Council Blunder Could Cost Tax Payers Thousands

A COUNCIL error could cost tax payers thousands of pounds, it has been revealed today (Monday). Stevenage residents who pay their council tax by direct debit are up in arms after Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) wrongly took payment today - two days earlie

A COUNCIL error could cost tax payers thousands of pounds, it has been revealed today (Monday).

Stevenage residents who pay their council tax by direct debit are up in arms after Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) wrongly took payment today - two days earlier than it should have.

The mistake has left some people with an unauthorised overdraft, and SBC has promised to repay any customers who incur bank charges as a result of the error.

One affected resident said: "It's the end of the month when most people's bank accounts are empty and, like myself, are waiting to be paid on the last day of the month."

He added: "I would like to know where SBC will find the money to reimburse all those people who will be charged by the banks for this mistake, and how much it will cost. As council tax payers we have a right to know."

A spokesman for SBC said: "We have this morning become aware of an error which has resulted in direct debits being collected today instead of Wednesday.

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"We apologise to those affected and have taken steps to ensure the problem does not happen again.

"We can offer three options to those affected:

"Ask their bank to reject the direct debit as 'demand not yet due' and we can then claim it on April 16.

"Ask their bank to do an indemnity claim and we will then recalculate the instalments.

"If they have been charged by their bank they can send us a copy of the charges notification with a covering letter and we will refund the charges.

"We are committed to ensuring that no one is disadvantaged by the error.

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