Help - Passports renewal application stuck at Durham Passport Office and we are traveling this Friday

(1000 Posts)
wujo Wed 18-Jul-12 22:22:10

hi all,

I am desperate!!!

Passports sent via PO Check and Send on the 2nd July.
Called the IPS 0300 number over 60 times today - got through a dozen times.
Cant escalate - can't get transferred to Durham.
Cant talk to anyone.

I am crying and feeling sick as it will ruined the holidays for my twin girls, my son, my husband and my mum.

Can someone help or know someone from the Durham office help us!? We prepare to drive up from Bristol tomorrow to pick them up if need be sad

Help!!!

whisper41 Wed 14-May-14 20:57:45

northernpapa...not sure about the 0330 number, but the direct gov 0300 number in manned by an outsourced company...and the staff have an average of 1 wks training before taking to the phone lines which is a recipe for disaster especially when you consider the amount of information needed to do an adequate job...some of the staff were like rabbits caught in the headlights, others never cared enough to worry about whether the information they were handing out was accurate. Some staff dealt with irate customers from the first call to the last day in day out By the end they were so desensatised they just gave up the ghost

Chezzleboo Wed 14-May-14 18:39:14

Izzy could u please send me the number... I'm having no luck no calls back and due to fly on Saturday sad

northernpapa Wed 14-May-14 17:54:07

Whisper - are the staff on the 0330 number HMPO employees or is the phoneline outsourced?

donnellyangel Wed 14-May-14 17:21:24

2 Years later and this thread is still active sad
Can anyone share the Durham passport 0845 number with me please, I'm due to travel next Tuesday and am waiting for the 48 callback to upgrade , however as the rest of you I'm getting very stressed out and will do anything possible escalate it. I emailed the CEO Paul Pugh to know avail, good luck to all

whisper41 Wed 14-May-14 16:45:50

Baffledrach...As an ex customer service agent i can tell you that those who man the phones hands are tied, they have to follow the protocol which is laid down by HMPO. While i will admit there are some members of staff who could not care less whether you got your passport or not the vast majority do care, and furthermore they are extremely frustrated and angry at the lack of assistance they are allowed to provide. Some of my colleagues did deviate from the HMPO script and tried to help, i myself went out of my way to help anyone who called me because i consider myself to be an ethical person who could not in good conscience fob people off with YES man answers knowing it could cost someone their holiday As a result i am now unemployed after being escorted from the office when they realized what i was actually telling the customers, but i feel i can hold my head up high because i refused to sell my soul. The funny thing is, it is the first time and hopefully the last time i get fired for telling the truth

Baffledrach Wed 14-May-14 14:54:48

My advice - don't ever leave getting a passport renewed any longer than you have to.

My story ...
Sent off two renewals for my daughters who are due to fly out this Wednesday 21st may with their grandparents. It's been three weeks today, however my panic started earlier than most people's because I didn't receive a text message confirming arrival of applications even though it's on both forms, the money hasn't been taken either.

I read all the posts on here Monday and contacted my local MP who got onto it straight away, in the meantime last night whilst doing a night shift I came across these posts and the 0845 durham number, I rang first thing morning, I was on hold about an hour. Once someone answered however he was very helpful.

The idiot that I am, I lost the barcode from the receipt when I sent it and we didn't use check and send because a friend did it for us who used to work in a post office.

Anyway both my MP and myself came to the same information today albeit through different routes and it appears they didn't even look at the applications until 28th April and it appears they've just been sat there since, as of today they haven't even sent out the letter to the countersignature friend, basically told even with a week to spare that they will not be ready.

We sat our children down the other night and explained what was happening , as far as they know now they are not going and we will not tell otherwise as I don't want to let them down again.

I am waiting for a call to confirm if we can now pay the £60 to upgrade and get them fast tracked , they will fax the countersignature bloke and I can only hope it would go right from there on ......

Just a waiting game now , I finished work soon and I'm going straight home to dial the 0845 and chase it up , again.

So I suppose my story is bad but hopeful , I will never do this by post again, I'd have been better off going to london and paying the extra rather than this rubbish, the customer service is absolutely disgraceful !

whisper41 Wed 14-May-14 11:52:11

Shalinao...your options depend on whether the children are renewing an out of date passport, or lost passports..or if it is there first passports IT also depends on their ages..16 or under allows different upgrades.

bruffin Wed 14-May-14 11:51:31

I know that whisper, this is the link to the proper uk one The online service is beta at the moment but does seem to be working well and we only paid the £72.50.

whisper41 Wed 14-May-14 11:43:15

Bruffin..people need to very careful when using the online system as there are dozens of third party websites which promise much but deliver little. They take a fee which is actually for sending your forms to the passport office and not actually the passport itself, The first the customer knows they have been scammed is when they receive a letter from the passport office saying they have received the application but no fee smile You should never pay more than £72.50 for an adult and £46 for a child, if they want more then you know it is a scam so stay clear.

