Service providers should show compassion

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I would like to appeal to the public utilities and other service providers to have some compassion for the elderly members of our population.

Many elderly people do not know how to access bill payment or bill information on the Internet. Many do not even have devices-smartphones or laptops-that would make this possible.

Trying to get the information by phone is frustrating. If they get an answer, it is a recorded voice telling them to please hold, they are number 42 on the list, and their call is important. It means they are expected to sit with the phone at their ears for hours, as they slowly inch up the line to have their call answered.

For decades, retirees have faithfully paid their bills when they arrive in the post. Believe it or not, there are elderly persons who do not have their own cars, or who no longer drive, so they make arrangements to get a lift to a place where they can safely, and responsibly, pay their bills at the end of the month.

This year the Water and Sewerage Authority, for example, has sent out only one bill, if as many, and many people have been waiting with concern to receive their bills.

In the last week or two, many elderly citizens have been shocked to receive a letter stating a ‘demand’ payment be made of a sum, at times beyond $1,000, possibly suggesting the recipient of the letter is irresponsible and has deliberately not paid their bill.

No apology on their part, acknowledging they have not been sending out bills.

Please, our elderly have served our nation well, and do not deserve to be so nervous about their utility bills which they anxiously await. Please bear this in mind as we enter 2021.

H Barnes