Discount Applications – do they need to be in writing.

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    We currently accept benefit claims over the phone, but insist on CTAX discount applications in writing. (Or via an internet form)

    All calls to our revenues department are recorded so I am wondering if we are able to accept discount applications over the telephone or if there is a legislative reason why we can’t?


    Graham Keys

    We used to insist on everything being in writing until we started taking payments and Direct Debits over the phone.

    That then raised the question that if we were willing to take details like that over the phone then why could we not take other things. We started taking non-benefit changes of address by telephone as an experiment, including any associated single person or unoccupied discount, and had no problems with it at all.

    In February we changed our procedures so that any liability related discount/exemption/disabled relief form could be taken by telephone and things have gone well. Staff have a short script at the start to follow to ensure the customer is aware we are going to complete a form based on their info and that the recording of the call will count as their application. At the end the info is read back, a declaration is read out that the info is accurate and they will report changes, and the customer is asked to verbally agree. The form is then uploaded straight on to our DIP system for processing later.

    The reason we held off so long was for fear of the auditors objecting but given how many large organisations allow this it was felt we should move with the times.

    We don’t take benefit related forms yet.

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