But the computer says...



  • I recently applied for a passport here in Canada. Like most government procedures, you can go into an office and do it in person (maybe), or you can do it by mail (maybe).

    Not being able to dedicate a few weeks of my life to waiting in lines, I opted for the latter. I went online, and got the PDF application form. I guess things have changed a bit since the last time I used a PDF form, because this one not only let you type in it, but you can save what you typed and come back to it later. That was very convenient, given that I didn't have all the information I needed when I first starting filling it out.

    Part of that information needs to come from a guarantor-- someone who has known you for a while, and who has held a valid passport for at least a year.  You need to put down their passport number, and then have them sign your paper application all over the place, as well as your photos.

    Yup, in the end, it becomes a paper process. I suppose since you need physical signatures, that makes sense.

    As I'm typing, I notice that a box of data in the upper corner keeps changing. It's one of those 2D barcodes, and I can only assume that it's tracking the data I'm typing in.

    Anyways, I get to the point where I don't have any more data to type in. I don't have my guarantor's passport number or expiry date, but that's ok. I meeting up with him later so he can sign everything. I print off the form. We meet up, and I handwrite in his passport numebr and expiry date, he signs everything. Everything goes in an envelope, gets mailed with a tracking number, and I should get my passport in a couple weeks.

    Should.

    A couple weeks later, my guarantor gets a phone call, informing him that his passport number is missing from my application. They tell him to scan in his passport and email it to suchandsuch@governmentaddress.

    So he starts freaking out, because he's ultra paranoid about identity theft. After assuring him that it would have been a monumental feat for someone to know that he was the guarantor for my passport just out of the blue, and confirming that the email address is legit, he decides to scan in his passport page and send it in.

    Now, I'm thinking, how the hell did they miss the passport number? I [b]know[/b] I wrote it in, in thick black letters, in the right boxes, and confirmed it three times before sending it off. But, as the dreary lady on the phone told me, the computer says its missing. The only thing I can think of is, that they scanned the 2D barcode, which didn't have the handwritten data, and they assumed it was missing.

    Which almost seems forgivable-- except that I also handwrote my guarantor's phone number-- on the same page as his passport number-- in fact RIGHT BESIDE the passport number! They had to have looked right at the number in order to phone him.

    To add WTF to injury, he followed their scan-and-send directions to the letter. They require a high-resolution JPG of the passport page, at an exact resolution, color and bit depth. He did so, emailed the image, then called the number to confirm receipt. Nothing. He tried again, they didn't get it. He sent it to the personal address of the woman he spoke to. Nothing. Over and over.

    Yeah, it seems that the email servers on their end filter out images that have a filesize over a certain thresh-hold. And a high-resolution, large color and bit depth JPG just happens to be over that limit.

    In the end, I had to take a printout of the JPG and fax it in.

    sigh



  •  Wooden table reference!



  •  @Someone You Know said:

     Wooden table reference!

     

    Alas, all the tables at work (where I faxed it from) are composite cork board or some other cheap-ass crap. An opportunity lost, I know.



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    As I'm typing, I notice that a box of data in the upper corner keeps changing. It's one of those 2D barcodes, and I can only assume that it's tracking the data I'm typing in.

    It's a checksum used to guarantee the accuracy of the OCR process. 

    @halcyon1234 said:

    Now, I'm thinking, how the hell did they miss the passport number? I know I wrote it in, in thick black letters, in the right boxes, and confirmed it three times before sending it off. But, as the dreary lady on the phone told me, the computer says its missing. The only thing I can think of is, that they scanned the 2D barcode, which didn't have the handwritten data, and they assumed it was missing.

    Which almost seems forgivable-- except that I also handwrote my guarantor's phone number-- on the same page as his passport number-- in fact RIGHT BESIDE the passport number! They had to have looked right at the number in order to phone him.

    Rejecting data out of hand when the checksums don't match is not a WTF, it's a vital security measure.  They can't just accept the passport number; they have to verify the form hasn't been tampered with.  And there's nothing unreasonable about trying out the telephone number you're given as part of the verification process, because after all if it has been tampered with, that'll probably lead you to who's done it.  The two numbers are being used in different contexts in different processes; there's no inconsistency in having different criteria for validity or usefulness.

