German officials and losing documents

12 posts in this topic

Posted

I've been living in Germany for almost two years now and have been experiencing difficulties when it comes to officials and them losing my documentations.

My first incident was when I was applying for a work permit and I submitted everything they required. A few (maybe more) weeks later they called my boss telling him that they've lost my work contract. Being young and naive I accidentally send them the real thing (it was my first real job) and went into a panic mode. But then my boss yelled at them through the phone about not doing their job properly and etc. My documents had magically reappeared a few days after the yelling. :huh:

After being here for a while I became interested in pursuing a master degree here in Germany and got everything ready for the application well before the deadline. I handed it to them personally because I had recently lost my faith in DHL. The lady at the international office went through all of my documents with me to make sure I wasn't missing anything. I actually thought they were quite nice taking the time to do that for me.

Today I got an email stating that my application have reached them (which I was positive of), got my application numbers and a little warning at the bottom that the copy of my degree and my 25 page A3 portfolio was missing. And that I needed to hand them in soon.

I mean... I work in a design related field so the majority of my documents (except for my degree) have my logo and name clearly labeled on them. I just don't understand how they could've lost "some" of the documents when they were together (lost the degree but still got the transcript) and then blame me for this.

I have never experienced such thing in NZ and I'm starting to think if it's only me or other people here on TT have had similar experience?

Don't let me get started with DHL but there's already another thread for that :rolleyes:

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Well, I often have the impression that plenty of administrative "Beamte" - especially the older ones - are sleeping through their job, and are maybe getting drunk every day to cope with the extreme routine.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

When I worked in Housing Benefits in Llandudno in about 1989, we had a colleague like that. People would come in asking about their claim, I'd take their name, go to this stupid, fluffy, pretty, arrogant cow and she'd say "Oh, it's probably in this pile. Just get them to fill in another form." This was with a glance at a pile of claim forms about 2 feet high.

Sometimes, they'd fill in three claim forms.

She'd clock in 15 minutes after me and then go out on the streets until 9 a.m. (45 minutes) until the boss was there. Then she'd disappear for a lot longer than the hour for lunch.

Every now and again I would take a thick wodge from the bottom of the file and enter the information. I don't think she ever knew.

So.. incompetent, lacksadaisical and 'don't-give-a-damn' bastards are everywhere.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Hi, minti.

Sorry to read about the trouble you're having. I'd say no, it's not normal, but it's also not unknown for such things to happen.

In 30 yrs experience of dealing with them I have to say that generally the German civil service, which has a long tradition of being nit-pickingly precise about record-keeping, rarely actually lose documentation. However, possibly because they still rely heavily on procedures designed in the early 1950s, they can be incredibly s-l-o-w which is, for expats, often the first step to the revelation that the great international marketing propaganda of German efficiency is in reality no more than a myth.

Of course, as nina_glyndwr said, "incompetent, lacksadaisical and 'don't-give-a-damn' bastards are everywhere", but I do think at least one problem is systemic here. Once they are established, German officials, at almost any level, are not only authorised to exercise executive powers beyond those of their equivalent grade colleagues in any country I know of, but also virtually bullet-proofed from risk of any serious disciplinary measures if their decisions are later proven to be in contravention of the law. Not only are they adverse to taking responsibility, they don't even have to do so. Unfortunately, by the time their failings are acknowledged their victims have had a long time to live with, and bear, the negative consequences of those decisions.

