Council sent widower letter to tell him he had died – and offered him council tax discount

A council which sent a letter to a recent widower informing him he was dead has said it is “deeply sorry” for the mistake.

Stuart Dobson was sent a letter by South Norfolk Council which said the authority was “sorry to hear” that he had died, and that he was entitled to a council tax exemption – if he would fill in a form. 

Mr Dobson had lost his wife of 54 years, Ann, just one month before he received the letter.

Stuart Dobson received the letter a month after his wife died. Credit: LDRS

After opening the letter, Mr Dobson went to see the council in person.

He said: “I have been up there to give them a letter. I’ve hand delivered it to the council, telling them ‘do I look dead to you?’

He added: “It’s an utter shambles. They’re asking me to fill in forms when they think I’m dead, it doesn’t make sense. I don’t need this at all.”

The letter said the council was ‘sorry to hear’ Mr Dobson had passed away Credit: LDRS

A South Norfolk Council spokesman said: “The council has apologised to Mr Dobson for the mistake made when updating our records following the death of Mrs Dobson and we regret that our mistake has caused Mr Dobson upset at this difficult time.

“We have reviewed what happened and unfortunately this was a case of human error for which we are deeply sorry.”

Writing to the council, Mr Dobson said: “I have today received an ill-informed letter from you telling me that I have passed away.

“It appears that your staff need to concentrate and get a grip on facts and reality and not foolishly send out such ridiculous and incorrect documentation which has cost me time and distress.

“I am embarrassed for your organisation, which I financially support in no small way, but sadly you have confirmed my and others’ opinion of yourselves.”

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