HMRC VAT helpline – don’t hang up!
HMRC‘s call handling system on the VAT general helpline is being particularly sneaky, according to reports within the accounting industry, so if you need to call them at anytime soon, this may be helpful!
(The same stories have been reported for the VAT online technical helpline, for login problems, so it may be an increasingly common approach across HMRC.)
When you call the helpline, the automated questions ask what your call relates to. The system acknowledges the answer you provide, and then sends a text to your mobile phone number, with a link for more information. It then says ‘you may now hang up’ and the line goes silent.
This is where you don’t do as you’re told!
Evidently, if you wait 5-10 seconds the automated voice comes back and says ‘if you still need assistance, then please hold the line’. This then puts you back into the queue to speak to someone. This may well be a long wait but is far more likely to solve whatever query you may have than any link sent to your mobile.
The cynics amongst us may take the sending of the link and subsequent instruction to hang up, to be a way for HMRC to ‘massage’ it’s statistics around call times and caller satisfaction. Telling callers to hang up would also of course reduce the number of people who get through to an HMRC advisor. It’s a real win:win for HMRC!
Our advice is simple. If you need to call the helpline, check the mobile link BEFORE you follow instructions and hang up the phone, as it’s highly unlikely that you’ll get through to a human being before you’ve done so.
Do let us know if you have a similar experience as it seems some of our industry colleagues have!
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