MsB.R.writes: I came home from work at Tesco on December 14 to find a letter from a company called CCMCC saying that Merthyr Tydfil Borough Council had applied to my local county court for an order attached to my earnings.
I rang the council and found this related to unpaid council tax of £400, but I have never lived in Merthyr Tydfil. Apparently I have a county court judgment against my name and it is looking to collect £40 a month from my pay.
I am a single parent with three children and cannot afford this, nor can I afford a solicitor to fight it.
Wrong employee: The council and the Derby court knew that the real debtor worked for Tesco, so asked the supermarket’s wages department for details – someone there set them on to you
It has taken a few months to unscramble this mess because of the number of people and organisations involved.
Meanwhile, you and your children had Christmas ruined – because you were frightened by the size of the debt and the threatened loss of income, and your children did not understand what was happening and were afraid you were going to be carted off to prison for failing to pay your bills.
CCMCC is not a company. It is the County Court Money Claims Centre. In effect, it passed on to you a message from Merthyr Tydfil council.
I asked the council what had led it to your door. Why did it believe you had lived there and owed council tax? Also, I suggested officials should call off their legal dogs unless and until they were 100 per cent certain you were the debtor.
The council pretty much pulled up its drawbridge. It told me it had contacted you ‘to provide some clarity’. It added an error ‘has been made by another party’. What did all this mean? What clarity? What other party? The council refused to say.
But behind the scenes, it contacted Derby county court, which had issued the original judgment, and told it: ‘Any court action that has been taken against Ms B.R. must cease immediately.’
It added: ‘Her employer Tesco must be notified to cancel the attachment of earnings order.’ Any money deducted from pay should be refunded at once.
Demand: Merthyr Tydfil council chased the wrong person over a debt of £400
This was fine in as far as it went, but since you have never lived or worked in Merthyr or Derby, it did not explain why you were chased for someone else’s debt.
The explanation came from an official at the Derby court. It seems it was given your name and address by Tesco, which has an employee with a name similar, though not identical, to yours. The council and the Derby court knew that the real debtor worked for Tesco, so asked the supermarket’s wages department for details. Someone there set them on to you.
It is a shame no one made other checks, such as full name and address or national insurance number, which would have shown it had identified the wrong person.
Tesco told me: ‘We take great care to ensure all our colleagues’ personal details are handled in the correct way at all times. In this instance, following a request from Merthyr council, our colleague’s details were given in error.’
The firm has apologised for the distress caused and next Christmas you will get three weeks’ leave with full pay to help make up for the shadow cast over last Christmas.
Can we release my husband’s pension cash?
MrsJ.S.writes: Can you tell me if my husband has any hope of releasing his pension money, invested with Legal & General years ago.
We have been told the proceeds, about £36,000, were transferred to Nationwide Building Society in 1999, but we have been informed the account is now closed and the money is not available.
Your husband was the beneficiary of a retirement policy and in 1999 asked L&G for the proceeds so they could be credited to his Nationwide account. The amount sent was £36,634.
He told me that he has no recollection of using the account, and believes Nationwide closed it as dormant.
This should not happen, so I asked Nationwide to investigate. It found full records of the account almost immediately, and told me: ‘Mr S paid the cheque from Legal & General into his Nationwide account in November 1999. Since then he has made a number of withdrawals, which has reduced the balance of the account.’
One member of staff at your Nationwide branch has worked there for more than 30 years and has often dealt with your husband, and has confirmed that he made the withdrawals. Only a low balance remains, and Nationwide is sending him copies of every statement, showing all the withdrawals.
Courtesy: Daily Mail Online