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Advice on dealing with NHS Dental Penatly Charge Notice

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eiDear CAG,

Can you please advise me on how to deal with a dental penatly charge I recieved?

The usual story: I thought I was exempt but I wasn't. It turns out exemption upon recipiency of working tax credits is only automatic if one is also in receipt of child tax credits or a disability allowance.

Instead  I have to apply for an HC2 certificate, which has arrived today and it turns out I'm fully exempt from all NHS treatment after all.

Nonetheless, I now have a £60 dental charge and a £100 penalty to deal with!

I have written to them and told them where they can shove it, and reminded them that extortion is a criminal offence.

I don't know if I have a legal leg to stand on with that, but it's how I view this and a complaint to the relevant ombudsman will be placed.

I can understand that if I don't know how the system works and I claim something on the NHS in error, without reading the small print etc. etc. then I've made a mistake and should be billed for the treatment. 


- I wasn't even given ONE chance to correct the error and pay the charges

- the emergency treatment I recieved was lousy and I am considering filing a complaint in writing to the dental practise. 

I am booked in for further treatment at my regular dentist now, who are amazing.

How do I deal with the previous charges then? Do I have to pay them and then claim them back? I am NOT paying the £100 penalty charge!

Can I write to the NHS department and ask that they just waive all charges now that I have a form for exemption?


Can I challenge the dental charges on grounds that I don't think the service I recieved was up to acceptable standard?

How should I proceed?

A straightforward situation where I thought I was exempt, should have been exempt, was exempt but a load of red tape and hoops to jump through nonetheless. Ridiculous...


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Hello and welcome to CAG. People should be along to advise later.

Are you one of the cases where an entitlement card ran out and you didn't notice? Apologies if I'm thinking abour prescriptions.

Best, HB

Illegitimi non carborundum




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I have been on working tax credits for 4 years and I had a check up shortly after I started recieving WTC (I think) and they accepted my exemption then and i didn't receive anything after that so I assumed I was still exempt. But check ups are free! I was therefore unaware that I had to apply for an HC2 and assumed any treatment I got would be exempt. So no, I have never had an HC2.

I have until monday to pay or there will be more charges, so I've emailed them again with the HC2 certificate (that they just sent me) and asked them to waive the charges.

I am also in the middle of writing a letter of complaint to the dental practise, and informing them that I will not be paying for this treatment and asking them to write to the NHS to ask them to stop sending me threatening letters.

Unless anyone has any other adivce, that's what I'm currently doing...


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Well after a number of emails back and forth complaining I just recieved a reply from someone informing me that they are removing the penalty charge at least, but I still have to pay the dental charges (which I am disputing with the practise on grounds of poor treatment) and they have given me 90 days to settle the balance. So some progress..

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You can claim the charges back if they are recent enough. Typical of any system that involves a £2 billion computer that no-one has bothered to even work this out for themselves.

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