Tuesday 3 February 2009

Faceless states

I do find it extraordinary what we will put up with from government and corporate alike.

For example. I bought a ticket down to Devon on Sunday. Nobody told me that, in fact, mytrain would not run, that I would be decanted at Exeter put into a bus, told I could not take my bulky luggage. They knew this but never told me when they took my money. They do the same to tens of thousands of people every weekend. Why doesn’t someone take them to court?

And another example (do I sound like a grumpy old man?). It is now past the deadline for filing my tax return on Friday. I met it, but if I hadn’t met it, HM Revenue & Customs would have fined me £100.

But it is also the deadline when I have to pay the rest of my tax for last year, plus half of it for this year (I’m self-employed). But HMR&C haven’t managed to tell me how much I owe.

They promised they would by the deadline when I called some weeks ago, but they haven’t. I’ve just talked to them again and asked them if they will pay me £100 for their failure. I need hardly say that they won't.

Worse, they will charge me interest from February 1 on my unpaid tax which they haven’t even managed to calculate yet, at least not in a letter to me with a paying-in slip so that I can pay it across the counter in a bank. Just imagine how they would all give me the runaround if I wasn't a grumpy old man.

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