Public services – all our lines are busy
Sir, – It was with some amusement that I read of the latest customer satisfaction survey which apparently points to an increase in the number of queries by email as compared with queries by telephone from people getting in touch with the State’s public services (“Email overtakes phone as most popular way to contact public services”, News, February 17th).
I have been trying my utmost to make contact online without much success for the past two weeks with the Revenue Commissioners in an effort to submit a claim for a paltry refund for my medical costs outlay for 2019 and to conclude the second part of a VAT refund due to me for eligible home improvements completed in August 2017. I received half of the latter in 2019, as Revenue spread the refund payment (bless them) over the two years following works, which in my case were completed and paid for in 2017.
I, like many other PAYE individuals, received a printed notice late last year informing me that procedures with Revenue were being simplified by all processes now being changed to online completion with no future facility for paper submissions. I, at first intimation of this compulsory change, was somewhat naive in supposing that this, as promised, would simplify and shorten the entire exercise.
I have made numerous attempts to obtain the requisite password to facilitate the process. This entailed the provision of personal identification details including verification of mobile phone number, email address, PPSN and date of birth. I was assured that I could choose to have the elusive password code transmitted to me via text to my mobile phone or by email.
After numerous exhausting efforts at both methods, I was finally informed by an invisible voiceless entity that the password would be posted to me in five days.
Why don’t State entities and indeed commercial interests such as banks get honest and inform the public that email/online systems are primarily for their own convenience and cost-saving interests rather than that of the client or customer compelled to comply with the imposition of such systems? It is interesting to note that all Revenue letterheads that I have seen in recent times omit any contactable telephone number that might be helpful to the service user. – Yours, etc,