We Four in Egypt

Now back in the US!

And the award for worst customer service goes to…

US Citizen Services at the American Embassy in Cairo!

I am furious at these people right now. A couple of times a year, they schedule visits to satellite locations to offer services to Americans. I desperately need new pages in my passport: Egyptian and Ethiopian visas are so big I’ve run out of room for any more stamps. The only option for me is to get this done at the Embassy; I can’t mail it like folks in the US.

The Embassy was scheduled, as recently as last week, to be in my neighborhood today. This works out well because I am off for today (for the Epiphany, Timket as its known in Ethiopia, the eastern Christian holiday) but the boys are in school.

But when I arrived at their satellite office, they weren’t there. I waited twenty minutes and finally asked… only to be told they cancelled and would be coming next week instead. Never mind that this date has been set for ages.

In early January, I scheduled my entire month around being able to do this today! Because otherwise I’d have gone downtown and waited two hours at the Embassy to do this back when I had a bunch of a days off.

This follows up on them not responding to an email I sent asking if my husband (who has to go downtown regularly anyway) could do this for me.

I’m also still mad that they didn’t help me vote last fall. The Embassy was making a huge push about how important voting was. So I sent them an email asking if I could mail my absentee ballot through their post office. I sent my email to the guy whose name was listed as being just the person to help US citizens in Egypt to vote. No word, no nothing. So much for the importance of voting. (I managed to vote anyway, no thanks to them.)

Here’s a basic customer service rule: if you’re not going to respond to email, don’t post an email address!

Right now, on the Embassy’s US Citizen Services website, if you click “Contact,” you get an email address. Which they won’t answer.

I’m not usually one to rant about the federal government because, well, I often like it (not in the Bush era though). And of late I have been feeling extra patriotic because of the inauguration. But right now I am burning!

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19 January 2009 - Posted by | expat scene

7 Comments

  1. That is SO infuriating! And it’s really hard to get to talk to someone as well if you call the US Citizen “Services”, so it’s not just the e-mail that’s neglected. Frustrating!

    Comment by Jenni | 19 January 2009

  2. Jenni, I couldn’t even find the number on the website. Grr.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 19 January 2009

  3. Contact your home state congressional representative and report your frustrations and difficulities with the embassy.

    Comment by mom | 19 January 2009

  4. fyi – if it’s anything like Dubai (which has fantastic citizen services btw) then you must go in person to get your extra pages added.

    Comment by Juju | 23 January 2009

  5. Thanks, Juju. I had already given up on the idea of Mr. Four going in my place, but I appreciate knowing this!

    Comment by Ms. Four | 23 January 2009

  6. Were you ever able t get your pages added? 😦 The US embassy is only second in poor service to the canadian embassy. I have yet to be a canadian embassy where i wasn’t treated like a fourth class citizen. *sigh*

    Comment by Typ0 | 17 February 2009

  7. TypO, I haven’t even gone downtown to try. I am dreading it. Though, they are friendly in person–once you get through the hour-long wait.

    Comment by Ms. Four | 22 February 2009


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