Child Support Agency admit their blunder

On Wednesday 21st November I was informed that the CSA had instructed my employer to deduct £550 from my pay each month for child support and arrears.

That’s quite a lot. More than I should be paying for sure as I’m supposed to pay £320 per month. Since last July I have have been paying my ex-wife’s half of the mortgage on our jointly owned property, costing me £650 per month. Half of that £325, which is £5 more than they wanted me to pay.

As you can see, I am not in arrears.

However, the CSA refuse to speak to me on the phone because they know I record my phone calls, and they are frightened that I will post them on this website; which so far I have not done. Until now.

I have been trying to contact the CSA since January this year when I telephoned them the very day I first had contact from them to explain that I can’t afford to pay even more money than I’m paying as we’ll lose our house. Steve Gibson from the CSA was supposed to call be back. He didn’t. I tried again, and again, and again – Steve Gibson eventually telephoned me in March, 3 months after I had tried to speak to him. I explained that I was paying money already in various ways and he said he’d send me a variations report.

That was the first and last time the CSA telephoned me.

I filled in the report and sent it back. Then in August Steve sent me a letter asking for the report because he hadn’t received it, even though he had received it AND he had replied!

This kind of incompetence continued with various people refusing to speak to me, promising to call and sending me stock letters. You know the sort of thing, their level of professionalism is legendary in the UK. They’re a laughing stock.

Anyway, I received another letter from them in October saying they would be contacting my employer and deducting money direct from my pay. Hold on there big fella, you still haven’t sorted out what I’m supposed to be paying. I’m already paying the mortgage for our house. That’s more than I owe already. I can’t pay any more than that, I don’t have it.

So I phoned them and explained this, even though they said they can’t speak to me. Even so, they did and said they’d get a letter and another variations report sent out to me. Guess what? It never arrived.

Then I hear yesterday that I am to have this money deducted from my pay, starting now.

So we’re up to date! I telephoned them yesterday and once again was met with a ‘we can’t talk to you’ response, yet the guy, Ryan, did.

What he told me was quite remarkable. He said they had posted a letter and a variations report to me on October 31st so I had plenty of notice of all of this. Hmm I thought, no, you didn’t. “Where was it sent?” I asked…

Guess what???

That’s right, they sent it somewhere else, despite having my address on the system; on the screen in front of him. This is an exceptional piece of incompetence mind because their letters are printed. Any idiot can copy down an address incorrectly when it’s written on the screen in front of them. It takes a CSA kind of idiot to press the PRINT button and STILL get the address wrong.

Naturally him telling me they’d screwed up like this, yet were still demanding money from me that I don’t actually owe them seriously pissed me off. So much so that I am now posting this podcast online. Listen to the phone call and marvel at the sheer incompetence of the CSA.

What happens now? Well… as I’m still waiting for the CSA to send the variations report to me they were supposed to have sent last month I may well end up with the house repossessed. I did try to contact my ex-wife to ask her if she would be ever so kind as to explain to the CSA that yes, I have been paying her half of the mortgage on our jointly owned house for her, but she refused.

She’s like that.

Darren Jamieson

Darren Jamieson, aka MrDaz, is the Technical Director and co-founder of Engage Web and has been working online in a career spanning two decades. His first website was built in 1998 and is still live today.

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