     

    But yeh.  It is a PITA. 



  •  @DaveK said:

    Rejecting data out of hand when the checksums don't match is not a WTF, it's a vital security measure.

     

    Makes sense - first part of the OP doesn't seem unreasonable.  The second part...now THAT'S a WTF! 



  • @DaveK said:

    Rejecting data out of hand when the checksums don't match is not a WTF, it's a vital security measure.
    The WTF is that they've taken a common interface, the paper form, and added an undocumented restriction to it that other forms usually don't have.

    That's bad interface design.

    The common convention is that you can fill in parts of printed paper forms in by hand.  If you're not going to allow that, you have to announce it clearly. 



  • @DaveK said:

    It's a checksum used to guarantee the accuracy of the OCR process. 

    The barcode is not a checksum, per se, it contains the actual data. There's no need to OCR the (typed) fields if the data is in the bar code. It likely loads the data straight from the barcode into the database, and then minions have to verify the handwritten bits that are vital, like passport numbers.

     



  •  It would have been interesting to find out what would have happened if you had have printed out the blank PDF and hand-written everything.

    "Sir, why did you submit a blank passport application form?"

    "What? I filled it out completely! If it's blank how did you get my phone number?"

    "Computer says no..."

     



  •  The RealWTF(r)(tm)(c) is that you need someone to vouch for your passport.

     It really sounds like you are a Canadian, so why are they trying to impose restrictions on you that I previously only have heard in context with tyrannies?

     The GDR (Socialst / Eastern Germany) did have something similar, and they also had a restriction on who was allowed to own passports. 

     

    Weird.



  • the real WTF is that they accept written applications at all.
    There's no way to guarantee that the passport isn't being made out to some non-existent person with a real photograph.

    Of course requiring a known passport as a doublecheck provides some security, but not a lot. That passport could have been the result of an earlier fraudulent application.
    Proper process would require application in person, handing over either an existent passport or proof of identity (birth and residence certificates usually).



  • @sidargo said:

     The RealWTF(r)(tm)(c) is that you need someone to vouch for your passport.

     It really sounds like you are a Canadian, so why are they trying to impose restrictions on you that I previously only have heard in context with tyrannies?

     The GDR (Socialst / Eastern Germany) did have something similar, and they also had a restriction on who was allowed to own passports. 

     

    Weird.

    Um, it's also the same here in the UK. Your passport photo needs to be signed by someone responsible (employed) who has know you for over two (I think, it's been a while) years and is a UK citizen. Personally I have no issue with this whatsoever.



  • maybe, but it does make it harder for "undocumented workers" to get a passport with which to apply for things like voter registration, access to air travel, etc. etc.



  • @Flatline said:

    Um, it's also the same here in the UK. Your passport photo needs to be signed by someone responsible (employed) who has know you for over two (I think, it's been a while) years and is a UK citizen. Personally I have no issue with this whatsoever.

     

    The rules are pretty much the same here,  though they were extremely relaxed in the past couple years.

    Application and photos endorsed by someone who isn't family, and who has known you for at least two years and who has held a passport for at least one year.

    It used to be that only certain professions could do those endorsements: doctor, judge, engineer, principal, etc. My fiance was always ticked about that one. She's a teacher, but only principals could endorse a passport-- even though a principal has little or no contact with a student, as opposed to a teacher who does.

    Anyways, they also introduced a quickened renewal processes. As long as your passport isn't more thant 5 years old, you can basically write them and say "xtnsion pls?", and voila, new passport.

    As for proving your identity: you need to have the photos and guarantor, send in a proof-of-identity (such as your birth certificate) as well as a copy of another piece of ID (like driver's license or age of majority card). Can it be faked? Of course it could. Probably easily and regularily. And the same is probably true of any identification document out there.

    Complain as much as you want about Canada being a tyranny-- but really, when it comes down to it, the only reason I need the passport is because someone else's president is an insane, paranoid nutjob won't let me into their country without one by air-- or by land in 2009. Not naming any names, or anything, of course.



  • @PeteyF said:

    The barcode is not a checksum, per se, it contains the actual data. There's no need to OCR the (typed) fields if the data is in the bar code. It likely loads the data straight from the barcode into the database, and then minions have to verify the handwritten bits that are vital, like passport numbers.

