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.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Calling All Agents II - Deja Vu

In October I wrote about the ICAEW's and HMRC's appeal for tax agent firms to allow HMRC to come and see how things are done at the coal face:

"Michael Izza, the CEO of the ICAEW, has issued a public call for tax agent firms to allow HMRC staff to come and see what it is like at the "coal face" and visit the firms to observe procedures etc. HMRC have assured the ICAEW that there are no risks to the firms (or the clients of the firms) if they allow HMRC staff to come and visit."

Later, that same month, I quoted Clapser:

"HMRC has committed to a big challenge. However, improvements can only be made with the input of the profession and it is therefore important that firms come forward to volunteer to host HMRC staff. Council members are strongly encouraged to do so, and take their opportunity to share their experiences."

I then stated:

"I would note one thing, not everyone is of the view that there is such a cosy relationship between HMRC and the profession.

Anthony Thomas, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), recently debunked the nonsense that there is a "special relationship" between HMRC and the professional bodies, calling it a "myth" (akin to that "relationship" between the UK and US governments).

This view may ruffle a few feathers over at the ICAEW, where Michael Izza (the CEO) claims that "we (the ICAEW) now have a partnership with HMRC".
Moving forward to the present, I was more than gemused to read on Nichola Ross Martin's site that the "visit the coalface" idea has been done before (even to the extent of visiting the very same tax agent!).

Ironically, neither HMRC or the ICAEW seem to remember this!

Here is Nichola's article in full, in the hope that it jogs the memories of both HMRC and ICAEW.
"We have a case of déjà vu: as part of the latest Agent Strategy HMRC are visiting firms to see what it is really like in practice. Hold on, hasn't that been tried already? Read on and see if you can spot the difference.
In 2008 HMRC director’s general of business tax – Melanie Dawes visited West Country firm A C Mole and Sons to “see what it is like for us - and experience the practical effects of HMRC's Change Programme as we do…” Paul Aplin, a partner in the firm and chairman of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) Tax Faculty enthused on his blog “I think that it completely changed the way she viewed our issues.”

Roll on three years, we now learn that HMRC’s director general of personal tax – Stephen Banyard, has just returned from a visit to... West Country firm A C Mole and Sons, speaking to staff and receiving feedback. Paul Aplin, a partner in the firm but now ex-chairman of the ICAEW Tax Faculty reports, “I think he went away with a better understanding of the problems we encounter.”

So, assuming that Mr Banyard has not taken a leaf out of his boss’ book (Dave Hartnett, “the most wined and dined mandarin of Whitehall”) and was not really taking the opportunity for a day out of London sampling local cuisine, we must conclude that the visit was really useful. Sad to say that judging by the effect that Ms Dawes previous visit seems to have had it is unlikely to create any noticeable changes for tax agents. We all agree that service levels and standards have spiralled into a lamentable decline in the past three years.

Probably the most embarrassing thing for both HMRC and the ICAEW is that three years ago after the Dawes' visit, Paul had also managed to tete a tete with HMRC's Chairman Mike Clasper. ”When I met Mike Clasper, last week I told him what it was like at the coalface - the wasted time dealing with piles of incorrect PAYE coding notices and the frustration and embarrassment caused by incorrect penalty notices…We spoke one to one - no officials present - for almost an hour and a half and I felt that I received a fair hearing…”

Not that any of what happened three years ago appears to have had any effect on service standards or agent relationships.

The acid test is probably whether members of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) who are investigating the rolling saga of the combination of HMRC’s Permanent Secretary’s blunders with large business, together with HMRC's value for money and falling service standards will take heed and give Mr Clasper a prod. Why on earth do a one to one with the ICAEW's top tax man and do nothing?

It is of course too late to ask Melanie Dawes, she has now jumped ship to the Cabinet Office following a previous grilling by the PAC in September. Mike Norgrave has just been appointed to take her place, obviously, he cannot be held accountable."

