Showing posts with label Bureaucracy and Dealing With It. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bureaucracy and Dealing With It. Show all posts

Being Put on Hold on the Phone - Bureaucracy Examples - And How to Deal With It

Latest update: May 15, 2021. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

This page has to do with bureaucracy phone situations, both being put on hold forever and accomplishing your goal when a real human finally answers.

How to Deal and Cope with Bureaucracies
When Using the Phone

Do you have to deal with a bureaucracy or bureaucracies often? This can be city, county, state, federal, or other various government related agencies. Then there are private sector insurance companies, internet service providers, medical, and many other companies one may be required to deal with on a regular basis.

Time


Speakerphone

The speakerphone is the main key. One simply turns the thing on and then goes about their business while on hold waiting for a human. My longest wait so far has been over 45 minutes. I was amazed at the amount of work I got done during that time. Needless to say, this described procedure will not be appreciated by the mobile phone battery and/or will wreak havoc on any time-measured service plan you may be using.

If you have to routinely deal with these kinds of phone-on-hold, bureaucratic calls all the time; then a Lifeline phone service plan is your best bet, preferably landline; it is amazing how many people qualify for this discount. With a landline, you may even be able to tie in a DSL or broadband internet service plan along with it at an amazingly low price. Lifeline is a measured service. For landline, mine is measured by number of calls, as opposed to length of calls. For both landline or mobile phone, make sure service plan is the same; for  cell and smartphones, that may not be that easy. Many people have both a landline and cell or smartphone. With the single allowable Lifeline discount being used for the landline, the additional cost for the mobile phone can be negligible.

Whatever your phone and service plan situation is, all of the following information still applies.

Preparation

Have a blank sheet of paper and pen ready before making the call. Try to write down all your thoughts and questions before making the call. In fact, you will even think of more thoughts and questions to write down after you have made the call and are waiting for that elusive human.

Interaction

When a human finally answers, get their name. Then explain your situation and begin going though your questions and thoughts list. Be sure to check off each thought as you mention them. Be sure to write down the answers to the questions you've asked. Be sure to write down the inevitable new thoughts, questions and answers that come to mind during the conversation. If a future appointment date and time is involved, repeat the date and time back to them so as to confirm it.

Calculator optional

Some Closing Thoughts

Most people just pick up the phone and try to wing it. Please don't do that. Invariably they remember after the call that they forgot to volunteer an important piece of information or to ask a crucial question.

Good Luck! It Can Be Done!

And as a side note, don't even try contacting bureaucracies on Mondays. Fridays may not be that good of an idea either.

And another side note. If you end up in a situation where you are repeatedly being transferred all over the planet: get the name, job function, phone number and extension of each person along the way. Especially note who ends up being the go-to person to contact and their number and/or extension for future calls regarding the current problem.

Did you mail anything to the agency or post a requested document to their website? Always, and I do mean always, be sure to call them in a week to confirm that they received it and to confirm there are no additional problems needing to immediately be dealt with.

I have fought bureaucracies many times over the years. I have won every time. Persistence is the key. Most bureaucracies act in good faith, one just has to not give up.

And a Final Note

There are times when making a call that you know from experience you will be shunted to voice mail and be asked to leave a message. In such situations, always prepare your message in advance. That's right, type it up and have it displaying on your screen when making the call; then simply read them the message. It would be wise to start preparing the message the day before you plan to make the actual call. You will inevitably keep thinking of things to add over the next 24 hours. It will also give you the opportunity to reread and delete the anger, frustrations, and other emotions that have crept into your original message. When reading them the message, beware your voice intonation.

And an Update. Some entities may have a website with Live Chat. You might be able to avoid the whole phone situation altogether, worth checking out.

- End of Article -

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Credit Score Help

Latest update: June 4, 2021. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile, times change and the updates continue.

A Credit Report Score Guide for Beginners

  • Includes List of Things Affecting Your Score
  • Improving Credit Report and Raising Score
A Credit Score Primer Guide for Beginners

Basically, it is not a pretty picture. Unfortunately, credit reports and scores don't just affect interest rates on loans and credit lines; not to mention being outright refused for credit altogether.
  • Insurance companies also use your credit score as one of the factors in determining the premium amounts for your life, home, and auto policies.
  • Landlords use your credit report to decide whether to rent to you or not.
  • Cell phone and cable companies use it to decide whether to accept you as a customer or not.
  •  Other utility companies use it to decide if an advance security deposit is required.
  • Many companies (sometimes illegally) will refuse to hire you, if you have a low credit score.
It's as if the whole system was designed to mimic nature's law of the jungle, i.e.; once you are down, it "conspires" to keep you that way or outright "kill" you altogether.

Table of Contents

  1. How Your Credit Score Is Calculated
  2. Things That Affect Your Credit Score and How to Protect and Raise Your Credit Rating
  3. About Credit Score Numbers and What Each Range Means
  4. Consumer Credit Bill of Rights and Other Federal Information Resources

How Your FICO Credit Score Is Calculated

FICO is the most commonly used credit reporting system used by lenders, insurance companies, landlords, employers, utility companies, etc.

Percentages and Components of the FICO (formerly known as Fair Isaac) Credit Reporting System
  • 35% Payment History
  • 30% Amounts Owed
  • 15% Length of Credit History
  • 10% Types of Credit Used
  • 10% New Credit
These are the components and numbers Fair Isaac have publicly claimed. However, it is reasonable to suspect there are proprietary, additional factors behind the scenes; debt ratios, unused credit, employment history being primary examples.

