Last Friday Gavin bit the bullet because he was getting increasingly concerned about the whereabouts of his passport and some important documents, so he rang the paying line for the UK visa section. The first advisor initially could not find any information, then finally discovered that the last recorded date for anything to do with the passport was 26/08/2014. He requested Gavins name in full and his passport number?*.............Note to all if you send your passport away anywhere to be processed take a photocopy of the photo page because apparently they can only find your passport if they have your passport number. Duh............Luckily we are now french trained but Gavin had to find the information so the advisor said that he would email us in 5 minutes so we could email him later with the number. OK.....3 hours later no email so Gavin phones again. The next advisor takes the number for the passport and then says he will send another email confirming the "escalation" (!?* what does that mean) of the dossier. Email arrives addressed to Mr Devin Franklin. Lord help us. (keeping it clean folks at this point). BTW the 2 calls which were not long cost 18.50 euros.
Monday morning 9.20am. French woman phones Gavin on his cellphone number:
"Mr Franklin we have had your passport here in the Paris office since 28/08/2014 you can come and get it this morning"
"I am in the Dordogne. Why have you not eailed me?"
"Because there is no email address" (weird as you fill the form out online with an email address and then they take it down again when you hand in the dossier)
"Why have you not phoned before then?"
"If you are not here by Wednesday the Passport and documents will be sent to The Zimbabwean Embassy. That is procedure."
"Fine" He puts the phone down
We are momentarily speechless. Firstly, he could have gone to see our friends in London who were over from Australia, secondly, we have just been done out of a month on a 6 month visitor visa and thirdly, I suppose we had better purchase another extortionately expensive TGV ticket for Tuesday.
Interestingly the same day we receive another email from the escalation people saying please fill out our survey form commenting on our service, which I have kindly done for them though I don't suppose they will be so delighted to read it. Nice to know that all sections in the visa department talk to each other.
One annoying visit to Paris later and another 150 euro return ticket, the procdure for dossiers returned from London is:
1)They scan the barcode which in theory sends an automatic email.
2)The dossier then sits for another week if not collected they scan the barcode again which in theory then sends another automatic email.
3)If it then sits around again, which in our case is another 10 days, they then think about phoning you at the number that is provided on the dossier.
4)I guess if you are not in then your passport disappears into the Zimbabwean or another countries administration system. Yippee. Because of course all diplomatic missions know exactly how to find all the members of their country.
This information was given to Gavin by "a young boy who is apparently the manager" oh dear oh dear. He then asks Gavin if he would like to fill out a complaint form. An hour later Gavin leaves the building relieved but irritated beyond belief.
It is so reassuring to know that all your most important documents, passport, marriage and birth certificate and income tax details are so well looked after and we wonder why there is so much identity theft maybe the powers that be should look to themselves more often rather than always pointing finger at Jo Blogs.
Ok moan over back to work. With any luck next week we will finally have some exciting pictures for you.
See you soon