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Edgware father 'ridiculed' in council e-mail
A father feels “ridiculed" for having a stutter after he was mistakenly sent an e-mail from a council officer mocking the way he spoke.
Jason Irwin, of The Meads, Edgware, rang Barnet Borough Council’s claims department after a refuse truck smashed the wing mirror of his parked car.
The 29-year-old has had a stutter since he was a child, and admits he was less than confident when explaining his case to the council employee who picked up the phone.
After the conversation ended, he was amazed when he received an email she typed to a colleague calling him a “moany claimant” who “could not be bothered to open his mouth and speak clear enough”.
Mr Irwin said: “To be honest, I don’t like speaking. It makes me stressed out so I do the best I can when in new situations.
“I feel like they were making a mockery of me, I feel embarrassed. It’s totally knocked my confidence as a person.
“It’s taken me years to try and control it. Council officers should not be allowed to speak about people like that, whether I was meant to hear it or not.”
Mr Irwin said he was not rude or abusive in any way and was keen to speed up the insurance claim for his damaged car.
When he had calmed down, Mr Irwin penned a response to the council officer in question.
He wrote: "Thank you very much for your kind description of me.
“Next time it would be more beneficial for us both if you just ask me to repeat myself if you haven't heard or don't fully understand what I am saying.
“I'm sure that by you pointing out to me that I mumble and am unclear when speaking will help to increase my confidence.”
In a reply, she said: “I apologise profusely for the comments made which were indefensible.
“I confirm that you were neither rude nor abusive and simply calling to discover what was happening in connection with your claim, having not heard from us regarding the same – a completely justified request which should have been handled in a much more professional manner by myself.”
Despite receiving an apology, Mr Irwin is keen to ensure council officers maintain better standards of customer care.
A statement from Barnet Borough Council said: “The member of staff in question has personally spoken to the resident and apologised.”
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