USCG REC Rant


#1

I just need to get this out of my system.

I recently was preparing my paperwork to apply for AB, STCW BST, and Lifeboatman. The school I attended (Sea School) told me that it would be $140 in fees to the USCG. I called up the USCG and they said that I owed $140 and told me who to write the check to. I enclosed the $140 check with my paperwork and sent it off. A few weeks later I received a letter from the REC in Mandeville, LA (formerly New Orleans) with my check enclosed and saying that the fee was actually $95, not $140. I called the REC and spoke to the woman who had written the letter. I explained that I had asked the USCG Merchant Mariner helpline how much I owed, and they had said $140. The woman in Mandeville insisted that it was $95 and asked me to submit a payment via pay.gov. I submitted the $95 payment via pay.gov.

Yesterday I got a letter from the Coast Guard in WV reading:
Evaluation User Fee- The total fees for an Able seaman is $140, you have submitted $95 of that total. (it goes on…)

Hooray for Mandeville idiots.


#2

yep, welcome to the ride


#3

There is an evaluation fee and an issuance fee. These are separate fees. Sea School gave you the total for the entire process, but the problem you did was give them one check to cover both and a check cannot be separated. There is no guarantee that you will have something issued prior to being evaluated and they cannot charge for that. Generally, it is better to use pay.gov because even though you give them authorization for the whole amount, they will charge the evaluation fee for the application to be evaluated, then the rest at issuance.
You could have enclosed two separate checks and had no problem. This was not the Coast Guards fault. They did what they do, but Sea School should have given you better details, or you could have educated yourself on the process.
Remember pay.gov is automatic - way better than snail mail.


#4

Through pay.gov I paid $285.00 on 8/25/09, the entire amount was deducted from my bank account on 8/26/09. Payment covered:

Evaluation Fee: $100
Examination Fee: $140
Issuance Fee: $45

I submitted my application on 10/26/09.
Began my exams on 1/11/10.
Credential was issued on 1/27/10.

I had no problems with the money end of it, but I’ve heard many that have. I’ve heard guys that have had their file held up because they paid too much and the evaluator was returning fees to them and asking to have the appropriate amount issued and then it gets to the next step, issuance, and they’re looking for the fee for that.

There is the way things should be and then there is the way things are. For the time being we’re still going to get inconsistent ways of how things actually are.


#5

[QUOTE=Cal;26661]Through pay.gov I paid $285.00 on 8/25/09, the entire amount was deducted from my bank account on 8/26/09. Payment covered:

Evaluation Fee: $100
Examination Fee: $140
Issuance Fee: $45

I submitted my application on 10/26/09.
Began my exams on 1/11/10.
Credential was issued on 1/27/10.

I had no problems with the money end of it, but I’ve heard many that have. I’ve heard guys that have had their file held up because they paid too much and the evaluator was returning fees to them and asking to have the appropriate amount issued and then it gets to the next step, issuance, and they’re looking for the fee for that.

There is the way things should be and then there is the way things are. For the time being we’re still going to get inconsistent ways of how things actually are.[/QUOTE]

Cal,
I’ve had no problems either, but I’ve always mitigated the chance of them happening to me. That is unusual that they charged you the entire amount. Maybe they started doing that lately, not sure, but I can say it does not bode well for the mariner if that becomes standard practice. I mean, if you paid $285 for a service, and during the evaluation process a problem was discovered with the application, physical, whatever, - then we’re stuck fighting to get money back for services not rendered? That will be the next rant on here…just remember I said so.


#6

Shouldn’t you have been 3 sheets by now?


#7

[quote=Boboe;26639]I just need to get this out of my system.

I recently was preparing my paperwork to apply for AB, STCW BST, and Lifeboatman. The school I attended (Sea School) told me that it would be $140 in fees to the USCG. I called up the USCG and they said that I owed $140 and told me who to write the check to. I enclosed the $140 check with my paperwork and sent it off. A few weeks later I received a letter from the REC in Mandeville, LA (formerly New Orleans) with my check enclosed and saying that the fee was actually $95, not $140. I called the REC and spoke to the woman who had written the letter. I explained that I had asked the USCG Merchant Mariner helpline how much I owed, and they had said $140. The woman in Mandeville insisted that it was $95 and asked me to submit a payment via pay.gov. I submitted the $95 payment via pay.gov.

Yesterday I got a letter from the Coast Guard in WV reading:
Evaluation User Fee- The total fees for an Able seaman is $140, you have submitted $95 of that total. (it goes on…)

Hooray for Mandeville idiots.[/quote]

Mandeville said it all.


#8

According to 46 CFR 10.110 it was done exactly how it should have been and the change occurred back in 1999. There are documented rules that one is supposed to be able to follow and reference, then there is the reality of how things are done. Half the challenge of this industry is knowing which approach to use given your objective, location, day of the week, and wind direction at the time! :eek:

May God help those who pissed someone off along the way…


#9

[QUOTE=Cal;26674]According to 46 CFR 10.110 it was done exactly how it should have been and the change occurred back in 1999. There are documented rules that one is supposed to be able to follow and reference, then there is the reality of how things are done. Half the challenge of this industry is knowing which approach to use given your objective, location, day of the week, and wind direction at the time! :eek:

May God help those who pissed someone off along the way…[/QUOTE]

It actually gives you a choice.


#10

Boy do I miss the days when it was free…


#11

[QUOTE=dougpine;26689]Boy do I miss the days when it was free…[/QUOTE]

You’re old Doug, really.


#12

Speaking of old, tell my old friend Capt. Electron I said howdy. He and I used to kick around Fourchon in the pre-Pumpkin patch days.


#13

[quote=anchorman;26649]There is an evaluation fee and an issuance fee. These are separate fees. Sea School gave you the total for the entire process, but the problem you did was give them one check to cover both and a check cannot be separated. There is no guarantee that you will have something issued prior to being evaluated and they cannot charge for that. Generally, it is better to use pay.gov because even though you give them authorization for the whole amount, they will charge the evaluation fee for the application to be evaluated, then the rest at issuance.
You could have enclosed two separate checks and had no problem. This was not the Coast Guards fault. They did what they do, but Sea School should have given you better details, or you could have educated yourself on the process.
Remember pay.gov is automatic - way better than snail mail.[/quote]

When I originally called the Merchant Mariner helpline, they said nothing about writing two checks. They explained that there were two fees being charged (which I understood. Sea School had explained this), but never said anything about separating them into two payments. In fact, she told me, “Yes, you will need to send $140.” Never did she say, “You need to send a check for $45, and a check for $95.”


#14

When I sat for my 3/M a couple years ago we had the option of writing one check or three checks. I chose to write the 3 checks just to cover my bases, but most people only wrote one and had no problem.