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help... i have had a letter from Philips Collection Services Ltd, saying that I owe the council 569.60 in overpayment of housing benefit...

I have repeatedly asked the council to prove where this overpayment was made and how, as I am fully aware of the little loophole in the law that is:

 

"The law of Estople quotes that if you recieve an overpayment and did not realise, and if to repay the money would put you in a worse financial position than if you never recieved the overpayment the amount does not have to be repayed".

 

well to be frank, the council have never told me: a) when this overpayment is supposedly for, b) how they worked it out, and their reasons for working it out

 

at the moment, I am really in a bit of a tight spot financially, and there is just no way that i can pay back 569.60. also, i dont feel that i should - the last time i claimed HB was Jan-April 2006, and I kept them fully aware of my employment situation - i even returned the final HB cheque to them unpaid as i had started work, but they hadnt updated their computers, and i thought "sod's law, if i bank this, theyre gonna want it all back..." so i returned it.

 

can anyone advise on what i should do?

the bailiffs are saying that if i dont pay them in full within 7 days they will 'take further recovery action'

 

 

help....????:confused:

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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***bump***

 

anyone????

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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I think you need to see the CAB or perhaps a fixed fee interview with a solicitor.

I had a long running dispute with the council over unpaid garage rent, I cancelled, they said not, it took the CAB and a visit to solicitor to get them off my back.

Long and short was they couldnt prove how I owed the money so had to back off.

Of course I will pay you everything you say I owe with no proof.

Oooh Look....Flying Pigs

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what did the CAB do?

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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i have sent the council a letter asking for a complete breakdown of the overpayment, including reasons for the overpayment, and also copies of any previous correspondence regarding the alleged overpayment, but i dont know what to do when i get them??

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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i have sent the council a letter asking for a complete breakdown of the overpayment, including reasons for the overpayment, and also copies of any previous correspondence regarding the alleged overpayment, but i dont know what to do when i get them??

 

Come back here for some advice :)

"Some of the biggest men in the United States, in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of something.

 

They know that there is a power somewhere so organised, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above their breath when they speak in condemnation of it."

 

Woodrow Wilson, President of the United States.

Change the US for the U K... do you think he meant CAG?! :wink:

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CAB directed me to a solicitor who charged me £10 for an interview and advice.

 

Went back to CAB who helped me draft some letters asking for proof of my tenancy for the period stated and thier proof that I had not handed back the keys as I said.

 

They couldnt do either so it was end of story.

Of course I will pay you everything you say I owe with no proof.

Oooh Look....Flying Pigs

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Mama Bear, You made the council fully aware of your circumstances and so the overpayment should be their responsibility. If they refuse to accept this a welfare rights worker from the CAB or a Law Centre could help you with an appeal. Councils unfortunately use unacceptable debt recovery methods. They have no legal right to use bailiffs without a court judgement. Several councils use Philips as they work both as debt collectors and bailiffs. In your situation (HB overpayment) a judgement could only be granted in the County Court. If this occurred the bailiff would be a court officer and would not belong to a private firm (Philips). If you ask the Council for an explanation of this they are likely to say that Philips are not acting as bailiffs in your case but simply as debt recovery agents. This means that they have no right to list or remove your goods, and only have the right to ask you for money. The reason why councils use this company seems to be simply to scare people into making (often unaffordable) payments, as their letterheads state 'Specialist Bailiff and Debt Recovery Agents'. The Office of Fair Trading's Debt Collection Guidelines 2003 may be worth quoting to the Council, as they forbid debt collectors from posing as bailiffs or officers of the Court, and order creditors to suspend collection of a debt that is in dispute. When you contact the benefits department at the Council, let them know that you are disputing the overpayment and ask them to arrange for debt recovery to be suspended while you do this. Hope this helps & good luck catw75

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Mama Bear,

 

When the local authority notify you off an overpayment, they have to do so in writing and include the following information:-

 

That it considers that a recoverable overpayment has been made.

The reason the alleged overpayment was made.

The reason why the alleged overpayment is recoverable.

The amount of the alleged overpayment.

How the amount of the alleged overpayment was calculated.

The period over which the alleged overpayment was made.

In the case of housing benefit, if it proposes to recover the alleged overpayment from the persons current benefit by deductions at source, how much it proposes to deduct per week.

 

The letter also has to explain that you have the right to the written reasons for the decision and how you can get the reasons.

That you have the right to have the decision reviewed and how you can do this. If they have not provided this information to you, complain.

 

There is however a one month time limit to ask for more information or ask for the decision to be looked at again. When were you informed of the overpayment? Did you ask for the decision to be looked at again? What did the local authority say? The local authority do normally negotiate a reasonable repayment plan but they do not have to. Did you offer to pay a weekly, monthly amount?

 

Unfortunately, all overpayments of benefit can be recovered by the local authority, unless the overpayment is the result of official error. If you can provide more detail as to why the local authority say there has been an overpayment then I will try to help you further. You can complain using the local authority complaints procedure and after this complain to the local government Ombudsman. If you are unhappy with the local authority reply.

