Council’s apology over ‘threatening’ demand

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Rotherham Council has apologised to a couple wrongly threatened with legal action over a £5.57 unpaid council tax claim.

Robert Manning-Rodgers and his wife had already left the property on Lumley Close, Maltby, and paid all tax due.

But after moving to Northumberland, they received the further demand.

Mr Manning-Rodgers said: “We received a letter threatening legal action and legal costs of £74 in respect of court proceedings for unpaid council tax of £5.57.

“This letter was rather intimidating and threatening having the figures of court costs written in bold. This was not at all necessary given the fact the account is paid by 10 monthly instalments and not 12 and therefore legally up to date with payments owed.”

In a letter to the council complaining about his and his wife’s treatment, Mr Manning-Rodgers added: “This is the first we have been notified of overdue payment and you threaten legal action and court costs. This is outrageous and unreasonable of you. What is it coming to threatening members of the public court action and legal costs in respect of the sum of £5.57? What a waste of public spending and time.

“It is evident that your council has nothing else better to do with its time and money other than to threaten members of the public, when in fact the account is not in arrears as you have alleged.”

A Rotherham Council spokeswoman said: “We did make a mistake after making an amendment when the couple left the borough - and we apologised for this.

“This was an automated letter, sent in error because of a fault on the system. No other customer appears to be affected in the same way but we have contacted our software provider for an explanation.”