Wrong council tax bill leaves Oban resident enraged

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An Oban resident has hit out after receiving the wrong council tax bill twice, saying: ‘Those responsible for this mess deserve to be sacked.’

David Gallant wrote to The Oban Times to voice his anger over the expensive bills from Argyll and Bute Council – and he wasn’t the only person to receive an inflated invoice.

A spokesperson for the council said its single persons discount was reviewed in January and if no response was made, this would have resulted in the discount being revoked.

Mr Gallant said: ‘This year I received an incorrect council tax bill. The council have now sent me an amended bill, but it is still incorrect.’

It took three attempts for the council to issue him with a correct sum.

‘Third time lucky? No, council tax bills should not rely on luck,’ he added.

‘I have now received a third council tax bill and they have actually
got it right. I feel faint.

‘It would be helpful if you could get council tax bills right first time. Sending amended bills that are still incorrect is totally unacceptable.

‘What about bills sent to customers with learning difficulties? Or suffering from dementia? Who will check their council tax bills for them?

‘I suggest never to pay council tax bills by direct debit. Since they are incapable of issuing correct council tax bills, you might well find you are paying too much and it will take many weeks to put things right.

‘Those responsible for this mess deserve to be sacked.’

He wasn’t the only person to receive an inflated bill. At the end of March, one person, who usually pays £112, took to social media after Argyll and Bute Council took £729 from her bank account.

Another complained of a £600 bill, but stated it was because they had not filled out a form to continue their single person discount.

However, another said the council tried to take £456 from their dad, despite handing in the forms in November.

Chairwoman of Oban Community Council Marri Malloy said: ‘I think it is something that should be looked at. To get it wrong twice is just ridiculous.

‘It has given me food for thought. It means I will check it from now on and make sure it is right.’

Councillor for Oban North and Lorn Elaine Robertson said: ‘It is always unfortunate when members of the public receive an unexpected council tax bill. This does cause great concern and is upsetting, but I understand that those involved have been in contact with the department and the issues have been resolved.’

A spokesperson  for Argyll and Bute Council said: ‘In January, we undertook a single person discount (SPD) review.

‘Certain recipients of the discount will have received a letter requesting information about their current circumstances. If no response was made to the first or second reminder letters, the SPD would have been removed and civil penalties applied, both of which will have increased the amount due.

‘This would have been made clear in the letters and also was reflected in the revised bills issued.

‘The council can’t make comment on individual cases. However, anyone concerned about their council tax bills, or wishing to request additional time to pay, is encouraged to contact us on 01546 605511 or email ctax1@argyll-bute.gov.uk.’