Cowart's Common Room

So, I am off on a rant and anyone who wants to join in is very welcome to join in.

In the past eleven months I have phoned, e-mailed, called into and written [civil] letters to various agencies, such as health insurance boards, informing them that one of their clients has passed on.

Eco friendly most of this lot are not...I hate to think of the amount of trees cut down so that they can spew paper reminders at her that she owes €XXX.xxc to them. They have been notified, the lot of them, but apparently their databases haven't.

Now correct me if I am wrong. At my age that could be quite a possibility, because I grow greyer by the day contacting these people. I have this nutty notion that databases are maintained by human beings, who have - allegedly - brains, fingers and the ability to conjoin these two parts of the anatomy into a fusion of effort which will ensure that the relevant name is erased from said databases. Jargon anyone? Seems that that is all they understand. The humans I mean.

My two latest irritants are the local Council and the health insurance company - I could paper the kitchen walls with reminders, and their not so friendly re-reminders that she hasn't paid up. I have a list as long as my arm of times and dates I have rung them to inform them of her passing. Seems that Biddy at the other end of the line ain't awake yet.

I rang, a few months ago, the house insurance agency. Young-thing answered. Conversation went somewhat like this, following my telling her, in English, and plain and simple English at that, that Mum had passed on.

Y: " what yer sayin is dat she's ded"
Me:"Yes, dead, passed on, deceased" [feeling like niente, nada etc., here]
Y:"aaaaahm, rite, I'll log dat into de data bass an yew woan geh anymore nortifications".
M: "Thank you. Have a nice day.".
Three days later? Invoice for outstanding non payment of this account!

We have a database at work. Part of my job on a Monday is to check that it is up to date, log onto a site which gives a list of who has passed on in the last month/week, update our hard copy files as well, and make sure that such things as Christmas cards or literature are never sent to households where they might cause upset. Simple matter of effort, much appreciated though.

So, last week the invoice of the time arrived in, and I was ready for them. They got a note - by e-mail - informing them of when and at what time they were notified of her passing in the past 11 months, in jargon that would have made senior counsel proud. To-day I got an apologetic e-mail from that group saying that they had had no record of her passing, that their database was not updated accordingly, they were sorry for any upset they might have caused me, and if they can be of any service in anyway whatsoever please call Himself at 1234567 or email him at gotthepoint@last.yes
Too late folks, I'm sticking with my own insurance company.

So if you are being harassed by this sort of thing, don't send them a nice note telling them that the account has to be closed, TERMINATE it with legalese flair...the poor timorous cowerin' wee beasties!

Rant officially over.

On the plus side it is a bitterly freezing morning, after a heavy frost but there has been an awakening [a month late] of daffodils, crocus, and there is a single red bloom on an old Gertrude Jekyll rose outside the study window. Life has its plus moments and they are many when we look around us.Laughing

Posted at 4th Mar 2009 - 12:48PM   Posted by Irish Eyes   Databases Comments: 3

Milla's Avatar it's just outrageous - WHY the inefficiency, WHY does it take so long - how come, meanwhile, the system works well enough to keep generating the bills? my sympathies, ma'am!

Posted by: Milla on 4th Mar 2009 at 02:49PM

Preseli Mags's Avatar Computer data bases are such insensitive beasts. As are 'young things' in call centres. My mother had the same problems after her partner Michael died. (But the email address gotthepoint@last.yes really made me laugh!)

Posted by: Preseli Mags on 4th Mar 2009 at 02:51PM

Frances's Avatar Irish Eyes, your tenacity is to be applauded!

Maybe now you could set yourself up as an advisor to others in similar circumstances. I can well imagine that there must be many other folks who are similarly frustrated in trying to get their particular messages across.

Well done! xo

Posted by: Frances on 4th Mar 2009 at 03:03PM

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