Thursday, 10 May 2012

I had to prove that I was

me yesterday. I am still not sure how you do this. Knowing that you are yourself is not the answer. It is who other people think you are that is the critical question in some circumstances.
The problem arose because my signature never looks quite the same twice running. There is not much, if anything, I can do about this. For all my adult life I have had an up-to-date passport to use as a form of ID when necessary.
Last week I had to sign some documents relating to my simple financial affairs. I have very little money. It is, I hope, invested wisely. Once in a while there is a review of my affairs. I sign forms and hear nothing more for another twelve months. Yesterday I had a 'phone call. It purported to come from the authority which deals with these things.  Could they check some details?
No, I told them, they could not. Why? I had no idea who I was talking to. The person at the other end offered a telephone number for me to call back. No, not good enough - although, in retrospect, I could have checked the actual number in the reverse telephone directory. Nevertheless I was wary. I still did not know the person.
Well, how was I going to prove my identity? I asked why I had to prove my identity yet again. They had seen my "Proof of Age Card" - which is my daily form of photo-identity as I do not have a licence to drive - the thing used by most people..
It is actually quite difficult to get a "Proof of Age Card". You need to show several forms of ID in order to get one. My passport was one of the forms of ID I had to show - again because I did not have a licence to drive. The "Proof of Age Card" was actually just as difficult to get as my passport. It should do for any purpose within Australia. It has my photograph on it. Possession of it says I am an adult. It says I am old enough to vote.
No, not good enough I was told. They needed something which proved I was me. I pointed out they had a certified copy of my birth certificate and told them they should check what documentation I had needed to provide to get the "Proof of Age" card. No, still not good enough. They wanted me to come in personally. What good, I asked, would that do? It would not prove anything. Anyone could walk in and claim to be me. Well, not if you came in with the "Proof of Age Card" I was told.  Oh.
I thought about this and then said,
      "No. I am not going to come in with that because you have just informed me that the card is not sufficient."
      "Well we cannot do anything for you..."
      "Oh yes you can. I am going to get a copy of the relevant page in my passport. I am going to ask the secretary to the local MP, who just happens to be a Justice of the Peace, to certify that it is a photograph of the person she has known as "Cat" for the last twenty-four years" and I will post it to you. Will that do?"
Silence at the other end of the 'phone and then,
       "Well, I suppose she knows who you are."


Jan said...

I had similar problems last year. I went to Motor Registry to get proof of ID card. Had lots of paperwork with me, including the very birth certificate I've used whenever needed. Indeed it satisfied Centrelink many times over.

Not good enough I was told. This is an extract. it might look like an extract in today's terms but it is the original. I could not move them.

"if we give you a Proof of ID card, you can use it anywhere in Australia." I replied that Centrelink gave me money every fortnight relying on that card. Phone caller hung up.

Jan said...

I just remebered another instance of stupidity. My then husband took out life insurance on both of us. When the policies were returned I noticed that the year of my birth was wrong and showed me a year younger. When I rang to complain of their error, I was informed that I must have told them the wrong date. As if I didn't know my birthdate. They would need stat dec and a full original birth certificate and a letter from my great, great, great grandmother and more to prove the year. I would also have to present myself to their head office a t a time to suit them.

I left him not long after this mess, so left him to fix mess up. My guess is that he just stopped paying premium.

Anonymous said...

Face palm!
Several times!

Anonymous said...

I hope you have put in a formal complaint Cat! Chris

widdershins said...

Head banging and face palming.

Someone sent me this the other day ...

This, apparently, is an actual letter received by the Canadian Passport Office, from an irate Newfoundlander attempting to renew his passport.

Dear Sirs,
I'm in the process of renewing my passport, and still cannot believe this. How is it that Bell-Alliant has my address and telephone number and knows that I bought a friggin satellite dish from them back in 1977, and yet, the Canadian Government is still asking me where I was friggin born and on what date.

For Pete's sakes, do you guys do this by hand? My birth date you have on my pension cheques, and it is on all the income tax forms I've filed for the past 30 years. It is on my Health Card, my driving license, my car insurance, on the last eight damn passports I've had, on all those stupid Customs Declaration forms I've had to fill out before being allowed off the plane over the last 30 years, and all those insufferable census forms.

Would somebody please take note, once and for all, that my mother's name is Mary Anne, my father's name is Robert, and I'd be abso-f---ing-lutely astounded if that ever changed between now and when I die!!!!!!

I apologize, I'm really pissed off this morning. Between you an' me, I've had enough of this bulls--t! You send the application to my house, then you ask me for my f-n address!!!!

What is going on? Do you have a gang of Neanderthal a---holes workin' there? Look at my damn picture. Do I look like Bin Laden? I don't want to dig up Yasser Arafat, for s--t sakes. I just want to go and park my a-- on some sandy beach somewhere. And would someone please tell me, why would you give a s--t whether I plan on visiting a farm in the next 15 days? If I ever got the urge to do something weird to a chicken or a goat, believe you me, you'd be the last f-n people I'd want to tell!

Well, I have to go now, 'cause I have to go to the other end of the friggin city to get another f-n copy of my birth certificate, to the tune of $35. Would it be so complicated to have all the services in the same spot to assist in the issuance of a new passport the same day??
Nooooooooooooo, that'd be too damn easy and maybe make sense. You'd rather have us running all over the f-n place like chickens with our heads cut off, then have to find some a---hole to confirm that it's really me on the damn picture - you know, the one where we're not allowed to smile?! (bureaucratic f-n morons) Hey, do you know why we couldn't smile if we wanted to? Because we're totally pissed off!

An Irate Canadian Citizen.

P.S. Remember what I said above about the picture and getting someone to confirm that it's me? Well, my family has been in Newfoundland since 1497, and I've been a Canadian Citizen since 1949 .......... I have served in the military for something over 30 years and have had full security clearances over 25 of those years enabling me to undertake highly secretive missions all over the world. ......... However, I have to get someone 'important' to verify who I am - you know, someone like my doctor - WHO WAS BORN AND RAISED IN ... (language deleted - a foreign contry).

catdownunder said...

Figures Jan - some of them cannot read. Chris, yes I have written a polite letter but it will no good.
Widdershins - I love it! Bureaucracy at its very worst!