Imagine how you would feel if, out of the blue one fine early autumn morning, you received a bill in the post for unpaid council tax for a sum of over £700, dating from 12 years ago. And when you phone up to enquire what on earth this is all about, you are told the onus is on you to prove that you paid it, and if you can’t legal proceedings will be put in place (so that bailiffs can come into your house and take your belongings to sell off towards your debt).
Does it matter that your own memory is fairly certain it was all sorted out at least 8 to 10 years ago?
Does it matter that even the Inland Revenue only require you to keep records for 7 years?
Does it matter that you don’t have cheque book stubs and bank account statements from that long ago, so there’s no way you can check?
Does it matter that you moved away from the area over 5 years ago?
Does it matter that you don’t even use the same bank, and haven’t for several years, so the chances of getting hold of statements are nil to minuscule (especially within the demanded 7 days)?
Everything about it screams to me that this is a scam.
But with public spending being cut and less money available, Clackmannanshire Council are looking for ways to claw in money.
And unless we can find a way to prove we paid something they tell us we owe them from a dozen years ago, they have a whole pile of draconian laws on their side to destroy our lives, should we hesitate too long to stump up the cash.
We’ve been mugged by local government.