AN Accrington woman has slammed Hyndburn Council after a council tax blunder left her with a bill which she has already paid.
Christine Holmes, of Sedbergh Close, was told in May last year that her council tax contributions would be £75 a month.
She was told a letter confirming the amount due would be sent to her home address but she claims such a letter did not arrive.
However, in January, Christine received a letter saying that she was in arrears and owed Hyndburn Council £179.87. She immediately contacted the council and was told that she had underpaid her council tax and should have been paying £89 a month.
Christine wrote out a cheque for the amount due, adding her name, address and the reason for the payment on the back of the cheque, and sent it to Hyndburn Council, requesting a receipt. She never received the receipt but the cheque was cashed on 14 January and £179.87 was taken from her account.
Christine was horrified when, on 2 February, she received a reminder for the amount, which she had already paid. She has now been told that she must prove that the payment was made and has contacted her bank, which has provided a copy of the cheque, at a cost of £5.
Christine said: "They really are a shambles. I am not saying that individual people are incompetent but it's really appalling. If you don't keep a really precise check of what you are doing you could end up double paying. I think people should be warned to check up on them.
"The arrears were not my fault. It is their fault for not giving the correct figure inthe first place. I was not deliberately in arrears. I was paying the amount I was told to pay. I really want an apology from them. They are now asking me for proof of payment but if they are cashing cheques they should be able to find their own proof of payment.
"What are they doing with the money? Why are they not crediting it from the account? I contacted the Halifax to see who cashed the cheque, and they have sent me a copy of it, which I had to pay £5 for. I am going to photocopy it before I pass it on to Hyndburn Council."
Councillor Mrs Pamela Barton, Cabinet portfolio holder for resources said: "It would be inappropriate to comment on an individual case. I will be looking into the matter personally.''