Kafka in Barranquilla

I should have translated my Tanja-post days ago but I was delayed by a bad flu and now I am being obstructed by an example of crazy bureaucracy of which Colombians have shown themselves experts. I’ll try to stay quiet and explain. Take a breath…

Colombia is a society based on distrust. That means for example when you want to rent an appartment you have to show a lot of papers in order to convince them you are a reliable renter. It also means you cannot transfer money from your bank account through internet to anybody you want, noooooh. You have to inscribe the person and they have to agree. So what do you do? You inscribe the person, you leave your personal data so they can check and wait. That’s what I did with my bank Davivienda.

At the same time my Wifi and my home phone weren’t working yesterday almost all day. A technician of my provider Telmex was announced to come between 7 and 8.30 today. Suddenly, while waiting the technician I saw that WiFi worked!

I looked on the internet and to my big surprise I saw my request to inscribe my dear friend was rejected. WHY? I called the bank.

‘They called you at 9.11 am and 11.15 am and didn’t find you at home.’

‘That happened because my home phone wasn’t working because the service failed. But in the inscription request I gave my mobile number. Why didn’t you call that?’

‘Because it isn’t in our general data. Any impostor who enters your internet-account and claims to be you could put his cell phone number there.’

‘But I’m calling you now to tell you what my mobile number is.’

‘But you have to go to one of our offices to registrate that, because you could be an imposter.’

(me thinking): but when you call me, you check to know if I am I and then you will find out, thanks to your intelligent questions!). I say:

‘But can’t you check me now, to know if I am I and know if it’s alright.’

‘No, that is another department.’

I feel desperate. I start complaining on how their measures to hinder cheaters affects us clients. Of course that doesn’t impress him. I hang the phone and sigh and start to write this blogpost, when after 4 or 5 words WiFi stops again. Now I’m waiting with my cell phone as a modem for my laptop’s internet for a Telmex technician to arrive. He was promised to be here between 7 and 8.30 am and it’s 1.03 pm. Nothing.

I hold Telmex and Davivienda responsible for the angry impotence I have been feeling for 2 days now.

My dear friends: show up at the time you promise (Telmex) and treat your clients as clients and not as presumed criminals (Davivienda).

UPDATE It’s 3 days later now and the Davivienda issue hasn’t been solved yet. On the contrary: a second intent to inscribe my friend’s bankaccount failed for the same reason. And I had warned the bank that my home phone was working badly. They would take it into account… Nope.

A friend of mine told me he had the same problem with Davivienda. Every month he transfers money from his bank to his parents’ account at Bancolombia, another Colombian bank. He retires the money from a Davivienda cash dispenser¬†and enters Bancolombia with that cash money to put it on his parents’ account. Because the rules to do it through internet are so crazy you practically can’t do it, he says.

And Telmex: they already answer my phone calls saying: ‘Is it you, ms. Ubags?’ I have been calling 3 or 4 times a day to chase them up to solve that WiFi and phone problem. It’s Sunday and it seems today at last the problem has been solved. I’d threatened them to cancel the service tomorrow if it doesn’t work then. And I’ll do it.

Latest news: Telmex and my mobile phone company Comcel are going to fuse, says the paper edition of weekly Semana. What will that mean for me? I’m in the hands of the world’s richest man, the Mexican Carlos Slim, owner of Telmex and Comcel. He’s going to fuse with himself. Might be not at all OK.

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