Dear Editor, You no longer hear the words “Can I help?”.

It seems to be the experience with call centres today that not only are they unable to help but seem to actually enjoy doing just the opposite.

All I wanted to do was to change my payment date for my Birmingham council tax payments from the 1st of the month to the 15th day of each month. For me, as for many people, this is easier because it falls after a pay day.

“Can’t be done” was the reply from the end of the phone. “Why?” I ask. Is it actually because you want me to pay late so that you can charge me £57 for taking me to court for late payment?

Needless to say, after wasting 90 minutes that I will never see again I asked for his name for my reference.

He wasn’t allowed to give it to me. “Why?” I said, “You are a public sector department, why can’t I get your name for reference?”

I never received a reasonable reply but he did give me his login details (which included his last name and initial!). I am not sure what I was supposed to do with it but it seemed odd that I couldn’t get his name, but instead I was given his login details.

So here I am. I have tried to change a payment date, not the world. Changing the world would have been easier, of that I have doubt. Now the council will be able to issue me with a £57 fine. Have you ever had one of those? I know many that have, so it’s fair to assume this is a new income stream for the council and if they allow us to change a payment date then that very income stream would dry up.

It’s unfair and it’s unjust. We are the people, they are in office to assist us yet they behave in the most unprofessional, unhelpful and moronic way possible.

Our taxes pay for the privilege of them being there to assist us. Such behaviour or poor service from the private sector would result in people being fired for not providing the customer with what they want and bringing that private sector company into disrepute.

Not so in the public sector, We must be the only nation on the planet who pays NOT to have our rubbish collected, who pays NOT to have our roads maintained and who pays NOT to receive a contract of service.

I am angry that my taxes, and the taxes that my business generates should provide us with the best service in the world when they don’t.

John Court, Sutton Coldfield