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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71132
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Good morning,My girlfriend has a court summons

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Good morning,
My girlfriend has a court summons for council tax, she received council tax relief between 2012 and 2013, which the borough council state she was given by mistake. My girlfriend is a single mother and works only 16 hours/week at hourly minimum wage.
She has never missed a council tax payment and always payed the stated amount she owed.
Because of this over payment of benefits the council rose her payments for council tax from approx £70.00/ month to £178/ month. My girlfriend contacted the council to explain that she could not afford such a rise and asked if she could pay £100.00/ month, but they refused and were quite rude to my girlfriend on the phone.
The council officers who she spoke made her feel that she was a benefit cheat which she is not.
What can my girlfriend do now?
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
What is she hoping to achieve?
She seems to accept that something is due?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My girlfriend accepts that something is due, and she is willing to pay what she can afford, but this has been rejected by the council who were adamant she goes to court. Is there any advice you can give to assist her when she goes? She is extremely worried as she has never been in trouble before.
So this is just in for a liability order?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Yes that's right. She is worried that bailiffs will come or she will go to prison, our experience of this is non existent and very worrying for her.
She doesn't need to attend the hearing. Come what may, she is liable for something. The only point of going would be if she disputes the amount.
Bailiffs can and will enforce this but that will only happen if she doesn't make payment. The Council might well have refused her offer of payment but she can still start paying. They will take her money.
If she starts making payment they are much more likely to accept her offer of payment.
You can go to prison for council tax arrears but that is preserved for the worst offenders who have made no effort to pay at all for years one end. It isn't a realistic threat here.
If she begins paying £100 immediately they will almost certainly accept it. Even if they don't overtly say so they will not refer it to bailiffs if payment is made regularly.
Can I clarify anything for you?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
She has tried to pay online but it was not accepted. She offered to pay £100/ month but when she spoke to the council on the phone they wouldn't accept this. Don't know what to do now. Thank you for your help though.
No, they will do that.
But she can still pay what she can afford. Just send them cheques. They will usually accept part payment.
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Thanks Jo. I'll tell her to give that a try. Take care.