     

    I sincerely doubt that they've found a way to compress the contents of an entire form into a single bar code.  It's a checksum.

    Edit: Actually, maybe I'm wrong, some of those 2D bar codes can apparently accomodate a few thousand characters per square inch or something.  Weird.  But then that's the problem, isn't it - how in the world is a layperson supposed to know that that's where the actual information is, and that nobody's even going to look at the information they type/write in except to double-check what's in the weird symbol in the corner?



  • @jwenting said:

    the real WTF is that they accept written applications at all.
    There's no way to guarantee that the passport isn't being made out to some non-existent person with a real photograph.

    Of course requiring a known passport as a doublecheck provides some security, but not a lot. That passport could have been the result of an earlier fraudulent application.
    Proper process would require application in person, handing over either an existent passport or proof of identity (birth and residence certificates usually).

    Precisely.  However, Canada has a notoriously sloppy passport system.  Because of this, Canada has become the preferred country for forged passports by terrorists and agents of government-sponsored espionage.  The Mossad used to be quite fond of forging Canadian passports and using them to infiltrate various countries undetected.  I guess a lot of countries caught on, though, and now Canadian passports raise a red flag with some national security agencies due to the history of forgery.



  • @jwenting said:

    ... and now Canadian passports raise a red flag ...

     

     

    No pun intended, eh?

     

     



  • @Flatline said:

     Um, it's also the same here in the UK. Your passport photo needs to be signed by someone responsible (employed) who has know you for over two (I think, it's been a while) years and is a UK citizen. Personally I have no issue with this whatsoever.

     

    That's the real WTF.  You can't leave the country unless you know someone.  How is that different from the GDR, again?



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    Complain as much as you want about Canada being a tyranny-- but really, when it comes down to it, the only reason I need the passport is because someone else's president is an insane, paranoid nutjob won't let me into their country without one by air-- or by land in 2009. Not naming any names, or anything, of course.

     

    What other countries can you get into without a passport?



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Because of this, Canada has become the preferred country for forged passports by terrorists and agents of government-sponsored espionage.

    Don't be silly.  We solved this problem years ago by making the system so slow that it takes 12 years from the date of application to get a passport, after which time it's already expired. I'd like to see a terrorist wait that long without blowing himself up in a Tim Horton's somewhere.



  • @Aaron said:

    I'd like to see a terrorist wait that long without blowing himself up in a Tim Horton's somewhere.
    Would that mean he's blowing himself to Timbits?



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    the only reason I need the passport is because someone else's president is an insane, paranoid nutjob won't let me into their country without one by air-- or by land in 2009.

    Well, I don't know any country where you don't have to show a passport when crossing the border (exceptions like inter-EU countries excluded).The passport is the only internationally recognized ID document so I don't know why it shouldn't be required.

    [i]Ofcourse I don't know what ID's are considered valid in both the US and Canada, but I do know that while eg. the European ID card is a valid ID everywhere in Europe, but the'll laugh you straight in the face if you try to ID with it in the US[/i]



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @jwenting said:

    the real WTF is that they accept written applications at all.
    There's no way to guarantee that the passport isn't being made out to some non-existent person with a real photograph.

    Of course requiring a known passport as a doublecheck provides some security, but not a lot. That passport could have been the result of an earlier fraudulent application.
    Proper process would require application in person, handing over either an existent passport or proof of identity (birth and residence certificates usually).

    Precisely.  However, Canada has a notoriously sloppy passport system.  Because of this, Canada has become the preferred country for forged passports by terrorists and agents of government-sponsored espionage.  The Mossad used to be quite fond of forging Canadian passports and using them to infiltrate various countries undetected.  I guess a lot of countries caught on, though, and now Canadian passports raise a red flag with some national security agencies due to the history of forgery.

     

    There is, of course, a big difference between fraudutlently obtaining a passport through official channels (what jwenting talks about) and whether a passport is easily altered after being issued (e.g., steal someone's legitimate passport), which is what morbius is talking about.

    Plus, Mossad liked the Canadian passports not just because they could alter them, but because who the heck suspects a Canadian?  What's he gonna do, bludgeon you to death with a curling rock???  (Well he might, but you'd see it coming...)

