with creditors but being terrorised by your local council, who should really be there to help people is something I never imagined was possible in the UK. You certainly live and learn!

 

Will update as things progress just in case it helps anyone else in our situation.

 

9 years of Austerity means that councils pay customer service staff peanuts and as a result, get monkeys. A little empathy training would really go a long way with many of their staff. It's almost like they are told to fob you off, no matter how bad your problem. Explaining to them that you can't afford to pay your rent this month unless you can come to an affordable arrangement is like trying to explain Quantum physics to a dog.

 

Fortunately in this country, we have a lot more power than we think, the local council system ensures that local government representatives have their mobiles and email addresses publicly available. In my case my head of local council, replied to my email almost immediately, and told me not to worry. By the end of the day my attachment of earnings had been removed.


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