As many of you know, I have been previously (and currently, although that's too complicated to go into right now) employed by the Gov (henceforth BB -- Big Brother; the sundry agences will be bb1 and bb2, etc)). So, let me guide you through a dialogue.
Setting: My home, August 2007
Me: Whoa! What's this deposit into my account for? That's much more than I was expecting. I better call and get this straightened out.
Me: Hello. I'm calling because there has been a mistake. I was not owed this much. Can you straighten it out?
bb1: Oh! Thanks for letting us know. We will get on it.
Me: Hi! I was wondering if this was taken care of yet?
bb1: You are in a file on my desk. I have let them know and I'll be going to HQ this month and see what I can do.
Me: okay (I'm in a file on her desk?)
months later, dropping by the office
Me: So, any resolution?
bb1: Oh! I haven't heard anything so I'll keep working on it.
Me: Okay, but I am paying income tax on this amount.
fast-forward May 2008
opening a letter from BB. Enclosed is a bill for an amount that is much more than was deposited into my account and does not account for what was due to me.
Me: Hey, that's not right! (calling the number on the bill)
bb2: (after a navigating the menu and receiving a live person on the end. After a brief explanation, the brusque voice says...) You need to call this number.
meanwhile, left a message for bb1, dialing number to bb3
bb3: (a friendly voice and some fun hold music) okay, you aren't in our system. Let me see if I can find who you need to call
some funky soul hold music later....
bb3: Here's the number (gives out the number for bb2 that I had just called)
Me: Umm, they told me to call you.
bb3: they were just confused. You are under x department, not our y department
Me: okay, thanks
calls bb1 just to see if she is back in the office. No answer
redials bb2 number and after much mashing of numbers later...
Me: Hi! I need to straighten out this bill and you sent me somewhere else but you are the department I need to call. I work under X.
bb2: (different person, equally brusque). Oh, Ms. bb2 (sub-1) handles these accounts. I'll connect you
(goes directly to Ms. bb2 (sub-1)'s voice mail. She's out of the office until May 19th). I leave a message.)