Page 1 of 1
Getting Mail In Crete
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:00 pm
Since renting our apartment here we have found that the street we live on doesn't actually have a name and the postman does not come down this way. Even the large International Hotel we live near has to collect its mail from a P.O. Box at the local Post Office.
So we decided to get a P.O. Box for ourselves..........
Here begineth the first lesson in the local bureaucracy
We went to the Post Office and asked to rent a P.O. Box. to be told we have to go to the local tax office in the next town and both get local tax numbers before we are allowed to get a box.
So off we trot to the local tax office. After practising my somewhat limited Greek in several offices in the Tax Building we eventually found the right guy to speak to. "Why do you want a tax number" he asked rather perplexed. We told him why and he said he could not issue one untill we had residence permits or ID cards from the local Police.
So off we trot AGAIN to the local Police Station. Sorry we are told the guy who deals with this is on holiday for a week...... come back later.
Seven days pass by. We get four passport photos of us each suited and booted and off we trot back to the Police Station to start our previous journey in reverse. The Police was very helpful but pointed out that we couldn't get cards until we had been here for three months and any way they we definitely not required to get tax numbers!!!!!!!!!
If we had any problems with the fuerher at the tax office we had to tell him to call the BIG and I mean BIG Police man.
So of we trot to the tax office. What a HOOT!!! The little Fuerher called the BIG Police man and was duly put in his place. Tax numbers were issued, we went to the Post Office paid the rent for the Box and VOILA!! and P.O. Box postal address...........
All is well...................??????????
To date we haven't been issued with a key for it. The counter clerk has to be asked to come and open it for us everytime we want to check our mail!!
HO HUMM!! First lesson is hereby endeth!!
Second lesson starts here
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:05 pm
Last Friday we went to the bank as pleased as punch with our newly issued tax forms and duly presented them, together with our passports, to the helpful young lady and asked if we could please open a current account. She studied the tax forms and said that she was sorry but since according to the tax forms we were self employed we would require further evidence of our income. We explained that we weren’t self employed. That’s not what it says here she responded you will have to go to the tax office and get these details changed. Our hearts instantly filled with dread. Another trip to pay homage to the fuehrer. Bollocks!! At least the tax office is closed every Friday so we can get ready over the weekend.
Duly downloaded some translation software and the English-Greek and Greek-English dictionaries that go with it so we could write down in Greek that we were not working. Irene is a housewife and I am retired police officer. Not difficult to translate methinks.
Housewife – Οικοκυρά
Policeman – αστυνομικός
Easy peasy so far. Back to dictionary
retired 2 [re'tired rɪ'tɪə(r)d]
adj. απόμερος, συνταξιούχος
Oh dear. Eeny meeny miny mo. Picked the first one and duly added it to the document to present to the fuehrer on Monday.
So Monday arrives, we are happy to be prepared with all our paperwork and new found Greek language skills for the ordeal ahead. We queue for ages with the locals regularly jumping in front us for our audience with the fuehrer.
He looks at us with disdain. What do you two want? He asks in a tone to strike fear in hearts of lesser mortals.
Not me! I proudly march up, sit down, present our paperwork pointing out the problems we had at the Bank and asked him to amend the details according to the beautifully translated word document. He looked somewhat bemused and asked if I knew what I had written. “Of course” I replied puffing my chest out pride. “Irene is a housewife and I am a retired policeman” daring him to call my local BIG policeman friend. He shrugged his shoulders changed our details and handed our new tax forms to us without saying another word. Yee Haaaaah. Victory number 2 in the battle against burocracy.
Off we trot to our young lady friend in the bank and hand over our new papers. She examines them and informs us that I am now a pensioner. No problems with that.. handed over proof of my pension. Irene is unemployed and had to sign another form to confirm that and the process was under way. While waiting for her to complete all the paperwork I told her about our adventure with the fuehrer and showed her my translation. Oh dear she smiled. Here comes that sinking feeling again. It says here she responded that you are a shy policeman. Retired as in shy and retiring.
My mind raced back to visualise the fuehrer leaping around with glee telling all his comrades about how he’d got one over on the shy policeman, leaving them rolling on the floor laughing their asses off.
