Discrimination is alive and well in even the largest of organisations. They just dress it up a little more politely.
In conversation yesterday with nPower, i asked if they would mind changing the name shown on my bill. Why not, i thought. Other organisations have done so – and whilst english law contains that thing called a deed poll, i am not aware of any legal requirement for me to produce one.
So long as they know who i am, can identify me for billing purposes, and get their money, that should be good enough. Several organisations have already seen the logic and changed my name on a call.
Well, they’ve done identity checks first, which is fair enough: but if the checks are good enough to discuss my personal details on, they should be good enough to change those details on also.
The local Council were happy with this. My library is happy. The Water Company is happy. But not nPower.
Yesterday they asked for “official documentation”. Surely not, i said. Oh yes!
Today i spoke to a somewhat dull member of their complaints team. It was definitely a legal requirement. A moral one too, apparently. He would talk to the legal team (which he claimed he later did). It was all about Data Protection although (bad choice here, since i write about that topic regularly), he couldn’t quite quote the section or principle that applied.
But he was clear that he had a duty to demand documentation where people decided to change their name “on a whim”. A whim?
Oh dear. I’ve disrupted friends, family and work. I am taking major league hormones and lining up for even more major surgery…and it is all a whim.
But maybe…maybe he really does have a point. After all, he explained: he must protect people who might find that a bill had suddenly been taken out in their name. Indeed. Good, public-spirited thought.
Except. Ten minutes after our call, andrea phoned nPower. She had noticed that on the bill, her married name still showed: she had never changed back to her maiden one.
Could she? Why, certainly! It took about five minutes – and most of that because the call centre operator misunderstood and thought andrea wished to take on full responsibility for the bill – but by the end of the call, she had changed name.
No mention of data protection, moral responsibilities or “whims”.
I am speaking to the Equalities Commission.
I am SO angry.