More than 2,500 Shropshire residents have incorrectly received a threatening letter from bailiffs working on behalf of the council.
The company, Bristow and Sutor, has apologised after telling 2,622 residents they would be attending their homes to remove goods within seven days in payment for unpaid council tax.
The letters should have informed residents that the council had obtained a liability order to collect outstanding council tax - the first stage in the reclaim process, with bailiffs only the very last resort.
Calling it a "serious oversight", the leader of Shropshire Council, Peter Nutting, said the authority had asked the company to suspend activities while an investigation was carried out.
“This kind of mistake is unacceptable at any time, but during a pandemic and at Christmas, when families have been hit hard in so many ways, it is beyond belief," Mr Nutting said.