USPTO corrupts credit card expiration dates in FM

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Hello folks.  Here is a warning that I saw today in a USPTO system when I was paying a government fee in Financial Manager:

Credit/Debit Card Expiration Dates
Due to a recent system upgrade, some card expiration dates may have been converted to an incorrect month for cards stored within Financial Manager.  …

Try to guess, dear reader, what the next few words were.  For example, maybe the next few words explained that the USPTO was working to restore the expiration dates to their correct values, but that this might take a day or two, and they apologize for the inconvenience.  For example, you might think that what the USPTO would do next, after having made this software mistake in its system upgrade, is locate the most recent backup of the credit card data, and restore the expiration dates from the backup.

Or if this is too much work, at least the USPTO could do a file comparison of the expiration dates in the backup file and in the present (corrupted) file.   The USPTO could then notify customers of the particular credit cards for which the two expiration dates had failed to match.  The USPTO might explain that this is going to take a few days but they apologize for the inconvenience.

Yes, this is what you might think.  Here is what the USPTO actually said next:

Cardholders may wish to confirm the date displayed in Financial Manager matches the date displayed on the card. If needed, a card Administrator can update the expiration date by using the edit button on the card’s summary tab.

Yes, what the USPTO has in mind is that each individual USPTO customer should go through all of the credit cards in his or her workbench in Financial Manager, checking them one by one to see whether or not the USPTO corrupted the expiration date.

Conspicuous by its absence was any hint or suggestion of “sorry” or “apologize” or “regret”.

I suppose the other way that a customer would find out about a corrupted expiration date is that the customer is trying to get some important document filed, along with some important fee payment, to avoid loss of rights or to avoid a late-payment penalty.  Perhaps this is shortly before midnight on the drop-date date.  And the time comes to pay the fee and Financial Manager reports that the payment did not go through.  And it turns out to be because the USPTO corrupted the expiration date.

This strikes me as a less than exemplary way for the USPTO to deal with its software mistake.

One Reply to “USPTO corrupts credit card expiration dates in FM”

  1. If they can’t handle software glitches any better than that, how are we supposed to trust them to properly steer the DOCX juggernaut?

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