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May 23, 2022

GETTING through to a real live living, breathing human being on the end of a telephone line is getting harder and harder.

In order to reliably and accurately measure, I will telephone numbers from time to time to establish exactly HOW LONG.

The Probate Registry of Wales is an 02920 474373 number based at Cardiff Magistrates Court.

They record all telephone calls to monitor and improve quality, I am told by an automated feminine sounding voice at the outset. Good, I think I’ll do the same.

A numerical keypad is essential to first decide if you are a professional or not (I press ONE in the hope that it will speed up the response time) but there is no option to speak Welsh. I press FOUR for
“anything else” in the hope, again, that a friendly real human voice will help me.

Piped classical music starts up only interrupted by recorded messages saying “Did you know you can send your query by e-mail” or to try “web chat” (I thought that was an indictable offence).

I just want a real, live chat with a real, live human being. That’s not a lot to ask for, is it?

My call takes a total of 47 minutes and 45 seconds and is diverted to a call centre in Leicestershire, where Sam tells me “they haven’t got the capability to speak to the public” when I ask why it took so long for an answer and wonder why it is not a Caerdiff-sounding voice.

Cardiff magistrates court staff simply DO NOT answer telephone calls so the local number you call is totally immaterial as the call gets diverted in a computerised queueing system. My guess is that appearing in person at the building will offer no better solutions as the response is likely to be the same because unless fully masked, carrying a passport and proof of vaccines as well as official correspondence, you are likely to be viewed as a potential terrorist by black-clad heavies waving invasive scanners at you.

Some incoming calling systems or programmes will enable you to stay within their loop system indefinitely while others will automatically end your call and advise you to try again.

Some will issue you with information to indicate where you are in the queue from first to fiftieth so you can plan whether or not to read War and Peace or watch a feature film on DVD as you keep it on speaker phone and others, like this number, will give you no indication whatsoever.

Twenty minutes and forty seconds into the call, I started to wonder about the charge on my phone and if it would take the strain as the minutes slowly ticked by and threatened to turn into hours. In days gone by, of course, it would be the charge on my bill for the call itself.

Everything has been “CENTRALISED” so many local numbers only appear local because now everything has to be rationalised and prioritised.

What is the real reason for civil servants no longer having the capability to speak to us and are emergency calls now being dealt with in the same way?

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