Sunday, April 24, 2011

Learning from the Chinese government

I was recently in China - when going through immigration you get to rate the immigration officer. There are four buttons ranging from smiley face to sad face where you can provide feedback as to the level of service you received. I don't know what they do with the data, but I clearly the immigration officer is aware of the feedback mechanism and probably does a better / nicer job as a result.

After we sold Core Mobility, I forgot to update the DMV of my address and the registration on my Tesla expired last December. A nice officer in Palo Alto reminded me of that with a ticket, and then two days later, I'm pulled over in Los Gatos for the same thing! Nuts! Four months of daily driving with no issue, and then two tickets in a week! Sure would have been nice to get those tickets a few months ago since the late fees alone on the registration renewal were over $500!

I told the second officer that I already had a ticket, but he said he is unable to verify that. Strike one! Let's see, in today's connected world they can't look up whether I received a ticket? I sure hope the systems for finding real criminals are better than that!

Anyway, I pay the $1500 for the registration and send all the info to the traffic court hoping it ends the matter. Unfortunately, they don't get an automatic notification after the registration is up to date, even though I have to both pay for the registration and have another officer sign off on the ticket.

The ticket was issued April 2nd and I mailed the proof of registration to the traffic court on April 7th, just before leaving for China.

When I got back, I found the following in my snail mail (address redacted to protect the guilty!):

More than a few things wrong with this picture!
1) The date on the letter is February 1, 2011. That's off by over 2 months!
2) The letter refers to a citation from April 12, 2011. From the point of view of when they got this, that's in the future! The date on the citation is April 2, 2011.
3) The letter head is a template that is not filled out. For example, Branch Name shows as FACILTY_NAME
4) The letter says that I may inquire about the status 45 days after the date on the letter. The date on the letter is incorrect, and 45 days after the time I received this back is after I am supposed to appear in court!

Our tax dollars at work. As Bill Gates said in his TED talk: State Budgets are huge expenditures that undergo very little scrutiny. Unfortunately, the same is true for other areas of state operations.

I'd really like to have a feedback mechanism like the Chinese immigration department has!

And, of course, don't forget to use speech to text transcription services from Speechpad!