List of What Affects Your Credit Report and Score and How to Protect and Improve Your Credit Rating

  • Pay your bills on time, this one is an absolute necessity. To do otherwise signifies financial problems or irresponsibility, both of which are major red flags.
  • Keep your debt as low as possible, relative to your credit-lines. Maxed-out credit-lines are death.
  • Unfortunately, the opposite is also true. Having an excessively large, unused credit-line available will lower your score. Excessively large credit-lines tend to eventually be used and potential creditors are leery of that.
  • Don't suddenly close most of your credit lines and/or card accounts. This will mess up your debt-to-limit ratio and lower your score significantly.
  • Moderately used, active credit lines and accounts seem to be what lenders like to see.
  • Use those dormant cards and accounts every once in awhile, but then pay off in full to avoid interest charges.
  • Apply for credit as seldom as possible and avoid department store credit cards.
  • Co-signing loans is a very bad idea, "Top 10 reasons not to co-sign on a loan" from Bankrate.
  • Student loan debt can hurt your credit score.
  • The IRS reports delinquent taxes, unknown if that includes those under dispute.
  • Cities and counties report unpaid parking tickets and unpaid library fines. And it is a pretty good bet that includes any that are disputed.
  • Cities and counties also report what you owe when you are unable to retrieve your car from impound.
  • Reconcile your credit card statements every month. Inaccuracies, invalid charges, overlooked-no-longer-needed monthly charges, and outright ID theft happen much more often than you might think.
  • Check your credit report at least once a year. Fatal inaccuracies occur often in these reports. In fact, credit reporting agencies are famous for it. You are legally entitled to one free credit report a year from each of the credit reporting agencies.
  • Pretty much all of the reputable consumer-related-advice websites recommend annualcreditreport.com as the place to get your free credit reports. The site will subject you to a lot of advertising pitches along the way, but eventually you'll get the free reports unscathed.
  • Credit card companies and banks generally rob their customers blind when it comes to cash advance fees; so don't do that. There is also the possibility that your willingness to pay those high fees might be interpreted as a sign of desperation by the lending institution.
  • Likewise, avoid those loan places you see in the mini-malls like the plague. Having one of those places showing up on your credit report would be 10 times more destructive than any mentions of department store credit cards could ever be.
  • An Update. Credit bureaus now report to prospective mortgage lenders as to whether an applicant pays their credit card bill(s) in full each month or only makes the minimum payment(s), etc.

About Credit Score Numbers and What Each Range Means

Depending on which credit bureau is dong the rating, credit scores range approximately from 300 to 850.

The credit score sub-ranges listed below are likewise approximations, but they will give you a good idea as to where you stand. There is a small overlap in the ranges. This has to do with the fact that some loan officers will look beyond just the number and actually read the report; but unfortunately, there are many lending institutions who don't.

Some aspects of this segment are of a "humorous" nature, but there is seriousness behind the "humor".

Credit Scores at 300 Something, or in the 400 Range, or at 500

  • If your credit score is at or below 500, you are basically dead in the water. If you are in this category, then as far as society is concerned, you are not worthy to live. Not only does society classify you as unworthy/poor/destitute; it will do everything in its power to keep you that way.
  • Want a job? Forget it. Employers don't hire people with credit scores at and under 500. As far as society is concerned, you have no right to be employed. [Update: Some states have changed their laws in order to fight this practice. In California, for example, it is now supposedly illegal for a prospective employer to use your credit score as a factor in their hiring decision.]
  • Want to rent an apartment? Forget it. Apartments aren't rented to people with credit scores at and under 500. As far as society is concerned, you deserve and should be homeless.
  • Want to buy a car, get a checking account, or get a debit or credit card? Forget it. Forget it. And forget it.
Do you think there just might be something wrong with this system? Many people will agree with you.

Credit Score Range Between 500 to 600 and up to 620 Inclusive

Attempting any kind of credit related or other business transaction when your credit score is in the 500 to low 600 range can be difficult. If you are able to get a credit related account or successfully initiate any other sort of business transaction, you will be subjected to the worst possible interest rates, fees, and security deposit amounts.

What Is a Good Credit Score?

Credit Scores Ranging Between 600 to 700 and up to 719 or 720 Inclusive

In this range, society doesn't consider you a credit risk; but entities you attempt to do business with will pretend they think you are. Negotiation is possible here. Sometimes, just say no. It might work. It might not. You have the option to walk away and try somewhere else.

Here is the classic story when someone is in the 600 to low 700 credit range and they attempt to buy a car...

You: “I love this car and think you are giving me a good deal. I'll take it.”

The Car Dealer: “With your credit rating, we will have to charge you 50% more than the usual interest rate.”

You: “Why?”

The Car Dealer: “Because we consider you a credit risk.”

You: “So you think I can handle the higher monthly payment, but that I can't handle the lower one?”

The Car Dealer: “Exactly.”

- end of story -

Although told in a "humorous" light and different words would be used in the actual situation, the description of the results is dead on accurate. And on an even more serious note, one should never get an auto loan from a car dealership or used car lot anyway. If/When you are in the market for your next car, this How to Get a Car Loan article will save you much grief and money.

What Is a Great Credit Score?

Credit Scores at and Above 720 - And in The Land of 850

When your credit score is in the 720 to 799 range, better interest rates on loans and credit lines start becoming available to you. Getting a house or car loan at favorable rates is usually a routine matter.

And if your credit score is actually in the 800 range, you are a Living God and can do no wrong. Creditors follow you around, scattering flower petals in front of you wherever you go. Little angels hover around and protect and nurture you. Rainbows are visible at every corner.

A Bookmarks Reference List of Consumers Credit Bill of Rights Resources

Here's a list of resources as to the rights consumers are legally supposed to have when dealing with credit and credit scores. All listed websites are government or other well-known, reputable sources. All links go directly to the website's consumer credit rights page. This list may be added to from time to time.
Credit reporting agencies keep reporting more and more about an individual's activities. Reports are no longer confined to just talking about money.

- End of Article -

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