In fine form
I hate forms.
I also hate officialdom.
There are a couple of jobs I have been putting off as I just know in my waters that they involve form filling, tedious phone calls [doubtless with ther lovely menu systems and tacky music] and worst of all, a visit to Skobieville.
One job is sort of important. Ulster Bank in their infinite wisdom are leaving me high and dry by shutting down their business. The cunts. They should just transfer me to the bank of my choice but no, I have to go through the process of applying for new accounts in a new bank and then transferring everything over. I don’t know what happens if I do nothing? Do they just take my money and fuck off? Will my pension just vanish in a Black Hole? I’m tempted to phone them to find out but that would just mean another hour or two listening to more tacky music and “your call is important to us”.
The other job is more interesting. They are offering free energy rating upgrades to people who fall into certain categories. I happen to fall into one of those categories – a full time carer living with my caree. The application form is relatively easy apart for a couple of little points. One is that really I live in two houses – the part that’s two hundred years old and the part that’s fifty five years old. They don’t have a tick-box for that. The other thing is that I need to send in my application form and another form, both of which have to be signed and stamped by the DEASP. Who the fuck are they?
I phoned the crowd who deal with all this [SEAI – they love nonsense acronyms]. To my amazement I went through the usual “this call is being recorded etc etc” and the phone was immediately picked up. Even more surprising, it was picked up by a very nice helpful woman who sounded like she had just been sitting there waiting for me to call. She was extremely helpful and we chatted about cavity wall insulation and double glazing and dry lining, but told me the only way to get the DEASP shit was to call into my local Social Welfare office. She looked that up for me and announced that it’s in Skobieville. Bugger!
So some time next week I am condemned to visit my local town. I haven’t been there in ages but I doubt it has changed much. I shall leave all cash and credit cards at home in case I am mugged and must remember to triple lock the car. I should be okay if I don’t get a puncture from the broken glass or discarded needles. While I’m there I can visit the DEASP if I can find them and also the bank to open an account.
Life is never dull
Isn’t it wonderful that we can do all these things online, except raise a complaint or get an explanation why they have ****ed up a simple transaction. AI will never replace the foreign call centres. I remember when we had Gas/Electricity/BT shops with real people to talk to!
I had to hunt for ages just to get someone in the banking phone system just to talk to me. Every option on their damned menus seemed to lead to a point where I had to enter my account number [which of course I don’t have]. After eight or nine attempts I finally found my way through and ended up speaking to a very nice chap who normally never dealt with new customers. He was sympathetic and managed to get me an appointment to see someone in the nearest branch. Crazy!
DEASP? What was wrong with the Social Welfare?
Can you have an employment affair in the office if you have no appointment?
In the North it used to be called “the Bru.”
(I had to look up SEAI – Seafood Exporters Association of India. The government must be outsourcing the work)
I always knew it as the Dole Office.
SEAI = Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland. Who the hell thinks up these names?
The SEAI are one of the acronyms covering BER ratings for housing. We did try to find out about insulation grants, but after looking at the issues and the increased costs for using an ‘SEAI approved’ contractor who would have charged us 2000+ and taken two weeks to insulate our loft, we decided to hire a local builder who did it in four days for half that price.
The ‘grant’ might have shaved 35% off the costs, but seeing as they were quoting double the price we saved money anyway, and no box ticking.
Sympathies over Ulster Bank. We’ve had to go through the whole business from scratch. An Post provide basic banking and aren’t hard to set up, but as you say, it’s getting the pension provider to pay into a specific account that is the battle. Foreign pension providers are even worse. It takes months and a heavily inflated phone bill.
It was just sheer chance that I heard about 100% grants in certain circumstances. Happily I fit one of those circumstances. However, once I have run the gauntlet of getting various forms stamped I then join a queue to get an inspector out who in turn will presumably put me in a queue to get the job[s] done. The first phase will take up to two years. I’ll probably be dead by the next phase.