Sunday, December 23, 2007

Konting kwento part 1--

Kwento #1: A tale of two offices --

Johann and I are trying to fix our finances. We've done the adult thing and invested some in mutual funds, some in stocks and the rest in a nice decent-interest-earning bank account.

It's the end of the year so we are reviewing our meager savings (it is small, but we are proud of it ^_^) -- and making decisions about what to do next year.

Our mutual funds have earned a pretty good interest so we decided to redeem the interest so we could invest it in other things.

We have two mutual fund accounts -- one is with Philam and one is with Sunlife. I dealt with Philam first -- I called their local office here and they gave me instructions on how I could make the redemption. I went to their office one afternoon -- it was around 3 pm. I asked the guard in the building which one is the PAMI office and he pointed me to the second floor. When I entered the office, I told the first person I saw what I wanted to do. She gave me a form, asked to see my mutual fund certificate and two IDs (my SSS and my old Ateneo ID). After she had reviewed everything, she told me to come back in a week because they needed to process the paperwork. (It would have been faster had I opted to have the funds transferred directly to a bank account but I opted to get a check instead.) While I was there, I asked the girl about Philam's new products and she explained some to me and made recommendations. When I left the building, I checked my watch -- it was 3:30 pm.

In about 5 days, I get a call informing me that my check was ready to be picked up. I went there, showed them my ID and my stock certificate and I got my check.

Last Friday, Johann and I skipped work in the morning so we could go to the Sun Life office. When I entered their office, I asked the guard where I should go. He kept asking me who my agent was and that I should deal with him/her directly. I explained my situation and he gave me a blank stare. Eventually, they sent me to their second floor office. When I got to the second floor, I approached the teller and told her what I wanted to do. She also asked me who my agent was so I had to explain my situation a second time. She finally understood what I wanted to do and sent me back downstairs again. Before I left the second floor, I asked her to inform their guard and whoever else needed to be informed that my business was with the ground floor. (I didn't want to be pingpong-ed back and forth.)

Back downstairs we went -- a nice lady attended to me. She told me I needed to fill out a form but I had to wait a bit because the forms were upstairs and they were sending someone down to hand it over. After a few minutes, I filled out the form. She asked me for two IDs so I gave her my SSS and my old Ateneo ID. She told me that my Ateneo ID was not a valid form of identification because it expired in 2006. She asked me if I had any other ID that had my name, my picture and my signature on it. I told her that I only had my passport but it was at home. So I asked for their fax number and told them I would fax it as soon as I got home. (I had to submit everything before 12 otherwise it would be processed the next business day, which would be on the 26th.)

We arrived at their office at 10, we left at 11 and we still hadn't concluded our transaction.

So I went home, made a photocopy of my passport and tried to fax it. The number they gave me was busy. I tried several times after and it was still busy. So I waited about 10 minutes (it was already 11:30) and was finally able to connect and fax it over. I called to confirm that they had received it. They asked me to re-fax it because the words "Republika ng Pilipinas/The Republic of the Philippines" weren't clear --

I was already annoyed at this point -- their office system was inefficient and not customer-friendly. It annoyed me even more that they asked me to re-fax it for such a small niggle. But I re-faxed it anyway. I got another call, asking me to make a clearer copy. So I asked them what it was that they wanted -- if they had wanted proof that I was who I said I was and that the name, face and signature matched then they should have accepted my Ateneo ID. If what they wanted was a name, face, signature and indication that that form of identification wasn't expired then the copy of my passport should be sufficient because all of those were clear.

I had to fax the copy yet again. I guess the third copy was acceptable already because they didn't call back.

I'm glad they are being thorough and I appreciate it because I know they won't just give out anyone's payments without checking first -- but I honestly felt that what they were asking was beyond reasonable. I'm lucky that I live very near their office and that I have a car (and a fax machine) at my disposal. Imagine some poor Joe/Jane riding how many jeepneys only to be told that she brought the "wrong" requirements and having to come back.

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