Could there possibly be an alternative?

Soooooo frustrated right now.

I do a little on-the-side consulting for my old company.  They have quarterly reports that need to be put together, and sometimes need a little extra help at crunch time.  I work from home, and make more per hour than I did as a full time employee.  The work is only very occasional, but it’s interesting enough to not be mind-numbing, and it provides me a nice little paycheck once in awhile.  It is, all in all, a nearly-perfect setup.

Except for the vendor that manages my payroll.  My old company has a policy of not making direct payments to contractors as much as they can; I guess it’s a situation ripe for fraud and embezzlement and whatnot.  So, if you are going to do contract work for them, even if you aren’t in a firm, you have to go through their sourcing firm, which gets a cut of your pay and manages your payroll.  Now, I negotiated it so that they upped my hourly pay such that I was still getting the rate to which we originally agreed, without feeling like I’m losing money to this sourcing firm, so that’s a good thing.  But seriously, for the money they’ve made off of me for basically printing a paycheck and a W2, I could stand a little better customer service.

First off, they do everything by email.  EVERYTHING.  Most of the time that’s fine, because their automatic emails that tell me my timecard was approved are clear and concise.

The problem is when I have a problem — which given my limited experience with this firm, has happened too much.  First, my direct deposit never got set up, as it turns out, because of a typo on the direct deposit form (my typo).  But — I never heard that they had a problem with the form.  I just started getting checks instead of direct deposits…. which I didn’t care much about anyway, because I only work about one week a quarter, so going to the bank every three months isn’t a huge burden.   And if you refuse direct deposit, you agree to pay a lost check fee of $35 if a check gets lost. 

And then a check got lost.  But I never refused direct deposit.  And I cannot even describe the hoops I’m being made to jump through to get paid for work I did three months ago, and not end up getting docked the stupid fee, and how it has been implied every way from Sunday that it is completely my fault that this happened.  I’m not saying I’m blameless, but a big part for this firm is the way they communicate problems.

It’s all by email.  And you know, if your email is anything like my email, you get a crapload of emails to sort through every day.  So, while the firm’s standard “we got your timecard” emails are clear and concise and are easily identifiable, the emails you get from them when there’s an issue are anything but.  Mainly, the problem is in how the emails appear in my inbox.  They don’t say the firm’s name in the sender information or the subject.  The sender is the name of the analyst who sent the email, so some random name I’ve never seen or heard before.  And the subject is to the effect of “RE: Claim #3X55QR9”.  If you see an email from a name you have never known to mean anything to you, with a cryptic subject line, well… if you’re anything like me, you think it’s spam.  BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT SPAM LOOKS LIKE.  They send these emails to you when you might be expecting them, like if you call to have a form sent to you, and they send them when you’re not expecting any sort of email from them at all, like, say, after you make a single typo on your direct deposit application and they need you to fix it.

This firm doesn’t seem to see this as a problem.  And when, today, I called to request that I not get emails when there are issues, the gal I’m talking to, ON THE PHONE, said “Well, then, how would we be able to let you know there’s an issue?”  Yeah, you see how you’re talking into that gadget on your head?  It’s useful for myriad applications.

So anyway, *I* have to go and fax them about three different forms, and they HAVE to be faxed.  Can’t email them, which I think is pretty ironic.  And I don’t have a fax machine.  So I have to use the stupid annoying free fax online applications, or walk over to my in-laws’ and use their fax machine. 

Argh.  Argh argh argh.

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