Leeds City Council admitted an admin error has let to the overpayment of 25,000 council tax payments - with millions of pounds worth of extra cash accidentally paid into the bank accounts of Leeds residents.
The overpayment, which the council claimed was due to an "process error", means the council now has to recover £3.75m from individuals' bank accounts.
Due to a processing error by an organisation working on behalf of the council – which the council said was "beyond its control" and is being investigated – some households in the city recently received the duplicate payment of the £150 rebate.
The council is now sending letters to those residents affected by the duplicate payment outlining the ways in which they can return it.
People wishing to repay the full £150 amount immediately can do so via a bank transfer or through a simple and secure online system called Payit, the council said.
Both the bank transfer and Payit repayment options are available until Friday, June 3.
Details on how to use either of these methods are included in the council’s letter.
Residents who need further assistance can go to one of the council’s community hubs, where staff will be on hand to provide help.
People can alternatively choose to have their monthly direct debit council tax payments adjusted so the money is repaid in instalments over the rest of the year.
There is no need for those who prefer this option to take any action themselves, with the council planning to make the required direct debit adjustments automatically for households that do not use the repayment-in-full method before June 3.
A spokesperson for Leeds City Council said: “We apologise for any confusion and inconvenience caused by the duplicate payments into people’s bank accounts, which were due to a processing error by an organisation working on behalf of the council.
“We hope the letters going out to affected residents will help ensure the incorrect payments are repaid as quickly as possible.
“Our officers have been working hard to get the rebates out to local households and 200,000 payments have been made correctly.”
People with further questions are asked to visit the www.leeds.gov.uk/energybillsrebate web page or e-mail [email protected]
For help with your council tax or if you are struggling to make payments, advice can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk/council-tax/problems-paying-your-council-tax.
The £150 rebates have been made available nationwide to households in council tax bands A to D as part of the Government’s response to rising energy bills.