Dad wins £1,350 refund from CSA - and an apology

Read it on the Telegraph and Argus website

By"Marc Meneaud »

A father-of-six has won a long-running battle with the Child Support Agency (CSA) for a refund of more than £1,350 - with the help of the Telegraph & Argus.

The agency has sent an"unreserved apology" to Chris Marriott, 34, of Shipley, for wrongly taking a quarter of his monthly wages for seven months.

In a letter to Mr Marriott, Martin Towler, acting client relations director for the CSA, blamed internal errors and problems with its computer system for the huge delays.

He said: "I am writing to offer you my unreserved apologies for the errors and delays you have experienced as a consequence of the agency's failure to deal with your inquiry."

The CSA had been taking money from Mr Marriott since March for his 14-year-old daughter Jade, who lives in London.

Mr Marriott, who lives with his partner, two children and three step-children in West Royd Avenue, Windhill, initially contacted the T&A saying he was"sick to death" of chasing the CSA for his money.

He feared he would not be able to afford Christmas for his family.

Now the family faces a brighter festive season after the CSA paid out £1,355.30, £250 compensation and £34 in interest accrued while the CSA had his money.

Mr Marriott said: "We are really pleased and looking forward to Christmas now." He thanked the T&A and Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies for taking up his case, adding: "If it wasn't for the MP and the media, I'd still be waiting for my money."

Mr Davies, who branded the CSA an"absolute shambles" after hearing of Mr Marriott's problem, said: "I'm delighted that his particular issue has been resolved and it is a feather in the cap of the T&A for taking up his concerns.

"However, it is a shame he has had to resort to such lengths to get the problem sorted out.

"We shouldn't forget the many tens of thousands of people who are also suffering terrible headaches with the CSA."

A spokesman for the Child Support Agency said: "With 1.2 million child maintenance cases to manage, it is inevitable that mistakes will sometimes happen. We are committed to further improving the service we provide and when we have made mistakes, we will act to rectify them."