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Agonizing Address Changes – Welcome to Indian Financial Services

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As 2014 draws to a close, I’m revisiting my great big long list of pesky tasks that aren’t critical but still kinda sorta need to get done… sometime… You know – the ones you do your best to avoid?

I’ve made ‘progress’ but not exactly stellar:

  • I still have that pesky vexing tax records issue that just doesn’t seem to go away!
  • After changing my address at the Foreigners registration (FRRO)… Guess what? I officially no longer need to even register with the foreigners office at all?! Gaaakh!?
  • Armed with my latest lease and landlord NOC (no objection certificate) trying to track down the form and process to tackle my address update with the Service Tax authorities. After all, I only moved how many years ago?!
  • The “Mr Hickling” gender bender was a pain in the arse but I’m finally officially female (according to Vodafone)

However the worst by far is updating the mutual fund companies.

Wrong WayPast experience taught me the perils of impatience. The last round took about 6 months of multiple rejections, re-applications, pleading, indemnification letters for the mutual fund company or registrar errors and so forth.

The most alarming was a redemption that went into the WRONG bank account – despite having supposedly double confirmed the bank change was completed before submitting the redemption instruction WITH the correct details! Let’s just say that if I didn’t have ‘pull’ in the industry at that time, things could have gone seriously awry.

However the industry has touted loudly how it has streamlined such matters.

Everything through your registrar – one handy form!

Lofty claims of simplified ‘centralised’ administration. With the flourish of a form (naturally supported by a gazillion documents) all companies will magically reflect the requisite changes! YIPEE!

Optimistically I submitted the miraculous form in January 2014 and waited… and waited… and waited. I was counselled patience, informed it may take 3 to 4 months. And kept waiting…

A half year later and NOTHING was done. More follow-up, more letters, more proof provided along with the mythical form.

NO ACTION

As soon as I returned from the latest Jakarta assignment, decided to give up on the original request, so off went a new version of THE form as clearly the January one was rejected without a rejection notice.

Acknowledgement duly acquired and another round of letters, proof to each mutual fund company initiated in November. Guess what?

NOTHING.

So this month, I decided to go digital and replace paper followup through my broker with direct emails from me… Knowing fully well emails – even with soft copy documentary proof – will not suffice. However hoped against hope that perhaps it could get SOME attention.

SOMETHING.

Yes I have received email acknowledgements and reference numbers.

ANY RESOLUTION?

Well it seems everything is stuck… but no one can guide on how to go about things right. I received contradictory answers like “We cannot comply with your request as you are compliant.”

HUH?

So I doggedly began a relentless campaign of further emails, phone calls until I finally tracked down a real live person at the registrar who explained my form was “not properly filled.”

WHAT?

So as I patiently unravelled what exactly was filled in incorrectly, he eventually revealed it is my status.

MEANING?

As I sat on the phone with him, we looked at the now MYTHICAL form to go through it… The upshot is that no one seems to be able to wrap their heads around the possibility that someone can have a passport other than Indian but reside and pay taxes in India!

Eventually, he quietly admitted “We don’t actually know what to do with your status.”

So I gritted my teeth and ever so sweetly asked what is required to fix it. “Re-submit with the form properly filled.”

What followed was the usual hair pulling comedy:

And just how does one get the RIGHT address??

And just how does one get the RIGHT address??

  • So what option should I select? I wrote “Other”, is that correct? YES
  • And what proof should I provide? I thought my passport, visa, PAN card, bank statement, Driver’s License are what is required. YES
  • So then why can’t it be completed on the basis of what was already submitted, given that it is correct. IT CAN’T
  • So what do I need to change to have the form ‘properly filled’ so my address can be updated? I DON’T KNOW
  • So what should I do? RESUBMIT
  • But I would be submitting exactly what I submitted twice already and nothing was done. YES
  • Is there anyone else I can speak to? NO

Several emails and fruitless phone calls later I’m still no further ahead. So I guess I will submit a 3rd time and hope this time will work!

What do you think? Will 3rd time be a charm???

Update 3 Jan 2015:

By some mysterious miracle, on submission of the 3rd attempt the 2nd one was dusted off and partially processed?!

Rather than de-rail the fledging progress, the broker held back the 3rd as it would have quashed baby steps being taken with the 2nd…

My address is now updated with several mutual fund companies and am hopefully optimistic the balance will be completed in the next few days!

Can I just say – wow?! It is always impressive when something finally works after a bit of a tussle! 😉

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15 Comments

  1. freebutfun says:

    Gosh, that would be frustrating country for me to live in 😀 I’d be happy to do some travelling there though!

    • You get used to expecting difficulties and have a pleasant surprise when things go smoothly. 🙂 India is well worth visiting – folks either fall in love with it and many keep coming back or… well… don’t and never return.

      • freebutfun says:

        I spent a summer on Peloponnese in Greece ages ago, loved it but never got my head around the schedules there (no public transport was ever on time but still people were expected to be on time at work). A Greek gave me great advise: “You have to estimate the delay”. I suppose that works for India then too?! 🙂 Merry Christmas!

        • Haha! I like that response. 🙂

          It is kinda like that with traffic in Mumbai – you have to estimate how long you will get stuck in various parts of the city on various times of day and hope you are more or less estimating accurately. 🙂

          And Merry Xmas to you too!

  2. thewriteedge says:

    Your troubles make me chuckle and shake my head all at the same time. Unfortunately that’s India. Do you know anyone at all who could grease the wheels for you? That really would make all this go faster. Just a suggestion.

    • Ah… you see that’s my problem. I REFUSE to grease wheels 😉 I also have this rather perverse side that just wants to see how difficult or easy it really is!

      Believe it or not, with some financial services companies I could pick up the phone with one of the top dogs… I just reserve this for the big stuff like putting my money in the wrong account! Or to debrief over a whisky with suggestions on how can streamline so others don’t go through the same hassle.

      Nothing resonates more than direct experience – warts n all!

  3. NancyTex says:

    It’s comforting to know that bureaucracy knows no boundaries. We can all share in the pain of dealing with local governments. 🙂

  4. I have a list of these jobs, too, … and now I´m apprehensive!

  5. That’s the good thing in Finland which I will also miss a lot, everything is digitelized and once you change adress or bank account somewhere, all places know about it. Well, of course not all but all institutions which should know about it such police, tax office, health insurance and so on 🙂

    • That’s handy! I remember Canada Post used to have a service where you could redirect your mail for 3 – 6 months or so… that usually was enough time to figure out which places you forgot to notify of an address change. Here? Well… All I can say is thank goodness a lot of what I actually need is available online.

  6. D K Powell says:

    Alas, such bureaucracy all came from the Brits. We do red tape in style :-/

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