An 83-year-old Fife woman wanted to throw her phone through a window as she struggled to get Fife Council on the phone.
And a 67-year-old disabled man has been left with holes in his bathroom wall but can’t report it to anyone .
The pair are among dozens of frustrated residents failing to get through to the council’s call centre as it struggles to cope with demand.
Both have tried several times a day for up to 45 minutes at a time in the hope of hearing a human voice.
But all they get is a recorded message instructing them to submit their queries online.
Both have serious health issues and are unable to use the internet.
Fife Council has acknowledged it is facing a challenge and that call volumes are placing a strain on the centre.
However, says it is trying to “get things right”.
Left in the dark
Fred Laing, 67, from Kinglassie, is one of those experiencing difficulties.
He wants to report serious problems with his bathroom after council workmen started replacing it then left it unfinished.
“It’s in a right mess,” he said. “I’ve tried reporting it but I can’t get anybody on the phone.
“I’ve been trying to get them to answer and I wait for 45 minutes at a time.
“It’s absolutely ridiculous that you’re left on the phone with nobody to speak to.”
Mr Laing suffered two strokes and a heart attack last year and is nearly blind.
“This recorded voice says I should contact the council online but I’m not able to do that.
“In the meantime, I’m left in the dark and I don’t know if anyone’s coming back to fix my bathroom.”
Jenny Reid, 83, from Dunfermline, is in a similar situation.
She has new furniture and her old settees and a bed are lying at her front door.
“I want to arrange to have them picked up but I can’t speak to anybody,” she said.
“I’ve tried several times this week and I keep getting cut off after 36 minutes.
“I wanted to put my phone through the window.”
She added: “I’m being told to use the internet.
“I’ve had two heart attacks and I’m in the early stages of dementia. I can’t use the internet.
“They tell people not to dump but I’m trying to do the right thing and I can’t.
“I’m so frustrated and angry.”
‘We are facing a challenge’
Fife Council’s head of customer and online services Diarmuid Cotter said services were facing a backlog after lockdown.
“We are currently facing a challenge as services come back on stream,” he said.
“In some areas, eg our repairs line, we are experiencing a higher number of calls as we work through the backlog that’s built up throughout the pandemic.
“Our teams in the contact centre manage calls as efficiently as possible to make sure we can respond quickly and effectively to our most urgent calls from vulnerable clients such as community alarm responses, health and social care or those needing crisis grants from the Scottish Welfare Fund.
“However, there is no doubt that at times there is a strain on the centre when call volumes are high.”
Mr Cotter said the council is working on ways to become more modern and accessible, with customers carrying out more business online.
“Our website fife.gov.uk is a convenient way for many people to access services as well as helping reduce the number of calls we need to take,” he said.
“For people who cannot access online services the phone is an option with the understanding that lines are exceedingly busy at the moment.
“However, managers will continue to monitor call volumes closely and endeavour to get things right for our customers.”