A Toronto woman is calling out the Ontario government after she says the cheque for her licence plate sticker refund bounced, and she hasn’t been issued another one.
Jill Lubinski received her refund cheque in the mail at the end of April and deposited it into her Scotiabank account using the mobile app on her phone.
A week later, she received a photocopy of the cheque in the mail with a letter explaining that it couldn’t be deposited. She went to the bank to resolve the issue, and says she was told they couldn’t help her.
“They said they’re very sorry, but they can’t redeposit a cheque that has been returned,” Lubinski said.
She said the reason listed on the returned cheque was “other.”
“And in capital letters there’s a code which says I-M-N-U … and my bank had no idea what that meant,” Lubinski said.
Lubinski said the bank told her they had other depositors with the same problem, and provided her with a government phone number, which she called.
“[The operator] had my details, she knew my licence plate number,” Lubinski said. “And she said that she would issue another check and it would come in the mail.”
Cheque still hasn’t arrived
Weeks later, after multiple attempts to follow-up, Lubinski said the second cheque still hasn’t arrived in the mail.
She said she called the same phone number she called the first time, but was then referred to another phone number where there is no option to speak to an operator.
“You can’t speak with anyone,” Lubinski said. “Clearly … that number I was using had been inundated and they needed to do something … to forward all of this traffic to another number.”
“I don’t think the optics are great and I think it’s in the government’s interest to follow through on a promise.”
Trenton, Ont. resident Taran Schubert, 28, is in the same boat as Lubinski.
Schubert said he successfully deposited his $240 refund cheque using the Scotiabank app on his phone, but the funds were taken from his account a few days later citing an unreadable picture as the reason.
He went to the bank to deposit the cheque, and was told to contact the ministry if it bounced.
“It pretty much immediately bounced,” Schubert said.
He said his attempts to speak to anyone have been unsuccessful.
“I’ve tried calling a couple different numbers, but so far have only gotten automated messages that don’t give me an option to speak to anyone,” Schubert said.
“So I’m kind of stuck in terms of next steps.”
Over 6M cheques deposited
A representative for the ministry of Government and Consumer Services told CBC News that over seven million refund cheques have been issued, and over six million have been deposited.
“The government will be issuing replacement cheques in cases where people have contacted ServiceOntario with cheque deposit concerns. As of May 25, this amounts to approximately 2,150 cases… where cheque image scans were found to be illegible or corrupted,” spokesperson Praveen Senthinathan said.
Senthinathan added that the cases amount to 0.03 per cent of the total cheques issued, a proportion “well within what’s expected for processing any cheques and not unique to government-issued cheques.”
Anyone who is having difficulty depositing their cheque should contact ServiceOntario’s dedicated line at 1-888-333-0049, Senthinathan said.
Lubinski said while she waits to receive her second cheque in the mail, she tried to deposit the first cheque at a different bank to see if that solves the problem.
She’s still waiting to see if the cheque goes through.
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