Jun 23, 2009

Threaten 'em with postage stamps

This year submitting the income tax forms was done entirely via computer. Forms were received via a web page, and submitted via a web page. A little too quickly on my part. (Next year I won't try to be first.) I should have reacted at the print-out my bank gave me; it showed me owning stock. I don't.

The tax return was published this week, and I was notified via e-mail and SMS. Since I was a little too quick, and my bank's global correction came a week after I submitted my tax forms, I decided to file a complaint last night. Electronically, of course.

Well, after a frustrating evening of being locked out of my own account (which may not have been my fault) and not getting passwords to my right e-mail account, I finally sorted out passwords, e-mail addresses and password codes, and merrily filled out the online complaints form. It protested when I neglected to check off the box for being within the complaint deadline.

I checked the deadline box off. The numbers 108 appeared in the box where the year goes. I tried writing 2008 every conceivable way I could think of, in both Firefox and Safari. I finally submitted an error report, which included what browsers I had tried and my operating system.

I got a pleasant reply the following day, suggesting I try Internet Explorer because they knew the form worked in IE.

How 1990's!

I told them that Microsoft no longer makes Internet Explorer for the Mac so that was no help, nor did every PC user use IE so had they really made a system that depended on one browser? If so, could they please tell me what my options were for filing a complaint electronically or did I have to resort to paper, envelope and postage stamps?

That got me the prompt reply: "We have been able to find and duplicate your error and expect to have a corrected version online by the end of the week. Please try again then."

Oh, so it wasn't my choice of browsers. How about that.


Roy said...

I like my Mac, but the browser wars are getting me down. I downloaded a version of MSIE for Mac and it looked like something out of 1988. Usually between Opera, Firefox and Mac's own Safari, I can see and operate just about every web page--except a handful that are steadfastly devoted to MSIE ONLY. Perhaps I am supposed to go down to the public library and use one of their computers. These people need to get out more.

Keera Ann Fox said...

It is my experience that the browser wars are dying down. Partly because current alternatives are better than IE (which only recently got tabbed browsing, for example), and partly because companies and web designers are realizing that they serve their customers best with browser neutrality.

However, Norway is still pretty Microsoft loyal, partly because there's not enough competency with other solutions, but that is changing. The fact that the people handling my error report did not insist I find a PC reflects that.