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. All HMRC needs to do is step out of the office and try telephoning HMRC with a query and
    a) see HOW MANY TIMES you have to ring before you get an answer to your call
    b) see HOW LONG IT TAKES before anyone answers the telephone
    c) see how many OTHER TELEPHONE NUMBERS you are provided with and have to try to contact for the correct person/ddepartment (repeat (a) and and (b) above)
    d) see how long it takes to find anyone at HMRC who can ADEQUATELY ANSWER the query

    HMRC could try any typical query which HMRC answers on a day to day basis (HMRC will know what queries it is asked)

    Or be really bold and try a really hard query!

    Try that for a week and see how well HMRC performs

    Or try it in your lunch hour and see if you ever get chance to eat... I hear it is great for dieting.

    I think it is commonly known as 'the secret caller' i.e an organisations tests it's own processes and procedures and publishes the results.

    Far too difficult.

    (And what people appear to forget to achieve 50% first time answer rates, somebody else's call has not been answered, and one person can be unlucky enough for their calls not to be answered more than once)

    Oh, and not everyone employs an accountant
    (i.e OAP's on a pension)

    Perhaps the Treasury Selecet Committee might consider telephoning...

  2. 38%!

    April– August, 2009–2010 answered JUST 38% of calls!

    "Service levels in HMRC contact centres are significantly better this year than in 2010-11. In the first five months of this year (April - August) HMRC contact centres answered 71% of all call attempts compared to just 38% in the same period last year. We have plans in place to go further."

    Page 13, Government Response

    Administration and
    effectiveness of HMRC:
    Government Response
    to the Sixteenth Report
    from the Committee
    Eighth Special Report of Session
    Ordered by the House of Commons
    to be printed 19 October 2011

  3. Spot the deliberate error,

    38% of calls answered for the period in 2010–2011

    Still 38% whichever way

  4. "there is some doubt about whether von der Pahlen called the helpdesk when he said he did"

    If 62% of calls were not answered, how does HMRC record (or blame) the likes of Mr von der Pahlen or anyone else for not telephoning them?

    One could telephone HMRC for days and never get a response but is that recorded anywhere? I think not. Just 38% of calls answered while 62% were not.


  5. I see 29% of calls are still not answered! (nearly 1 in 3)

  6. On this blog

    TUESDAY, 27 APRIL 2010

    Hanging On The Telephone - Very Very Busy

    "After navigating several levels of automated number choices you get the message that this line is busy, please call back later. No option of hanging on, you must expensively re-navigate with no certainty of success, repeatedly."

  7. try the comments on

  8. There were some stats floating around a couple of years ago stating that 3 million extra calls were being answered, but that the 'net recruitment' to the contact centre was 3.

    What? so the extra three dealt with a call every 30 seconds without stopping for an entire year? LOL

  9. @24 November 2011 14:13

    With an attitude like that I'm not surprised you don't get any satisfaction.

    HMRC is a very vast organisation, there's no point sitting there with a snigger on your face boasting about the fact that the adviser doesn't know the answer to all questions thrown at them when you yourself do not know the answer.

    You're right, not everyone can afford an accountant, most HMRC workers in the contact centre probably couldn't afford one either.

    Oh and you'd be surprised how many accountants ring the CC for a technical answer then charges their client 10x the cost of the call the privilege for their 'time'.

    It's difficult to see what you actually want here. 'Accountancy-level advice at no further cost to the taxpayer' seems like it. Call centre staff are only trained to a certain level and their salary reflects this.

    Also it might seem like an ideal to have call centre staff with AAT or Charter Level qualifications in their pocket so that they can answer every call at the first point of contact, but equally that would mean they would be able to spot a trick from a mile off and gather more intelligence on behalf of the department. Be careful what you wish for.

  10. @24 November 2011 19:40

    I also meant to say that when a change in legislation or policy comes about, the adviser is probably given about 5-10 'reading/investment time' in order to process the information.

    Unfortunately, being on a salary and being employed by the government, they can't spend hours on a training course learning exactly what the effect of the new legislation/policy is and pass on that cost to the customer with increased fees, as an accountant would.

