When I called the National Passport Center recently to inquire about the status of my passport, the representative told me that my passport was at the Charleston Passport Center, but that the center didn’t have a phone number. I wasn’t surprised — poor customer service and the U.S. government go hand-in-hand, after all.
Still, I didn’t buy the “sorry, no phone number” bit for a second — and I desperately needed to get in contact with someone there regarding my passport, which was having extra visa pages added.
If your passport is also at the Charleston Passport Center and you have an upcoming trip, I have good news and more good news for you. First of all, the Charleston Passport Center absolutely has a phone number; and secondly, the level of customer service there is absolutely impeccable.
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When To Call Charleston Passport Center
I sent my passport in a couple weeks ago to have more visa pages added to it. Unfortunately, although I enclosed my passport and the application and expedited it to the National Passport Center, I forgot to enclose the check. As soon as I realized my error, I contacted the National Passport Center at 877-487-2778 to inquire about where I should send payment to ensure prompt processing.
I ended up calling in several times due to how unhelpful each progressive National Passport Center staff member was. Most told me that there was literally nothing I could do, that I simply had to wait for the government to contact me and ask for payment or, worse, return everything to me and start the process over. I tried not to be too demanding — after all, it was my fault at the end of the day — but I was also frustrated that I couldn’t get a straight answer.
The last time I called the National Passport Center, I asked the lady I spoke with where my passport was being processed. The Charleston Passport Center, she told me. Great, I thought. It will be much easier to deal with a smaller center. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be: She informed me that, unfortunately, the Charleston Passport Center didn’t have a phone number.
Charleston Passport Center Phone Number
I know bullshit when I smell it, so I immediately got onto Google and began looking for the Charleston Passport Center phone number. To my dismay, most of the pages I found directed me to discussion forum threads where others were asking the same question. I pressed on through several pages of Google search results with basically no luck.
No luck, that is, until I happened upon a blog that contained a list of phone numbers bearing Charleston area codes. All of the phone numbers, the blog said, belonged to the Charleston Passport Center, but not all of them worked. Among the phone numbers the blog listed for the Charleston Passport Center were 843-746-1690, 843-746-1691 and 843-746-1692.
Customer Service at Charleston Passport Center
If you get through to the Charleston Passport Center, it won’t be to the center’s customer service department. All of the numbers I listed ring through to the desks of Charleston Passport Center employees.
The woman who answered my phone call was attentive and seemed concerned. When I asked her for an address where I should mail the check, she asked me if I’d prefer to pay by charge, to get the process back in motion immediately. There was obviously no question in my mind!
She took down my name and phone number and told me she was forwarding them to a customer service representative who would call me back. Sure enough, 15 minutes later, I was on the phone when an even friendlier young woman from the Charleston Passport Center’s customer service department.
Incredibly, she not only processed my credit card payment, but also made sure the extra visa pages were added to my passport right then and there. She even offered me an expedited shipping option: This was Thursday afternoon; I had my passport Friday morning!
When Not To Call Charleston Passport Center
Service at the Charleston Passport Center is friendly and quick, especially when compared to the awful service at the National Passport Center. Still, there is a reason the customer service phone number for the Charleston Passport Center isn’t published: Employees at the Charleston Passport Center aren’t generally meant to deal with the public.
In fact, according to some of the forum posts I’d read while searching for the Charleston Passport Center’s phone number, you are technically supposed to call the center only after you have asked your congressional representative to expedite your passport on your behalf. Obviously, I don’t think this is actually the case, given my personal experience to the contrary.
As a rule of thumb, I would contact Charleston Passport Center only if you have imminent travel plans and can’t get anywhere with the National Passport Center. If you aren’t traveling within the next couple weeks, I wouldn’t bother calling Charleston Passport Center, as doing so prevents employees from helping others who are traveling more immediately than you are.
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