Waters .v. HMRC (HMRC call handler refused to accept Relay UK without written authority)

The Claimant is profoundly Deaf. She contacted HMRC using Relay UK. The call handler at the HMRC advised the Claimant that in order to deal with the relay operator she would have to complete an authority in writing for a Third Party dealing on her behalf.

Despite explaining they were not acting on her behalf, but that she was providing the instructions and they were simply relaying messages the same way as an interpreter would. The call handler then refused to deal with the Claimant’s enquiry without further authority.

The Claimant asked to speak with a supervisor and the same call handler repeated that they would not deal with her enquiry, nor would they pass her through to the support team without a written authority.

The Claimant was then passed to a duty manager who confirmed that the tax payer has to be audible and give responses directly. The duty manager continued to advise that if she was incapable of dealing with her own affairs then she should have a third party or social worker do so for her. The Claimant is entirely capable of dealing with her own affairs and has done so for many years, she simply uses Relay UK to be her voice whilst on phone calls.


Pre-Issue Settlement including

  • A written apology,
  • Undertaking to provide further training,
  • £2000 damages,

…. and a happy client!…..

“I have used Fry Law and had a excellent solicitor helping me deal with my claim for discrimination due to my Deafness. It was a long drawn out process, mainly my fault as my emails have been playing up and I also had to await for my husband to translate the ‘legalese’ as it was just too much for me to understand the process. We also been using SignLive video with interpreter translating on our phone call which was fantastic to see such a company being very Deaf Aware and ensuring that I understood each step. Would not hesitate to use this company again for similar issues. 5* across the board. Thank you.”

Photo of Carrie Clewes with Fry Law Logo in the background

Case Handled by Carrie Clewes

About the Author

Chris Fry

Chris is the founder of Fry Law.