Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:59 pm Post subject: To Whom and How does One Complain in Austria
Hi to you all. I wonder if any of you know how you complain in Austria. The Uk these days has many watch dogs and governing bodies for the telephone, the police etc. As a last resort we can write to our local MP, even the PM's Office if we want. We will probably just receive a lip service response, - true but we can do it. But I have no idea to whom one goes to for some kind of redressing of a difficulty one has experienced in Austria with the system.
I do not want to go into the details here but for you to perhaps suggest where I should write, I should tell you that it is connected with the chaos resulting from administrative bureaucracy, which in our case has been caused by the 'Beamterin's' version of what documentation and what forms etc we have to provide being in direct conflict with help.gv.at. - We both speak German.
It is utterly impossible to deal with, I just meet a brick wall and I have no idea how to go over her head.
I would be very grateful if someone could point me in a direction.
Joined: Jun 21, 2004 Posts: 546 Location: Austrian Customer Service - reliably unreliable
Posted: Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:08 am Post subject:
This is a tricky one - complaining here, even when you have a valid point and know you are right has always been a problem - even more so when you are foreign as you are looked upon as being a nuisance - that said, it is probably no different in any other country. Sadly, as customer service in Austria is generally sh*t, this filters down to giving you attitude when you want to query just simple points.
You can do the obvious - ask to speak to a manager/google the department and find out who their manager is - but this might not work as half the beamter jobs are usually as the result of nepotism anyway here, so fight one, fight the family - so this approach tends to work more in shops.
In your case I would print out the appropriate page of the German version of what is on help.gv.at and put it before them then ask them to describe to you what that actually means. If it is different to what they are telling you ask them why it says what it says on help.gv.at - then ask if they think help.gv.at is wrong - keep asking and annoying, eventually after a fight, most people crack here, especially when you turn nasty American Customer "WTF?" on them - I hate doing this but sometimes embarrassing people loudly seems the only way to get them to shift on things.
I once saw an American here who queried his telephone bill and it wasn't until he repeatedly boomed "Aber, das ist f*cking teuer" in an A1-Shop did they actually do something about it. So embarrassing for the A1 shop to have this loud customer chanting in their store, they shifted and did something about it. Very entertaining to watch.
Saying that, there is also some misinformation on help.gv.at that I have suffered and once had a big fight with a policeman over a "Lichtbildausweis" - as Johnny Foreigner versus the xenophobic overweight Leberkäse-loving country-bumpkin Austrian policeman, you are destined to hit brick wall within about 3 seconds of this starting.
Not sure whether you have tried it, but it might also be worth taking a local with you to fight your corner.
I've also had the experience that what is on help.gv.at isn't necessarily right (although that would seem to be the entire point of the website, sigh) and mail queries to that website aren't answered for months. Although it might also be that in the countryside, where they don't have to process foreigners very often, they just don't know what they are doing.
I've certainly never come across the idea of an ombudsman or independent body in this situation. Not sure if it doesn't exist or just isn't widely known.
Seems like the only thing you can do is ask to speak to the person's manager.
Just wanted to say thank you for the replies. I'm afraid it does seem rather a dead end and beautiful as Austria is and lovely as the people are - I am marrying one after all, I must admit that this kind of over authoritarian - the police are always right, no you place kind of attitude from 'Bürokratische Beamter Typen is certainly a rather big downside.
Thank you for making me laugh with your stories, JNO - I should try it
'Du bist aber F***ing inkompetent!
Joined: Feb 11, 2008 Posts: 151 Location: Steiermark
Posted: Wed Aug 17, 2011 8:05 am Post subject:
Perhaps if you explain a little where you hitting the brick wall, maybe someone can help. It took me a year to get all my papers and proof to be able to get married here so I know what that is all about.
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