Monday, 30 April 2012

The Centrelink Saga

I have to ring Centrelink today.

It is no longer avoidable.

I would rather stick pins in my eyes or go swimming in a cannibal's cauldron.

So I thought I would give you a real time run down, just for fun

10:50am - go to the toilet, make a coffee, open Twitter.

10:52am - ring Centrelink, put phone on speaker, Tweet about having to call Centrelink.

10:54am - automated voice stops talking and lets me say my CRN.

10:55am - Repeat CRN as requested by automated voice.

10:56am - Repeat CRN in clear, English sounding accent.

10:57am - Repeat CRN in a variety of different accents with no results.

10:58am - Automated system picks up CRN but gets it wrong. Say "NO"

10:59am - Repeat "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" until it gets it.

11:00am - Say CRN as requested by automated voice.

11:01am - Repeat YES YES YES YES YES! and finally enter PIN.

11:02am - Tell the voice why you are calling.

11:03am - Tell the voice you do not need Age Pension and repeat earlier instruction.

11:04am - Shout "Operator!" into the phone until the voice gives up and provides a push button menu. 

11:05am - Blissfully press 4 for an operator.

11:06am - Listen to advice that wait time is currently in excess of 30mins. Consider call back service but elect to wait after using once before and never being called back.

11:07am - Listen to hold music while chopping fruit for morning tea.

11:10am - Turn speakerphone volume down because hold music is giving you a headache.

11:11am - Dash back to phone when hold music pauses, in time to hear automated message about not bothering call centre staff and doing everything online.

11:12am - Make another coffee.

11:13am - Go to the toilet. Freak out when hold music pauses for yet another automated message.

11:15am -  Grumble about having an online system they insist you use if you can never complete the things you want to do ONLINE. 

11:16am - go and watch ABC Kids with the pre-schooler.

11:20am - Tweet about your Centrelink induced headache.

11:21am - go to use your phone and realise it's still playing hold music and you forgot you were waiting for Centrelink.

11:26am - consider ringing back tomorrow because your headache is unbearable and you've wasted half an hour.

11:31am - Think you've been cut off because hold music stops. Discover you have actually been forced to out wait brain melting music.

11:32am - enjoy blissful silence.

11:33am - Read a book to pre-schooler, hang out some washing, unload the dishwasher.

11:40am - Wonder why you can hear next door neighbours talking so loudly, discover it's the long awaited Centrelink advisor.

11:41am - Apologise for making them wait (irony?) and explain your query in detail.

11:42am - Answer all your privacy questions and be stuck dumb when they say "Now, what can I do for you today?"

11:48am -  Repeat query in detail through clenched teeth.

11:49am - Ask some clarifying questions. Worry about inflation of dentists bill due to teeth clenching.

11:50am - Explain some more. Start to come apart at the seams as you are told you never returned the (non-existant) form/you can do it online/ I'll just find out for you.

11:51am - Resist the urge to scream "But it's your fecking JOB to KNOW"

11:52am - Wonder if you can put a claim in at tax time for a rebate of "Hours spent on hold to government departments" or "Call centre induced dental trauma"

11:53am - Finally get an answer. Hang up and go online to discover you can't fill it in properly.

11:54am - Begin again.

11:59am - Remember you have to call Child Support as well.

12:01pm - Burst into tears with frustration and hang up because you have already wasted your morning.

12:05pm - Elect to bake chocolate slice and get your accountant to sort it all out at tax time.

12:15pm - Hope you still get some tax back.

12:25pm -Worry you will have an overpayment and they will send you a bill.

1:30pm - Give in and ring Centrelink.



  1. Feelin your pain...tried all that Friday and gave up...will try again tomz...I learnt last year that they withhold $700 per child in family payment to cover was pleasantiy suprised last year when I got a 'top up' payment from them after tax time...goodluck xx

    1. Each time is just another *head-desk* moment isn't it? That was what I was querying, because being casuals we struggle with our estimates, was trying to get an answer on whether they had a buffer zone that I could take into account.

  2. Ugh. Thank God I no longer have to deal with Centrelink. So painful. I would've cried too.

    1. We are slowly entering the realm of not needing Centrelink at last. I try to deal with them as little as possible because it's not worth the agony, and it's not quite a matter of food on the table or not any more. One day we will be past all this!

  3. Oh my god, the music is so bad I want to tear out my own eyeballs! Its way to loud and only amplifies the anger your already harbouring toward Centrelink. Makes you think really bad thoughts while your waiting.


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