Council tax collection 'shambles' is criticised...
PUBLISHED: 07:50 30 October 2011
NORTH Somerset Council has been labelled a 'shambles' after threatening to send bailiffs to the wrong people over council tax payments it is owed.
For months the authority has demanded money from a landlord and letting agent in Weston which should have been paid by tenants.
Darren Clapp, managing director of Glentworth Lettings, and client Tony Kerr both received letters from the council demanding money. Return emails, letters and legal documents proving they were not responsible were ignored.
Mr Kerr, who is being chased for more than £1,000, said bailiffs turned up at his home despite him and Glentworth repeatedly telling the council it had the wrong man.
He said: “I heard there were problems with getting the money out of one of the tenants, then he left and I had a call from bailiffs. Because the tenant hadn’t paid the council tax, they were coming after me for the money.
“They should be a lot more vigilant and efficient about how they come to the conclusions about who owes what.”
Glentworth is being ordered to pay £66.85 in council tax for a property that was rented through the firm.
He said: “I am so frustrated and furious about this whole situation and I do not want these situations happening to my clients or anyone else in the future.”
Mr Clapp said he had lost count of how many times he had tried to contact the council and was told last week it has a three-week backlog of complaints.
He admitted he was fed up with the amount of time the council is taking to clear him and Mr Kerr despite alerting workers of the problem back in August.
He said: “Myself or one of my staff have phoned and spoken to North Somerset Council pretty much every day since the beginning of October and made numerous calls since August that is costing me money in time and wages. I also own other businesses throughout the area and am in the process of expanding Glentworth throughout the UK and never in my business life experienced such shambles in all my life.
“The council are making cutbacks which are fair enough but do them in the right areas, as to me it looks like they are wasting money by not doing the job properly.”
A spokesman for the council said it is looking into the problems and it would take several days before to thoroughly go through paper and phone records.