HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Hanging On The Telephone - Busy

Call Centre
My sympathies to a loyal reader who emailed me the other day about some problems that he has been having with HMRC.

Aside from issues with HMRC losing corporation tax returns several times, he then had a few problems trying to complete a tax return online

Deciding to talk to a human being he called the "helpline", at 19:30, only to hear a 3 minute message telling him that HMRC were busy and that he should do it online.

At which point he was cut off.

Why is service declining?

It's not that hard a question to answer:

1 The tax system has become so massively complex that neither the taxpayer, nor HMRC staff, are able to easily understand it (if at all). Hence it takes an inordinate amount of time to deal with problems/queries.

2 The poorly managed restructuring of HMRC has caused disruption, chaos and a plunge in morale.

3 The limited resources available are not best placed to field queries and deal with taxpayers.

4 There are insufficient frontline resources to deal with taxpayers' issues.

5 There is not enough money available to fund the resources needed to deal with the overly complex taxsystem.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. New telephone staff have a maximum of 10 days training (some of them have been on the job much longer). They have a list of questions and try to match yours to one they have. Good Luck. They have to get you off the phone quickly or be punished.They have a limited option to pass your call to someone more knowledgable but too many attempts to do that will be noticed. They often just tell you anything or find some pretext to claim that you have failed their ID check so they can end the call and count it as a successful call.

  2. Anon @ 17.29

    I work on this helpline and can tell you for a fact that in our CC we dont have a list of qu's that we have to match the query to, we dont get punished for having people on the phone too long, we have no option to pass the call to someone more knowledgable (unless its a technical query). I certainly dont just tell people anything nor fail security un-neccessarily (there is no point to do so, its causes abusive calls).
    I've never heard such a load of garbage!!!

    When I started work at 9:15 this morn there was already 376 calls waiting and we were just about fully staffed in our CC, when I left at 16:30 the number of calls waiting was similar. Why is it like this, its all due to the fantastic new system that is working as designed (ahem), too many errors that need correcting. SIMPLE.
    You'll find that the majority of advisors dont give a flying **** about the stats of the centres, we actually do want to help people.

  3. 19 April 2010 22:03

    I think you must be working in another department or just like talking out of your arse. My partner is under constant threats of dismissal because of the length of some of their calls. The problem is that they are dealing with problems that do not fall into line with the call type process (list of questions to the outside world).

    I agree with you regarding the comment about most operators not being interested in stats but they still get beater about the head with them.

  4. It's things like this that make me hate this country.

    THEY owe ME £400, £400 that I really need, I've completed all the forms, sent them off, 3 months and i've heard absolutely nothing.

    So you'd think the least I could expect is a short phone call...Nope, I can't even get through to a fucking human to get my own money back, let alone just to see if they have even got my request in the first place.

  5. 19/04/10 22.03

    Nice attitude..... I do work on the helpline, and I am not talking out of my arse. Yes we have the call type processes and yes they are there for guidance but they are not the letter of the law.

    I have never been beaten about the head with my stats, maybe i'm just a quicker worker than your partner but I am by no means speedy nor am I desperate to get the taxpayers off the phone. I answer the call and do my job as swiftly as possible like all the other advisors around me. I'd be interested to know which CC your partner is in, because they're clearly all run completely differently.

  6. Why do you HMRC managers/tossers put yourselves and your miserable performance bonuses, stats and spreadsheets first at the expense of "real" customer last? Should it not be the other way around?!!

  7. 26 April 2010 21:46

    It is possible that the call centres are all run differently but the staff surveys tend to suggest otherwise. Of course the negative points highlighted in the surveys could all be related to one centre but I am sure if this was the case this would have been dealt with by now.

    I am pleased to hear that you and your colleagues are able to get on with your job and provide the service you undertook to provide in the first place. This of course should be the same throughout HMRC but I am not convinced it is.

  8. Thought I'd post a quick comment - just trying to get my usual tax refund

    Rang up the office, held for 16 minutes (in silence..) and then the guy sends me a P85 - 'leaving the UK' because I spent six months abroad last year...

  9. Quite amazing - I rang to update my circumstances but more than 30 minutes later we hadnt progressed from confirming my identity for gods sake. How does thie country still survive?

  10. Spent 40 minutes on the phone so far this morning and haven't managed to speak to a human being yet.
    I have been notified that I am owed £3700 in tax overpayments, stretching back to 2006-07. I've only had £1700 of it back so far.
    I have been owed this money for nearly 6 years now. I've called HMRC 7 times in the last month but can't get through to a human being who will take responsibility for this situation and resolve it.
    I would get angry, but I know it will make no difference.

    Instead I will endeavor to get hold of an internal HMRC telehpne directory by hook or by crook, and then stick it on this website.