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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

Customer contact: Outdoor calls: Responding to your customer


DMBM510410 provides you with some suggested responses to customers when you are dealing with them on the telephone. Similarly, when making personal calls, customers will put forward reasons for not paying or sending in their returns. Some will be genuine but others will simply be excuses. Whatever response you receive you should consider it carefully and never simply dismiss it. You will need to use your knowledge and experience to judge the merits of each claim.

In practice, you will find that customer responses tend to repeat themselves.

Special circumstances

In certain circumstances you should not mention enforcement action unless you have specific instructions to do so. Instead, the purpose of your call will be to obtain more information and/or take an alternative action. This will enable a decision to be made as to whether recovery proceedings or another action is appropriate. These circumstances include

  • insolvency
  • death of a customer.