Death is apparently no excuse for not paying council tax bill
· Council asks for ‘current address’ of deceased uncle
THE family of a Bishops Tachbrook man who died four years ago were taken aback when they discovered a fresh council tax bill for him.
But when a council official went on to ask for a current address to forward the bill on to, they could scarcely believe their ears.
Ellie Raby recently visited the home of her mother Audrey Ellis, who had passed away on September 14, to go through her post when she found the bill from Warwick District Council. It was dated September 17, 2012 and addressed to Mrs Ellis’s late brother Desmond Hutchings, who had lived at the same address until he died in 2008.
She said: “It was bizarre that there was only the one bill and it was split up into monthly payments until next year.
“But what annoyed me more was that when I called the council to let them know that my uncle died four years ago, the guy on the other end was adamant that he was still alive.
“He asked if I could forward the letter to my uncle. So I said, yes I can - I will take it to him in person at Oakley Woods cemetery.
“He asked me if I was trying to be a comedian.”
Mrs Raby was then asked to send to the council a copy of Mr Hutchings’ death certificate so that the bill could be cancelled.
She said: “I thought that was a bit off as it’s nothing to do with me. I have my own mother’s affairs to deal with.”
But she added: “It did make an amusing story at my mother’s funeral. All the brothers and sisters were there and I asked them, which one of you is going to chip in and pay for his council tax?”
But Mr Hutchings’ brother Gordon was not amused by the incident. He said: “It’s quite upsetting. I only just lost my sister. We had her cremated and got that letter between that and her funeral. It’s disgusting.”
A district council spokesman said: “Data protection legislation prevents us from being able to comment on individual cases, but we shall investigate the information passed to us and will take appropriate action.
“We shall also review any phone calls taken in respect of the matter and any issues will be fed into the training programme for advisors in handling such situations.”
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