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Frank Hovis

Council Tax - Why You May Have To Use A Credit Check Company

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So....

The council checks your credit file, and removes your discount if they think there is somebody else living there.

This seems to me very unfair. If you are correctly claiming and some third party credit check company makes a mistake then you have to sign up with that third party company, find out what your record is, and correct their mistake and they won't correct it without some process of your proving that it's wrong. And then having done this you need to go back to the council and get them to recheck it and change your bill.

Great. Well I have to hope that whichever company the council checks has not made a mistake on my file (if I even have a file; I've never looked and don't have debts) or I will have a whole load of work to do to correct their mistake.

And if you don't use a computer, as some of my parents' friends never have, what are you meant to do then?

I know that these reliefs do get abused but this seems one heavy handed way to do it; relying upon third party information from a private company that is nothing to do with the council.

People who pay reduced council tax are being told they may owe the full rate as the council launches a major benefits crackdown.

Anyone who lives alone is entitled to a 25 per cent Single Person Discount (SPD) on their annual bill.

But Plymouth City Council says false claims are costing more than £250,000 a year – and those suspected of providing inaccurate information are being stripped of their discount.

New bills are being sent out, backdated to April 1 this year, and residents who believe they are still entitled to a reduction must now prove they live alone by using a credit check company.

A Plymouth City Council spokeswoman said: "Where the credit file has identified a high or very high risk of another adult living in a property, it gives the council good evidence that the person is no longer entitled to a discount and the 25 per cent SPD will be removed and a new bill issued.

"We do understand that in some cases the credit file will not pick up recent changes in circumstances.

"If you feel that a mistake has been made, you need to contact one of the free credit reference agencies such as noddle.co.uk to check who might be incorrectly linked to your address and to update your file.

"You also need to contact us to let us know that you are still entitled to the discount and why via e-mail on revenues@plymouth.gov.uk.

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/major-council-tax-crackdown-in-plymouth-is-your-bill-about-to-go-up/story-29534193-detail/story.html

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This is a great idea. I expect a small number of people will end up on the wrong end of a mistake but it's an efficient, low cost way for a council to discover fraudulent claims.

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This is a great idea. I expect a small number of people will end up on the wrong end of a mistake but it's an efficient, low cost way for a council to discover fraudulent claims.

Do you work for a council revenue collection department?

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Do you work for a council revenue collection department?

No, but I do pay council tax. I'm struggling to see what the issue is with this. An organisation has data that the council could use to spot fraudulent claims - I'd be more annoyed if they didn't use it.

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No, but I do pay council tax. I'm struggling to see what the issue is with this. An organisation has data that the council could use to spot fraudulent claims - I'd be more annoyed if they didn't use it.

I would be totally happy if they used it as a basis to make checks.

Not assuming that it's right and just changing it.

When I bought my current house I gave all the information (correctly) to the council tax office. Then I found myself given a bill for an extra two weeks. I queried this and found that they had made the same check with the seller (a company) the company had given a different completion date which was the provisional one, two weeks earlier than the actual one, so they just changed it and billed me the extra.

I had to scan a legal letter as proof and send it in before they would change it and refund me the money. They had assumed that I was wrong and the company was right and I had to prove otherwise; and this is on something as simple as a completion date.

They should not purely rely upon third party data to take money off people.

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What other solutions would you prefer?

That they used it as a basis to make checks rather than automatically assuming that the report is right and the taxpayer is wrong and immediately taking more money off the taxpayer until they can prove that they are not lying.

As stated above.

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That they used it as a basis to make checks rather than automatically assuming that the report is right and the taxpayer is wrong and immediately taking more money off the taxpayer until they can prove that they are not lying.

As stated above.

In fairness the report is much more likely to be right than the taxpayer!

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Amusingly this will not identify a house full of cannabis plants and Vietnamese 'horticulturalists' ...

Just sayin' is all

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Amusingly this will not identify a house full of cannabis plants and Vietnamese 'horticulturalists' ...

Just sayin' is all

That's like saying the police don't check that everyone's been paying their council tax when they do a drugs raid. Horses for course innit?

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For anyone who thinks it's a good thing, I suspect, all it requires is for someone to put your address in wrongly for their online shopping and it's council tax 25% dearer for good except for the tiny minority who don't lose the will to live disproving it to the council's satisfaction.

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Council's are scum

It is up to them to prove fraud not the resident to disprove it

Just empty my bins and fck off

+1

On the other hand, some councils can be a bit lax. I've been at my flat almost 20 years, signed the single person declaration when I moved in and haven't been asked about it since.

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That's like saying the police don't check that everyone's been paying their council tax when they do a drugs raid. Horses for course innit?

Actually that's the opposite of my point. We prosecute / penalise / crimminalise the innocent / misdermeanors, whilst ignoring real crime (cos it's difficult to dtect).

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"This seems to me very unfair. If you are correctly claiming and some third party credit check company makes a mistake then you have to sign up with that third party company, find out what your record is, and correct their mistake and they won't correct it without some process of your proving that it's wrong. And then having done this you need to go back to the council and get them to recheck it and change your bill."

