Sunday, 8 January 2017

The frustration of trying to contact Centrelink (my story)


The latest mega debacle of robo debts has likely highlighted of late to people that don't deal with Centrelink the absurdity of the system. When you try to get in touch with them at times it can be almost impossible. Now with robo debt this would be causing huge anxiety to those affected, particularly if you can't get it all done and dusted then you automatically get handed to some shark private debt collector. BTW I think that's illegal, but beside the point for this post.

But this is nothing new. Us long-suffering "clients" of Centrelink know all too well how bad it is when something goes wrong and you need to get in touch with them in a hurry. Like if the Centrelink computer forgets your tax file number and cuts you off payments without telling you for example, and you only find out when there's no money in your account when it's due (yes it happens - it happened to my late wife and to myself years later after she was passed).
I can't remember the particular thing that was wrong on this occasion but I remember trying to ring the other year and on hold for ages, so gave up and thought it better to just go the ten minute walk down the road to the local Centrelink and see someone about it there.

So I wait in the line there (actually the line has improved a lot at my branch, you used to have to wait up to an hour in it years ago but credit to the local branch they've fixed that) for about ten minutes and see someone at the counter and explain the bla why I'm there. I was surprised when they said it could only be done on the phone. I said I couldn't get through on the phone....

I was taken to an empty Centrelink desk with  a PC on it and a phone, thinking someone was going to come see me. However they picked up the phone, dialed Centrelink on the phone, and handed it to me. Walking off leaving me alone there. I kid you not. There I was, sitting at a Centrelink desk on the phone to Centrelink :s  The absurdity didn't escape me. At least I got through though.

After some time on the phone the lady at the other end started asking questions. "Where are you?" she asked. "At Centrelink"  I replied. She was astonished, wanted the name of the office I was calling from and all. Can't remember if my issue was sorted then but I certainly remember that.

There's other stories but that'll do for the moment :s