I got married a little over 18 months and we're finally getting around to updating our passports. I say "we" because my husband and I took each others' names and double-barrelled. We haven't entirely dropped the ball on our name changes- we did our bank accounts and drivers licences when we got back from our honeymoon. With how expensive passports are (just over £80 each), we just didn't bother until we had that amount to spare.
Anyway, I go to the Post Office today with all the forms, documents and photos and ready to use their Check and Send service. Right off the bat, the guy who serves me is pretty rude to me. I don't know if he'd had a rough morning on the job or worries outside of work, but he certainly was not a happy bunny.
I was also sending a parcel on behalf of my husband. It was a big one to be sent by ParcelForce and the guy asked me if it was locked (being transported via suitcase- long story). I explained that the zip was faulty but it was taped up pretty tightly and my husband said it was fine. He then says to me in a rather exasperated tone "Well your husband isn't here so I can't ask him, can I? I'm asking you."
I was rather taken aback by his tone, but I responded in a polite manner, saying it should be fine. He then asked me to describe the contents of the package, which I'm pretty sure he isn't allowed to ask. Normally all I get asked is if the value of the contents is below a certain amount and/or it contained any sensitive stuff (e.g. money). Again, I was really taken aback and told him, having to describe in more detail because he had no idea what Warhammer was and looked at me like I told him it was filled with unicorns.
Anyway, it all gets done and paid for, and then we move onto the passports.
Now, as I mentioned before, we have all of our other documents changed to our married double-barrel names. I thought if I were to run into any problems with this, it would have been because we waited so long to get it done. Anyway, this transpired:
Me: The envelope said we could put multiple applications in one, so there's two in there for Check and Send
Him: Are you sending it?
Me: [thinking he means is the application mine] Yes, it's my application and my husband's. We've been married for 18 months and only just got around to changing our names *laugh because of the absurdity*
Him: But are you sending it or Check and Send?
Me: [wondering if he actually heard me the first time] Check and Send. It's for our name change- our certificate is under my husband's application
Him: [looks at my application and then picks up my husbands] And his is a renewal?
Me: No, they're both name change. We took each others' names
Him: Where's his Deed Poll?
Me: He doesn't have one, we were told we didn't need to get one
Him: You need one
Me: He's had his name changed on his bank accounts, our mortgage and with the DVLA (driving licence). None of them asked for a Deed Poll
Him: A passport is different, they won't accept it without a Deed Poll. Yours is fine because you got married, but he needs a Deed Poll
Me: We were never told this. The Registrar even told us we didn't need a Deed Poll, his name change process should be the same as mine
Him: The Registrar told you this? [scrutinises my certificate as though looking for flaws]
Him: What Registrar told you this?
Me: The one that married us. We asked about this prior to and on the day of our wedding
Him: Well you need a Deed Poll. You can send it anyway but they probably won't do it.
Me: Will they charge us again if I have to reapply?
Him: I don't know.
Me: Fine, I'll speak to the Passport people myself
Him: If they say you can, give me the name of the person you speak to
Him: [condescening tone] Remember to get their name
Generally an unpleasant encounter- he wasn't outwardly rude in speech but is tone was condescending and very much a "get out, you're wasting my time". Had I been wrong about this, I wouldn't be making this post.
The moment I got home, I called IPS (Identity and Passport Services) and they told me that the guy was talking total rubbish (the lady on the phone actually said to me "no, that's complete rubbish") and all my husband needed was the marriage certificate, just like me. She said, to be sure, to include a cover letter explaining that we are both changing our names and that I can quote her on the letter.
So basically had an encounter with a really rude man for no reason. Now I have to go back tomorrow to organise this passport business. It's lucky that I currently work not too far from the Post Office so that I can sort it out.
As a retail worker, I try to be empathetic towards other customer service people, but this guy was kind of over the line. I did nothing to provoke him (I was a little snappy towards the end, but he spoke to me in a manner that was unacceptable and was telling me I was wrong over something that I wasn't wrong about) and he treated me like an idiot. I don't like to make complaints about specific people, but I am making an exception for this guy.
Also a tip for future newlyweds- if the groom is taking his wife's name after the wedding, there is no legal reason for him to need a Deed Poll to confirm this. As with the wife, the name change for the husband only requires the marriage certificate. Do not let banks, Post Offices, building societies or any other body make you believe otherwise.