Who do I think I am?

I’m not a disgruntled poster. I don’t blog when things aren’t going my way, I preferably don’t dwell in misery and I hope to keep it that way. I prefer to only shout out the successful events and not to stick too long on those that weren’t really fun at all. But sometimes you just encounter something you want out of your system:

Yes, within the 5 weeks here, I have already filed a complaint with a certain company that has the monopoly on triple-play tv, telephone and internet deals. And yes, today I got into a dispute with another company.

What is this all about, you may wonder. Well, it’s all about identity and credibility.

First time we encountered this was when we were looking for housing. Most of the landlords won’t let you lease their property unless you’ve got work. Most of the employers are scared to give you work because you don’t have an address or any proven income. We kinda cheated the system by stating that we did have an address, which was the holiday park, and suddenly some of those doors opened. (We checked later, almost 50% of the people at that holiday address lived there permanently, so we weren’t that much off)

The first ‘catch22’ is that you won’t be contacted by recruiters as long as you don’t have an Australian phone or address. I’d sent out many applications when I was still living in the Netherlands. Never got any response. I hadn’t set foot on Australian soil and I got like 3 recruiters a day contacting me. For some reason, you need to be there before they’ll even considerate you as an applicant.

To open a bank account, you don’t need any identification at all, you can open a bank account from overseas. This really is important, as this will get you a ‘keycard’. This keycard is worth about 15 to 30 point on any other ‘identification check’. Most companies here resolve to identity checks to sum up to 100 points before you are served. So, the first week here, we got the keycard (+15), medicare (+15) and private health insurance (+15). It’s not enough.

As it turned out, having a passport with the visa attached to it just means ‘jack sh*t’. Yes, you are eligible to enter and leave the country as you seem fit, but it doesn’t mean anything. After getting as much proof as possible to prove that we were up for our money, we finally secured a rental (after being turned down many times). This was our first mayor breakthrough as now, we had a real address. Having a passport with a visa attached: +0 points. I guess none of the corporations trust the government.

We went to the RTA to have our Dutch drivers licenses turned into New South Wales drivers licenses, we got nothing but an address where we could obtain official translations of those drivers licenses. I was ‘flabbergasted’. All I’d heard was that it was in exchangeable as they had books to identify key marks on the drivers license.  So much for spending money on an international drivers license (which is basically a translation…).

Not awaiting that, I went of to get internet, telephone and tv delivered to our newly arranged household. At Australia’s largest telecom provider I was told that they really needed an Australian photo ID card. So, I, stupid as I am, asked why. Didn’t my photo look much like me? What if you can’t drive at all? Why did the government allow me to travel freely, but wasn’t I able to get something stupid as a phone line?

I asked why it was possible for me to get housing, insurance, medicare, private health insurance etc. but I wasn’t able to get a telephone line. ‘Company policy’ and they left me with that. The next day, I went to the RTA (again, after the first time the RTA officer told me that I had to have my Dutch drivers license translated, even gave me an address where to get that, right now I’m pretty sure that officer was getting commission from that translation office, as there is no need at all to have it translated), the officer there whipped out a booklet which had all the details of both versions of the Dutch drivers license in it, and I got a NSW drivers license without any hassle. She even looked up the details of the newly added categories for mopeds. No translation required.

So, if you are a new arrival and they tell you that you need to have your drivers license translated? Immediately ask for their bosses and have them fired. It’s not true. The Dutch drivers license is completely valid and they DO have books describing the key features to look for. I’ve seen the book and I will admit to that in court. If told anything else, you’re being played.

Ah well, Armed with an Australian drivers license, I returned to the telecom shop. Now all it took to get connected was that license and the last 4 digits of my bank account. We now have internet, telephony and tv. No matter what the problem was the day before, it only took the drivers license and the last 4 digits of a banking account.

So I wrongly thought, this Australian issued ID, this is the key to identify yourself. I was right at first. However, it does helps with identification and proving that you are not a dead retard, it doesn’t help at all when getting a mobile phone with some companies. And it sure as hell doesn’t help with being handled as if you weren’t an untrustworthy retard. Which may perhaps prove this country has come a long way from being founded by criminals in the first place. Guess it takes one to not trust someone else.

