A council worker told a grieving widower that his wife had walked out on him ... when she had actually died.
He also wanted to ask why he had been sent six council tax bills, all for different amounts of money.
But the grandad, who knew he was up to date with his payments, was shocked when he said the council official looked on her computer system and told him: “I can see what the problem is. Your wife left and you walked out of the flat as well, but when you decided to come back to the flat a new tenancy was created.”
Mr Landon, who has two grown-up daughters and three grandchildren, said he had struggled emotionally for a while after the death of his 78-year-old wife Jean two months ago.
“For the first month I couldn’t speak to people about her death,” he said. “I was just beginning to feel a little better when this happened and it really knocked me back. I felt angry and upset.”
Mr Landon, who was married to Jean for 55 years, had been to the Register Office at Huddersfield Town Hall after his wife died on July 20 and had taken advantage of a service to notify government organisations.
But the council official he spoke to over the phone had nothing on her records about this, only the wrong information about his marital circumstances.
“When I told her the situation she showed no compassion, “ Mr Landon said. “She just seemed to be reading something from a screen with no thought or feeling. The word ‘sorry’ was not in her vocabulary, but she did eventually admit that I didn’t owe anything.”
A council spokesman said: “Mr Landon should not have received an overpayment letter from us and we have contacted him to apologise.
“At the time of Mr Landon’s initial phone call, our staff member explained what had caused the issue, provided reassurance that Mr Landon did not owe the money requested and said the situation had now been resolved.
“There had been a mistake in our systems and the staff member also apologised for this error at the end of the call.
“We are sorry for any distress the error has caused.”