  11. It never ceases to amaze me how most comments here are in agreement yet for some reaosn there is this constant antagonism (them and us, most of us are on your side):
    "Oh and you'd be surprised how many accountants ring the CC for a technical answer then charges their client 10x the cost of the call the privilege for their 'time'."
    Which is why an OAP on a pension, unable to be fleeced by an accountant (and we are no fan of them either) relies entirely upon being able to contact HMRC for advice and guidance, but if you don't answr 62% of calls and don't reply to letters, it makes it a bit difficult for 'customers' ; who have nowhere else to go.

    I wonder if the Monopolies Commison would be interested?

  12. @24 November 2011 16:24

    Several of these comments refer to posting items to offices that had already been closed under the HMRC 'change programme' even at the original time of the post (18 months ago).

    If you insist on sending stuff to an office that has been closed/significantly been reduced then I cannot begin to wonder what kind of response you hope to receive.

    "Dear John Lennon, I am your greatest fan I love your single 'Imagine' it's very thought provoking. I've been following your career for several months now. Signed Tinky-Winky, 20/11/11"

    "Dear Tinky Winky, we regretfully inform you that John Lennon passed away on 9/12/1980 and is unable to answer your correspondence personally, Signed La-La, Executor to the estate of John Lennon 23/11/11".

    "Dear La-La, how dare you not send me an individually addressed letter saying that John Lennon has died, I'm going to sue you for compensation loss of earnings/dignity etc. Signed Tinky Winky 24/11/11"

  13. @24 November 2011 20:20

    Unfortunately no one batted an eyelid when the last government reduced the workforce of HMRC by 1/3rd and still seem disinterested now, people who aren't there cannot take your calls.

    The reason for the antagonism is that most people don't seem to realise the answer is staring them in the face.

  14. @14:13 You've pretty much described what its like for the lower grade staff in HMRC, making internal phone calls to get something done, that they used to do themselves, only now they're not allowed to!!!

  15. @ 20:45 I think you might be incorrect, the majority of staff losses where people who dealt with post, sa returns etc.

    Causing delays, leading to an increase in phone calls!

    Which the bright sparks at the top hadn't taken into account of, when their shiny new IT project didn't work as expected!

    It was too late as they'd already taken a machete to HMRC's headcount!

  16. @24 November 2011 20:20

    The current and last government suggested significant savings can be achieved by cutting down on 'waste'.

    "there are too many idle civil servants" they/the right-wing press suggested.

    HMRC were one of the biggest casualties in this, losing a third of the workforce and keeping salaries low whilst cutting pensions and sacking people for minor discipline offences.

    People on this site seem to have no trouble believing they can expect BA Customer First class service from civil servants to cater for their every whim whilst only paying for an economy ticket.

    HMRC staff take pride in the work they do but there's a limit to which they can be stretched, if they are attacked at every angle (government/public/their own management).

    If you keep attacking us and cutting off our limbs, don't expect the one armed person serving you to be ambidextrous.

  17. Have I blinked?

    "Several of these comments refer to posting items to offices that had already been closed"

    Please advise anywhere where these comments identify ANY office that has closed.

    Thank you

  18. We are on your side

    "no one batted an eyelid when the last government reduced the workforce of HMRC by 1/3rd and still seem disinterested now, people who aren't there cannot take your calls"

    Of course 'customers' care, there is a liergy of examples of complains to Govt; that is the whole point, it isn't about you personally it is the failure that is HMRC from Government and Management... not individual staff.

    Grow up

    But of course you are public sector worker that are so hard done by... most people NO LONGER HAVE A PENSION.

    Enjoy your old age paid for by your customers.

  19. @24 November 2011 14:13

    'HMRC is a very vast organisation,'

    ONS states, 'There were 29.07 million people in employment aged 16 and over'

    I guess they all have a tax code, so it's their fault now for working? Sorry to be such a burden on HMRC.

