Passport backlog forces Weymouth woman to cancel south of France trip

Passport backlog forces Weymouth woman to cancel south of France holiday

Passport backlog forces Weymouth woman to cancel south of France holiday

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A WEYMOUTH woman has slammed the Home Office after delays in receiving her new passport meant she was forced to cancel a trip to see her partner's ill father.

Meggie Crane, from Hardwick Street, was due to fly with her partner Giles Heaman to the south of France on Sunday to see his father Roger, who is suffering from declining eye sight and will soon be blind.

Miss Crane applied to renew her passport on May 28 using the online renewal system, five weeks before she was due to fly out, and she has still not received her passport despite contacting the Passport Office every day during the last week.

Now, Miss Crane has lost £240 after having to cancel her flights and has stayed at home as Mr Heaman carried on to visit his father.

Her Majesty's Passport Office is currently facing a huge backlog of 508,000 passport applications that have not been processed, and new measures have been introduced to try and deal with the problem.

Home Secretary Theresa May was forced to make an apology in the House of Commons over the backlog and said that extra staff had been introduced to deal with the problem, after the Passport Office was dealing with its highest demand for over 12 years.

Theresa May also added those who had not received their passports after three weeks would receive travel documents free of charge if they had to travel within a week, but this was not applied to Miss Crane.

Miss Crane told the Echo she had rang the passport office every day since June 27 to try and sort the issue out.

She offered to travel to the Newport or Liverpool branches of the Home Office, where passport applications are dealt with, to get her passport but was told her application was being dealt with in the Belfast Office.

She was then told there was an issue with her photograph so sent the office a new one by recorded delivery, and she phoned them again after they had received the new photo.

After facing another delay and being told by customer services that they would phone her back, she asked to speak to the manager and was told her problem was “irrelevant” and the customer service operator refused to put her through to a manager.

Miss Crane said: “The whole situation is ridiculous. The announcement from Theresa May, the home secretary, doesn't mean anything if they are not actually going to sort it out.

“I rang the office every day for the past week trying to get this sorted. When I phoned them again on the Friday and was told the issue was irrelevant. I knew I wasn't going to be able to fly, so cancelled my tickets.”

Miss Crane has now lodged two complaints following the delays and for how she was treated by the customer service line.

Miss Crane added: “I have been left in limbo. I don't know when I'm going to get my passport, I can't make any plans to go and see Giles' father, there has been no communication at all from them.

“It's more than a holiday, it means more than that and they did not appreciate it. I am so disappointed.

“I feel massively let down.”

A spokesman for the Home Office said: “We will be contacting the customer regarding the urgent processing of their application.

“It can take longer to process a passport if more information is required, or if the application has been filled out incorrectly.”

Comments (2)

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7:33pm Tue 8 Jul 14

JamesYoung says...

Not much of a story here. Applicant sent wrong sized picture. Application rejected.
My son waited 6 weeks for a first passport; it arrived ten days ago - two days before his trip. I had told him to apply in February but kids know better.
I renewed my passport in early June. I didn't expect it to arrive in time for the summer, but it arrived 2 weeks and 5 days after i sent it via Check and Send.
Not much of a story here. Applicant sent wrong sized picture. Application rejected. My son waited 6 weeks for a first passport; it arrived ten days ago - two days before his trip. I had told him to apply in February but kids know better. I renewed my passport in early June. I didn't expect it to arrive in time for the summer, but it arrived 2 weeks and 5 days after i sent it via Check and Send. JamesYoung
  • Score: 19

8:57am Wed 9 Jul 14

leo210856 says...

JamesYoung wrote:
Not much of a story here. Applicant sent wrong sized picture. Application rejected.
My son waited 6 weeks for a first passport; it arrived ten days ago - two days before his trip. I had told him to apply in February but kids know better.
I renewed my passport in early June. I didn't expect it to arrive in time for the summer, but it arrived 2 weeks and 5 days after i sent it via Check and Send.
Of course you have to have sympathy with the young lady missing out on the trip but yet again the Echo gets issues confused. As JY says no story here
The advice from the passport office is and always has been" Don’t book travel until you have a valid passport - doing so is at your own risk"
Says it all I am afraid!
For an extra £8 ish you can get your passport application photo etc checked at the Post Office. Anyone with a tight deadline would be well advised to spend the extra money.
I sound like an advert for the Passport Office I know ,and yes its easy to have a pop at others , government departments in particular, but one thing is for sure is that yet again the Ohec is mischief making in its reporting.
[quote][p][bold]JamesYoung[/bold] wrote: Not much of a story here. Applicant sent wrong sized picture. Application rejected. My son waited 6 weeks for a first passport; it arrived ten days ago - two days before his trip. I had told him to apply in February but kids know better. I renewed my passport in early June. I didn't expect it to arrive in time for the summer, but it arrived 2 weeks and 5 days after i sent it via Check and Send.[/p][/quote]Of course you have to have sympathy with the young lady missing out on the trip but yet again the Echo gets issues confused. As JY says no story here The advice from the passport office is and always has been" Don’t book travel until you have a valid passport - doing so is at your own risk" Says it all I am afraid! For an extra £8 ish you can get your passport application photo etc checked at the Post Office. Anyone with a tight deadline would be well advised to spend the extra money. I sound like an advert for the Passport Office I know ,and yes its easy to have a pop at others , government departments in particular, but one thing is for sure is that yet again the Ohec is mischief making in its reporting. leo210856
  • Score: 13

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