Friday, February 20, 2009

Trader threatened with bailiffs over 1p debt

A SHOPKEEPER was threatened with bailiffs for a business rates debt of a penny.
The notice, sent on a council-headed letter from the authority’s revenue service recovery section, called for “immediate payment”.
It said: [If you do not pay] “Your case will be sent to the bailiffs for immediate collection. “If this proves necessary additional and significant costs will be added to your account.”
But when Usman Patel tried to settle the debt with a one pence piece, he was told his payment could not be accepted because minimum amount they could take was a £1.
How stupid is that? What a waste of taxpayer’s money.
Mr Patel, boss of the Blackburn News Centre in the Mall Shopping Centre for the past six years, was very upset especially when in the past he had never missed a payment.
Obviously the system is automated but someone must have seen the letter and realised the farce.
Blackburn with Darwen Council has now agreed to cancel the bill after admitting the letter was sent out by mistake following a computer error.
Denise Park, the council's strategic director of resources, said: "This is an automated system and this should not have happened, for which we apologise.

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