    The most recent (2-3 years ago or so) change to the passports increased their resistence to alteration... whether it is sufficiently difficult now, I don't know.



  • @AssimilatedByBorg said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @jwenting said:

    the real WTF is that they accept written applications at all.
    There's no way to guarantee that the passport isn't being made out to some non-existent person with a real photograph.

    Of course requiring a known passport as a doublecheck provides some security, but not a lot. That passport could have been the result of an earlier fraudulent application.
    Proper process would require application in person, handing over either an existent passport or proof of identity (birth and residence certificates usually).

    Precisely.  However, Canada has a notoriously sloppy passport system.  Because of this, Canada has become the preferred country for forged passports by terrorists and agents of government-sponsored espionage.  The Mossad used to be quite fond of forging Canadian passports and using them to infiltrate various countries undetected.  I guess a lot of countries caught on, though, and now Canadian passports raise a red flag with some national security agencies due to the history of forgery.

     

    There is, of course, a big difference between fraudutlently obtaining a passport through official channels (what jwenting talks about) and whether a passport is easily altered after being issued (e.g., steal someone's legitimate passport), which is what morbius is talking about.

    Plus, Mossad liked the Canadian passports not just because they could alter them, but because who the heck suspects a Canadian?  What's he gonna do, bludgeon you to death with a curling rock???  (Well he might, but you'd see it coming...)

    The most recent (2-3 years ago or so) change to the passports increased their resistence to alteration... whether it is sufficiently difficult now, I don't know.

    Actually, my understanding was that creating a forged Canadian passport from scratch wasn't too hard for someone sufficiently motivated.  And yes, Canadian passports don't raise suspicions like any other passport would. 



  • @Aaron said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Because of this, Canada has become the preferred country for forged passports by terrorists and agents of government-sponsored espionage.

    Don't be silly.  We solved this problem years ago by making the system so slow that it takes 12 years from the date of application to get a passport, after which time it's already expired. I'd like to see a terrorist wait that long without blowing himself up in a Tim Horton's somewhere.

    However, I was referring to the terrorists or agents just forging a passport without bothering with the Canadian Ministry of Passports and Bacon.  If what you say is true, however, anyone with an unexpired Canadian passport must be a terrorist...  I knew it! 



  •  @Aaron said:

    @PeteyF said:

    The barcode is not a checksum, per se, it contains the actual data. There's no need to OCR the (typed) fields if the data is in the bar code. It likely loads the data straight from the barcode into the database, and then minions have to verify the handwritten bits that are vital, like passport numbers.

     

    I sincerely doubt that they've found a way to compress the contents of an entire form into a single bar code.  It's a checksum.

    Edit: Actually, maybe I'm wrong, some of those 2D bar codes can apparently accomodate a few thousand characters per square inch or something.  Weird.  But then that's the problem, isn't it - how in the world is a layperson supposed to know that that's where the actual information is, and that nobody's even going to look at the information they type/write in except to double-check what's in the weird symbol in the corner?

    By reading the FAQ/barcode links above the form downloads-
    (Which exposes yet more clunkiness...)

    What information can be found in the barcode?  Barcodes on passport application forms will contain the following fields of information:

    • Surname
    • First Name(s)
    • Surname at Birth
    • Date of Birth
    • Place of Birth (City, Country)
    • Permanent Address
    • Mailing Address

    Passport Canada officers, as per the current process, will manually enter all other required data. (<==emph added!)

    Yes, it contains data, but very little actual data. And there's probably a checksum for what is in there.

    The Real WTF (ignoring the scan your passport step!) here is the damn PDF. Let's take the worst of the worlds of user interface and paper forms and combine them together to miss the point even further.... A layout for a paper form has no relevance to optimal screen user input, and this form doesn't take advantage of eliminating duplicate data entry; 'Surname at birth' is likely the same as 'Surname' for 50+% of the people, have it default to the Surname entry but be editable to a newer name if necessary. Likewise with 'Perm Addr' and 'Mailing Addr' - likely the same or to have shared elements to be worthy of defaulting one from the other.

    Instead of a series of fields grouped logically/optimally on a webpage screen, this thing forces you to meet the space requirements of the paper page.

