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Why are 'authorities'; and companies so crap?

(18 Posts)
Gobbledigook Fri 21-Jan-05 12:10:43

How crap are they? How stressful is moving house and how much worse is it when people can't get anything right?!

I changed the address on my TV licence from old address (now vacant awaiting sale) to new one (parents old address) and I got a letter saying vans were in the area of old address and did I realise I had no licence etc. Now Dad's got a big red reminder through the post at this address - don't they bloody cross check anything to see there is a licence here under a new name???

Just got car reg documents back with change of address on it but dh's middle name is spelt incorrectly and my surname (same as his btw!) is spelt incorrectly. Can't they copy just from one document to another???

Changed over water details - Mum and Dad had a meter because only 2 of them and it's supposed to be more economical. We don't want a meter as we are a family of 5 and it would cost more this way. Can you change it? Can you hell. Can only be removed by the person who installed it AND only within 12 months of having it installed otherwise you and any subsequent owner is stuck with it!! Crap or wot!

Rang up the council to inform re council tax - woman on the other end tells me my address is in Manchester so I pay council to them. Er, no, it's in Trafford love. Oh yes, so it is. Thick OR WOT!??! The council don't even know which borough an address is in??


Feel marginally better now.

starlover Fri 21-Jan-05 12:18:02

I think it's their policy to only employ the mentally defective.

we haven't paid any council tax since we moved here (last august) because you can't switch it over the phone, they said they would send a form and didn't...
had to take time off work to go into their office (which is only open 9-5!!!) and waited over an hour to pick up said form.
Sent it off and heard nothing back.
Rang them only to be told that they can't do anything over the phone, not even look us up on the system.


starlover Fri 21-Jan-05 12:18:58

they have however managed to send us a letter at our new address regarding council tax paid at previous address! telling us we were entitled to a discount as only one person lived there!!!!!


Gobbledigook Fri 21-Jan-05 12:25:02

PMSL - they do only employ thickos on the phones don't they!? And I hate to say it but whenever I call United Utilities I can't understand a bloody word the person says! I don't know if it's one of those call centres out in India or something but the accents are so strong (couldn't even tell you the accent except it's 'foreign') I can't make sense of them. One time I had to just hang up because I couldn't make myself understood.

Dad's had rows with them and BT over the whole moving issue because they are driving him up the wall! He's gonna love it when he finds his red TV licence bill!

starlover Fri 21-Jan-05 13:37:55

totally... our council have recently set up this "call centre" where you call for EVERYTHING council related, which means that you can NEVER get through.

But, what's the point in even having a number you can ring about council tax, when they can't do anything to help you once you get through?

mrsflowerpot Fri 21-Jan-05 13:45:57

When we moved in here (brand new house) British Gas refused to believe the house existed for a year. They supplied us with gas but never sent a bill and when I phoned up after 6 months they said 'there is no such address'. So I said, well I'm standing in the living room of that address and they told actually told me I couldn't be because they had no record of it (despite as I say their gas pipes supplying us). Tried to get bills off them every couple of months for over a year, and then one morning received a threatening letter for the whole first year's supply. The funniest thing was, when I rang up about that all freaked out about the 'we'll see you in court' letter, they went, oh, one of these again, no problem. So it obviously happens all the time.

Gobbledigook Fri 21-Jan-05 20:59:05

OMG!!! They are sooooo thick!!! That's just like the council tax telling me I wasn't in Trafford! Oh well, could have got away with paying none at all then!

Frizbe Fri 21-Jan-05 21:04:01

ah yes mrsflowerpot, my sister in law has the same issue, not just with the gas, but with the electric as well, the whole street now 3 yrs old still doesn't exist to any of the utility companies (they're all laughing!)

Gobbledigook Fri 21-Jan-05 21:07:19

Wow - are they just not paying?!?!? Cool!

pooka Sat 22-Jan-05 08:47:01

Errm - I'm a council employee - a town planner.
Not "mentally defective" as far as I am aware. Just crazy for working for local government rather than going into private practice particularly when this is the attitude you get from people.
But personally I'd rather work for the Council than a private developer looking at everything and everyone with pound signs in mind.
I think every profession, be it publically or privately run, has good and bad employees.
And our Council was open late night once a week, like shops, for 6 months, and had a total of 12 visitors. Not really worth paying 2 staff to man the office!
I'm absolutely fuming, partly with myself because I occasionally let throwaway comments like this get to me.

