Tuesday, 7 February 2017

If I'd Only Known - Silly Rules

11:47:00 Posted by Pamela Winning , , , , 1 comment

If only I’d known…my list is endless and at the top is ‘If only I’d known I wouldn’t get a state pension until I’m 66’. I’ll set that rant aside for another day. Things have been happening lately to turn me into a female Victor Meldrew.

I’ve been feeling cross nearly every day this year so far. It started when I attempted to upgrade my mobile phone. If only I’d known what a frustrating journey I was about to start.

I knew which phone I wanted and which tariff suited my needs. I’d had a contract with the same network for the best part of ten years and renewing was always straight forward. Until now. In the shop there were post-it notes on the computers reminding the staff that photo I.D. must be obtained from every customer upgrading their phone. That’s me out. I explained that I don’t have any form of photo I.D. They couldn’t help me apart from suggesting that I try upgrading online or by phone. The new rule had come about because of an attempted, unsuccessful in-house fraud regarding customers due to upgrade. So, through no fault of my own, I have to go to the expense of obtaining a form of photo I.D. if I want to get a new phone in the shop. With regard to doing it online or by phone, I really thought they could have been more helpful or pro-active in doing it that way in the shop. I left to think about it and fizzed with annoyance all the way to the car park.

I talked myself into deciding a photo I.D. might be useful in general and a couple of days later, set about applying for a new driving license. Anyway, my family, mainly my husband had scorned my paper one for long enough, even suggesting that it might not be legal. I had to wait for the form to arrive through the post.

The more I thought about the mobile phone company, the more disappointed I became about how I’d been treated. I returned to the Hounds Hill one day, popped into the shop of a different network and minutes later emerged with a Sony something, all-you-can-eat text messages, more minutes than I’ll ever use and twice as much data allowance on a cheaper contract than I expected. Then there was a verbal battle between me and my previous provider. I wanted to cancel my contract and keep my number. I spoke to different people as I was repeatedly put on hold. They all asked the same questions, trying to persuade me to stay, telling me I can cancel my new contract with my new network. I can hear myself now, parrot fashion – “Cancel my contract and send me a PAC code, please. Cancel my contract and send me a PAC code, please.”

Sometimes I think I’m not cut out for life in the modern world. I shouldn’t have to waste time insisting and persisting for something so trivial as swapping phone networks. Eventually, that battle was won, but I still had a war going on.

My driving license form arrived. I completed it neatly and asked one of my work professionals to verify my identity and sign my photo. Well, I think the photo was of me. I looked like an old dear with wind-swept hair and no lipstick on, but it would do. I enclosed my old driving license, thinking that was all I needed to send as I was only renewing something I’d had for forty-odd years. Wrong.

Two weeks later it was returned to me, marked in red ink – that tells me I’ve failed, so I’m unhappy before I’ve read it – pointing out the list of documents I must send before it can be processed. A passport. I don’t have a valid one, otherwise I would already have photo I.D. A birth certificate must be supported by other documents to support any change of name. Fine, except I don’t have all the links in that chain. Evidence of my National Insurance number, a P60. Perfect.

I gathered all that was suitable and posted it back. Being cross makes me more efficient, I think. And I was feeling very cross with the DVLA when I wrote a strong cover note suggesting that matching my Driver Number with my address which hasn’t changed for many years should be sufficient.

I am currently awaiting the arrival of my new license and the safe return of all my documents.

A haiku for today. 

If only I’d known
     Of all these complications,
     For something simple.

Thanks for reading, Pam x 


Adele said...

The IT savvy world is an alien environment. When my Mum thought that she had lost her bank card (she hadn't lost it - it was under the table) my nephew very kindly rang and cancelled it for her. I found the card the next day - 14 days later we had a new pin but no card and because she had no passport and has never driven the bank refused her any cash. Nightmare. 96 and invisible.

It would be really great if someone just switched all the IT and thought it out again.