So today I had my first ever Acadeco court date. It wasn’t really court, but if the company refuses to make things right via the phone, then they set a date for us to come in.
My time was way too early for me. I had to get up at 5:30 am & I still didn’t make it to Acadeco’s office by 8:30 am. The traffic is horrendous going into the city from Arraijan. I’ve never been stuck in traffic at that hour. The other problem was for some strange reason there were no parata taxis around. Again, I normally grab them in the early afternoon. I have to wait maybe 10 minutes maximum. This morning I had to wait almost 30 minutes I think & there were tons of people also waiting.
Had I not been aggressive & grabbed the 2nd one that came, I would still have been standing there an hour later & the guy was a Panamanian taxi driver (for the city) & he was driving very slow. This is only the 2nd time I’ve had a slow driver who doesn’t know how to drive.
The taxi ride to Acadeco from within Panama city was really fast, so the traffic wasn’t in the city believe it or not, it was all on the highway.
So I get there & I made the mistake of not bringing my Acadeco number. I figured my name would be enough & while it was, they weren’t swift & on the ball with my name. They kept asking me for the number.
I didn’t wait long before the lawyer called me in & the rep from Terminales Panama – David also got up.
We walked to another area of Acedeco (another building) & the lawyer didn’t read my application. I don’t know if she read it before or what, but she didn’t seem to know what was going on.
It took her a while to figure out I don’t speak Spanish. I solved the problem by asking if her she had Internet & to bring up Google translate. She didn’t go bring someone in to translate & I was wondering why.
We communicated through Google Translate for a while & the bottom line was the rep wasn’t going to budge. Terminales Panama had already rejected my offer to reimburse me $12 for leaving me stranded at 4:30 am on the way back from David to Panama. They had lied about the fact that the bus was express (they stopped every so often to pick up a passenger or drop one off), the washroom had no light & wreaked of urine & they never stopped in Santiago. Santiago is the rest stop where all the buses stop for 20-30 minutes. Here’s my story regarding that whole drama that night.
Anyway, I already knew this company was terrible if they wouldn’t even reimburse me $12. The ticket was $18.15 which is the express price & maybe for you guys reading this that’s pocket change, but things have been tough for me & so that’s a lot for me, not to mention that this was a very stressful experience for me. They screwed me twice by lying about it being express & I hate the bus to begin with. The chairs hurt my back & it’s just a very uncomfortable situation for me being on that bus for 6-6.5 hours straight. Other expats love it, I don’t & I’ve done the trip now 2 times, so that’s 4 times in total.
So the rep for Terminales Panama argued for the next 30 minutes about how the bus broke down, they got to Panama only an hour late (I think she was lying, there is no way that bus left right after I got on the other bus & we had already been sitting on the side of the road for an hour).
I was ready to scream because I thought Acadeco was just going to rule in my favor & get me out of there in 20 minutes, but noooo, that’s not how it works.
GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK! You are going to argue over $18??? Instead of $12, now I was asking for the full amount because Terminales Panama was giving me a hard time. I should have gotten triple that amount for what I had to go through, not to mention that yes, I had to go to Acadeco three times to get this sorted out so that’s a lot of time wasted & taxi money.
Anyway, the lawyer was very nice. I liked her. At one point she started to tell the rep that you HAVE to communicate to your customers what is what. Write it all down.
She told me that I couldn’t submit a report for the fact that it wasn’t express, the fact that they didn’t stop in Santiago, etc., she was bringing these things up to the rep. She said they would have to be separate reports. Obviously I wasn’t going to waste my time filling out 4 different reports. That’s just nuts.
I finally had to put my foot down since the lawyer wasn’t moving things along. I said, “I’m not going to continue arguing with you.”
I’ve come to the conclusion that many Panamanians love to argue. They never take responsibility for their actions, so the only thing they can do is argue with you to get you to go away. That’s what Cable & Wireless did to me.
Anyway in the end the rep REFUSED to pay the $18 & the lawyer told me it would take 3-4 months to get a decision. In my head I was like WTF!!!!! Over FUCKING $18???? You have GOT to be kidding me.
I sat & read my Kindle while the lawyer continued to talk to the rep. We were already close to an hour with nothing resolved & I just wanted to get out of there. My entire work day was gone. I thought this was going to be wrapped up within 20 minutes, but of course THIS IS PANAMA. Any way to make things difficult & stop the customer from getting proper service & they will do it.
They wasted her time when she could have been at the company helping people & then wasted her cell phone minutes all so they could stick it to me & say NO, we AREN’T going to give you back $18.
Then suddenly the rep wanted to call her boss. The boss spoke to the lawyer & he offered to give me a free ticket to David. I laughed & said NO, I want my money back. At one point I saw her typing into Google Translate that he wanted to give me 50% back. My gawd, this country has TONS of money, they rip people off left right & center & they are soooo greedy, that they can’t even reimburse a customer $18 because they can’t keep their buses running properly so the customer is left stranded on the side of the highway???
The lawyer didn’t even say anything at first. Her face didn’t register any change by way of happiness, although she & the rep had been joking around the entire time minus when she was giving her shit. The next thing I knew, she tells me that I have to go to Albrook & I’m thinking why? <I’m all confused>
Turns out, the guy AGREED to give me the money. I was shocked because there had been no indication that anything had changed. Very strange behavior.
I didn’t want to go all the way to Albrook to pick up the money, so I asked why can’t she give me the money, & I pointed to the rep. The lawyer tried to convince the rep to give me the money all the while joking around (she’s not bad actually) & the rep gave me the $18.
Just nuts! But I liked the lawyer. I can see that you have to really kiss ass in this country, something I’m NOT good at. I love to be nice, but I do it because I mean it, NOT because I’m playing games although sometimes I do have to behave that way because this is unfortunately how society is.
So the whole thing took 1 1/2 hours.
At least I didn’t have to waste money going to Albrook or wait 3-4 months, but what a nightmare.
Drama in Panama is all I have to say. Actually I should start saying Nightmare in Panama (maybe I should get a new domain). Joke