Also a note of caution, for those using the Post Office check and send i have dealt with some horror stories, well lots really, which resulted in many lost holidays due to mistakes being missed on the application and also documents being mixed up and even lost. While i cannot tar all post office staff with the same brush many post office staff do not have a clue what to look for when dealing with the application form. Remember people a holiday is an expensive outlay so please check and double check the information before going ahead, better still do not book until you know for sure you have or will receive your passport on time. We test the temperature of the bath water before jumping in so why then would we book a holiday without a valid passport?

shalinao Wed 14-May-14 11:26:10

Hi everybody I'm at my wits end, fly in 19 days my son and daughter have no passport I sent them off 3 weeks ago called the 0300 number 6 ppl telling different things so call the durham office and be told the applications haven't been looked at yet. Sent through po check and send also my countersign said she may not be able to do it as she's only a deputy manager can upgade 2 weeks b4 flight but what will an upgrade do does anybody know also willing to fast track thank you xx

Alli1983 Wed 14-May-14 09:35:14

That's great news sapperjig, I'll keep my fingers crossed for you tomorrow and happy holidays when it comes smile

I called my mps office yesterday morning and they said they'd look into it for me and get back to me. I'd hoped I'd have heard back from them yesterday, what was everyone else's time frame like after contacting their mp?

I don't want to start annoying them but don't feel like I can sit around all day and do nothing. sad

bruffin Wed 14-May-14 09:10:16

They actually have a new online service that is very speedy, you fill in all the details on line,pay and print off and pop in post with picture. I applied two weeks ago, dd's (renewal but first adult passport) arrived there on 2nd May and we received it back on 8th may, so 6 days including weekend and bank holiday. I was kept updated with texts to say it was being printed and sent out etc
My dh's according to the website is still in the system, but it's still less than 2 weeks and i think his photo might be a bit dodgy ie shaved off moustache and no glasses and gone grey, but the new form didnt have a countersignature section, so we will see.

I am really sorry for all of you waiting for passports. I had a completely different experience, relating it here only to give some of you hope, not rubbing salt in... My DCs needed new passports before we travelled at Easter. They were back in 10 days (from Durham office). Maybe it was just less busy earlier in the year or we were lucky. Just awful that so many people are having problems. Fingers crossed for you all

sapperjig Tue 13-May-14 22:30:08

Thanks northernpapa - its not with me yet though (but does look more promising as I say!). Roll on Thursday by 0930 I should be smiling.

northernpapa Tue 13-May-14 22:19:52

Thanks for sharing Whisper - very interesting !

northernpapa Tue 13-May-14 22:17:31

Emily - as Sapperjig points out the most effective way is getting one's MP involved... based on the experiences here they tend to be quite receptive.

The Adviceline are quite useless and a total waste of time. Ironically if and when you get through to people at the Passport Office they are quite helpful. One guesses the Adviceline is an outsourced cost-saving operation and this shows.

I think that both HMPO and the Post Office are at fault here. They seem to imply that it is quite possible to get a child's first passport in 3 weeks. This does not seem to be the case, at least right now.

A factor that may be affecting things is that in early March all Passport applications from UK nationals resident abroad are now processed in the UK as opposed to in the relevant embassies/consulates abroad. It would not be surprising if any extra staffing laid on were not sufficient to match the increased workload.

I think there will be a summer of discontent at the Passport Office, unfortunately.

Good luck to everyone waiting and congratulations to Sapperjig - happy hols !

whisper41 Tue 13-May-14 22:11:25

Have been trawling the posts and wanted to give people a heads up with regards the passport fiasco, i recently worked in a dept which dealt with passport applications and information and was....well lets just say fired because i was giving customers not just any old information but the truth. It sees where passports are concerned or should i say the lack of passports the best way to deal with customers is to fob them of with any advice that gets them off the phone. The truth is you are all at the mercy of the passport office and if you don't go down the premium route then getting your passport is a bit like playing the lottery. The passport offices made £54 million in profits last year and this year, thanks to staff cut backs and the sales of premium passports the profits for this year look like being better than last. As for the call backs, well lets just say thats another lottery, especially when you consider the fact that one call centre alone can request over 1000 call backs per day from angry customers and the passport office has less that 8 staff to deal with those sad

sapperjig Tue 13-May-14 22:08:36

Well update on my case:

The call back from 0300 never happened on any occasion. I have to say I was most impressed with my local MP's office who were straight on it. I would not have even contemplated that route if it were not for this thread.

