Wednesday, 8 August 2007

A word of advice

Never do business before breakfast. At least have a cup of tea first. Unfortunately, if I want to talk to any government department in Australia, I have to ring at about 8am. And even with the flylady helping out these days I still havent managed to get organized before 8. So today, I foolishly rang every unemployed person's favourite department (all you aussies know the one but I wont name them, just in case they're spying on me! Let's just call them "the C office"). I had to tell them to cut off my benefits as I had come to the end of my 13 weeks to which I am entitled once I leave the country.

My first warning sign should have been when the guy on the other end of the phone was so friendly. He was obviously new as no C office employee is that friendly after answering calls for more than a month. The next clue should have been his enthusiastic "oh, I've never had to do one of these before". But still I didnt question what he was doing until he put me on hold for 10 minutes. Eventually I hung up and rang again and got a woman who sounded slightly jaded but relatively helpful, not bad for almost 5pm their time. She promptly informed me that friendly guy had coded me as "permanently left Australia". Now not only is this rather scary prospect completely untrue, but it meant that the computer had automatically raised an overpayment for the 13 weeks of slush fund benefit that I just received. I owed THEM money!

After asking me some well phrased questions about my intentions now and when I left the country, jaded lady said she would have me recoded as a resident departed temporarily and the overpayment would disappear. But she couldnt do it now because he was still in the file. So I'll have to get up early again tomorrow to check its been done...this time I'll have a cup of tea first.


DestinationMetz said...

argh! dealings with 'those' people we know, really not good before 8am! administration, would you say better or worse in France or Australia?

Penny said...

Well, I'm not sure which is worse yet! I've had a couple of bad run-ins with Australian departments since we left. But I am certainly more comfortable dealing with Australia for now - a certain amount of whinging usually gets the required response :)