Essex: Thousands could be left overdrawn after Braintree District Council’s direct debit mix-up

THOUSANDS of businesses and households could be left overdrawn after a mix-up at an Essex council.

Braintree District Council (BDC) has admitted “human error” was to blame for direct debit payments being taken days earlier than they should have been.

The authority said 38,189 council taxpayers and 1,722 business rate payers will have money taken from their accounts today. The payments should have been taken on Monday, September 3, opening up the prospect many hundreds - or even thousands - will be plunged into the red.

Civic chiefs say it is expected banks will not charge customers for going overdrawn due to this error, but, if they do, the council will provide a refund.

Cllr David Bebb, cabinet member for performance and efficiency at BDC, said: “The problem was caused by human error: an incorrect date was entered into the direct debit file.


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“As soon as this error was identified, BDC took immediate action and requested a reversal of the transactions with all banks affected being notified.

“We have arranged for the funds to be paid back into people’s accounts on Friday 31st August.

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“It is expected that no action will be taken by the banks if residents’ accounts become overdrawn today because of this payment, however if this does occur, the council will refund the charge.

“We apologise for any inconvenience or difficulty caused.”

The council is asking anyone with further questions on this matter to call 01376 557722.

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