  20. Several of the comments left at this site referred to offices that have been closed.

    What do you want, customer service experts of HMRCIsShite? It seems that HMRC must provide information to those that require it, those that may require it and those that don't. Yet equally not burden those who don't not require information, and also not don't not not accept that people who have not been ungnorant to information sent to them do not not not have any responsibility whilst providing a customer service that runs along the lines of "anyone who doesn't not disagree with the above, isn't or equally not unjointly liable to a penalty that cannot not unjustifiably be undisagreed by legal precedent".

  21. 24 November 2011 21:38

    I hope you don't have a hangover in the morning. (But that would explain a great deal).

    So 'customers' are now experts on which HMRC office have closed. Of course, with HMRC it is always the 'customers' fault.

    Get a life.

  22. @24 November 2011 21:33

    People like you are a burden on your fellow taxpayers.

    HMRC can only act on information it receives, most of that information comes from you under S7 TMA1970.

    If you choose to rely on your employer/HMRC to make an adjustment when HMRC no longer has any staff that actually deal with the vast mistakes because the government you voted for deems this to be OK. You only have yourselves to blame.

    @21:28 the employer will not make any distinction.

  23. 24 November 2011 21:38

    "and also not don't not not accept that people who have not been ungnorant to information sent to them " (usual from HMRC staff, incomprehensibel)

    So information sent is a gurantee of receipt?

    Send something to HMRC who lose it, can't find it, send it three times or more and it is still 'the customer's fault.

    Then again if HMRC loses all the post it will have a 100% response record.

    Easy eh?

  24. @24 November 2011 21:52

    You've just answered your own question. How can you expect the average HMRC staffer to keep up with information that you yourself have deemed useless. Whilst expecting that same HMRC staffer to know everything about your own particular query.

  25. @24 November 2011 21:33

    "to rely on your employer/HMRC to make an adjustment"

    more assumption that these are the enquiries HMRC receives

    more falsehoods

    again OAP's the forgotten generation and their enquiries (but without them we'd all be speaking German)

    still fortunately it is your freedom

  26. 24 November 2011 21:58

    It was deliberately incomprehensible to highlight the vast number of contradictory 'customer service' suggestions that come through to HMRC staff that suggest that HMRC should both 'do something' yet not 'do something else' whilst also suggesting 'don't not not possibly do something as customer A might like it but customer b might not not not not like it with some reservations' You must fit all of the above customer recommendations in to something a majority of the public can understand.#

  27. @24 November 2011 22:03

    HMRC cannot predict the future. They cannot predict your pension (which was sold off to a private pension company several years ago). HMRC is HMRC is HMRC for ****'s sake HMRC doesn't know everything about a pensioners tax affairs unless that person tells them. HMRC cannot guarantee your pension any more they can mine.

    Also the idea that pensioners of today are of a patriotic generation that 'fought the war' is nonsense, they were born in the 1950's.

    Pensioners ahead of you are going to have to deal with more government bureaucracy. You did not fight the war. You are baby boomers who expect those who live in front and behind you to pay for you.

    Your subscription to the Daily Mail/Express will not cover your pension pot.

  28. I'm one of a number of accountants who telephone HMRC to find out if it is really true that clients have been told another load of old tosh by some untrained zombie.

  29. addition, and no, we don't charge clients for all the time wasted by HMRC!

  30. @24 November 2011 23:00

    Then personally train that HMRC 'untrained zombie' at your own cost.

    Enterprise is everything according to your government.....

  31. @24 November 2011 23:01 according to the letters of 'redress' you do.

    Once HMRC is privatised at the apparent customers behest you will all be blaming yourselves because there will be no public service to blame. The crapatos private sector will have come from your own.

  32. @24 November 2011 23:00

    You have several thousand untrained zombies waiting at your doorstep for you to train them an pay them a decent wage.....

    Oh I'm sorry I forgot you expect other people to do that on your behalf or some up with some BS that those who got qualifications through hard graft despite no evidence being presented.

  33. @24 November 2011 21:52

    Err... it's a chartered accountants website that I was referring to?

    Unless they are completely ignorant and just want to blame HMRC for their own failings, who correspond with HMRC on a regular basis i.e. those same accountants should have some idea of when the addresses at the top of the letters they receive change. That would be a fair assumption.

