Pensioners’ council tax dispute after payment went into wrong account

An elderly couple were affected by a Post Office error which meant their council tax payment went into the wrong account.

Ron and Jean Febrey, from Nailsea, were shocked when they received a letter from North Somerset Council to say they had not paid their council tax for June, despite them paying the £184 as usual at their local post office, reports SomersetLive.

The letter threatened them with court action if they didn’t pay the amount within seven days.

Ron, 87, said he diligently pays the tax within the first four days of the month at his local Post Office.

He called the council to say they had paid but was told the amount was still outstanding – he even told the authority he had a receipt from the Post Office but he claimed “they didn’t want to know”.

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The couple went back to the Post Office to inquire further but Post Office staff couldn’t work out what had happened as he had used the same payment card as usual and all the details were correct.

They check their bank balance and found the payment had gone into the Hague Housing Trust, based in Surrey.

The couple said they contacted the council about the error, who directed them to the Post Office.

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They paid their June instalment again as they didn’t want to get behind on their payments.

Ron said he believes there are others who have been affected by the issue. He said: “We understand that we are not the only ones affected.

“There are others, possibly elderly people too, that use the Post Office to pay their bills. We have managed to get to the bottom of this, but others might have not.”

A spokesperson for North Somerset Council said: “North Somerset Council is aware of a national issue with some council tax payments whereby residents paid their council tax at a Post Office, which has not shown on our records.

“This is a national Post Office issue following an update to their payment system, and they are carrying out a full investigation into what has happened. Before the issue was identified, North Somerset Council sent reminders to five households as we believed we had not received payments.

“As soon as we were made aware of the national Post Office issue, we took instant action. We have now made changes to our system and no further reminders will be sent to affected households. We expect the Post Office investigation to be concluded shortly.”

A Post Office spokesperson said: “We are aware of an issue and investigating as a matter of urgency.”

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