 

Hope this helps.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Can anyone explain to me how the law / principle of Estoppel work in regards to overpayment of benefits? Two of my friends are in situations where they have received threatening letters from debt collectors stating that they are recovering overpayments of Houding Benefit and Tax Credits respectively...

i was told (on here) that

 

"The law of Estople quotes that if you recieve an overpayment and did not realise, and if to repay the money would put you in a worse financial position than if you never recieved the overpayment the amount does not have to be repayed".

 

can anybody elaborate on this for me please???

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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also, with regard to my situation, I have had no correspondence from the council, but i also cc'd a copy to the debt collectors, who just sent me another letter saying that they will be sending a representative round to my house to collect the money ! they can try, but theyre not coming through the door!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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Mama Bear, if you have not had any correspondence from the council complain to them using their complaints procedure.

 

Also, as mentioned previously, if an overpayment has occurred because of non-disclosure of details, change in circumstances not being passed on etc, it is the individuals duty to notify the local authority. If through this, an overpayment has occurred, they can ask for it back. However, if you are on benefit there are limits to the weekly amounts they can deduct from your benefit for the overpayment.

 

It may seem harsh but if recovery was not possible, anybody could give false information. For example, being a single parent while having a partner living with them and then just saying it will cause hardship to pay back the money owed and not pay when it comes to light. The system would not work if everybody could argue that paying it back would put them in a worse financial position.

 

As mentioned, it can be challenged though if the error was on the local authorities part. You mention that your friends are also being pursued by the bailiffs for overpayment of benefits, did they receive notification from the local authority before the bailiffs became involved? If not, then it looks as though a complaint needs to be made by you all to the local authority. If you are on benefits still try to deal with the council regarding a payment plan.

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I've just spoken to my daughter who is a Housing Benefits Assessor and she said the best way to deal with this is to Complain to the Chief Executive (she said staff intend to take more notice when it comes from that source) of your Council and give them 14 days in which to resolve the matter and advise if after 14 days you are not satisfied you can complain to your Local Government Ombudsman. This will depend on which Council you come under. Apparently they should have sent you a letter detailing our the overpayment occurred.

Hope this helps.

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brilliant! thank you very much - I will do exactly that.

tell your daughter thanks for the advice!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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Should have mentioned that if you do have to complain to the Government Ombudsman the one for our area was very good when we had to make a complaint and my daughter finished up with £1,500 in compensation as they were found to be at fault. So good luck.

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i sent the council a letter on 30th march but have had no response from them at all. what should i do?

i wouldnt mind, but the problem is for my old address (which i moved from a year ago) but they 'found' me on the voters role and sent letters to my new address. they were quick enough to do that, but when i complain, it takes them over a month to reply!!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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If you gave them 14 days to reply and they haven't then you need to send your paperwork to the Local Government Ombudsman. The address will depend on which Council you are with. If you go on to your LA Website it should give your their address or you could always ring them up and ask if you can't find it. Make sure you do complain because they do react.

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is there anything in particular i should say to the ombudsman or just tell them the complete story? im really annoyed, because i have also told the debt collectors that they cannot pursue me for this amount as it is in dispute, however they keep sending me legal letters saying that they will send the bailiffs in - which i have told them that they cant do without a court judgement/order - see post #8 - but they keep threatening me all the same!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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You MUST WRITE to the debt collectors to tell them the debt is in dispute, or they will keep pursuing you for it.

To be on the safe side send it recorded signed for.

I QUESTION THEREFORE I AM!! [sIGPIC][/sIGPIC]

 

Unfortunately i'm not an expert in any given field legally and my advice and that of the Consumer Action Group and the Bank Action Group is given without prejudice and without liability so please if in any doubt whatsoever seek help from an insured qualified professional. Contents of my posts are purely my own personal opinions and not condoned or endorsed in any way, shape or form by CAG. Thank you! :p

 

 

I have been smoke-free for 4yrs

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  • 4 weeks later...

i sent the letter, like you advised, although i didnt send it recorded - might send another copy tonight to make sure, as i had ANOTHER nasty letter this morning from them!!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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have sent another copy to them recorded, and i must say, i was a bit nasty - it left them in NO doubt as to my intentions if they dont stop harassing me!

08/02/07-Prelim letter & SOC sent to Barclays

22/02/07-LBA & updated SOC sent to Barclays

23/02/07-Prelim letter and SOC sent to RBS

05/03/07-Offer letter recd from RBS - full settlement, no conditions. Accepted

08/03/07-Paid in full from RBS:D

12/03/07-Offer from Barclays - less than 1/3 of the full amount, rejection letter sent with updated SOC:mad:

26/03/07-Claim #2 against RBS...Prelim letter and SOC sent (same account, more charges since settling last claim!)

18/05/07- recfd offer from RBS for full amount claimed, accepted!

25/0507-recd offer from barclays for full amount!!!! yippee!!! acceptance sent

26/0507-recd letter from barclays saying that they have closed my account???? help!?

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