I'm just gearing up to attend the annual meeting put on by the housing association of the area I live in. I missed last year's because I was at SteemFest, and I would have missed this year's too had I gone to Bangkok.
I've just printed out 25 photographs and uploaded 16 videos to my phone to present at the meeting. This is going to be a serious fight, and I'm going armed with facts and hard evidence.
The reason being; I've received a threat letter from a "solicitor" written in garbage legalese that is supposed to scare me into paying for stuff I'm not liable for. It's got all the usual "pay NOW or else" phraseology that most people would throw a white towel at. Not me. I've fought and won countless of these things now that I don't even notice the threatening phrases anymore.
You're really never free in England
I'm sure this applies to Scotland and Wales too, and probably to Holland, Germany and France, but since I live in England, that's all I know.
For many years I've been trying to live a more free life, part of which is reducing my dependancy on things the government is involved with - both local and national. I've also tried as much as possible, with more success, to liberate myself from the clutches of the big financial institutions that have you locked down in a perpetual state of deficit - so as to enslave you.
I have no debts related to credit cards or leases of material things like a car or a house. The goal being to reduce my liability as much as possible.
I know people who have successfully gotten where I need to be, but I'm still on my way. Even they have to constantly keep an eye on the sneaky sharks and overlords that don't ever give up without a dirty fight.
I've been recently hit hard by two of these such agents of the overlords. Once they get you, they escalate so quickly in an attempt to get you back into the system of perpetual debt, so you can once again be at their service.
I incurred a Dartford charge on a recent trip to Kent. In order to get to Kent, those of us in London most likely have to cross the giant bridge over the Thames, or go underneath it in a tunnel. A toll is payable for each crossing. In the past, they had toll gates where you had to pay physically before you could pass. In this setup, then had 100% payment rate with no fines. It was a simple and effective system.
Nowadays the system has been "updated" to an online payment scheme, where you go to a website and make a payment. The idea is, it helps the flow of traffic, since vehicles no longer have to stop at a toll gate. This is awesome of course. However, the government has been completely disingenuous about how they've gone about it. When you go on the website, you have to mentally keep track of how many journeys to pay for. If you over pay, there is no refund. If you under pay (miss out one crossing for instance), receive a disproportionately massive fine. The system is so unintuitive that it appears to have been designed that way to generate income from fining people. The government can effectively make 100 x more money finning people than from people paying the toll fee.
In my case, I missed out two crossings out of 7, which I then went pack and paid for a few days later.
You have to pay by midnight on the day of your crossing!
Which means if you've had a long journey and arrive home late, and forget, you're potentially screwed!
Virtually everyone I know that drives in London has been hit at least once by the Dart Charge. Again, it's as though it was designed to penalise.
I'm still fighting that case now. In my case, the paperwork was sent to the wrong address, so I wasn't even aware I was being fined, until the case went to court and got ruled against me - naturally since I wasn't there. It was the bailiffs that found my correct address and sent me all the charges and incurred legal and "admin" charges involved.
The sneaky sharks also deal with crossing individually in order to maximise the charges and admin fees. So the £2.50 x 2 crossings (£5) that I had already paid for, even if a little late, had become nearly 2 thousand pounds by the time it all got to me.
That's nearly £2,000 to drive myself to Kent from London.
Had I known it would be that expensive, I'd have taken a helicopter. It would have taken me 15 minutes each way, with a much, much better view. Like I said earlier though, this is still in progress, so I'm looking to win that one.
I had refused to pay a charge that was being levied on me by our housing association. They have requested that I produce proof that I didn't need to pay, but really the onus is on them to show that I need to pay.
They've decided to send the charge to a debt collector hack of a solicitor, who has forwarded me the template threat letter with some other standard garbage attached.
I have created my own "attachments" and have read up on all the legal stuff. I am intending, and prepared to make a total fool of the association today. If I'm in the right, which I believe I am, I'm not going to stop there. I'm going to hire a lawyer of my own and make this very costly for them. I've pretty much had enough the random charges that have no legal standing. I wonder how much they make from people that don't know their rights.
I am getting a real appreciation for all those hippies all of a sudden. You know the ones - the off grid living, van life types that just want to disconnect from it all and get away from the systems that have been put there to trap you into perpetual debt.
Consider this: Let's assume someone does owe money, and are unable to pay. How is multiplying the debt by adding bogus charges and fees going to resolve the issue? Unless, of course, the intention is to make said person sink irretrievably into debt.
So, no, you're really never free here. Even if you own your own home, achieve financial independence and are in good health, you're one sneaky escalating charge away from losing everything you've ever worked for.
Peace and Love ✌🏿
All copy and photos are original content by me.