Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. Free legal advice is available from a Citizen's Advice Bureau, and the Law Society can supply a list of local solicitors.

Concentrix - Complaint & Compensation.

(99 Posts)
CitizenX Mon 09-Feb-15 13:31:28

Concentrix wrote to tell me they had "evidence" there may be a partner living with me. (There most definitely is not)
I rang them immediately. Their computer system was down. I asked what the evidence was and they said "Under the D.P.A. (Data Protection Act) we cannot tell you." I asked if I had any rights under the F.O.I. (Freedom of Information Act) to find out what this so-called "evidence" might be, so that I could refute it. They told me I did not.

They then said the only thing I could do was send them original copies of Bank Statements, Benefits, Mortgage or Rental Agreements, Household bills, Legal docs pertaining to my marital status, Council Bills from April 2014 to Jan 2015. I said I was not happy about doing this because of the inconvenience, postal expense and my concerns in case the documents were misplaced. They told me if I did not comply "we will stop your tax credits". (not we may not be able to make a decision accurately and it might affect your credits, but we WILL).

Now, I suffer from acute clinical depression (which I try hard to fight) and also vertigo (which leaves me exhausted sometimes) and Chronic Fatigue Symptoms, so I work from home and do the best I can to do as much work as I can, but I am limited. I felt I was being unreasonably threatened on unfair grounds and unsound "evidence", so I complained and asked for my case to be escalated to speak to a Manager which they duly did and we basically went round in circles getting nowhere and just repeating the same information so I asked them to please make a note that I was unhappy and wanted to complain and to enter that on the system when it was working again.

I was obviously stressed and worried so I spent most of that night fretting and looking up the internet. Thankfully a friend suggested Mumsnet and that was very helpful - so I am returning to add my story and possibly provide some more helpful advice.

I picked up some useful information;
The Information Commissioner's office https://ico.org.uk/
was helpful and had instructions and a template for a complaint letter where you can add your own details. https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/raising-concerns/

I also checked the Data Protection act and found I have rights to ensure information is accurate and up to date. (which clearly it is not)
I also have rights to know (roughly) certain details about the information held about me and how it is being processed. (sections 7)
www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/29/section/7

There is also a Government Charter tinyurl.com/qyyhmj2
Which says they will "help and support me to put things right"
"Do all we can to keep the costs of dealing with us as low as possible"
"put mistakes right as soon as we can"
(etc.)

Having had no joy with Concentrix, I checked the paperwork and found a number for HMRC and rang them directly. Again didn't get much joy, so asked to speak to a Manager who said he couldn't do much about an external organisation, but would put me onto Complaints dept, who duly discussed my issues and concerns and raised a complaint and said he would ring back to update me.

I then rang Concentrix for the second time and this time their computer was working. The chap was perfectly nice and polite, apologised and discussed things sensibly, but, again, could not and would not share any information. Though he did explain it may be that a previous resident still had accounts registered with this address. I knew the name, because I had been returning any mail to sender and the Housing Association were able to confirm this name but Concentrix operator said he was not even allowed to confirm or deny this.
I felt that one simple document could end this grief, my rental agreement with the housing association, but it seems I am still obliged to send off ALL these ORIGINAL documents, which obviously I need to copy just in case they misplace them or go missing in the post.

Today HMRC Complaints dept. rang back, apologised Concentrix had not responded and offered me compensation for the distress (£40) and expense of phone calls (£10) if I agreed to close the complaint. I explained it was not about the money, but the principle of the thing if, according to Mumsnet (etc.) there were other people being distressed by this ridiculous process and some frantic with worry. (as detailed in this very forum)
Coincidentally Concentrix e-mail to him arrived during our chat. They said they had spoken with me, we had come to an agreement that I would send documents and I had not made any reference to a complaint with them. (wrong!)

Just after that Concentrix rang and it was their complaints department now, so I listed 7 reasons I was unhappy and the nice man took notes. He said he had also listened to the recordings of my previous calls to them. He was very nice and apologised and seemed to understand my issues entirely and was kind and helpful. He also promised to ring back - and said there might possibly be compensation involved. Again I said it was not about money - though this will cause me a loss of time and some expense, but the principle of sending out letters accusing people of fraud and threatening taking away benefits to which they are entitled.

Furthermore, I don't feel any of the paperwork they have requested would ultimately prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that I have no partner living with me. For example, several years ago I had a good friend down on his luck so I let him stay with me for about 5 months till he got sorted out. I was employed and had my own house, so it was nobody's business (at that time) but in no way would my bank statements or bills reflect any difference whatsoever that would indicate someone was or was not living with me.

