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.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Hanging on The HMRC Phone

My thanks to a loyal reader, who emailed me yesterday asking to hear about other people's experiences of waiting on the phone for HMRC to answer:
"On 4th November, when very critical report was issued, I phoned the PAYE section of HMRC. 

A message advised me that due to demand the expected time to speak to an operator was 35 minutes! 

I hung up and rang again only to get same message. 

I held on to find out just how bad the service was. 

After a few minutes, I was asked a series of automated questions and after 5 minutes I spoke to a human being. After taking some of personal details, she was unable to to proceed as her computer wasn't working. 

After putting me on hold for a few minutes, she told me that she would have to get someone to ring me back within the next 3 working days. When I told her I wanted to give her information to get my code number changed, she told me she couldn't do it and someone would have to ring me. 

I told her that this wasn't suitable and I felt that my call was a waste of my time. 

When I phoned the first time and heard there was a possible 35 minute delay, I felt that this was deliberate to discourage the public from phoning. 

It would be interesting to find out if 35 minutes is the standard response."
I suspect that 35 minutes is about average.

What are other people's experiences, and do you think that the wait times are in part designed to put people off calling?

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. Its been stated here previously, if you wanted to ensure privatisation takes place, in this case the HMRC phone system for its euphemisticaly labelled 'customers', keep on going.
    The call cenres have been crap for years, and its not the staffs fault.

  2. At the BOF presentations they kept saying that calls to hmrc will reduce because customers will be able to do more and more online. They will be doing all they can to discourage people from phoning. The did it with the enquiry centres; reduced staff and opening hours, appointment only etc. Now you need a "driver of need" to get a face to face appointment.

  3. Certainly, they are trying to discourage people from calling, as the last commenter said. The official line is that they're trying to make it unnecessary for people to call, by making it easy for people top get it right first time (mostly) online without needing to speak to anyone.

    However, there probably is a bit of straightforward discouragement going on as well. On the other hand, I don't think they'd be particularly tempted to discourage people this way. Remember all the stick HMRC gets from the PAC and the press for the percentage of calls not answered? Well, the not-answered percentage in Loyal Reader's case is 50%! Any attempts to discourage people once they're actually on the call*, including over-stating the wait time, would seriously impact that calls-answered statistic and increase the number of kickings.

    Stew G

    * - except, possibly, doing things that make people realise they don't need to call at all, as opposed to one's that make them give up for now and try again later.

  4. Why would anyone believe anything HMRC says

  5. Well don't try calling HMRC after 11am on Thursday Nov 12th peeps. For the first hour you will not get through due to all staff taken away from the work for a floor meeting. Once the phones are back up and running at 12 (with extra staff to help play catch up) you may well get through to a member of staff that has just been told that they will soon be out of a job, or must commute an extra 40 miles each day to get to work on a crap salary. In fact you may just get some who is at the end of their tether & doesn't give a shit anymore, just like their leaders!

    1. Couldn't agree more....we,at the HMRC, are now at our lowest common denominator....a disgrace !!

      Customer service is right at the bottom of EXCOMs list if there at all.

      If i cared anymore i would despair.

  6. I felt sorry for call centre staff until I realised my job is no safer than theirs. EXCOM are like Tommy-deaf, dumb and blind. Appalling.
    I wonder if these events on Thursday will be "conversations"? I hope people have the right to air their views without being reprimanded, otherwise I'll be looking for a new job on Friday