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Welling IT worker spends five hours on hold over £5 unpaid council tax
AN IT administrator spent nearly five hours trying to get through to Bexley Council on the phone – all because he owed £5 on his council tax.
Jack Bowden, 28, got so frustrated he took to Twitter to vent his spleen and even harangued the mayor on the social networking site after he made seven calls across three days trying to speak to someone about the tiny debt.
He was eventually charged £105 for not paying on time before his on hold nightmare finally came to an end on August 15.
Mr Bowden, of Glenmore Road, Welling, got through to an operator who turned out to be "rude and obnoxious" before he spoke to her manager and the problem was finally sorted and his penalty payment erased.
A call-back from the council tax department on August 14 never happened despite Mayor Councillor Sharon Massey trying to fix it for him after their encounter on social media.
Mr Bowden said: "They tried to charge me £105 for court costs which seems ludicrous. I just feel let down by the service.
"It was bullying tactics the way the whole thing came about and then to speak to somebody in customer services who was totally unhelpful only added fuel to the fire.
"The way I look at it imagine if my neighbour, who’s 90, had that drama to go through: she would have been sat on hold until the cows come home."
Jack Bowden turns to the mayor on Twitter.
Mr Bowden was grateful for Cllr Massey’s efforts to help after the mayor gave him a ring from home at 7.30pm on August 13 promising him a call the next day.
He added: "She came back to me and she was very helpful and said she would get a call back for me on the Wednesday.
"But I left it all day and didn’t get any call back."
A Bexley Council spokeswoman said: "We were very sorry to hear about Mr Bowden’s experience with the council tax call centre and have issued an apology to him for the poor service he received.
"We are pleased that, although this was an unfortunate experience, Mr Bowden was able to resolve his issue through the Council’s new use of social media.
"Bexley residents should be aware all councillors’ contact details are available at bexley.gov.uk/councillors and they are willing and able to help with concerns wherever they can.
"Along with the Mayor’s twitter feed @mayor_of_bexley, the London Borough of Bexley has @bexleycomms and @whatsoninbexley and @greenbexley. All are monitored throughout the day."
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