My OH's passport renewal is stuck at Liverpool following Post Office Check and Send.

In addition to the MP phoning I rang the Durham number and told a slight lie in that the 0300 people had advised me to call it. The helpful lady checked the barcode and advised I needed to call Liverpool and gave me the 0845 number (left this at work but I will post it tomorrow to help others).

The 0845 was answered within seconds and the guy took the info advising me it was being dealt with by a team who work the evening. He advised that he would get this flagged asap (we travel Sunday) and he somebody would call between 6 & 7. This was combined with the MP's office getting on their case.

At 1830 we had a call..................the application was at fault due to an issue with the photograph. So much for the Post Office check and send.

After some negotiating, trying to remain calm and polite and emphasising this had gone through a paid for recognised checking service, the lady had spoke to her manager and they agreed it could go through............thank god!!!

We have now upgraded it for the premium service and we "should" get it before 0900 on Thursday.

I wont be happy until I see it, but a lot better off then we were 24 hours back.

Thanks to all that have posted as I would not have got the 0845 number nor MP advice if you hadn't. For those in a similar position I hope you get it sorted as I know how stressful this is. For me lesson learnt - next time I will have a day in Newport or Liverpool and pay for the one day premium collection service. More expensive but less stress on my ticker!

Ajkf1979 Tue 13-May-14 22:03:17

northernpapa, yes it was the advice line. We were supposed to be going Thursday but had to cancel. We escalated it this afternoon but I'm not holding my breath. For me the advice line is a waste of space... Too many excuses and no problem solving. All very stressful, trying to follow it up again tomorrow. Thanks for the heads up

eric1234 Tue 13-May-14 21:19:38

Can I go directly to peterborough office to collect my supporting document?
I have attached my current passport which is issued by other country as supporting document.
I have phoned the peterborough office telling that my passport is still being considered by senior officer. He told me that to send an email with signature to request for return the supporting document. I have received the acknowledge email to forward to relevant department. But i havent received any response more than week now. As my vacation is going to be 2 weeks later, Can I go directly to peterborough office to collect my supporting document?

northernpapa Tue 13-May-14 21:19:37

Who told you about the 4 week thing? Was it the Passport "Advice" line? We had to wait 6 and a half weeks for our son's first passport, only after escalating our complaint did we get any progress,,,

Ajkf1979 Tue 13-May-14 20:38:08

HELP! As I've have just stumbled on this thread I need some guidance or just plain and simple HELP. I sent my 3rd child's 1st application and my eldest sons renewal off 4 weeks ago via PO check and send service and travelling in 2 weeks today with the family through France. ONLY today have we found that they don't examine the application until the start of the 4th week....then it's in Durham.... Then I find this thread.... OH NO!

Can anyone advise us on this situation as I think my wife and I might explode! Forget about the stresses of normal life, this is quite unbelievable.

Thanks katy. Glad you received your passports so quickly, that has given me hope!

To answer my own question up thread, yes, you can change the delivery address after the application has been made. You just need to send them a letter and attach proof of the new address.

Whoever posted the 0845 number, thank you so much. I waited on hold less than five minutes and then a polite lady asked for my details, added a note to my application that I was in a hurry and noted my travel date. She reassured me that the application would be dealt with by the examiner as soon as they receive the additional documents and that she was sure the passport would arrive very quickly. I also told her I would call again to change the delivery address if I hadn't received the passport ten days before my travel date.

I have spent the past month waiting a week for a reply to each email, just to be told they are processing my application.

Katy9718 Tue 13-May-14 10:42:07

Alteredimages we had same issue as urselves with durham office and once they received additional information we received passport within 4 days of them receiving info so think it's dealt with pretty quickly once they get additional info.. They also gave me the option of 60.00 extra to fast track but was advised we did nt need to do it and passport did Arrive very quickly.... Hope u get it sorted x x x

I would try your westminster MP Alli, it can't hurt! Hope you get your passport soon.

I am going to try the 0845 number now. I hope it works from abroad, because I can't track down the geographical number.

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