Gateway to hell

Except for the ECSL.

Except today.

Today I got routed to a screen telling me I was filling in a form because I’d forgotten my password and wouldn’t let me submit it because the ‘Branch ID’ (I am a sole trader) was in the wrong format. But of course I couldn’t fix that because it wouldn’t let me in to find out what it was.

After three tries it locked me out and told me to contact the helpdesk. It didn’t tell me HOW to contact the helpdesk, just told me to go away. So I found the four month old email notifying me of my activation code to ECSL, which of course was read-only (do not reply). There was what looked like a very useful link that promised to tell me all about the ECSL. But instead, it took me to the international trade home page of BusinessLink.

So I did what every IT-literate person does in this age of joined up government. Went to the HMRC home page and drilled down till I found online VAT services login. Used the gateway login, no problem. Except that I forgot to bookmark the page. Again.