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Cullingworth dad's anger over Bradford council tax debit errors
A father-of-two is locked in a dispute with Bradford Council over extra charges the authority insists he owes after his council tax direct debit payments failed.
Andrew Vaux, of Lees Close, Cullingworth , has been successfully paying his council tax in monthly instalments for the best part of 20 years, but in May received a letter out of the blue from the Council stating he had missed April’s payment.
Upon investigation he realised that his bank account had not contained sufficient funds, so called the Council to pay the outstanding amount of about £130 by debit card.
He assumed that would be the end of the matter and that the direct debit would kick in again the following month and he was told over the phone that everything was in order.
As a result he said he was shocked to receive another letter in July stating he had missed a subsequent payment. Again he paid over the phone but was again not advised there was a problem with the direct debit.
A further letter stated he had missed two more payments and he would be taken to court and as a consequence owed court costs too.
Mr Vaux told the Telegraph & Argus: “I’ve offered to pay the £393 I owe in missed council tax payments but I do not believe I should be charged extra when no-one explained to me that the missed payments meant I had lost the right to pay by direct debit.
“Apparently I should have been sent an amended bill after the first missed payment, but I did not receive one. I want to pay what I owe and believe I have been completely reasonable about this, but I am really disappointed with how I have been treated.”
Mr Vaux’s direct debit was reinstated by the Council this month, with his payments recalculated to reflect the extra court costs he is in dispute over. As a result he has cancelled the payment.
Martin Stubbs, the Council’s assistant director of revenues and benefits, said: “We cannot comment on individual cases.
“The most cost effective way is to pay by direct debit, but if a direct debit fails, an alternative method of payment might be needed to prevent a further accumulation of debt.
“In many cases it is possible to continue to pay by direct debit even after a payment has failed. Any individuals can take up our complaints procedure if they so wish.”