Here's an example of that, courtesy of the Mainz Job Center of the Bundesagentur für Arbeit:

<Vent alert on>I still have to stifle my massive rage about the wasted funds and time the BfA put in by attempting to prove me permanently medically Arbeitsunfähig and then compounding their folly by hiding, no misplacing, those same expensive files for 3 years! (abhanden, or abandon?) How’d you tossers lose big files in a near new building? (Wir sind ja nur eine Karnivalverein - in fucking Absurdistan!) They kept that shit coming until the day I had a lawyer threaten/warn them of the public scorn they may get if I carried out my plan to stage a one-man demo shot through the camera's eye view of one of my ZDF contacts. And what had their three different taxpayer paid specialists said about all 3 conditions you may wonder. Cardio: ‘Patient has irreversible congenital heart failure at the upper level of the recognised scale, but is stabilised by a heart pacemaker, is taking the applicable medicines and appears to have developed effective coping strategies.’ Psycho: ‘Patient is subject to severe depressive incidents due to being under extreme and long term stress, but appears to know how and where to seek help when his internal resources are exhausted. I recommend funding a course of clinical outpatient treatment in order to accelerate his ability to rejoin the workforce.’ Ortho: ‘Patient is in an acute phase of dolorosa extremis, but has acquired an arsenal of resources and shows a cheerful disposition. I recommend funding a course of inpatient treatment at a rehab clinic in order to accelerate his return to the workforce.’ By the time I got to read those I had already been getting my own sub-contract work intermittently for almost 2 years. Fuck you, you misbegotten BfA, and your misnamed sonofabitch Job Center, too! <Vent alert off>

Believe it or not that example pales in significance to the 4 year nightmare, double heartbreak and ultimate divorce that 2 people I know were forced to suffer involuntarily as the result of a whim of a middle ranking, politically well-connected, totally idle and highly prejudiced rural official of a certain Ausländerbehörde in my area.

I'm just hoping those examples don't cause you to despair, but do help you get some more positive perspective on your situation.

Hang in there, minti, and in time it'll probably all come out right.

2B

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Last time we were at the Ausländerbehörde, we insisted on getting, in writing, exactly what they expected from us for our next visit. If you can't beat them, join them. We had gotten the runaround so often, this seems to be our only protection from the lost, or the he said-she said business.

Get things documented, have them do letters of reciept or anything that can prove what was received or done or whatever.

2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Thanks for your comments everyone.

@ nina: that sounds awful, to be relying one these people for something you're depended on.

@2B: maybe I've just been extremely unlucky but I try not take it personally and move on. I'm usually a pretty positive and confident person when it comes to this stuff. I like living in Germany and even enjoy learning the language :ph34r: . But being in a different system and speaking (butchering) bad German had taken away quite a bit of self confident in term of fighting for my own right and pointing out other people's mistake.

About a week ago I received a prescription from the nurse at my doctor for a vaccine. She printed them in the wrong colour paper which would imply that I had to pay for them in the pharmacy but because it was my second one I knew that my insurance will take care of it. I tried to argue with the pharmacy that I never paid for them in the first time but they insisted. So I pay and then went back to the nurse and she insisted that I need to pay. I went back with my boyfriend and it took him about 3 seconds for the nurse to realised her mistake.

I understand that mistakes can happen and it's normal. But I can't help but feel powerless in fighting back. Hopefully when my German get better this will improve everything :D

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

During my move back to Germany from living in Turkey, I was so busy wrapping up all the loose ends at my job and with my flat. I also had a nasty case of bronchitis at the time and was therefore totally out of it. Between grading final exam papers and packing and cleaning, I was also saying goodbye to all of my colleagues, friends, etc. there. I was all doped up on various medications and spent my last night in Istanbul cleaning the apartment until 3am, caught a couple hours of sleep and was off to the airport with various large suitcases and ALL OF MY IMPORTANT DOCUMENTS IN THE WHOLE WORLD in a green file folder. I was pretty much a zombie and by the time I arrived home in Germany, I just went straight to bed. I woke up in the middle of the night, my chest tight with sheer and utter panic, realizing that I had forgot the GREEN FOLDER in the pocket of the seat in front of me on the plane. We are talking about certificates, contracts, reference letters, etc. I knew right then and there that life in Germany as I had previously known it was over. Wild fantasies of doom, despair and disaster began to play out in my head. I couldn't wait till morning, so I got up and began ransacking the house. Low and behold, the green folder was on a table in the entryway. Somehow in my catatonic state, I had retrieved it from the seat pocket and managed to carry it home with me. Never ever have I been so thankful. What I did the very next morning was scanned in a copy of every single one of these important documents and then emailed myself with all of the files attached, just to be sure. A life lesson learned.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I understand that mistakes can happen and it's normal. But I can't help but feel powerless in fighting back. Hopefully when my German get better this will improve everything

Hi minti, this might be a cultural issue, e.g. interpreting of body language.

