Pay over there and then wait till we call you

A funny thing happened to me today (as in funny, but not “ha ha” funny).

I renewed my passport at the BTCO. Within like 2 minutes, we (my wife, son and I) were seen by a very nice, helpful girl. She checked my documents and gave me a bill to pay. She said “Pay over there at the cashier, and then wait till we call you”.

I paid at the cashier, and just to make sure, I asked her if we had to wait. She said yes.

So we waited… and waited. An hour and a half passed and I rang that special bell that only English speakers are allowed to ring. I was told the girl was busy on the phone but that she would come out and see me ASAP. About 10 minutes later she appeared. I said to her that she had asked us to wait and we were still waiting. She said “No… we’ll call you.” Suddenly my brain starts to hurt as I realise what has happened. “We’ll call you… on the phone.”

I say to her… "But we both thought you meant wait here, till you called us (you know for an interview or to say that the papers are in order or whatever).

“Sorry”, she says.

Now I admit this was my fault too. It was an ambiguous thing to say, and both my wife and I understood her to have meant “wait” as in “don’t leave” and “call” as in “call you to the window”.

What a waste of a morning.

The real pity is that if this hadn’t happened, the whole process would have taken about 5 minutes in total. :frowning:

Does anyone know the best way I can communicate this to the BTCO?
Maybe encourage them to use a phrase like “Just pay over there, then we’ll phone you when the new passport arrives”?

Sounds like you answered your own question. At the AIT, there is an American head, so I would address a letter of complaint to that person. Perhaps you can do the same?

Best of luck :rainbow:

Ouch. I applied for a passport last month, and can remember a bit of confusion over what to do after going to the payment window (only at the “Do I have to go back to that window? No? Ok thanks” level though)

You could try emailling to ask them to clarify things. Alternatively you could contact Sandy Fan who does all the admin for British assistance (and is probably the woman you spoke to) - i can PM you her details if you want.

Thanks for the info.

Well, I just wrote a big message on their web-based feedback form, only to get a message saying that this service is not available (once I tried to send it (tried in Firefox and IE)).

Anyway, I did it manually, and sent it to

We’ll see what happens.

You could REALLY screw them up by suggesting they change the wording to “Pay over there and wait for us to give you a ring.” They’re sure to end up with all these gits from Wales and Essex and such thinking they’ve gone and got themselves married.

Well I got an email back today apologising, and saying that they will take my suggestion into consideration so that it doesn’t happen again.

I’m happy enough with that.

Obviously she could tell you are Irish, hehehe :smiling_imp: :smiling_imp:

Perhaps they thought you was new here and played a variation on the old apprentice joke in sending you for the long ‘weight’

Or the “long stand”…

I also had a bizarre experience renewing my four gazillion quid passport at the BTCO. I was directed to stand behind about 36,000 students getting visas, which I obviously didn’t, but I don’t see why this can’t all be done at the one counter.

Good job you’re not here on an Irish passport like me. You wouldn’t believe the pantomime involved in renewing that - as the “we-care-about-human-rights-but-love-the-taste-of-CCP-dick” Irish government ignores Taiwan to the point of not having even so much as a trade office in Taiwan. So you send your passport to Beijing, with predictably hilarious consequences.

I thought I’d add an update.

I applied for my new passport on a Monday morning, and on Wednesday I got a phonecall saying it was ready. Now that’s fast! (I did pay for the faster service (postage is 1100NT$) since I had exactly 4 weeks till my ARC needed renewing.)

Stupot, I’m surprised you had this confusion. I found the service there to be very good. We did however have to go and find a Kiwi gent to explain one of the questions on the form. :noway:

The counter staff were very friendly and efficient…as you know. Glad you’re sorted with a new passport.