f***ing IRD. a few years ago, this used to be a good government department to work with. i say this, of course, as a chartered accountant who doesn't have to go through the normal public channels. we have dedicated tax agents lines which used to get straight through to a human being within 2-3 minutes, 5 minutes at the most . the person at the other end was friendly and helpful, and most times it was a positive experience.
which is not to say they were perfect - but at the basic level of managing clients day-to-day tax issues, they did well. not anymore. over the last two years, dealing with the IRD has become extremely frustrating. now they have voice recognition software, which i hate. when we ring, before they even put the call through, we have to enter the client's IRD number, the firm's IRD number & pin code, and the firm's telephone number. if you're lucky, you get connected to the next stage of the system, which means you can leave a request for someone from the IRD to call you back. if you're unlucky, you get told that the line is overloaded and disconnected.
still, last year you could expect to get a call back within half an hour. now, they won't call back before 45 minutes and sometimes it's even longer. aside from the fact that it's disruptive to be putting files back and having to pick them up again when you're in the middle of something else, it has also become really difficult if you work part time. when they call you back, they ask for your firm's name and firm's telephone number, even though you've already entered the information when you went through the tedious process of booking the call back
i put in a call at 1.45pm last week. i didn't get a call back til 2.55pm. the matter wasn't quickly resolved, and at 3.02 i said that i had to leave to pick my kids up from school. do you think the young man on the other end of the line was friendly, helpful and understanding? tui ad.
i was basically told that if i hung up, the matter wouldn't be resolved and i'd have to go through the whole process again. no, he couldn't call me back because call centre staff are not allowed to make outward calls, and no he couldn't resolve the matter without me hanging on the other end of the line, even though there was nothing that i could actually do about it and i had given him all the information i needed. it was just so bizarrely stupid.
i can't imagine what it must be like for the general public to deal with IRD. but i got a taste of that last week, when i tried to call from home on the general phone line, on behalf of an NGO. the phone book says that the call centre is open til 8pm every day. well i called the business line about 30 times last friday between 4 -8 pm, and i couldn't even get to the stage of being put on hold. i was disconnected every single time, on the basis that the lines were overloaded.
now it seems to me that this is false advertising. if they say the call centre is open, then you should be able to get through. if this was a private company, there would be any number of avenues to make a complaint, the last resort being "fair go". but where do you go to complain about a department that is now severely understaffed, and is no longer providing the service that it is supposed to provide? hon peter dunne? tui ad.