Andy Blume runs afoul of Sheriff’s Office incompetence, after they set a date for fines to be paid without the obscene add-on costs the various agencies add, and then utterly fail to adequately staff the line so people can have a reasonable chance to take part in the arrangement –
So, wanting to find out if I did actually have any unpaid fines outstanding, the nature of such and if I could take advantage of the waiver offer, I called the number.
Constantly. For two days straight.
Each time I was told by some pre-recorded [person] to [go away] as they were no longer accepting telephone calls regarding the matter. The only option available was to leave a message on their voicemail service and request a call back – however there was no actual guarantee that you’d receive a follow-up before the fee waiver period ended. If that wasn’t appropriate to your situation, the only other option was to [go away] and work out your options on your own.
This sort of thing is remarkably common in the government agencies (and corporate entities) dealing with people struggling to manage debt and other payments. To those of us who can make ends meet, it looks like everyone’s bending over backwards to help, so why should we be sympathetic that they’re still in a mess? The reality is that at every step of the way they find frustrating, seemingly penetrable barriers like the ones Andy came across. Just because there’s a number to call doesn’t mean anyone’s on the other end…
It ends up costing the rest of us more money than if it had just been done competently in the first place. We waste more public dollars chasing these debts and they become less likely to ever be actually paid.
But who other than the least-organised and least-engaged people in the community will notice? And they’re not likely to do anything about it.