The Inept Visa Lottery Middleman, Revisited

By David North on August 1, 2010

In an earlier blog I reported about on an inept internet middleman that offered to file a visa lottery application for me (for a fee).

It did so even though I said I had been born in the U.S. (which is true) and that my mother had been born on Bouvet Island, an obscure, never-populated Norwegian possession in the Antarctic (which was not true and could not possibly have been true, since no ne has ever been born there).

The system apparently merged the U.S. with a list of other countries whose citizens are not eligible for the visa lottery, and did not automatically rule out all applicants who had been born in the U.S. as it should. It said that I would be eligible if either of my parents had been born in a nation that was not barred from the visa lottery. (Bouvet Island, in the eyes of the internet entrepreneur, met that test.)

It accepted my credit card payment of £55, discounted a bit, and immediately after the money was transferred it told me to provide additional information for the formal application submission and to send two photos. I, deliberately, did not take either of those actions.

I wondered if anything would happen subsequently, and it did.

The first thing Monday morning, after I paid the fee over the weekend, I got a robotic e-mail message saying that I had forgotten to send the photos. I ignored it.

A little later that day I had a call from what sounded like a pleasant, bright, puzzled, and slightly annoyed young lady, speaking in excellent but non-native English. She worked for the middleman.

"Why do you want a green card?" she asked, "you are already a citizen."

In order to keep the conversation going as long as possible, I hid my normally razor-sharp brain and tongue, and adopted a fuzzy persona. I replied to her question: "I want one."

"But you do not need it," she persisted, and I said, "well the machine said I was eligible."

She did not react to that point and asked me if I knew what a green card was.

I said I did, but did not elaborate.

"I collect such things," I said, after mentioning that I had paid the fee through my credit card.

She did not react to the last statement, either.

"Do you think you need it because you are having trouble with a job?" she said.

"No, I am retired," I replied.

At this point she gave up, and closed by saying "I wish you good luck, sir."

At no point did she agree that her company's software was flawed, and at no point did she offer to give me my money back. As a test of the system I did not ask for my money back; I wanted to see what it would do without prompting.

Incidentally, Bouvet Island never came into the conversation, but I learned something about it from the ICE internet system regarding imprisoned illegal aliens discussed in an earlier blog. When ICE gives you a list of nations and colonies which might include the birthplace of your jailed friend that list does NOT include Bouvet. A small cheer for ICE!

So this is how the score stands vis-a-vis the internet middleman: the system continues to think that under some circumstances native-born Americans are eligible for diversity green cards; Bouvet is counted as a populated jurisdiction, and the system still has my £55.

I checked my credit card balance on the net six days later, and the charge was still there, in black ink. Had there been a credit to my account, as I received from the drug store a few days earlier, it would have been in light blue ink.

I doubt that there will ever be a light blue entry from USAGC, the inept middleman. But if there is, it will be reported here.