Frizbe Sat 22-Jan-05 11:27:07

yep gobbledigook they are just not paying a whole street! (sis in law is putting the money by tho, as she reckons they must cotton on one day surely!)

Tortington Sun 23-Jan-05 02:00:25

thet rouble is a middle tier of managment whichis completely unneccesary - they exist to give figures to the managment higher than them. the highest managment of all rarely gets to find out whats going on becuase the lower management tiers never tell the higher ones there is a problem unless the building is about to explode - incase they are seen as incompetent or trouble making - certainly bad news is not good for carer advancement. they will have usually got some IT consultants in to design a system for their needs - which doesnt adequatley suit their needs becuase the IT people are talking to the wrong people - they are talking tot he managment - not the workers who actually know how things are run. you end up with a defective IT system which refuses to acknowledge your existance or cross reference - something the on the ground worker could have told you five years ago. the managers then report how f*cking wonderful this new 2 million pound IT system is to the higher managment who in turn pass it up - everyone but the customer and the person ont he other end of the phone things the world is sunny - and on we goooooooooooooooooo.

tigermoth Sun 23-Jan-05 08:17:57

being fairly new to local government, I am still learning the differences. Have never worked in a place with so many managers. That's a very perceptive take on middle managment, custardo. I will file that away in my memory.

happymerryberries Sun 23-Jan-05 08:42:51

I think that if I was a council employee reding Mumsnet I would be a bit pissed off at being called 'mentally defective', a 'thicko' ot 'thick'

And incidentaly 'mentally defective' is a very offensive term to use about people with learning needs. I'm not the most PC person on the planet, but this has set my teeth on edge. Thank god most people have moved away from using words like that.

By all means have a go at the individuals that have given you bad service. But don't damn everyone that does the smacks of predjudice.

Moomina Sun 23-Jan-05 08:49:18

Mrs Flowerpot - agree that it probably happens all the time. I have lost count of the number of times I have rung various utilities/council tax, etc nearly busting a gut over some totally inappropriate 'see you in court' letter. When you finally get to speak to someone about it, all the ever seem to do is sigh, tap a few keys on a computer and hey presto! It's all sorted! So if it's that easy to sort why the hell did it happen in the first place??!

Slightly different note but I remember being absolutely livid when ds's NHS card arrived. The name on his birth certificate is Ben, NOT Benjamin, so obviously Ben is the name I wrote on the application form. But when the card arrived the gimp who had tapped the details into the computer had taken it upon themselves to decide that 'actually' his name was Benjamin and that clearly silly old mummy had just written her pet name (It wouldn't be so bad, but I cannot stand the name Benjamin ) How dare they?!

Newbarnsleygirl Sun 23-Jan-05 08:51:39

We moved in the last weekend of August last year. Dh was very organised and informed all bill companies etc that we were moving a month beforehand. Anyway everything was swapped, paid off etc apart from the gas bill. We contacted British Gas every 2 weeks to tell them we still hadn't received a final bill to which they replied it can take some weeks to come out. In October DH rang them back again and they said they had been sending the final bill to the wrong address so dh changed it again.
At the beginning of this month we still hadn't got it so dh rang again they still hadn't changed the address so our bills along with debt collectors letters had been going somewhere else. After alot of arguing they finally let dh pay it over the phone.
How c*#p was that?!

pooka Sun 23-Jan-05 09:31:13

Agree with Happymerryberries, obviously.
Have been thinking about my post, and would wish to apologise my colleagues those in private practice in my field, because evidently I'm also guilty of prejudice when it comes to property developers - there can be a definate "us and them" bias and I wouldn't want to be insensitive or guily of such generalisation that made me post in the first place.

happymerryberries Sun 23-Jan-05 09:32:14


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