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To think the council would not accept this from a tenant?

(20 Posts)
ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:17:01

I live in a council house and have ALWAYS paid my rent on time. I used to have a payment card and paid weekly and due to my hb changing from time to time I ended up a little bit in credit.

I changed to direct debit payments in June and the credit on my account has steadily risen.

I now have approx 700 in 'credit' which is rising every month as I am paying by direct debit.

2 weeks ago I phoned the rent dept ans asked for this credit back as I am overdrawn and have nursery fees/bills to pay. They were very offhand with me but agreed then an hour later the head of the rent dept phoned back and said actually I could only have 300 back and it would take up to 28 days.

I phoned again next day and said I really needed my money back they said 14 days and I asked for it to be sooner and could they issue a cheque to which they said no.

Last week (thu) I phoned AGAIN and was told the refund had been done and my credit was now minus the 300 so it should be in my bank account.It wasn't. I phoned on Fridday and they spoke to me like I was a moron and told me "we cant actuaslly SEE where the money is-it is wriggling its way to your account but will be in by next tues".

I really need to pay my bills and do a food shop, I am at overdraft limit so phoned yesterday they would not allow me to speak to head of rent dept as "she is not expecting your call" and then told me i will have to wait 6 weeks for my refund.

If this was the other way round and I owed them money I do not think for a minute they would accept all these excuses.

What can I say to them to get my money back?

TennisFan42 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:26:36

Before going on maternity leave I worked for a council but not in the rent dep so can't speak for them. However, I know our council was phasing out cheques so if they were going to reimburse you by cheque it could take up to a week to organise before they would be able to post it out. But I also think in this case they should be able to refund you by BACS which can take 3 days to process (at the bank's end) from when it was authorised.
Having said all that, it sounds like they are messing you around and I would get something in writing to them (email) asap. State the conversations you have had so far and what has been promised and ask for confirmation of when you can expect the money back. Change you email settings to request a read receipt so you know when your email has been received. Send it to the rent dep email address but also copy in the head of the dep if you can find her email address on their website. Also say in the email what you currently think the credit on your account is and ask to confirm that their records match and ask them how you adjust your DD so this situation doesn't recur.

TennisFan42 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:28:12

And check your bank account again as if they did do the BACS last Thursday it could appear in your account today.

Dolallytats Tue 20-Nov-12 08:29:26

Can you e-mail the head of the finance department? The council website may have the details for doing this. I would also be querying why you cannot have all of your credit. I know that councils/housing associations like you to be a little in credit, but to withold a further £400 is not really ok.

Hope you get it sorted.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:32:17

I didnt understand at all why I could not have it all back especially as I pay my direct debit.

They seem to just be making excuses and messing me around. I feel like cancelling the direct debit and 'using up' the credit.

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 20-Nov-12 08:32:18

The three days doesn't even apply in a lot of places. I make payments by BACS out of my business account and it goes instantly, even to accounts held by other banks.

I would e-mail laying it all out in writing, telling them that if you don't have your money in 24 hours you will contact your MP and your local paper.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:32:44

by not my

TennisFan42 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:32:46

Definitely query why you can't have the whole £700!

TheReturnOfBridezilla Tue 20-Nov-12 08:34:11

Can you just not pay your rent this month? That would free your money up as you are in credit anyway and you won't have to deal with them if they are being difficult about it.

TennisFan42 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:34:17

If you know who the councillor responsible for housing is in your area then you can contact them and ask them to look into it - that often makes things happen v quickly!

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:35:49

It is just really bothering me as I am completely overdrawn not least because they took MORE than usual last month for no apparent reason (535 rather than usual 461) and will not explain why.

Nursery fees due this week, dd1 school trip payment due and I need to buy food by not paying me they are causing me real difficulties.

LIZS Tue 20-Nov-12 08:38:27

Maybe the balance is the hb element or a month's rent in hand ? Check if it has arrived today if not follow up with a complaint - procedure should be on website.

PearlyWhites Tue 20-Nov-12 08:40:02

Is your fortnitely/ monthly rent £300? the reasoning ask is councils are allowed to keep part of your overpayment in case you ever don't pay. It's very unfair but I happened to me we were given a refund minus one weeks rent. It took 28 days to process also .

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:40:46

still not in account today, think I will just phone at 9 and ask again for it back.

If I owed them that much theyd have been knocking at my door by now.

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 08:42:02

114 a week, when I changed to direct deb I was in credit but they said the first payment would be lower because of that. It wasnt.

oneofthosedays Tue 20-Nov-12 09:08:24

They also shouldn't have changed your DD amount unless they have given you 10 days notice as per the dd agreement - that is not on! I would think about contacting your bank about that, submitting a written complaint about the refund a possibly cancelling your DD to use up the credit on your account then set the DD back up again and tell them this is what you will do unless your complaint is resolved.

Lexie1970 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:26:02

Wouldn't the easiest thing to do is cxl the dd? Ascertain exactly how much you are in credit for, withhold further payments until your credit is 'used' up and then re-activate your dd.

I set up and process dd's so just be aware that you can cxl a dd but the council can and will re-instate it. If you were to set up a standing order you would have complete control over funds leaving your account but with dd's it is the organisation that controls the dd.

Good luck, it seems very unfair.

Peanutbutterfingers Tue 20-Nov-12 09:34:05

Google your local councillor and call them now. They can go to head of housing (officer and political) and push some buttons, cut through some of the computer says no crap.

FryOneFatManic Tue 20-Nov-12 09:35:05

Ask for their written policy on dealing with credit amounts. I would guess they should have one or they could claim anything is in the "rules".

ariane5 Tue 20-Nov-12 09:48:32

Well I phoned the council the lady I spoke to said she would speak to the finance department and find out when the refund should be in my account-this is the same lady who said last thurs it had all been done and 300 taken off the credit in my account.

She hasnt phoned back yet I will have to wait and se.

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