COLUMN — There’s nothing like getting a cheque in the mail without having to work for it.
I received a letter from Mark Blucher, president and CEO of ICBC, a couple of days ago.
“As part of the move to a new computer system for our insurance business, we’ve checked all vehicles carrying ICBC optional insurance effective July 1, 2008 and later,” it continued.
I’d forgotten all about ICBC’s embarrassing computer problems.
Back in April, an “angry” Transportation Minister Todd Stone ordered ICBC to pay back $36 million it had overcharged customers over six years due to a computer foul-up.
It had to do with a switch to a new computer system and incorrect vehicle descriptions for optional insurance coverage.
“I am angry, as I expect British Columbians to be, over this operational error,” Stone had said. “This is not acceptable.”
So, my spirits were rising as I read Mark Blucher’s letter.
“We’ve found an incorrect vehicle description for at least one of your vehicles, which means what you paid for your ICBC optional insurance was calculated incorrectly,” it said.
“Yes!” I cried, reading on.
“Enclosed you’ll find a table looking back over the past six years which summarizes all of your financially affected vehicles including any current policies up until the expiry date,” my new BFF continued.
“Overall, you underpaid for your optional insurance…”
I was momentarily stunned into silence. But only momentarily.
“&^*$%#@*!” I yelped.
I flipped to the second page. Listed there were all the details on the past six years of my nine-year-old pickup truck’s life. I had been under-billed — had “underpaid,” in ICBC’s terminology — by a total of $356.
“#$%^&!” I exclaimed.
“…. However we are waiving this amount.”
“#@$$%^&!!!” I mumbled.
“It’s as good as getting a cheque,” said Syd, who had witnessed the entire exchange between me and Mr. Blucher, who, in my books, was no longer any friend of mine.
I looked at her blankly.
“Think about it,” she said. “That’s $356 you didn’t have to pay. It’s as good as getting a cheque in the mail.”
I looked at the bottom line on page 2. “Total Refund $0.00,” it said.
I looked at the letter.
“Thank you for your patience while we work to upgrade our systems,” wrote the bane of my existence. “We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Doesn’t really feel much like a cheque.
• • •
As if the City’s new downtown parking system hasn’t had enough glitches, now it has a spelling problem.
A couple of weeks ago, the phone app went online. That’s the one where you register an account with your smartphone and use it to pay for parking from the comfort of your favorite restaurant, barber shop or what have you.
There’s a 35-cent transaction fee for the privilege, which bylaws supervisor Jon Wilson says is standard for the industry. Some people have complained that other cities charge less, but he says that’s only because part of the charge is hidden in other costs.
Anyway, Ray Blessin was looking at the online registration for the new app, which has a field for province of residence. There’s no “British Columbia” option.
There is, however, a spot for “British Colombia.”
Oops. Wilson says he’ll get Telepark to fix it.