Text messages to help avoid summons and extras costs

As part of transforming the way we work, South Somerset District Council is introducing text message reminders for overdue Council Tax.

The aim is to text an informal reminder to customers who have not paid their Council Tax instalment on time to prevent them from getting a formal notice.

An initial text message will be sent to all customers where we hold a mobile phone number collected since 1 April 2017 to let them know we will use text messaging and direct them to our privacy notice on the Council's website.

Anyone phoning the Council or using our online forms will now be made aware of how we will use their contact details within the Council and we will add or update those details on their account.

Continually paying late can result in losing the right to pay by instalments meaning the whole balance becomes due. It can also lead to additional summons and liability order costs of £71.75 being added to the customer's account.

The best way to avoid having to remember to pay is to join the 7 out of 10 households in South Somerset who already pay by direct debit. There are four dates to choose from and it's easy to set up. To set up this method of payment, call our direct debit hotline 01935 462125 and we will get you up and running.

Council Peter Seib, Portfolio Holder for Finance at South Somerset District Council said, "People tend to read texts even if they don't read emails, so using SMS is ideal. A timely reminder, sent automatically by our new IT system, will help a few people avoid getting into trouble with tax arrears and it won't greatly inconvenience the majority."

In future, where a customer's Council Tax is overdue by 10 days and we hold a mobile phone number we have collected since 1 April 2017, we will send an informal text message asking them to make their payment straight away. Where a payment isn't made within two days of the text being sent a formal reminder will be sent.