My Government Issue

My Government Issue

Day two

Learn more about this silly experiment with DoNotPay in the post Here We Are.

When I woke up this morning, I had three notifications from DoNotPay. My next two "free gifts" had arrived, and my Canadian passport renewal request had apparently been "resolved."

As we discovered yesterday the free gifts were hardly free:

  • Large 1-Topping Pizza $6.99 from Papa John's
  • 20% Off Sitewide from Adidas

Moving on...

I was mostly interested to understand how my Canadian passport issue was resolved so quickly. When I opened up the issue in DoNotPay, I was greeted with a PDF document.

It says:

Your Government Issue
I have taken care of your Government Agency needs. Renew your passport – adults in the United StatesGovernment of Canada consular offices in the United States do not provide passport services. You must send your application by mail.If you happen to be in Canada, you can apply in person at a passport office or a Service Canada receiving agent and make arrangements to pick it up for an additional service fee (passport offices only) or have the passport delivered to an address in Canada or to your home address in the United States.To renew your passport you must be a Canadian citizen and be 16 years of age and over. Before you apply, answer a few questions or read the eligibility requirements to find out if you’re eligible to renew your passport, or if you need to apply for a new passport.Provided below the link of the few questions that you need to answer:http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/passport/apply/eligibility­questions.aspIn addition, The link below provides the eligibility requirements for Canadian passports:https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration­refugees­citizenship/services/canadian­passports/canadian­eligibility­requirements.html

That is copy-pasted from the PDF. I had several thoughts from this experience that boiled down to these three things:

  1. Why a PDF? That seems like a very poor UI choice for a mobile app. It's hard to read and I have to pinch to zoom in. I would much prefer reading it in a normal format and exporting as a PDF if necessary.
  2. The writing is all over the place. I can't tell if this was the Robot Lawyer just regurgitating information it's found online, or if it was a mechanical turk who's first language isn't English.
  3. This is information I could've retrieved myself with some Google searching. In fact, this is all information I already know.

Now, to be fair, I did send a request for foreign government paperwork. I didn't really expect DoNotPay to be able to help actually renew the passport, but I was expecting better than this. To be honest, this information is really good, but the presentation was down-right awful.

UPDATE (10/28/19): Joshua Browder addressed my distaste for PDFs in my interview and said that they were moving away from them.

My last discovery of the day is that the subscription starts when DoNotPay resolves your first issue. Because they considered my Canadian passport issue "resolved," I've now paid for my first month. Because I already know all the info they sent over, I'm a bit disappointed, but it is useful information for the uninformed. I'm also planning on using that $3 to the largest extent possible, so I was going to spend it at some point during this experiment anyway. Hopefully I'll make at least that $3 back.

Day 2 stats:

  • Money spent: $3
  • Money saved: $0
  • Money earned: $0
  • Time saved: -15 minutes

If you want to support me:

Try DoNotPay yourself. You'll get 2,000 points (about $2 USD) using this link!

Try DigitalOcean which is used to host this site. You'll receive a $50 credit towards your first 30 days of hosting using this link!

Buy a discount gift card from Raise. You get $5 off your first purchase using this link! I buy all of my Nintendo eShop cards there when they have sales and keep them for when I purchase my games. Every penny counts!

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