In fact, it’s not just the paperwork, it’s the tone of the paperwork.
Having recently become self employed, there is an astonishing amount of paperwork required of me on an almost continual basis, mostly because there are lots of things that I now have to pay for which I didn’t before. I am also constantly asked to account for myself to various bodies and, whilst I understand that this needs to be done, I come close to getting upset by the hectoring tones of many of these letters.
One letter, asking me for details of the work I have been doing has the penultimate paragraph in large, bold type, some of which is underlined, threatening that if I don’t provide this information within 15 days the payment in question will stop. This is the first letter of its kind from them and I would mind less if it hadn’t, in fact, been sent to the wrong address.
I have two other ill-mannered letters this week. The first one regarding Council Tax which is threatening me with court action if I don’t pay £27 which is 7 days overdue. They informed me that I was constantly falling into arrears in this financial year and that it simply would not do. I only received the letter confirming my Council Tax bill three weeks ago.
The second made me want to spit blood with rage at the hypocrisy of it all. For the first time in a very long while, I was overdrawn at the bank. Overdrawn by £8 for a grand total of 4 days. This meant that a direct debit was not paid and for which I was charged £8. Fair enough.
What was not fair enough was the letter that I subsequently received from my bank lecturing me on the evils of being in debt, that it was totally unacceptable to overdraw without authority and would I like to see an advisor and go on a debt management course.
Do you know what? I would like the banks to go on a debt management course. Added to that, I would like the writers of these letters to think twice before assuming that everyone is a work-shy, backsliding criminal.
I just get angry, but I wonder what an elderly or vulnerable person would feel like if they received letters like these.
And whilst I’m on the subject of getting angry, I would like to share with you my entire morning spent trying to get a quote on my car insurance. My insurance has gone up by over £250 since last year and that was the cheapest quote I could get. I was expecting it to go up a little bit because I took someone’s wing mirror off back in July and, apparently foolishly, owned up on the flimsy grounds that it was categorically my fault.
I asked each insurer (I rather quaintly get my quotes from humans on telephones) why premiums had gone up so much. Each one told me that a large factor was the no win no fee companies urging people to claim for whiplash. Apparently the new trick is to get your friend to bang into your car from behind, you both claim on your insurance, then get a whopping payout for whiplash – the going rate is currently £2k.
When some stupid tart ran into the side of me a year ago (still not gone to court, incidentally) I was bombarded with calls from claims companies for weeks afterwards asking whether I was getting headaches or back pain. Several of them suggested that I was foolish not to claim as whiplash was virtually impossible to gainsay. Needless to say, I refused to play the game, again on the frail excuse that I was not actually injured.
Nonetheless, my premiums have gone up by £250.
I am very, very cross. I probably blame Thatcher.