    And then you end up receiving any number of hybrid results from the user, from all hand-written to anywhere from one typed field and the rest hand-written to all typed and only printed for signatures.

    Which have to be 'MANUALLY ENTERED' by government workers or contractors. !!!!

    Canadians, Your tax 'Loonies' at work.  (Perdon l'double-entendre/Forgive the double-entendre...)

    How about a web app that shits out a completed PDF at the end of the process? Well, then Adobe wouldn't get $10,000US for Live Cycle designer, that's why...



  • @operagost said:

    @halcyon1234 said:

    Complain as much as you want about Canada being a tyranny-- but really, when it comes down to it, the only reason I need the passport is because someone else's president is an insane, paranoid nutjob won't let me into their country without one by air-- or by land in 2009. Not naming any names, or anything, of course.

     

    What other countries can you get into without a passport?

     

    Excellent question. And who can get into Canadadada without a passport? I'm sure I can't, and just a passport isn't enough. I need to fill in a form stating where I'll be staying, when I'll be leaving, and just about all my posessions I am bringing in.
    And I'm lucky, I don't need to apply for a visum (at considerable cost) from a Canadian embassy or consulate several weeks before departing for the country.



  • @operagost said:

    What other countries can you get into without a passport?
    It it theoretically possible to travel within countries in the EU without a passport - other recognised forms of ID are required however (drivers' licences, national ID cards e.g.)

     

    A random Google search turns up http://businessimmigrationbulgaria.com/countries-where-you-can-travel-visa-free-when-you-obtain-the-bulgarian-residency/ which states:

    Note: Passport is not required for travel within the EU — a valid Bulgarian ID card is sufficient.




  • which is not technically correct.

    You can travel without a passport in and between countries that are signatories to the Schengen treaty.
    Not all EU member states are signatories, and not all signatories are EU members.

    The UK for example is an EU member but not a signatory, so one needs to show his passport at the border when entering the UK or when entering any Schengen signatory country from the UK.

    And of course when travelling by air a passport or European identity card is still required at the airport (several times even, when checking in and when passing security, and when boarding. When deplaning after arrival in a Schengen signatory country from another no passport checks are performed (which caused a major financial hit on airports when the treaty went into effect, as all had to build special deplaning tracks for passengers arriving from these countries).



  • @operagost said:

    What other countries can you get into without a passport?

     

    This may have changed, but you used to be able to travel all around the UK without a passport. And, until recently, The United States of America, and Canada.

    Stating your citizenship used to be enough. It was always a good idea to have a birth cert on hand, just in case. Just a few years ago, I had a friend fly from California to Toronto, hop into my car, and drive south to Buffalo, all within the span of less than 10 hours, without being bothered at all. (It was cheaper to fly to Pearsons and drive to Niagara Falls than to land in Buffalo and catch public transit).

    Now he would need a passport, and probably have to answer some uncomfortable questions about why he was travelling via this highly unusual method? Crossing the border twice in one day? Suspicious!

    All my life I could cross the 3000+mi undefended border between these two free countries with just my word, possibly some ID, and the understanding that they have the right to double check when I tell them how much duty and duty-free I'm bringing across. All easy and fair enough.

    Now I have to present my papers to even walk around Niagara Falls. Trucking businesses are losing tons of money because their drivers are being detained and arrested without cause (a friend of the family was held in Texas for a day on suspicion of being Iranian, until someone from a government agency showed up, laid down a smackload of WTF on the local cops, and let him go). Product is routinely opened and searched in a destructive manner, making it economically unfeasible for some small businesses to ship across the border. (If you're shipping 4 cartons of beans that have to remain sealed, and 1 carton gets opened to check for terrorists, then you've lost 25% of your product).

    You may ask "what other countries let you travel without papers?".   That's the wrong question. Any American or Canadian used to be able to travel between our two free countries with ease, for pleasure, business, or for any other damned reason that isn't the concern of the government. Maybe other countries restrict that, but we didn't used to. And now we will. That's called a downgrade. This isn't bringing us in line with other countries-- this is bringing us down to their level.

    (Oh, and just to pre-emptively head off the "canadian 9/11 terrorist" claim: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A38816-2005Apr8.html  Writeup on the myth, and how the 9/11 Comission Report dispelled it).

