We've moved from Baltimore, Maryland USA to Venice, Italy in pursuit of living our dream!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Veritas.(truth).... not really.

Yesterday in the mail I received our current trash/water bill from Veritas, the water utility company.  The bill was a harsh reminder of a recent, very unpleasant, visit I paid to the Veritas company. On the days when I feel even slightly like I am beginning to belong, some administrative nightmare jolts me right back to reality. No, I am not, and will probably never, fit in here. Does that stop me??? No, never.

Here's a recap of my latest adventure with the Italian adminstrative devils (opps, I meant darlings :) ).  When we moved into the new apartment back in October, one of the tasks to be done was have accounts set up at each of the utility companies.  The electric and gas companies were easy. I filled out the paper work and our real estate agent faxed all the documents over to them. The water/trash company, Veritas, wouldn't accept a fax, I needed to see them face-to-face.

I  had geared up for the visit, practiced all the Italian I might need to make myself understood, and made sure all of my documents were filled in properly, including the authorization form for them to deduct our payments directly from our Italian bank account. My visit went surprisingly smoothly. Perhaps that should have been a big red flag. I naively took it as my ability to communicate in Italian had improved dramatically.  The months went by. We received our electric and gas bills in the mail with no problem. We never received any statements from Veritas. I wondered if this was a problem, but figured, what the heck, those payments come directly from our bank account. Still I would have liked to have received a statement.

About 3 weeks ago, Veritas jolted me right back to reality.  Around 11 am one morning, our doorbell rang. Thinking it was the postman wanting to be let in, I buzzed open the front door. From downstairs came a yell, "Signora!!!!!".  The guy downstairs was summoning me to join him. Down I went, to discover this guy had a registered letter for me, from the water company. First bill I had ever received. He opened the letter in front of me, and explained that I had an overdue water/trash bill that must be paid in 24 hours or the water would be turned off.  He also explained exactly what I needed to do to make sure this was accomplished properly, which included paying the bill, then faxing a copy of the receipt to the water company. I should have listened to my internal warning bells. I KNEW something wasn't right!

I immediately walked down the street to the nearest Tabacci (tabacco shop. Yes, you pay bills there), and had him fax of the receipt for me. Step one completed, I could at least sleep that night.

The next morning, I paid a visit to the Veritas office at Piazzale Roma, armed with copies of all my documents. After queuing up and waiting an hour, it was my turn. I stepped up to the sportello (counter, in Italian- there's nothing sporty about this at all), and proceeded to explain my little problem to the girl on the other side of the desk.  When I asked if she spoke any English, just in case things got over the limit of  my command of Italian. She responded "Not much", but smiled and yelled over to Diego, down the row of sportellos. Diego, she told me, speaks pretty well. He's now my lifeline call in case I need him.   After a bit of exploration on the computer, she discovered what the problem was. Statements had been mailed, but they had been sent to my name at an address in Treviso, not Venice. She was perplexed.  She then went  to a back room and returned with an enormous red binder. She flipped through all the account folders in the binder, pulled out my account, and sure enough, the original documents submitted on the day I set up the account have the correct address in Venice on them.  Someone made a mistake entering data into the computer, thus the address of Treviso. That explains why I never got any statements. Also, the information to set up direct payment from my bank account was correct on my forms. It just never got done by whoever processes that stuff at Veritas. So there we have it. Nothing was done right. We discovered the truth- Veritas!!!

I was expecting an apology. None came. Before I left the office we verified that the address was now correct and that future bills would be mailed to me.  I crossed my fingers and sent a prayer to Saint Anthony- the patron saint of lost things and missing persons, and left the Veritas office.

St. Anthony, and Veritas, came through. The latest bill arrived just fine.


Rob C said...

Bueracracy, it's the same the world over.

Well done though, fingers crossed for you.

Treviso hotels said...

It's sad when companies don't solve correctly the problems with their clients... It's bad for their image and they can lose clients.