Saturday, December 6, 2008

Admin Day in Cancun - Part 2

Where were we? In Luis' cab, right? "Bancomer, por favor". Luis wanted to know if it mattered which one. Well, I don't know how many branches there are in Cancun, but I wanted to go to the one I always go to. I figured it was best to stick with the place I've been dealing with for a few years. Except I didn't really know where it was, just that it was on a busy road. So I guessed. "Tulum?".

We had to turn around, and before we got to the bank I spotted our drugstore - Ahorro. So Luis parked there while we got what we needed, and then Miguel and I walked the short distance to the bank.

Nobody in line! Wow - what good luck! I went right up to the teller, gave her my receipt from last year, and told her I wanted to pay my trust. She nodded, so I made out the check, and put the account number in the memo field. Then she announced that my account was cancelled; she didn't know why. I needed my contract number. I happened to have my property documents with me (in the cab), so Miguel went to get them. That wasn't what she wanted apparently. I also had a paper with my original account number on it - maybe that would help. I asked Miguel to go and get my bag out of the cab. He came back with everything, after picking up all the contents off the street that dumped out when he pulled the open bag off the back seat. She still couldn't help us. "Go see the man over there".

So we went to see the man 'over there'. The same man I saw last year who authorized my check. He verified that my account was cancelled, and said that we would have to call/fax something to someone to get it sorted out. How can they just cancel an active account? He wasn't really explaining it in a way that made sense to me (my fault for ever thinking it should make sense). He shrugged his shoulders and we thought he told us to go back to the teller. So we did, and she still didn't know what to do. The man came over with a piece of paper with some numbers on it, and we gave it to the girl, and she had no idea why, and neither did we. Finally we somehow understood that the numbers were phone numbers, and we could not do anything here, we would have to call a place in the hotel zone and sort out the account, and then we could pay the account.

Frustrated and angry, we left the bank. We gave Luis the story about having to call somewhere in the hotel zone (the bank branch, we assumed), and told him to take us to Costco. A couple minutes later I changed my mind and just told him to take us to the hotel zone. I had all the paperwork with me, it seemed it would just be easier to do whatever I had to do in person.

So Luis took us to the hotel zone, and as we walked around the circular plaza, Miguel called the number on the piece of paper then handed me the phone. He said the recorded voice was in English and he didn't understand. I called the number again and tried to understand, but even though it was English, it was spoken with a strong Spanish accent, and I couldn't understand either. Rather ironic, and glad I'd decided to come in person - if I'd tried to wade through that recorded menu from home I'd have gone nuts and probably would not have done whatever it was I was supposed to do when I called.

And so we found the bank. No line! The teller was friendly but told us the same thing - the account was closed. "Go see the man over there".

Well, this 'man over there' was much more helpful than the man at the other branch. He said the phone numbers we'd been given were for the office that handles the trusts, not the bank itself, but that he would help us. And he did. He called the office, explained the situation, and told us to use the same account number I'd used until they changed the account number two years ago. The same number I had on my original paperwork. He wrote everything on the back of the check. I crossed out the old account number on the check (memo field), initialed it, put in the new account number, initialed it, and took it back to the teller to pay my trust.

The teller started to process the payment but then said that the check was not valid because I had crossed out something. Not in any mood to argue, and knowing I'd lose anyway, I said I would just pay in cash. I tore up the check and handed her the cash, and in a couple of minutes we had a receipt. Yes! We reached the door and they called us back. The teller had credited my account with pesos, not US dollars, and she had to undo it and redo it. Ten minutes later and we made it out the door, with a correct receipt, and talking about how THIS was customer service. The other bank could just as easily have made that phone call for us; they chose not to. So I informed Miguel and Luis that we would be making a yearly trip to this branch of the bank to pay my trust from now on. My business will go where they appreciate their customers.

My personality is not really suited to dealing with stuff like this. It is illogical, wastes my time, stresses me, and just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I have learned that I just have to bite my tongue and accept it. I'm not the only one - I was reading from my list of blogs today and see that Theresa in Merida just went through a similar ordeal. Maybe it's a sort of initiation, those who endure and come back for more next year are the survivors? Not like we have a choice anyway.

We completed our day by going to Costco and enjoying pizza and chicken bake sandwiches. We invited Luis to join us and we just sat and chatted, and then we shopped a bit, and then Luis took us back to the ferry. We'd been gone 6.5 hrs, but had accomplished quite a bit in that time. A good day when it came down to it.


Scottozoid said...

"Stupid Human Tricks" Mexican Style

I have read just enough 20th Century Mexican history to smile whenever I think of "El PRI" The Party of the Institutional Revolution

Why is it that most civil servants are hardly ever civil and very rarely ever serve?

Irony is usually only amusing when observed from a proper distance and perspective, it is never appreciated when you are actually experiencing it.

See you soon and hopefully in a much nicer setting than the ones described in your last two blog entries...

IslaZina said...

I blogged in September about my terrible Bancomer experience. They don't even have a computer screen for the trust officer to verify a payment was made in the Av Tulum branch. They had to fax the receipt because they also do not courier documents from branch to branch.
Glad Miguel had a HOT chicken bake!

Ann said...

Glad it all worked out in the end & you didn't have to go back another day!

Life's a Beach! said...

I'd have been ripping my hair out! Glad they figured it out at the second bank!

Theresa in Mèrida said...

According to the guy in Cancun that I talked to I can go to any branch of Bancomer and they will place the call for me! I think that you have to insist that they help you, politely but firmly. Customer service is an unknown concept there.