Thursday, May 24, 2007

Getting a refund from the Government

I'm not sure how much of this story I've already mentioned in my blog, but since I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel, it may be time to tell the story in its entirety. So back in December I signed up my oldest daughter for ski school, the total cost was $220 dollars. Just enough to make it worth getting back, but small enough that every additional effort makes you wonder if your time wouldn't be better spent elsewhere, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

Shortly after we signed her up, she broke her arm. And the doctor said that she definitely couldn't go skiing. So I took the doctor's note, I went to the county rec center where we'd signed her up, and requested a refund. They told me no problem, I filled out some paperwork and they said it would be a few weeks. This was right at the beginning of January. Well when the money hadn't shown up by March I called them to see what the deal was. They referred me to Penny... From then until now I've probably called Penny 50 times. Most of the time she's not in. I've mostly given up on leaving messages, since she's never once called me back.

Three weeks ago I decided that the only way I was going to get any progress was to go over there in person. I knew that she was in the office (though it was impossible to get her on the phone), so I left work a little early and headed over there. I'm not sure about you, but generally I have a difficult time being as angry in person as I am in "rehearsals". Still I think I expressed my frustration adequately and she promised that she would talk to the main office and call me back the next morning. I didn't hear from her the next day, and when I called back the day after that I discovered that she was on vacation for a week.

Since she got back I've called at least a half dozen times, but never gotten ahold of her, so great was my desperation that I even tried leaving a message on her voice mail on Monday. Of course she didn't call back, it was a pretty angry message, but she didn't call back on my polite messages either. This morning as I faced the prospect of one more fruitless call to Penny, I decided that I had had enough, that I was going to talk to someone higher up. I had tried to thread the bureaucracy once before without any success, but this time I was not going to give up. Finally after many transfers, and a lot of time on hold I ended up talking to the person who actually sends out the refunds. She didn't have any record of it, but she told me I would need to talk to the lady who actually processed the refunds, but of course she wasn't in yet. So I got the name of the lady, and left my name and number.

And then a miracle occurred, she called me back. I know, you probably think I'm lying, a government employee called you back?!?! But it's true I swear on my life. She had no record of the refund either, which is sort of good, I mean she could have had a record that a check was sent out and that it was cashed, that would have been bad. In any case she promised to get to the bottom of it. I hate to be overly optimistic, but I think I could finally be nearing the end of this incredibly frustrating journey.

One more reason to be a libertarian


Anonymous Ed said...

If I were more of a betting man, I'd say the "processing fee" for the refund and all the man-hours spent would be about $230.

8:42 PM  

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