Article on This is Total Essex 4 June 2008
This website seems to be related to the local newspaper, so I guess that explains the slightly bizarre reporting.
Apparently when Brentwood Borough Council implemented a new computer system they managed to take council tax payments five days early, affecting 21,000 people "leaving many in the red, short of cash and with the prospect of hefty bank charges looming."
The article calls this a "shocking revelation" that "is just unacceptable" and "was a mistake which quite simply should never have occurred in the first place." It says the council has put this down to human error and it has "promised to refund any charges incurred."
What is bizarre is the article goes on to say that if a resident paid their task bill five days late they would probably be "hit them with a substantial fine and the threat of legal action." Which I doubt completely.
The article suggests the council "should launch an extensive investigation into this appalling error, take the appropriate action to ensure it never happens again, and do everything in its power to regain the trust of those residents affected." I would guess the council has already done this, and has promised to pay refunds.
All I can guess is the un-named reporter has never made an error, and if he/she did would look simply sweep it under the carpet, which he/she seems to have assumed the council have done.