They’re giving out Household Charge refunds now?
So keen were the government to collect the incredibly controversial household charge that in numerous cases they either overcharged for it or asked for it twice.
The €100 charge was the subject of huge controversy when it was introduced by Minister Phil Hogan earlier this year, with many refusing to pay it all before the March 31 deadline. Indeed, up to 600,000 properties have yet to register to pay it.
According to a report in the Irish Examiner, nearly 3,000 property owners have received refunds from the Local Government Management Agency as a result of being overcharged, or worse, having to pay for it twice.
As well as that, there are more than 3,000 property owners also waiting for refunds as the Management Agency attempt to get to grips with over 6,000 complaints that have been registered.
Chief Executive of the Agency Paul McSweeney told the Examiner that in many cases, numerous property owners were due a refund having accidentally paid the charge on two separate occasions. Just to make sure there’s no angry knock on the door and all that, we presume.
“We have 6,000 queries and some paid for the same property twice,” said McSweeney.
“We have to contact those people and go: ‘You’re due a refund.’ I had to sign a whole load of cheques saying you paid too much. That’s amounted to €28,000.”
In other cases, individual partners in a home have each paid the charge without the other’s knowledge; while there have also been cases of people having had additional charges deducted from their bank accounts in error.
The worst thing about this mess is that it is the people who have actually paid or attempted to pay the charge are the ones that have been affected. Up to 600,000 properties have not been registered to pay it but McSweeney said that the issue was being dealt with, with door to door calls remaining a possibility.
“How they decide to enforce it will be up to each local authority manager,” he added.
“If they decide that they need to go door to door, then they will need to get people going door to door. If the manager gives them a legal instruction, then they have to do it.”
It was never going to be simple, was it?