ALMOST 900 residents were asked to pay £1.50 for the privilege of receiving their council tax demands after the bills were sent out without any postage.
Bournemouth council has apologised to residents who had a card put through the door to say there was a package awaiting them at their local sorting office.
Residents who went to collect the packages had to queue to pay for the missing postage plus a £1 surcharge.
The problem affected 862 residents, mostly in the Winton area. They will have the £1.50 deducted from their council tax bill.
Jacqueline Selcoe, of Green Road in Winton, went online to pay £1.50 so the parcel could be re- delivered.
“It was in my husband’s name so I had no idea what the post was going to be,” she said.
“It was re-delivered the next day. I was disgusted, to be honest.
I was ranting about it for ages.”
She added: “I can laugh at it now but I thought ‘How ridiculous’ because they must have had to pay somebody to deliver the apology letters plus all the paper and printing it’s cost them to issue them again.”
Green Road resident Robert McKenzie said: “I had a card through the door saying would I pay £1.50 for a package that hadn’t had enough postage paid on it.
“I wondered what that could be.
I went to the post office, paid my £1.50 and then the next afternoon an envelope came through the door from the council saying they had put insufficient postage on our council tax bill and that we were to phone them and the £1.50 would be deduced from the council tax bill.
“I tried phoning them but they were busy.”
Hyun Gil said she had received a card but had not been able to go to the sorting office. “The next day, I got a letter saying I shouldn’t worry and should wait for the council tax letter,” she said.
Another Winton resident, who did not want to be named, said: “I got a card through the door. I thought it was a parcel so I shouted to the postman and he said ‘I don’t know what it is but it’s happened to every house in the street.’”
Another said: “I thought I’d won a competition. I had to go all the way to the sorting office in West Howe to get a council tax bill.”
‘A number of tax bills were not franked’
A statement from Bournemouth Borough Council chief executive Tony Williams said “a number of council tax bills were not franked” when processed by a company employed by the outsourcing firm Mouchel.
“We completely understand that this is an extremely frustrating situation for residents. We apologise unreservedly to those who have been asked to pay a fee and for the inconvenience caused. This should not have happened and we are extremely sorry,” he said.
Letters of apology had been hand-delivered and the remaining bills would be delivered for free.
“Bournemouth council will be making arrangements to reimburse any council tax payer who has had to pay to retrieve their bill by crediting their council tax account,” he added.
Residents can ring a helpline on 01202 451597, from 8.30am-5.15pm, or email firstname.lastname@example.org