Lost Mail

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    Hi, I am just looking for a bit of advice.

    We have issued a letter requesting further information in support of a new claim and as good practice a reminder is issued. As there is no repsonse after a calendar month the claim the claim is withdrawn and a letter is issued confirming this.

    A few weeks later they provide the information which we had previously requested as their Housing Officer has contacted them regarding their arrears (by phone or visit) but in order to treat this as “remedying a defective claim” we have to accept the reason for the delay.

    However, the reason given for the delay in providing the information is they never received the letters in the first place so how could they respond! We have looked at this from several angles but I am not sure which one is best, if any!

    1. Ask the claimant if they have reported the problem with their mail deliveries to the Royal Mail?

    The repsonse was “if I don’t get the mail how can I report it missing unless I knew it was being sent?

    2. Are you receiving any other mail?

    The response was ” I don’t get any other letters”

    3. We refuse to accept the reason for the delay so they report the missing mail to Royal Mail. The Royal Mail investigate but can only apologise and hope that is never happens again, letter issued from Royal Mail confirming this.

    What would be the best way to deal with this as everybody now seems to be jumping on the same bandwagon??

    Any help or advice would be appreciated.



    Kevin D

    Just an observation – a claim can only be “withdrawn” by a claimant – LAs cannot withdraw a claim.

    As to the issue of missing post, my advice would be to take a pragmatic approach. If the evidence has been received within one month of the decision to “withdraw” the claim, simply revise that decision and assess entitlement.

    If you take the view that the clmt must ask for a revision (or even make a formal appeal), fine, but I’d positively encourage it and take a common sense approach based on the facts of this particular case as stated in your post.

    Hope this helps.


    So they didn’t get any of the letters! Highly unlikely. We had a customer once who insisted they hadn’t had post that we handed to them at their front door! As they always used the excuse that they didn’t get post we decided to deliver it ourselves, and they still denied receipt when we had no reply.

    It should be one of the great lies along with “the cheques in the post”, “no, your bum doesn’t look big in that” and the other one which I won’t put on here!



    Thanks for your replies. I am still none the wiser on what to do.

    He originally stated that he had reported his lost mail to the Royal Mail but we did not accept this reason. He then asked for a reconsideration and it is only now that he has reported his missing mail.

    As I said earlier we seem to get a lot of claimants saying they do not get the mail we send but I am sure some of them may be genuine.

    Any further suggestions?


    I don’t suppose it makes too much difference to your new claim stats either way as you have decided that its a defective claim as soon as the month is up… but yeah, its annoying. seems like the only letters some people do receive are the ones threatening eviction, or a court summonse for council tax non payment. its hard to educate some people on the importance of prompt response – we have changed our initial further info request letters to include a line which says “failure to provide this information within 7 days will delay your entitlement to benefit…” it has made a slight difference in people giving us the info we need but not in all cases. i don’t see any reason why you can’t be more threatening with your further info request letters. maybe even saying failure to comply with our request could lead to you loosing your home… or something might have the desired effect. Unless of course, they really do have problems with their post…


    I believe it was Auric Goldfinger who said, “Once is happenstance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action”. 😆

    If the customer has provided the evidence within a calendar month of the cancellation, then I’d go back. If it’s outside the calendar month, I would take the view that failing to deliver 3 letters is highly unlikely [i:d3caf48bd4]unless[/i:d3caf48bd4] the customer has a communal letterbox, or no letterbox at all. If it’s just a normal address, and normal circumstances, then failing to receive 3 letters is sufficiently unlikely as to be improbable.


    If you get a late appeal and the chair lets it through, the claimant will no doubt win once it gets to the full hearing.

    You could have simply accepted the claimants word for it without the pointless ritual of getting him to complain to the Royal Mail. This is a clear case where you either accept the evidence without corroboration, or you dont. In other words you will have to say your claimant was not a credible witness because his evidence was improbable or self contradictory

    Kevin D

    As already intimated in the earlier post, my view is that if the evidence was received by the LA within one month of the “nil” notification, consideration should be given to “reopening” & assessing the claim. Any other course of action is, in most cases, bureaucracy for the sake of it (albeit, arguably legitimised if going by the strict & absolute letter of the law).

    However, playing devil’s advocate to the specific stand alone point about post, [b:c55bd3d740]Sealy v Consignia plc (2002) EWCA Civ 878[/b:c55bd3d740] is proving to be very useful (at least for me) in dealing with arguments about post. In summary, amongst other matters, it is reasonable to expect that normal postal delivery has occurred unless there is evidence to the contrary.


    Just for clarification, I don’t recommend using Sealy as a browbeater in GENUINE cases of non-receipt of post. But, it should see off the “chancers” who mysteriously receive only post that is advantageous to them.


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