    And further, if I was an Evil Person, I wouldn't be trying to sneak drugs, guns and terrorists across the border at Niagara Falls in the back of a Honda. I'd get some ATVs, chose any one of the 3000+ undefended miles in the middle of the Praries, and roll across at my leisure. Passports at the border are like copy protection schemes on video games.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    However, I was referring to the terrorists or agents just forging a passport without bothering with the Canadian Ministry of Passports and Bacon.

     

    We've recently instituted several new security features that make it much more difficult to forge a Canadian passport.  Border guards and other officials have been instructed to look carefully for the following telltale signs of passport fraud:

    1. Is it written on a piece of newsprint, office paper, toilet paper, or a dinner napkin?
    2. Is the information written in pencil, crayon, beef fat, or neon marker?
    3. Does the photo look identical to a photo of Celine Dion, John Candy, or a chalk outline on black construction paper?
    4. Does the "Place of birth" indicate a fictional town such as Vice City, North Durkadurkistan, or Yo Mamma?
    5. Does the document carry a distinct odour of curried goat or döner kebab?
    6. Is the name "Canada" spelled with an "i" or a "q" at any point?
    7. Are there blood stains (or other unidentified stains)?
    8. Does it dissolve into a fine powder when rubbed between the thumb and forefinger?

    Travelers with Canadian passports that raise any of these red flags will be detained and forced to eat a full bag of ketchup-flavoured potato chips while watching Rick Mercer to prove that they are in fact Canadian.



  • @Aaron said:

    Travelers with Canadian passports that raise any of these red flags will be detained and forced to eat a full bag of ketchup-flavoured potato chips while watching Rick Mercer to prove that they are in fact Canadian.
    Ketchup-flavoured chips are a crime against humanity. Can I devour a stack of pancakes and maple syrup instead? Or perhaps salt-and-vinegar fries?



  • @jwenting said:

    And who can get into Canadadada without a passport?

    American citizens?  And what the hell is "Canadadada"? 



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    And, until recently, The United States of America, and Canada.

     

    Still can, you just need an "enhanced license" or another form of WHTI ID. 



  • @Welbog said:

    Ketchup-flavoured chips are a crime against humanity. Can I devour a stack of pancakes and maple syrup instead? Or perhaps salt-and-vinegar fries?

     

    If you cannot obtain Ketchup Chips, acceptable identifying substitutes are:

    poutine (cheese curd only)

    beaver tail

    Kraft Dinner

     A chesterfield

     As a final test, to drink, would you like your cocktail with or without clam juice?



  •  Actually I had credit card purchases validated with my german id card and/or my international driver's license whilst being in the US.

     As for international air travel to the US (or any other country with the exception of air travel within Schengen Accord Signatory Countries) without a passport: the air lines don't even let you check in.

     



  • @cklam said:

    Actually I had credit card purchases validated with my german id card and/or my international driver's license whilst being in the US.

    They can ask you for ID, but cannot require you to provide it.  Then again, it's probably easier to just comply rather than dealing with pissy cashiers. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @cklam said:

    Actually I had credit card purchases validated with my german id card and/or my international driver's license whilst being in the US.

    They can ask you for ID, but cannot require you to provide it.  Then again, it's probably easier to just comply rather than dealing with pissy cashiers. 

    This always cracks me up; they may or may not ask ID for CC purchases. I've gone and bought $200 worth of stuff without being asked for ID, then gone somewhere else and get asked for ID ... for a $20 bill.

    TRWTF is that most "security" measures to avoid credit card fraud are just useless, like CVV2. Anyone who has seen your card can just write down the CC number, expiration date and the CVV2 as well!



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    This always cracks me up; they may or may not ask ID for CC purchases. I've gone and bought $200 worth of stuff without being asked for ID, then gone somewhere else and get asked for ID ... for a $20 bill.

    Right, but they can't require you to provide it as a condition of sale.  There's nothing stopping them from asking, but the ID has to be supplied voluntarily. 



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    @danixdefcon5 said:

    This always cracks me up; they may or may not ask ID for CC purchases. I've gone and bought $200 worth of stuff without being asked for ID, then gone somewhere else and get asked for ID ... for a $20 bill.

