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MEMBER 2 writes:

"I have been stewing all week and have finally decided to share my frustrations with others who face similar challenges in their working lives.

On 8 July I suddenly found that I could not lodge tax returns using ELS so I rang the ATO Help Desk. They could not help and upgraded my problem to their Level 2 Help Desk. The next day an officer from Level 2 Help Desk at the ATO rang me back but, again, could not help and so escalated my problem to their Level 3 Help Desk. Then began the real frustration as I waited, waited and waited. On 17 July I finally found a software consultant who was willing to help me and he dialled into my computer and after a few hours had managed to fix most of the problem but he had one or two questions and asked me to ring the ATO Help Desk again.

However, when I rang I was told that because I had already logged a call with them and that call had been escalated to the Level 3 Help Desk they were not able to take my call or deal with my questions! This meant that the software consultant had to forge ahead on his own. He had managed to find out that the cause of my problems is a well documented, well known conflict between a certain version of Cisco VPN and Windows XP - when you go to uninstall the Cisco so that you can upgrade to a new version, all hell breaks loose in your computer.

On Friday, 18 July, I rang the ATO again to ask when it was likely that the Level 3 Help Desk would get back to me and I was told that they had no idea and that I should "just wait patiently" - at this stage I was nearly hysterical with frustration and told the officer I was speaking to exactly how I felt about waiting patiently. He was very understanding but said that there was nothing he could do, Level 3 Help Desk were a law unto themselves and would get back to me in their own good time.

The software consultant finally fixed the ELS problems at 7:30 p.m. on the Friday night. At 1:30 p.m. on Monday, 21 July, with grand thunderclaps and booming trumpets Level 3 Help Desk finally rang!!!!!  It took them twelve days to attend to a call for help regarding ELS lodgments! The officer I spoke to agreed that the problem had been caused by the Cisco program. I then asked why the hell the ATO insisted that we use this software but he could not answer this question. Cisco do not offer any support for their software so we have no choice but to go to the ATO for help and then wait, wait and wait. He would offer no explanation at all for the fact that I had had to wait for twelve days to have my call attended to.

It has cost me over $1,000 for the software consultant to fix a problem which was caused by software that we are made to use by the ATO. Is there anything I can do about this? I have had enough of trying to deal with the ATO. As soon as I can get another job - flogging computer software, gardening, anything at all - I am out of here. To top everything off, I now have a nasty case of shingles - ATO induced shingles!

Thanks for listening."

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