    And no I do not have a hangover, because I have a job to do today, which mostly involves trying to predict the future on behalf of the customers who write in to HMRC.

  34. @21.28

    So most people don't have a pension? I presume a decent pension that enables them to retire with dignity.
    So what? That's what has been on the cards for years - private enterprise/self reliance expects you to take care of that yourself, not someone else. Stop trying to have your cake and eat it.
    And it may benefit you to actually look at the statistics, read the Hutton report and remember that Civil Servants on average earn less than the national mean and pay tax, too.
    The Daily Mail is about as reliable for facts as The Beano.

  35. Very bad tempered thread.

    Reading the posts, seems everyone wants the right thing. Why the venom?

  36. The problem started when Inland Revenue became HMRC. They had the amazing idea of closing tax offices, stop training tax inspectors then pay them all off. Then they opened contact centres paying low wages and hiring people with very little or no tax knowledge. Then, train them for four weeks and expect them to answer calls in 10 seconds, spend no longer than 2-3 minutes on the call then 30 seconds to note it. If they don't know an answer they then have to pass it on to a 'technical team'. The technical teams are the left over very de-moralised inspectors who are bothered in the middle of their own work to answer questions from the contact centre. Believe me, we would all rather it still had local offices. It is a nightmare trying to find someone if you want advice and i work there. It is not the fault of the contact centre. They are all very stressed and the morale is awful. They have daily abuse from TP's and agents, then see themselves constantly slagged off in the press. HMRC have a new answer to the call problem now anyway, they are bringing in private outside companies - see how secure you and your clients information is then.

  37. Just attended an HMRC training course, the trainer had been in Scotland giving tuition to new contact centre staff.....the evening shift turned up for their session....IN SCHOOL UNIFORM....apparently 6th formers. And accountants wonder why clients get dodgy

  38. @25 November 2011 19:38

    I think you are trying to take people somewhere.

    If it is stereotypeville - avoid the 14th precinct, the 'projects' have taken over.

  39. @24 November 2011 21:52

    You've actually made this argument come full circle.

    Just as members of the public aren't supposed to have an encyclopedic knowledge of the address they last wrote to, staff members in HMRC cannot be expected to know everything about tax law/policy/procedure at the first point of contact, they can only point you in the right direction.

    Or had you forgotten that working-class humans (that have the same vulnerabilities as everyone else) work at HMRC?

  40. @24 November 2011 22:03

    There's some shite talked on these comments – so anybody over 83 is not a pensioner and weren't involved in WW2?

    My parents are/were both in WW2, are pensioners, don't have access to the internet, nor a list of current or closed HMRC offices, don't have an accountant and have sent written replies to the four letters from HMRC but have had no reply.

    Facts, facts and HMRC ... I blame the schools (it has to be SOMEBODY's fault).

  41. 25 November 2011 16:54

    AGREED – which is why we are on your side

  42. @29 November 2011 16:56

    Sorry I was alluding to the baby boomers because they seem to have an inbuilt sense of entitlement.

    What four letters from HMRC? Were those letters from HMRC themselves not replies? They might not have been personal responses but if you have about 2,000 HMRC staff answering letters about income tax and there are about 300,000 letters coming in, well you do the sums.... If they are 83, unless they have a new source of income, Why would HMRC be writing to them in the first place?

    Usually the only other times HMRC would write to an 83 year old would be to send the tax repayment form if they have savings interest or in connection with a deceased persons estate if they are the closest known relative.

    Have they been in to an enquiry centre, or is it now closed/on reduced opening hours because someone somewhere has decided having HMRC staff on the HMRC payroll who answer customer queries is considered 'wasteful'?

    Believe it or not, most people who work for HMRC don't have access to an accountant either, nor could afford one on their wages.

    A lot of people who work for HMRC answering customers are no longer any kind of 'expert' either, unless their work has been highly concentrated, because the government says keeping experienced staff on or training new staff to the same level is unaffordable and apathy dictates that the public has been quite happy with this arrangement so far and only started noticing when the cracks started to appear.