It is not over yet - I AM still obliged to send the paperwork. I am still not happy and ultimately I still have to wait for them to make a decision, so I am left worrying over them taking away a part of the income I depend upon.
Nevertheless, I figured if I shared this information perhaps if more of us complain they might change their procedures to something more reasonable and stop frightening people. Perhaps they might even change the wording of their standard letter and the way they respond to telephone callers trying to sort things out.
The crazy thing is I keep 100% honest records and if they had simply said "Mr B, we are carrying out random checks and it would help if you could provide information" I would have complied - not happily, but I have nothing to hide.
I do understand there are those who may be making fraudulent claims, I really do, but I'm not one of them and I resent being accused and threatened on the basis that some other person has not been keeping their accounts up to date at my address. It is crazy and a waste of time and money. There are bad days in my life when I might not have been so able to deal with all of this and I still need to get into town to get some paper to print out those accounts which are now "paper-free" and I probably need another ink cartridge to do it.
Frankly, I'd rather be online trying to get more work in so I can earn more and pay yet more tax to finance the government and fellow citizens, but I have to stop and scan in copies off multiple accounts for several months for my own protection and spend this time on the phone trying to get to the bottom of this so-called "evidence" (which has still not been made clear to me) It is insane, exasperating, frustrating and, in my view, completely unnecessary.

louisegibbins123 Thu 26-Feb-15 14:33:09

I couldn't agree more with all that has been written here and feel just the same.
Having also been on the receiving end of the letter from Concentrix, despite calling them as requested to 'discuss my circumstances', I too had to provide a raft of in-depth personal information to them.
I have done nothing wrong but it seems that you are guilty until you prove yourself innocent in their eyes and they will not provide you with an explanation as to the 'evidence' they have. It is so very wrong, extremely stressful and a headache that really isn't needed.
As said above, by providing all this personal information to them, it proves what exactly re their claim that "we have evidence that there may be another adult living with you".
I have in turn spoken to my bank and made them aware that I have had to provide personal bank statements to this company and they have confirmed that they have registered this and are now aware. As long as pin numbers etc. were not provided then Concentrix, or anyone else for that matter, can not access your account. All they could do is set up a Direct Debit to your account. The bank therefore suggest that a close eye is kept, and they will do the same.
I spoke to HMRC and have sought legal and CAB advice to see what I can do next, if anything. I can only wait to see what Concentrix come back with re their 'claim', and go from there.
Basically, it's up to Concentrix to prove their claim and at the end of the day, how can they prove something which isn't true!

tweaky815 Fri 27-Feb-15 09:31:29

this has happened to me with concentrix,i received my documents back today with a letter stating they will be writing to me soon about my tax credit claim.so im still none the wiser has anyone heard back from them ?

Takebackcontrol Fri 27-Feb-15 12:25:32

Hi, I've just received a dreaded Concentrix letter this morning. I've spoken to a single mum friend of mine and she's confirmed that almost all the single Mums she knows have had the same over the last couple of weeks.

Apparently it's an American company who have been outsourced from HMRC to run checks and by all accounts they're right royally stuffing it up. Check out this press link...

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/people-in-need-at-risk-of-losing-tax-credits-after-being-wrongly-accused-of-cheating-10060745.html

My letter states that my childcare costs may be wrong. This has me worried as my costs are so random. This year has been my first on tax credits (started in June) and so it's very much a learning curve for me. When I first applied I was told to work out my 'average' childcare costs over the year, divide it by 52 and then add this calculation as a weekly amount to my claim (£32 per week for 2 children). I believed (from conversations with friends) that when it was time for my renewal, any change in circumstance may mean my award is adjusted and reduced to pay back overpayments or increased if childcare costs are higher - a bit like my tax code. I know my costs have sometimes been less if a friend has offered to babysit or a family member has visited during half-term. My changing work shifts have also meant that I've had to use unregistered childminders (who are staff from the school) to cover evenings or weekends when nurseries are closed. My costs increased significantly this month as my friend who usually picks up the kids has now had her baby and so I'll now need to use more after school club.

They're asking for proof of childcare which I'm gathering in the form of bills and bank statements etc. I'm more worried as the year isn't out yet for me and I still have chunks of childcare to pay for in the coming months over the holidays etc. There are threats of penalties which seem very high (up to £1000 for incorrect information and up to £60 per day for every day the claim wasn't adjusted). I always understood that I need to inform HMRC if my costs change for 10 weeks in a row which they never have. My knee-jerk reaction is to put the kids with an expensive nanny over the next few weekends to make up the average cost I would have had for the remainder of the year. I have never knowingly taken tax credits fraudulently and feel like the information I was given last year to help with my calculation has left me in a position of jeopardy. I think the entire amount of childcare not yet used will be less than £500 so far. This isn't huge, but it's enough to make me worry that I have to pay this back now rather than weekly during my next claim year when it may be adjusted. Plus, it's all very worrying as I really can't afford to pay massive penalties as well.

