Monday, 23 November 2009

To my local council

Dear whoever sent me a letter,

Account number: 4******5

I got a letter from you on 20th October, but I don’t open the post very often as it’s usually quite tedious.
Anyway, it said I owed you exactly £100 in “instalment arrears”.
I pay by bank transfers which I set up at the beginning of each council tax year so I looked it up just now and found that I’d mistakenly entered £98 for September instead of £198.
I’ve now sent you £100 to make up for it.

The letter also says that my instalments will be cancelled and recovery action of the full balance will follow without further notice, whatever that means. However, you can’t cancel my instalments, only I can, so you didn’t. October’s had been paid nicely as usual.

So I hope we are all friends again, as was quite obviously a genuine mistake, and didn’t really deserve an unsigned
letter with red type on it.

I wonder if you might consider sending your people to my writing workshops. I’ve worked with Legal & General and Aviva, among others, to help them write to people in a warmer, clearer way, not using phrases like “recovery action on the full balance” or “in accordance with the scheme notified” or leaving them unsigned, which might give the impression that you are a cold, bureaucratic organisation with no interest in keeping your local people happy.


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