Victim of hyenas

Mr D had mental health problems. He was targeted by a group of people who coerced him in to taking out phone contracts and then they took the phones from him and then disappeared. The phones ran up debts of £4,600. Mr D went to Crawley C.A.B. who negotiated with the phone companies and got the debt written off.

Faulty system led to false debt

Mr K had been working full time and his wife part-time, they had five children together. HMRC informed them that they had been overpaid on Working Tax Credits for several years. Mr K had no idea how this could be but due to the pressure had no option but to write out post-dated cheques for the thousands of pounds they could not afford. HMRC began cashing the cheques and Mr K and his family left in a panic with no help at all.

Mr K then got in touch with his local Law Centre who decided to take on his case. They wrote to HMRC asking them to reassess the matter. The HMRC legal team investigated and soon identified errors in the system that had caused the problem. Mr K and his family had never been overpaid. HMRC re-credited the money Mr K had given them and their lives began to return to normal.

Homeless for the sake of £5?

Mr A, an unemployed husband and father, looking for work lived with his wife and ten-year-old son as council tenants. His wife worked part-time but with Mr A struggling to find work they soon had money problems and a large amount of rent arrears.

The council decided to evict the family, and a date was set for bailiffs to arrive. Mr A. raised what money he could and managed to pay all but £5 of the arrears that were owed, however when he returned from the court having paid the majority of the debts the bailiffs had already removed the family and their belongings from their home. The family were housed overnight by an emergency homeless persons unit and sought to have the eviction reversed the next day.

A duty solicitor from the local Law Centre was working in the court that morning and successfully argued a previous case that Mr A. could not have known about, to allow the family to be reinstated. They are relieved to have escaped homelessness and are trying to make a fresh start.

£22,000 of debt due to “administrative error”

Mr L. worked as a mini-cab driver commissioned for 20 hours a week while his wife looked after their small children. Their family had been assessed for benefits by the local authority and received a number of these to support them.

After a few years of living in these circumstances, Mr L received an overpayment notification letter demanding repayment of almost £22,000. Having looked after their finances carefully the family were terrified as to how they would cope with repayment. Mr L contacted HMRC who told him to ignore the letters as they were an error however they continued to be received in more threatening tones.

Mr L approached his local Law Centre and they wrote to the Local Authority threatening legal action if this matter was not reviewed. Upon review the Local Authority cleared the debt and apologised for the administrative error.

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