    Right, but they can't require you to provide it as a condition of sale.  There's nothing stopping them from asking, but the ID has to be supplied voluntarily. 

     

     In one case at a best buy near Chicago the salesman actually did. I had to go and come back later. But in all fairness the purchase was almost 550 bucks.

     The point I am trying to make is that I validated the purchases with picture ID documents which are very uncommon in the US (International driver's license from the UAE in this case) - anyone here really thinks that salespersons from any of the big US retailers can determine whether an ID like that is valid !?! IMHO, the whole picture id thing during CC purchases is nothing more consumer harassment designed to cover somebody's ass, really.

     



  • @danixdefcon5 said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    @cklam said:

    Actually I had credit card purchases validated with my german id card and/or my international driver's license whilst being in the US.

    They can ask you for ID, but cannot require you to provide it.  Then again, it's probably easier to just comply rather than dealing with pissy cashiers. 

    This always cracks me up; they may or may not ask ID for CC purchases. I've gone and bought $200 worth of stuff without being asked for ID, then gone somewhere else and get asked for ID ... for a $20 bill.

    TRWTF is that most "security" measures to avoid credit card fraud are just useless, like CVV2. Anyone who has seen your card can just write down the CC number, expiration date and the CVV2 as well!

     

    But they need physically see your card. It is my understanding that CVV2 and similar things are more aimed at "securing" online purchases and traditional phone-in mail order (if the merchant is trustworthy - which is an issue that can open a completely other can of worms entirely).



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Right, but they can't require you to provide it as a condition of sale.  There's nothing stopping them from asking, but the ID has to be supplied voluntarily. 
     

    Though I have to wonder, what happens if you say "no".

    Can they can refuse to sell you the item? After all, there's no imputus for them to be required to sell you anything. (There might be an expectation that a company open to the public is there to sell merchandise)

    Would they have to come up with an excuse, or just tell you to fudge off? They aren't making the ID part of the condition of the sale, but they can say they won't sell you something beauase you didn't show them ID.

    How do you make a store sell you something?



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    ... SNIP ...

    Anyways, I get to the point where I don't have any more data to type in. I don't have my guarantor's passport number or expiry date, but that's ok. I meeting up with him later so he can sign everything. I print off the form. We meet up, and I handwrite in his passport numebr and expiry date, he signs everything.

     And that is where you failed. It's a government, s*****d. If you want to hand write on forms, use the paper-only process. If you want to do things "e-", then do them purely "e-". Otherwise you just confuse them and your case - they are government case workers and not e.g. rocket scientists.

    @halcyon1234 said:

    Everything goes in an envelope, gets mailed with a tracking number, and I should get my passport in a couple weeks.

     Should.

     .... NOT. Since you messed things up. See above

    @halcyon1234 said:

    A couple weeks later, my guarantor gets a phone call, informing him that his passport number is missing from my application. They tell him to scan in his passport and email it to suchandsuch@governmentaddress.

    So he starts freaking out, because he's ultra paranoid about identity theft. After assuring him that it would have been a monumental feat for someone to know that he was the guarantor for my passport just out of the blue, and confirming that the email address is legit, he decides to scan in his passport page and send it in.

    Now, I'm thinking, how the hell did they miss the passport number? I know I wrote it in, in thick black letters, in the right boxes, and confirmed it three times before sending it off. But, as the dreary lady on the phone told me, the computer says its missing. The only thing I can think of is, that they scanned the 2D barcode, which didn't have the handwritten data, and they assumed it was missing.

    Which almost seems forgivable-- except that I also handwrote my guarantor's phone number-- on the same page as his passport number-- in fact RIGHT BESIDE the passport number! They had to have looked right at the number in order to phone him.

    To add WTF to injury, he followed their scan-and-send directions to the letter. They require a high-resolution JPG of the passport page, at an exact resolution, color and bit depth. He did so, emailed the image, then called the number to confirm receipt. Nothing. He tried again, they didn't get it. He sent it to the personal address of the woman he spoke to. Nothing. Over and over.

    Yeah, it seems that the email servers on their end filter out images that have a filesize over a certain thresh-hold. And a high-resolution, large color and bit depth JPG just happens to be over that limit.