Sure, I could have gone with the same company that delivered the landline, but they didn’t have any sensible plans for mobile phones, at least not when I got there and not for another 3 weeks. I guess that when companies are used to monopolies, they’re not that interested in innovation, let alone to be competitive. Or at luring clients altogether.

I reckoned I’d go with ‘3’. They had a $125/m plan with about 2gb of data usage plan and I was informed at their stand that this was the best around (not only their stand. compared to the Netherlands, nobody here ever shows any price unless you explicitly ask for it. Dutchies are used to get all the numbers upfront).

I arrived at 10.00-ish at their stand and explained what I was looking for and they got to work. Well, work, they were pretty much occupied with family members hanging around that stand instead of helping a customer. Just to the other side of the store, a young teen with her mom got handed a pretty expensive telephone without any credit check. Although privacy should have been an issue, I got all the details as they were put in the system right in front of me.

A 16 year old was applying for an iPhone and all she needed to show was her mothers’ identity. I reckon that is what counts when you are under age. Mom and daughter left under 30 minutes, armed with the new phone. I thought that if she was able to get one it should be a very, very strange day if I was denied.

But then it all went wrong:

My passport was scanned (twice, as it has an identification page and a page where the visa is attached), my medicare card, my keycard for my banking account, my NSW drivers license etc. It was just a little short of him putting on rubber gloves and examine the remains of last nights dinner’ remains up my rectum. And then the question came ‘what is your employers phone number’.

I asked what influence my employers phone number could have on my financial status and whether it was appropriate to ask such question when you’re applying for a phone on a personal basis, the answer was that it was for a credit check. So I asked what credit check they’d actually did with the teen that just had left with her iPhone minutes before. Did she provide enough prove that she’ll not spend her monthly allowance provided to her by her parent just to pay for her phone? I asked what the system needed from me to get it all settled.

‘Well, none, it’s just a STP (Straight Through Processing) system and we just need a number…’ So, ok. I asked whatever question they would be going to ask me so I could return with all details later. And I even went back for another session of humiliation.

I got back and my application was picked up. After entering the final few details they once again applied. However, as they’d failed to scan the correct pages on my passport, which I pointed out to them in the first place, my application was once again denied. Yes people, you can get a rental, you can buy a car, you can own an Australian drivers license, but you can’t get serviced by 3 as long as you don’t have a payslip.

So I asked, what if you are a gazzilionaire, able to buy the company, but don’t have an employer? No service.

What if you are here, right in front of you, and you show all ID and a contract that says that you’ll probably make 5 times as much as they would (which I do): No service.

What if you did have a job last month, robbed the company of all their cash, raped all male employees and insulted the females, got off to china and killed 10212 children just because that’s your idea of having fun, got fired in the act., but not before you did get a payslip:

Service.

Even though the sales rep. understood my anger at that moment, he said his company demanded it and that showing a signed contract didn’t mean anything at all. I asked him if a work contract, dated the day before, where my name was obviously spelled correctly, at a yearly number he’d dream to make as a phone-salesman was a contract I’d turn down just to remain jobless and unable to pay a bill and to eventually become a ‘3’ sales rep. was a realistic concept of life?

they turned me down. No Service.

Un-be-lieve-a-ble

Which wasn’t that bad after I got over it. I’ve been with Vodafone in the Netherlands for ages I thought I just run over and go to their shop. 30 minutes later, I left the premises with an iPhone, a cheaper contract than whatever ‘3’ offered and I didn’t have to show anything more than my id and a banking card (as one should expect), I got serviced and I got serviced with a very friendly sales rep, who was willing to actively match my wishes into a contract.

On the way out I walked by the ‘3’ store, showed them my Vodafone bag and told them that I got the contract I wanted with them but which I now had for at least $30 less. The poor sod recognised me without me showing any ID

One Comment Add yours

  1. bart.van.riel says:

    And all this for a phone subscription. Could be worse though, I had to present a valid AUSTRALIAN ID (or two bank cards, luckily I had two credit cards on me), AND a valid Australian address (I used the hotel address) to get a PREPAID Vodafone internet dongle. I mean: prepaid means all the risk is on me, right? Then why the 3rd degree screening?

    Sometimes an honest face just ain’t enough…

    Grtz,
    Bart.

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