Bill Anderson from Blackpool has shot into the record books after being confirmed as being the longest person on hold when telephoning the DWP’s call centre.
He attempted to contact the rather fancifully named ‘helpline’ exactly five years ago on 30th May 2014 to query why his monthly payment had not been credited to his bank account, and despite the first thing he heard being a robot telling him “we are currently experiencing high call volumes and you may experience a delay, you may like to call back at a time when we are less busy” he pluckily decided to remain on hold to speak to a real person.
With his phone still clamped to his ear as a tone-deaf stylophone player continued to murder Vivaldi’s Four Seasons on the hold music he told us: ‘I’m sure they’ll answer soon, as I guess the robot was right and they really are very very very busy indeed. But it’s alright as this music is brilliant.’
However Bill’s former wife Judy said: ‘I had to leave him in the end as he’s just too trusting and so bloody BLOODY nice. During his time on-hold he missed both our son and daughter’s weddings and his own Mum’s funeral. He needs a rocket up his backside and I have just had enough of it. I want someone with a bit of a harder edge and more urgency about them.’
Nevertheless Bill remains philosophical. ‘I’ll maybe get round to trying to patch things up with Jude when I get off this call, but after having held on for so long now I’d hate to hang up and lose my spot in the queue.’
We called the DWP for a comment but at time of going to press we had been on hold for fifteen hours.