Let's assume following situations, where problems arise:

A: your opponent is right, you're wrong

B: your opponent is wrong, you're right

C: you are both wrong

In case of A, there's not much you can do -- other than being German and therefore always being right :lol:

In case of B, your body language might signal to a German, that you're backing down, and the easy way out for your opponent is insisting you're wrong. In this case you must show, that you will be a nuisance until the problem goes away, and thus signal, that the opponent will have to do the work anyway.

In case of C, with a little luck, you can convince the opponent it's problem B.

Maybe you can play act with your bf, and he can check the body language thing.

3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

What I did the very next morning was scanned in a copy of every single one of these important documents and then emailed myself with all of the files attached, just to be sure. A life lesson learned.

Hopefully you don't have an email account with web.de. They erased all my emails and contacts. Now it looks like a completely new account. To be on the safe side you might want to store your scans online at Amazon or any other place?

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

For a country that has such a heavy bureaucracy I was very surprised to find a lot of German bureaucracy so inefficient.

Don't even get me started on the Landratsamt.

Also it may be just my personal experience but an awful lot of beamters I come across give the impression that we owe them a living and that they are doing us a favour by helping us rather than it being their job (most times a well paid one at that) to do it.

Having spent a big chunk of my life dealing with the public I know how most of them are arrogant fuckers so I personally always try to be one of the nicest customers I can because I know what it is like to be on the other side and it seems to be only beamters that draw my ire.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

As a former(ish) civil servant (I still technically am one), I do find myself sympathising with my German brethern here. Thing is, people love to bang on about the incompetent jobsworth who messed up their application. It's a rather one-sided view though. I keep thinking of that website 'Rate my teachers' where spiteful kids can trash their teachers. There is, however, no website where teachers can have a pop at their students, e.g. "Little Johnny is a pleasant boy, but is dumb as a post and farts during lessons". Same with the poor old civil servant. Who wants to hear the stories of mind-numbing stupidity that the great unwashed foist upon us? I personally would introduce a new school subject called 'Form Filling'.

Topics to be covered in the first lesson would include:

BLOCK CAPITALS: What could they be? Perhaps it's what cars do in London and Berlin.

Signature: Should I do that in BLOCK CAPITALS, too?

Enclose original documents: Are coffee-stained copies acceptable?

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

For a country that has such a heavy bureaucracy I was very surprised to find a lot of German bureaucracy so inefficient.

Maybe this should go in the First World Problems thread but here goes.

Back in 2009 I decided to buy myself a new glider with a significant portion of an inheritance. These things take some time to build and so there was plenty time to prepare the paperwork. Manufacturer did most of this, the items they needed from me were sent to manufacturer who put it all together. Now, they can only sent it to the LBA (Luftfahrt-Bundesamt) for registration once the first "test" flights have taken place. I could collect the glider (in its trailer) but not fly it.

After about a week I phoned the LBA & got through to the right person. "I've already processed it - look in your letter box". No luck.

I had to go to USA on business so whilst there I got my wife to phone - same guy rather unhöflich saying he'd done it ages ago. I fly back (you know having shelled out so much I wanted to fly the thing) & still no papers. Go to bed, wake up in afternoon to find they had just been delivered.

The Post was not at fault - the papers had come from Braunschweig within 1 day according to the postmark. But they had taken 2 weeks to transit from the guy's desk (date of his signature) to the Poststelle at the LBA for sending out!

No wonder the LBA is referred to here as the greatest non-illuminated obstacle to aviation.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now