Each month, I have to pay the PAYE tax. I use a program I got from HMRC called Basic PAYE Tools, which is rather nice, and I send the numbers to the taxman. Then I pay the tax, which I also do online; again, it's easy, although paying tax is never a delight.
So I just tried to pay my tax online, using my debit card. I filled in the numbers, got moved to the "Verified by Visa" screen, gave the three letters requested, and was told that it was declined.
Well, maybe I made a mistake. So I did it all again, and got the same result. HMRC told me that Barclays was declining my card.
So I called Barclays. I got through to a lady named L, and she looked into it. She said that I'd given the "Verified by Visa" correctly, but that the billing had not been passed from HMRC to Barclays. She suggested that it was a problem with the HMRC site, and I should call them, or else wait 15 minutes and try again.
So I got on with something else - meanwhile, I was called by someone with a heavy accent, trying to put me through a survey; he claimed to be John from "Todays living UK times". So I went straight into Lenny mode, and gave the answers that Lenny would give. That took up several minutes, and so I tried the HMRC site again. Declined again.
So I called Barclays again, and this time I got through to someone named M. M told me that the problem was that I was giving the wrong expiry date.
And she was right! I'd mistaken a 0 for a 1. Great! But. Why couldn't L have told me that?
I went back to the HMRC site and paid my tax, hurrah. But then I asked M to find out why L had given me such mistaken information.
It took a few tries. For quite a long time, M was convinced that now that we'd cleared up the wrong expiry date problem (which was entirely my fault) everything was fine. But what I wanted, was to find out why I'd been given mistaken information by L. If M could see that the problem was "wrong expiry date", then L should have been able to do the same.
This has turned into a formal complaint. My guess is that L needs more training. But there's an unexpected bonus - they're crediting my account with £10. I didn't ask for that, but I'm not going to refuse!