    I swear some people here think every single HMRC staff member has an accountancy qualification and that there is 30:1 employment ratio between taxpayers and HMRC staff and HMRC have all day to answer one letter.....

  43. @29 November 2011 16:56

    it seems to me HMRC staff are mainly disilusioned as are memebrs of the public – we all seem to agree, the Government, nay any organisation would find it impossible to undertake the changes that the Govt has intoduced, be it it in privaye or public sector – you simply cannot manage the level of changes that Govy has hoisted upon HMRC and their, dare I say it 'customers'.

    HMRC staff are pissed off, the public are pissed off and of course to compound it all no-one is listening; hence the vtriol on the comments pages.

    The wheels have come off and there's no wheelwright in sight – just guilt throwers and guilt catchers!

  44. @29 November 2011 16:56

    Why would HMRC be writing to them in the first place?

    If we all knew the answer to that, we wouldn't need HMRC!

  45. @2 December 2011 14:32

    Were your comments directed @2 December 2011 01:05? If so yeah if HMRC never existed the commenters on here would have nothing to moan about!

    @2 December 2011 14:28

    The vitriol on these pages come from the following sources.
    • Those who have worked out that Ken, despite his right-leanings, is rational, they will offer a concentrated viewpoint.
    • Those who work for HMRC who think that Ken is absolutely right sometimes, but off-piste on other occasions.
    • Those who have a personal beef with HMRC but choose only to release certain facts about their case on this website
    • Those who work for HMRC and have experience of working for HMRC in maybe one or two areas or more

    As an HMRC staffer, perhaps I can offer the type of call/post HMRC deal with on a daily basis which holds up your ‘all important ‘query.


    Q. “I don’t have a company car any more, why is it still in my tax code?”

    A. “Because you stopped having a company car on XX/XX so the amount in your code reflects that”.

    Q. “But I don’t have the company car any more so why should it be in my code?”

    A. “You stopped having a company car on XX/XX so the amount in your code reflects that”.

    Q. “But I don’t have the company car any more so why should it be in my code? Surely it should no longer be in my code because I no longer have it?”

    A. “You stopped having a company car on XX/XX so the amount in your code reflects that, if it wasn't in the code you would not be charged tax on it”.

    Q. “But whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?”

    A. “Well, you had the benefit of a company car, you no longer have the benefit of the company car, but from April 6th to XXX you did have the benefit of a company car, hence the car benefit in your code because the code is up 'til 6/4/2012.

    Changes in 2012-13 relies on info provided in the future. I suspect that customer service experts who post here will expect HMRC to predict the future as usual.

  46. Or perhaps we should listen to all of our customer demands just to placate them?

    Q. ”You’ve sent me this bill, it’s got a balancing payment for XX but you’ve also charged me an amount for YY, that means I’m paying it twice.”

    A. “Sorry sir, it means that HMRC has legally requested a payment on account from you, if less tax is calculated then the payments on account they will be adjusted”.

    Q. ”But that’s nonsense, why should I pay tax before I know what I’ve earned?”.

    A. “As a person who is on PAYE, whose first instalment of tax is taken 21 months before it would normally be due under self assessment, I fully sympathise with your plight of having to make one payment two thirds in to the year of assessment and another one nearly 4 months after the end of the tax year”.

    Q. ”But you work out my tax for me so I aint don’t owe you nuffing cos it’s your job to do that for me”.

    A. “OK Sir, even though they are legally due and will attract interest if paid late, for customer service reasons I will reduce them to nil and I look forward to your call when you file your return on 31 January next year and realise you have six/twelve months interest because you are right. HMRC is really really stupid and ignorant because although we do carry out the calculation on your behalf that you don't know how to do yourself even though a guide is produced telling you how to do it (or done automatically on the internet), it's only right that you should pay your tax between 20-8 months later than the majority of people in the United Kingdom because of HMRC's general incompetence”.

  47. Wonderful, HMRC staff shooting themselves in the foot (shame it isn't the head).
    I do hope the management read these nonsenses and see what retards they have working for them.

    "Or perhaps we should listen to all of our customer demands just to placate them?"

