I had a phone call yesterday afternoon. The usual thing – number withheld. Not normally the kind of phone call I would answer. Mostly nuisance calls, people trying to sell me insurance, invitations to timeshare evenings, free valuations of property and the usual get rich quick schemes. Experience has taught me not to answer these calls. The vast majority leave no message.
But for some reason I can’t put a finger on, I decided to answer this one. A soft-spoken Welsh voice asked for me by name, explained who he was in a manner credible to me and asked a couple of legitimate security questions.
He explained that they had received my letter of a few weeks ago outlining my concerns over their decision-making process, acknowledged the validity of my arguments and had chosen to reverse their original decision. A couple of letters would follow within a few days to confirm what he had said by phone. I thanked him politely and he reciprocated, thanking me for my understanding.
Who was it? The DVLA.
And the decision? To rescind their original revocation of my driving licence and to reinstate the aforementioned.
I have always felt that there is virtue in civility when writing letters of complaint. When the DVLA had originally revoked my driving licence I chose, rather than write a long tirade of angry impotent bluster, to present my arguments politely but firmly, inviting them to think again, to reflect upon what I felt was too hasty a decision.
In essence I asked them, in the general tenor if not explicitly the same language of Oliver Cromwell:-
“I beseech you, in the bowels of Christ, think it possible you may be mistaken”.
I didn’t actually use Cromwell’s words but the sentiment was there.
And as I said, he thanked me for my understanding. “Most people just rant and rage at us” he said.
“I can imagine” I said.
Manners … Maketh … Man.