Friday, April 15, 2011

Man gets 200 page rejection letter from council...

Bureau-crazy! Motorist claiming £40 pothole damage gets 200-page rejection letter

Last updated at 10:03 PM on 15th April 2011
When Terry Rothery filed a £40 claim to his council for pothole damage to his car, he wasn’t really expecting much of a response.
The reply he got, however, turned out to be rather overwhelming.
For while council bureaucrats did, as expected, refuse to compensate the retired magazine executive, they also felt the need to send him a 200-page letter explaining their decision.
Rambling: Terry Rothery received the council's 200-page reply to his £40 pothole damage compensation claim
Rambling: Terry Rothery received a 200-page reply to his £40 pothole damage compensation claim
Over-officious highways bosses even included their entire 186-page road maintenance strategy along with a lengthy explanation letter.
Mr Rothery, 65, filed the claim in protest at the council’s road maintenance after he hit a massive pothole as he was driving his blue BMW along a road at night near to his home in Billericay, Essex.
The father of four and grandfather said: ‘The rejection letter was a load of gobbledygook, with clauses and subclauses and explanations which basically said they could not be held responsible.
‘Why they had to send me the complete highway maintenance strategy, I have no idea.
‘It just needed the couple of pages within that document that are relevant – not the complete works.’
Pen pushers: Terry Rothery was baffled when the 20o page letter arrived to reject his £40 claim for pothole damage to his car
Bump: Mr Rothery was driving in the dark when a large pothole damaged the alloy wheel of his blue BMW
Mr Rothery has since been left frustrated in his attempts to speak to council officials, who he says have not been answering their phones.
He said: ‘If they have done this to me, there must be hundreds of other people out there who have been sent the same thing, so just imagine how much that will have cost taxpayers.
‘We are the taxpayers, we make the contributions and this is just lunacy.
'When people talk about barmy bureaucracy, this is it – it’s alive and well. There were so many pages there that it cost about  £2 [in postage] to send it out  to me.'
    He added: ‘I could not believe it. I was just gobsmacked when it arrived – I thought, “What in heaven’s name are they up to?”’
    Mr Rothery said of the pothole that caused £42 of damage to his alloy wheel: ‘It was one rather large crater in the road. As soon as I hit it, I thought, “That’s done some damage”.
    ‘Thankfully the damage was not too serious but I thought I would put the claim in out of principle as the roads have become so bad.
    ‘The road workers are only filling up the potholes as a temporary solution and they know that they will be back time and time again to repair them.’
    Evidence: Mr Rothery photographed his car next to the massive potholeLetter: Complete with another 199 pages
    Letter: The first page of the letter and right, Mr Rothery's car next to the massive pothole which he photographed as evidence
    A spokesman for the council said: ‘It is certainly not Essex County Council’s policy to send out our full highways maintenance policy with every response to a compensation claim.
    ‘It appears on this occasion that it has been sent in error and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.
    ‘Our policy when sending responses is to direct residents to the relevant section of our website, or to only send out relevant pages by post in order to keep paperwork to a minimum.’

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