They wait months for a refund from the SAAQ

At the end of September, Lisette Marcotte stored her sports car on SAAQclic, the new SAAQ digital portal. By taking her Toyata Supra off the road, she was entitled to a $309 credit for overpaid registration fees.

Ms. Marcotte believed that this reimbursement would be a formality. After all, her husband had quickly obtained a check for two vehicles stored on SAAQclic. “He really didn’t have a problem,” she said. The following week, he received his plaque credits.”

But Lisette Marcotte had to follow the SAAQ by all possible means. She presented her situation in two service centers, in Donnacona and Saint-Raymond. For hours, she also spoke on the phone and chatted with SAAQ agents.

For months, Lisette Marcotte took numerous steps with the SAAQ to obtain a reimbursement following the storage of her vehicle. (Frédéric Matte/Le Soleil)

Then, in an online conversation dated January 9, an SAAQ employee corroborated the computer error that Ms. Marcotte suspected: “I can confirm that I was informed that the technical team was working to find THE bug to your file and issue a refund as soon as possible.”

But at the end of the following month, she still had not received a check from the SAAQ. “I have now been waiting for more than five months for the plate credit that is due to me,” Ms. Marcotte wrote to the SAAQ. I am wondering if I will live long enough to see the outcome of this file.

It was finally on March 19, six months after having stored her vehicle on SAAQclic, that Lisette Marcotte received her reimbursement. For her, it is “unacceptable” that the new SAAQ computer system forces customers to wait months before obtaining a refund.

Three times the norm

The 180-day wait for Ms. Marcotte violates SAAQ standards, which provide for a reimbursement period of between 15 and 60 days, “depending on the client’s situation,” indicates Gino Desrosiers, spokesperson for the SAAQ.

SAAQ standards provide for a period of between 15 and 60 days to obtain a refund. (Frédéric Matte/Le Soleil)

But the case of Ms. Marcotte is not an exception. While computer errors have accumulated since the launch of SAAQclic, other SAAQ customers have had to wait beyond the expected deadlines to obtain their reimbursement.

Martin Hugues, a resident of Rimouski, was entitled to a credit after paying $680 too much for a cleared motorcycle registration. After spending 2.5 hours on the phone explaining the error, he finally got confirmation that he would be refunded.

However, the motorcyclist had to wait four months before receiving his reimbursement, deposited into his account.

Two weeks later, he received a new call from the SAAQ.

“There, they said to me: ‘Mr. Hugues, I have just taken charge of your file, it doesn’t make sense, you will be reimbursed.’ I told him I had already received my refund. The man was surprised, telling me that he didn’t see that in my file! I don’t know if I would have been reimbursed twice if I hadn’t said anything.”

— Martin Hugues, resident of Rimouski

According to Martin Hugues, he was then told that “platform issues” were to blame.

Duplicate payment

Isabelle Bouchard had paid for her registrations three weeks before her son’s driving test. But on the day of the exam, last August, her partner was told when he arrived at the SAAQ that the plates had not been paid for.

Proof of payment from the banking institution was not sufficient. We had to pay for the plates again. Due to lack of an appointment closer, the driving test took place two hours’ drive from the family residence on the North Shore. No question of turning back and trying to sort everything out before a new meeting. The plates were therefore paid for again.

“Afterwards, I called the SAAQ several times to try to resolve the payment problem, but I never managed to get through,” laments Ms. Bouchard. Attempts to contact the SAAQ are still unsuccessful. The banking institution through which the initial payment was made cannot do anything, since the money has already been paid to the SAAQ.

Recently, Isabelle Bouchard’s partner waited four times for more than an hour in the hope of speaking to an employee. The couple still does not know when they will be able to recover their payment of just over $150, made almost eight months ago. “It doesn’t stop me from eating,” notes Ms. Bouchard. But it’s still my money.”



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