I, too, got caught in the spiral of the disappearing personaría juridica. I was excited that I was actually able to register and order the document online on a holiday weekend. This would give me the needed document to go to the Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad early in the morning to cancel an extra cell phone line. I couldn’t get the document to print properly so, with a bit of embarrassment, I actually ended up going to the attorney’s office to print it out.
So with document and passport in hand, proving that I am, in fact, me, with authority to act on my company’s. meaning my house’s, behalf, I successfully terminated the line. I only needed to wait 30 days for the account to clear and then collect the deposit of 12,500 colons, around $25. This is where the story turns.
I pointed out that my document will have expired on the 30th day which was a Saturday. No allowances for the weekend, so the Monday would have required another document. After objecting that it didn’t make sense, the clerk quietly suggested that I come back on Friday. It would be okay. I waited my time and remembered Thursday night to check to make sure the friend who had been using the line paid the last month’s bill. Naturally he hadn’t. So I had to wait for him to pay it, requiring me to go in at 11 a.m. rather than my planned 7:30 a.m. After making the line and finally getting to the receptionist, I was told I had to come back on Monday.
“Why,” you may ask? They ran out of money and didn’t have the c12,500! “Its ICE!”, I thought. They must have that tucked in a petty cash drawer somewhere! Nope, come back Monday. “Okay, let me talk to the supervisor,” I asked, to make sure someone understood the dilemma. She politely goes into the supervisor’s office. “She can leave her number and a copy of her documents and I’ll check into
it,” I watched him say as he pointed at me from his desk. Urrrgh. Okay. I conformed.
Well, he called me later that afternoon and informed me that someone had come in and left the exact amount so I can go online and get a new personaría juridica, the digital expired for online verification after 15 days not the normal 30. I informed him that was no longer possible because of the Sala IV issue. He had no idea what I was talking about.
He checked it and, yep, “Tiene razón.” Okay, you’re right, he admits. “So, just go to a lawyer and get one.” So then I reasoned with him, “Why would I pay $20 to collect a deposit of $25? Look, you have all my documents, they were good when I applied for the deposit, I waited the 30 days, I’m the same person I was 30 days ago. Can you just give me my deposit back since you have the money in the office?” After a long pause and a flustered hesitation he blurted out, “Venga.”
Not having to be called twice, I jumped in my car, driving down the mountain in spite of the pouring rain, calculating how much gas the trip was costing me. In spite of it all, I patted myself on the head for making the effort to learn Spanish and successfully being able to make my case over the telephone. A real accomplishment. I politely endured the careful scrutiny of my passport once again, wondering if life will be different after I have my residency cédula in a few days. Finally the gentleman handed me the little envelope containing my deposit. I politely thanked him, then not wanting to waste a trip, promptly drove to the feria. I loaded up on my weekly produce, spending every last colon of that hard earned deposit.
That my friends, is the real meaning of “enjoying the fruits of your labor!”
Sandra M. Brooks
San Luis de Grecia