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War hero likens housing association to Third Reich
A WAR hero told to pay the rent on his lock-up garage by direct debit or face losing it has compared a housing association to the Third Reich.
Douglas George, 93, said he was "livid" when he received a strongly-worded letter from Affinity Sutton saying it now only accepts direct debit as a payment method for garage accounts.
It went on to say: "If we do not receive the completed (direct debit) form back we will have to take the garage from you".
Mr George, of Faringdon Avenue, Bromley, says he has rented the garage in nearby Birch Row as a place to keep his car safe for almost 50 years.
Until receiving the letter on May 28, he has always paid his £21.44 fortnightly rent with a payment card at the post office issued to him by Affinity Sutton.
Mr George was an RAF ground crew officer who enlisted in 1939 aged 18.
He served in the war until the bitter end in 1946 and was based off the Dover coast and in Africa.
The father-of-two, who went on to become a civil servant after the war, said: "The letter's appalling.
"It reminds me of the Third Reich - you will do this or we will do this.
"I fought for this country and this letter gets to your guts. I don't like its tone.
"I don't like direct debit. I don't pay any of my bills by direct debit."
Since receiving the letter, Mr George has settled the matter with Affinity Sutton, which will allow him to continue paying using his preferred method.
Head of housing for Affinity Sutton Sarah Paton said: “We have spoken to Mr George and explained to him why we are asking all our garage licensees to pay by direct debit but that given his personal circumstances we are happy for him to continue to pay using his payment card.
“In line with many other organisations we have made the decision to move towards payment by direct debit as it is the most reliable and cost effective way to pay.”