Bank accounts now opened and lesson two learned. Pride always comes before a fall!!! Ho Humm!!
Oh…… and reverse translate to check you have got the correct meaning!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:11 pm
Welcome to Greece!!!!!
Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 9:25 pm
I'm guessing that you went to the post office in Malia to get your PO Box... Alan popped along one morning, showed the manager his tax number, gave contact phone number and was given the key to the box.
We were told that to do anything in Greece you need your tax number so on the Monday after we arrived we trotted off to the tax office in Hersonissos. We could have waited a few days but our landlord needed my tax number for the contract because the electricity needed to be connected and the longer we delayed getting the tax number the longer we would be without electricity... After a bit of a panic about the guy wanting a copy of our marriage certificate I was told 'come get your tax number' so then we handed hubby's form and copies of everything over to the guy who promptly sorted his tax number out.
Before deciding which bank to open an account at, we went in and asked the manager what we would need to provide to open an account. Both said tax number, passport, residents permit (which I said we didn't have as we need to be here 3 months) so both said that the rental contract for the apartment would be ok instead. One said that they would also need proof of income either from Greek employer or proof that we were working in the UK. We went the next day with all our paperwork and picked up our sterling and euro bank account books.
We've been to IKA to get our health books as we're covered by the E106 until we start working. Once we found the right person to speak to we had no problems - apart from being told to come back on the Monday to collect our books to be told on the Monday that the books weren't ready but that they knew about us and they would be ready on the Tuesday, which they were.
Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 1:23 pm
There's a shop in Xania' which prints T shirts. They will happily print yours with
You could wear it in the tax office.
I got mine printed with
Think I'm the exception to the rule!! or just lucky
Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 6:27 pm
Gotta say I have found all of the below very easy (not bragging honest) I arrived in Crete On April 13, I went to pireaus bank on 16th asked what i needed to open an account..answer was passport and Tax number..went to the tax office 10 mins later had my tax number all i used was a business card from my employer, my passport & birth certificate hey presto job done...20 mins later just using the print out from the tax office and my passport i had an account and a debit card
BTW - this place is a breath of fresh air..compared to Uk life
Posted: Sun May 03, 2009 8:07 pm
We had the same kind of experience with the bank - Eurobank. Took our tax numbers and passports - sat down, drank coffee, signed forms, and very soon had an account with no money in it and ATM cards, with PIN numbers. We've both, on separate occasions, lost our cards, and they have been replaced instantly. I see that Eurobank's website came top in a survey of Greek bank sites - still only in Greek, but very accessible, and the staff in our branch are willing to help with any queries.
Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 11:27 am
Go along with the view on Eurobank - our branch in Rethymno always very helpful - our last transaction involved taking quite a few euros out for our architects bank 50 m across the road - (cheaper than the 50 euro charge for a bank transfer) caused the teller some consternation, (we forgot to take our tax no.) but she called the manager over, saying he always has the answer to anything... and he did - no problem.
Also in regard to the Post Office box - we have had one since last year before we moved here - just went into the Post Office and asked for a PO Box - no problem, the ony thing they asked for was the 50 euro fee for a year rental.
Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 1:52 pm
altohb wrote:...I see that Eurobank's website came top in a survey of Greek bank sites - still only in Greek, but very accessible, and the staff in our branch are willing to help with any queries.
You might be interested in the following email exchange between myself and Eurobank. Note especially the bits in red:
Dear Mr. Gibbons
Thank you for contacting EFG Eurobank Ergasias.
We inform you that it is in our immidiate plans to develop our website's English version.
We remain at your disposal for any additional information.
Sent: Τρίτη, 12 Μαρτίου 2002 13:48
Subject: Re: On-line banking services
Are you able to predict when your on-line banking services will be available in English??
Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 2:39 pm
That would be good! My Greek is improving, and I'm happy to do basic banking stuff online, but would hesitate to tackle anything complicated. I suppose 7 years isn't that long - I guess they will need to do something about it fairly soon, though, given that most of their competitors have English versions..........says she, hopefully!
Posted: Mon May 04, 2009 7:28 pm
"We remain at your disposal for any additional information."
I think it's time to ask again!