Does anyone else have any advice if they've used average amounts over the year? Is there anyone I should speak to before I contact Concentrix with this query? They might see pound signs and the opportunity to hit their sales target for the day if I speak to them first. :-(

ceeburke Wed 04-Mar-15 05:20:28

Please how long did it take to receive your documents back, l sent mine almost 3-4 weeks ago and they said there is a delay in returning and that they sent mine back almost 2 weeks tommorow.

pandachina Mon 09-Mar-15 07:42:11

I received the same in Jan 2015. I rang and told them they knew more than me about this person (named) who may well be living with me!Still, I sent 70 documents knowing that none of them would prove any of their accusations and £15 in costs in copying etc and registering the letter. I also, asked for evidence of this person.Several weeks later they sent them all back, waited a couple more weeks to be told that I would continue to receive the Working tax credit, but no explanation of the 'evidence'. I w
rote to them again on the 19th Feb 2015 requesting under the Freedom of
information Act that they provide evidence. I am still waiting for a reply!I think, like many other companies that the government has 'sold off' services to , that they are just a money-making exercise to further line their pockets, and try to look as though they are doing something for the priviledge of getting the contract cheap. I shall keep you posted as to my progress.

cowshindtail Thu 19-Mar-15 12:02:12

I too was wrongly accused of living with another adult and sent in bank statements etc. as requested.When they returned my documents there was a heating oil receipt and a set of bank statements missing.I rang Concentrix about this and they promised to call back-which they haven't done. I have written letters of complaint to HMRC,Concentrix and my MP. Concentrix returned my letter with their standard "we are returning your documents and will let you know the outcome in due course "letter-I have already been sent the letter saying that I have been found innocent.The MP has sent me a letter saying he is taking it up with HMRC.So far I have heard nothing from HMRC directly in spite of them receiving my letter on 25/2/2015.What a shambles.

S4rie Tue 24-Mar-15 16:59:05

Thank god I found you! Have just balled my eyes out like a child! I sent all the documents they requested from me on 27th January by Special delivery, as some of these documents are precious to me. I have heard nothing in 2 months until today, my money has been stopped and a letter arrived in the post asking me to phone Concentrix...again. They want me to send it all again, nothing has been scanned into their system apparently. Problem is, I don't have any paperwork anymore. They appear to have lost everything sad I'm very upset. Don't know what to do...

Morgan97 Sun 12-Apr-15 11:11:55

S4rie,I've just read your post after going through different threads on here,I too have had my money stopped as tax credits decided the evidence I sent wasn't sufficient enough yet it was enough when tey contacted me about the samething in 2012!! Just out of interest did you get everything sorted,and if so how did you sort it if you don't mind me asking,it's just I'm desperate for someone to tell me something positive its been 3 weeks since my money stopped thank you in advance

caroldecker Sun 12-Apr-15 12:18:21

It may not be thier fault. Someone may have reported you and they have a duty to keep that anonymous.

S4rie Sun 12-Apr-15 16:36:54

Sorry Morgan97, nothing positive to tell you I'm afraid. My first inch thick set of documents went missing! My second has been signed for at Concentrix but I haven't heard anything. I called them an hour after they received my copies of my documents, they said they would contact HMRC to start my payments again while they considered my case. I check my banking app on my phone everyday in the hope that they would have put something in there, but it has been a month since my last payment. I'll keep you posted sad

cakey87 Tue 14-Apr-15 15:17:55

Same thing has happened with me regarding childcare received a horrible letter more or less implying I was cheating the system, I was worried sick for weeks, to then call tax credits to update my claim and be told they have closed my case! Still not heard from concentrix direct or received original documents back. The whole system is a disgrace

S4rie Tue 14-Apr-15 17:44:08

Today, after 4 weeks with no money, I phoned HMRC. Someone was going to fob me off yet again, so I asked for their complaints department, I was put through to Extra Support department, much more helpful. They have given me a case worker, who is able to discuss my case with all departments... Fingers crossed!

SheHasAWildHeart Thu 07-May-15 11:29:45

I've just had the dreaded letter today and cried my eyes out yesterday sad

S4rie Sat 09-May-15 14:22:32

Well, I have come through the other side smile. After about 1 month, with the help of someone in the extra support department, I finally have my tax credits back! They have found that I am in fact living as a single person. My 9 year old was quite disgusted with them, he said the only other people living with us are our reflections!
No apology though for the upset and stress it has caused sad but , at least it is sorted.

Fightinglife49 Tue 12-May-15 15:48:06

Hi,

I am new to this site but just had to write about my experience with Tax Credit. Like most of you I got my letter from Concentrix in Jan 2015, my son is disabled and aged 19 years old, anyway I ignore the letter and spoke to HMRC who advised me not to respond so I didn't. To my surprise my sons payments stopped this was Jan 2015, it took 15 weeks to reinstate payments with compensation of £100 from complaints dept, please be aware if you have a child who turns 19 in education there computer systems do not recognise this therefore manual payments will be implemented but it does take time a long time, I also was allocated a specialists team who followed my case from start to finish, they even issue an emergency payment for £300 cheque sent via special delivery.

