06 August 2008

Indian Bueracracy drives me nuts!

Just another tidbit for you. The system here in India is ridiculous, I've never seen half so much red tape in my life (and I worked in the National Labs for 2 summers). There doesn't seem to be any cultural capacity for connecting the dots.

Example: I talk to a phone rep who asks me a million questions to verify my identity, then make a request for an addition debit card for Linda. I'm then told, despite having verified my identity by answering every conceivable question they could ask - my name, birthday, mailing address w/ zipcode (if you leave off the zipcode it's clear you don't actually know the true mailing addres), cell phone number, debit card number, account number, employer - that I can't make this request without a "t-pin" (telephone pin). They start to say goodbye and I ask "so how do I get a t-pin". Write a letter is the response (of course it's almost impossible to make out the address and to whom I'm writing this letter is equally unclear). But why can't I request it over the phone? You don't have any transactions on your account, send a letter. But what if I did have transactions on my account? Then you could, but since you don't send a letter. How about if I wait until my deposit clears that counts as a transaction right? Yes sir, do that and call back. Any number I can call direct? No sir.Okay so I wait, call back, do the whole thing over again. I'm sorry sir you only have one transaction you need to send a letter. But what about what I was told. Only one transaction, you need to send a letter? But what if I had two? Sir? If I went to the ATM took out some money that's a transaction. If I have two transactions then I get request a t-pin, right? Yes sir, do that. Repeat and finally get a t-pin (note every time I need to go through the entire life history authentication process). And that's just to get an additional debit card on my account, which apparently costs 200 Rupees + tax and comes with a ridiculously small built in credit limit of somewhere in the range of $100 US. To change the credit limit? Guess what, I need to send a letter.

Attached please find a jpeg of one of the more useful error messages I've gotten trying to do simple things like log into my phone account - it should give you another impression of mental disconnect around here - note the phone number to call (you'll need to click on the image to do this) .

I swear I spend as much time just getting the basics for a three month stay set up as I do working on my research!

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