Woman shocked to receive court summons for paying her council tax ‘one day early’

A mum was astonished after she said she received a court summons for paying her council tax too soon.

Tracie Stinger from the Skegness area could not believe it when a court summons arrived on Friday, November 6, telling her that she owed nearly £800 in council tax arrears, Lincolnshire Live reports.

The full-time carer for her daughter said she knew immediately that there was a mistake because she pays her council tax ‘religiously’ every week.

She says she then had to spend hours on the phone trying to speak to East Lindsey District Council to sort things out.

Eventually, she says she discovered she was not actually in arrears at all – and had received the summons because of an error in the system after paying her tax a day early.

Trace, who live in Hogsthorpe near Skegness, said: “It was absolutely crazy.

“I spent the whole day on Friday trying to get through and couldn’t.

“I then got back in touch on Monday and finally got through after two hours.

“After looking at our account, the gentleman on the phone eventually told us we didn’t have any arrears on our account.

“He told me that because I had my pay date set up for every Friday, but I had occasionally paid them early on a Thursday or a Wednesday, the system didn’t like it and that’s why I had received the summons.

“As it’s been a tough year, I’d been paying it as soon as I had the funds to make sure it was paid, so I was just shocked that I had received this summons.”

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Tracie said life was already difficult enough due to the stresses of lockdown – and just wishes issues like this did not arise.

She said: “This year has been all over the place and knowing what day it is can be a struggle in itself.

“But it must have seriously offended their system to warrant being taken to court, especially during the pandemic when everyone is struggling.”

A spokesperson for the council said: “Whilst we aren’t able to go into specifics on individuals accounts, customers should pay in accordance with the instalment amounts and dates shown on their council tax bill. 

“When a summons is issued, the full year’s council tax becomes due as the right to instalments is lost, and the outstanding/remaining balance will show.

“If people are struggling, they should get in touch with the council tax team as soon as possible to agree a payment profile that better suits their circumstances.”

Citizens Advice offers advice on council tax. Find out more here, or go to the gov.uk site for official information.