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!