    In the end, I had to take a printout of the JPG and fax it in.

    sigh

     

    First you have noluck and you have bad luck. It's all your fault, really. You owe your guarantor about 50 kg of ketchup-flavoured chips (which I believe is a basic staple of Canuck diet as stated elsewhere on the forum) for the trouble you caused him.



  • @halcyon1234 said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Right, but they can't require you to provide it as a condition of sale.  There's nothing stopping them from asking, but the ID has to be supplied voluntarily. 
     

    Though I have to wonder, what happens if you say "no".

    Can they can refuse to sell you the item? After all, there's no imputus for them to be required to sell you anything. (There might be an expectation that a company open to the public is there to sell merchandise)

    Would they have to come up with an excuse, or just tell you to fudge off? They aren't making the ID part of the condition of the sale, but they can say they won't sell you something beauase you didn't show them ID.

    How do you make a store sell you something?

    Ultimately, you can't make them sell you something, but you can notify the credit card company, because the store is probably violating their merchant agreement.



  • @bstorer said:

    @halcyon1234 said:

    @morbiuswilters said:

    Right, but they can't require you to provide it as a condition of sale.  There's nothing stopping them from asking, but the ID has to be supplied voluntarily. 
     

    Though I have to wonder, what happens if you say "no".

    Can they can refuse to sell you the item? After all, there's no imputus for them to be required to sell you anything. (There might be an expectation that a company open to the public is there to sell merchandise)

    Would they have to come up with an excuse, or just tell you to fudge off? They aren't making the ID part of the condition of the sale, but they can say they won't sell you something beauase you didn't show them ID.

    How do you make a store sell you something?

    Ultimately, you can't make them sell you something, but you can notify the credit card company, because the store is probably violating their merchant agreement.
     

    Yay, that should be fun. Akin to taking the cover off Pandora's Box in order to use it for keeping the worms in the can.



  • @bstorer said:

    Ultimately, you can't make them sell you something, but you can notify the credit card company, because the store is probably violating their merchant agreement.

    Precisely.



  • @cklam said:

     

    Yay, that should be fun. Akin to taking the covers of Pandora's Box in order to use for keeping the worms in the can.

    I'm not exactly sure what the hell you're talking about, but your basic premise is wrong.  The credit card companies really do care that their merchants follow their agreement, and they will exert pressure on the merchants when they receive complaints.



  • @bstorer said:

    @halcyon1234 said:
    How do you make a store sell you something?
    Ultimately, you can't make them sell you something, but you can notify the credit card company, because the store is probably violating their merchant agreement.
    You could use cash.  They may not accept other forms of payment because they're not sure they'll get their money for it, but cash is as good as ... well, cash.



  • @belgariontheking said:

    @bstorer said:

    @halcyon1234 said:
    How do you make a store sell you something?
    Ultimately, you can't make them sell you something, but you can notify the credit card company, because the store is probably violating their merchant agreement.
    You could use cash.  They may not accept other forms of payment because they're not sure they'll get their money for it, but cash is as good as ... well, cash.

    Cash can be counterfeit and stores are free to refuse it if they want.  With a credit card, the merchant is pretty much guaranteed payment which is why the card companies don't insist on positive ID. 



  • @bstorer said:

    @cklam said:

     Yay, that should be fun. Akin to taking the covers of Pandora's Box in order to use for keeping the worms in the can.

    I'm not exactly sure what the hell you're talking about, but your basic premise is wrong.  The credit card companies really do care that their merchants follow their agreement, and they will exert pressure on the merchants when they receive complaints.
     

    Okay - what I am talking about is that in my actual experience calling and complaining to the credit card company is just a waste of my time on issues like this. Why ? Because it does not benefit me directly by solving my problem. It may solve the next customer's problem but do I give a wet flying fart about the next custome: no - not when I am traveling. My goal is to finish my stuff.

    Am I selfish ? Yes. Do I care about that ? No.

    I am sorry though if this offends you.



  • @morbiuswilters said:

    Cash can be counterfeit and stores are free to refuse it if they want.  With a credit card, the merchant is pretty much guaranteed payment which is why the card companies don't insist on positive ID. 
    So if a charge gets challenged and the challenge succeeds, who takes the hit?  I thought it was the store for accepting the card without properly identifying the purchaser.


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