All part and parcel of the gradual and insidious ever ongoing moves by TPTB in always assuming you, the citizen, is guilty (of something/anything) unless you can prove your innocence - as opposed the the historic norm of the reverse being the case.

Once it would have been a case that if the council made a mistake the onus would have been on them to prove guilt lies with you. Today you have the burden to prove they have made the mistake.

I'm no legal scholar but I would have thought this sort of behaviour needs to be confronted in the courts by someone to test the veracity of such above mentioned long standing assumed rights that we supposedly have (i.e. if the council loses it will set a precedent and ensure that councils in future will take much greater care). Furthermore can the credit rating companies not be sued for damages/compensation for errors they might make?

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"This seems to me very unfair. If you are correctly claiming and some third party credit check company makes a mistake then you have to sign up with that third party company, find out what your record is, and correct their mistake and they won't correct it without some process of your proving that it's wrong. And then having done this you need to go back to the council and get them to recheck it and change your bill."

All part and parcel of the gradual and insidious ever ongoing moves by TPTB in always assuming you, the citizen, is guilty (of something/anything) unless you can prove your innocence - as opposed the the historic norm of the reverse being the case.

Once it would have been a case that if the council made a mistake the onus would have been on them to prove guilt lies with you. Today you have the burden to prove they have made the mistake.

I'm no legal scholar but I would have thought this sort of behaviour needs to be confronted in the courts by someone to test the veracity of such above mentioned long standing assumed rights that we supposedly have (i.e. if the council loses it will set a precedent and ensure that councils in future will take much greater care). Furthermore can the credit rating companies not be sued for damages/compensation for errors they might make?

This is craziness. They're not assuming anything. They're using actual data.

The thing I am slightly puzzled by is that when you apply for credit the CRA checks the electoral register to determine that you actually live where you say. So to check you live by yourself the council checks with a CRA who checks with the council. I don't have a philosophical problem with what they're doing, but the mechanics of how and why are errr... Interesting.

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This is craziness. They're not assuming anything. They're using actual data.

The thing I am slightly puzzled by is that when you apply for credit the CRA checks the electoral register to determine that you actually live where you say. So to check you live by yourself the council checks with a CRA who checks with the council. I don't have a philosophical problem with what they're doing, but the mechanics of how and why are errr... Interesting.

They are assuming.

One of the comments below the piece was somebody whose fiance was in the military in Germany and had used her address for a mobile phone contract as he needed to give a permanent UK address. So they assumed that he was living there when he was living in army accommodation. They are just taking the linking of another person to that address as meaning that they live there. I know somebody who uses his sister's address for post etc.because of his mobile lifestyle; so the council on this basis would assume that he lives there when he certainly doesn't.

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They are assuming.

One of the comments below the piece was somebody whose fiance was in the military in Germany and had used her address for a mobile phone contract as he needed to give a permanent UK address. So they assumed that he was living there when he was living in army accommodation. They are just taking the linking of another person to that address as meaning that they live there. I know somebody who uses his sister's address for post etc.because of his mobile lifestyle; so the council on this basis would assume that he lives there when he certainly doesn't.

On the flipside, I don't know anyone who doesn't live where they say.

If said guy in the army is getting credit checked, then he must actually be on the electoral roll as living at his fiancee's address. Otherwise he couldnt get credit. So the council has every right to assume.

On your other anecdotal the last time I looked receiving a letter didn't show on your credit file. So you're just making shit up for effect on that front.

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On the flipside, I don't know anyone who doesn't live where they say.

If said guy in the army is getting credit checked, then he must actually be on the electoral roll as living at his fiancee's address. Otherwise he couldnt get credit. So the council has every right to assume.

On your other anecdotal the last time I looked receiving a letter didn't show on your credit file. So you're just making shit up for effect on that front.

Cheers for that! It's not just letters it's contracts, insurance. Everything for which you need to give an address and any of which (insurance payments by instalments for example) could show up on your credit file.

I don't know where you get the being on the electoral register requirement from if we're talking about making things up.

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Cheers for that! It's not just letters it's contracts, insurance. Everything for which you need to give an address and any of which (insurance payments by instalments for example) could show up on your credit file.

I don't know where you get the being on the electoral register requirement from if we're talking about making things up.

It's almost impossible to credit if you're not on the electoral register.

My point still stands - if someone is using an address for legal documents then it would seem fair to assume they're living there.

Serious question - why doesn't the fiancée do everything in her name?

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It really does sound like they're more-or-less trusting the individual, with just a cursory check via the cheapest / most convenient means. If that flags up anything then they ask for some sort of proof.

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My point still stands - if someone is using an address for legal documents then it would seem fair to assume they're living there.

Which brings us back to it being an assumption.

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Which brings us back to it being an assumption.

If something looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck why complicate matters by pointing out that someone is only assuming it's a duck?

The question is always does the data support your assumption? If the answer is yes and the process is transparent then there is nothing wrong with the approach.

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