It was very hard calling every day, different advisors, being told different things crazy, hard work despite having a severely disabled young adult in education, completing transition and dealing with loads of professionals the HMRC made things even more difficult.

So anyone out there with an disabled adult in education remember to contact HMRC after they turn 18 or your payments will stop.

S4rie Sat 23-May-15 06:47:29

Have you signed this petition anyone?
I just have x

www.change.org/p/lin-homer-chief-executive-permanent-secretary-hmrc-stop-private-firms-such-as-concentrix-corporation-treating-single-parents-like-criminals-and-make-them-abide-by-hmrc-your-charter-code-of-practice?tk=pqH1MtxSZmffaS3Cl9IxfRgYxAM7B1xOk618Zsf-znY&utm_medium=email&utm_source=signature_receipt&utm_campaign=new_signature

saltcod Sat 23-May-15 07:33:01

Have signed it too.

penny1972 Tue 26-May-15 19:52:58

I've just signed the petition. I am furious at receipt of this letter. I separated from my husband 3 and a half years ago. One child came to live with me and two continue to live with their father, for whom he makes a separate claim. At the time, it took HMRC 5 months to change the claim for my daughter to my name. As a previously joint claim was then separated into two single ones, at two different addresses, HMRC is fully aware of the origins of my single claim.

I have received a letter simply because I am still using 'Mrs' until my divorce is final. Needless to say, he has received no such letter.

I am sending all the information they request, and as I am kinship carer for my grandson, there are plenty professionals that can confirm my domestic situation. However I am not letting it rest at that, The Independent newspaper article confirmed that this company is behaving incompetently and negligently and I do not accept that. I am lodging formal complaints to both Concentrix and HMRC, making subject access requests under the Data Protection Act and sending copies of my complaint to local Welfare Advisers, Citizens Advice Bureau and local MP and MSP as well as women's rights organisations. I urge others to contact their MP and or MSP's also, tell them what is happening. Tell as many people as possible.

If everyone lodges formal complaints, they will grind to a halt, as these complaints (and data protection act subject access requests) have time limits in which the HMRC and or Concentrix must respond.

I am also requesting to be recompensed for my out of pocket expenses, namely being charged for requesting printed phone bills (I am on ebilling for most things for environmental reasons and do not have a printer at home) and for sending documentation (a substantial amount!) by recorded delivery (so they can't claim they never received it). As these are original documents, including solicitors letters, I am also concerned that they will be 'lost' or for whatever reason, not returned.

Don't accept it! Speak out and get them stopped, raise awareness with whoever needs to know.

Penny

Dwilks912 Sun 31-May-15 10:52:43

First time I've had to deal with these but it worries me!! I'm due my next tax credit payment on 08/06. They were apparently looking at my documents last Wednesday. They're investigating my childcare costs. I've noted down exactly what I've told hmrc in the past. My costs are based on 50 weeks in the year not 52 but I still pay per month. Would the costs need to be averaged out per 50 weeks or still per 52 weeks? I'm panicking though that they'll still try to pick up on something and I'll get fined! I can't afford a fine! Seems they'll do anything to try & make you feel a criminal!

Dwilks912 Sun 31-May-15 10:53:40

It also means if I don't get a payment on 8th June I'll be in trouble with direct debits and nursery fees that are due out.

maryelizabeth71 Sun 31-May-15 11:05:16

If they were looking on Wednesday I'd call tomorrow. I think you need to work out the annual cost and then divide by 52. If you've made a small mistake I would think it very unlikely they will fine you!

Don't worry

Dwilks912 Sun 31-May-15 11:09:45

Yes I planned to phone first thing tomorrow. Our most recent costs were divided by 52 but the previous ones I just gave the actual weekly cost because it wasn't variable. For instance my son only went 1 afternoon a week to start with so it was £18. So that's all I told them but on the phone they never asked how I worked it out or asked for a monthly figure etc. We will see. I hope they don't! Let's see what they say tomorrow

maryelizabeth71 Sun 31-May-15 11:14:01

I'm sure it will be fine. If the costs were £18 per week each week then the figure you gave of £18 was correct. Same for the next year, you gave a weekly average which as far as I know is accurate.

Did they tell you they were looking on Wednesday? I know they are running behind the 10 working days given on the letter

Dwilks912 Sun 31-May-15 11:17:28

Yes when I phoned they said it was currently with the investigating department on the Wednesday but they could have just been telling me that however I'll phone tomorrow morning and see where they are at with it. I've also done my renewal which is another thing they requested be done as well so just wait & see.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now