    Do you mean just like everyone else in the world has to when providing a service to customers?

    Public servants?

    Keep the comments coming you morons. I haven't laughed so hard for so long in ages. Sooner it's outsourced and these idiots are replaced the better and then we can stop paying their penisons. (yes I know it's spelt incorrectly or is it?)

  48. @4 December 2011 12:53

    Nonsense, 'customer service' doesn't mean I can walk in to the Lexus garage just outside Isleworth and demand the latest model for the change in my pocket now does it?

  49. @4 December 2011 12:53

    Privatisation has worked out so well for Gas, Water, Electric, Trains (oh wow I have a choice of the ripoff or the more expensive rip-off or the one that will defer the rip-off until 2013 but charge me more at the end of it), not to mention NHS IT Projects, HMRC IT projects, DWP IT projects, DWP IB/ESA reassessments now hasn't it?

    I can't be bothered with a pensions argument. It would require you to read further than the first paragraph.

  50. @4 December 2011 12:53

    Although I doubt you are paying anything towards the pension of anyone who works for , your tax/nic contributes towards a public service worker, who in turn pay tax/nic and pensions.

    The way you go on about customer service and how everyone must do everything the other party, your customers must have fleeced you to the point of bankruptcy, it being that customer service is so important to you that apparently you'll chop your arm off to achieve it.

  51. I've just realised. The 'customer service experts' on here are in fact the corporation known as American Airlines, who provide dinner in 'first and business' when the customer wants.

    This has had the unfortunate effect of having to file for bankruptcy.

  52. I really did argue these were not HMRC staff!

    1) "Since my last report, this employee has reached rock-bottom and has started to dig."

    2) "I would not allow this employee to breed."

    3) "This employee is really not so much of a has-been, but more of a definite won't be."

    4) "Works well when under constant supervision and cornered like a rat in a trap."

    5) "When she opens her mouth, it seems that it is only to change feet."

    6) "He would be out of his depth in a parking lot puddle."

    7) "This young lady has delusions of adequacy."

    8) "He sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them."

    9) "This employee is depriving a village somewhere of an idiot."

    10) "This employee should go far, and the sooner he starts, the better."

    11) "Got a full 6-pack, but lacks the plastic thingy to hold it all together."

    12) "A gross ignoramus...144 times worse than an ordinary ignoramus."

    13) "He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier.."

    14) "I would like to go hunting with him sometime."

    15) "He's been working with glue too much."

    16) "He would argue with a signpost."

    17) "He brings a lot of joy whenever he leaves the room."

    18) "When his IQ reaches 50, he should sell."

    19) "If you see two people talking and one looks bored, he's the other one."

    20) "A photographic memory but with the lens cover glued on."

    21) "A prime candidate for natural de-selection.."

    22) "Donated his brain to science before he was through using it."

    23) "Gates are down, the lights are flashing, but the train ain't coming."

    24) "He's got two brains, one is lost and the other is out looking for it."

    25) "If he were any more stupid, he'd have to be watered twice a week."

    26) "If you give him a penny for his thoughts, you'd get change."

    27) "If you stand close enough to him, you can hear the ocean."

    28) "It's hard to believe he beat off 1,000,000 other sperm."

    29) "One neuron short of a synapse."

    30) "Some drink from the fountain of knowledge; he only gargled."

    31) "Takes him 2 hours to watch '60 minutes'."

    32) "The wheel is turning, but the hamster is dead."

  53. @6 December 2011 19:22

    Was that really worth using your free 63336 text on?

  54. Wot is

    'free 63336 text'

    or am I not allowed to ask daft questions of HMRC staff?

    Clearly what is blindingly obvious to some is outside the known universe of others.

    and it is a serious question, I have no idea what you refer to. I don't know what

    'free 63336 text' means!

    DOH accepted.

  55. @7 December 2011 12:01

    Text 63336 and ask them what they are for, I'm sure the answer will enlighten you.

    Although it will probably be bad customer service for them to explain things to the point without offending you - so you'll probably put a complaint in about them.