Wednesday, 20 July 2016 11:24

New vehicle registration system unwieldy, confusing and unfair

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In late June, I suddenly woke up in the night with the horrible thought that my registration will expire on June 30. I hadn’t received anything in the mail and or the email reminder I had requested.
Not long after I decided to go online to pay for my renewal rather than go into a registry office.
On the Alberta Registries website I was offered two choices: Renewal for this year only or set up an annual renewal process. I decided to do this year only as there are so many factors that can change within a year (change of vehicle, change of credit cards, etc.).
When I pushed the ‘submit’ button I was horrified to see a message printed in red at the bottom of the receipt. It stated that it could take up to 72 hours to process the payment and up to 10 days to mail out the stickers and documentation. Within minutes the same message arrived on a government email that also showed payment had been approved.
Now there are several problems with this:
1. I was leaving for Saskatchewan on June 28 and the stickers would likely not have arrived by then.
2. I called Alberta Registries, the Medicine Hat Police Service, AMA and another registry office, all of whom indicated the receipt would not be enough to satisfy police if I was stopped without new stickers on my plate.
3. AMA apparently has a block for annual renewals that prevent online purchase after the 15th of the month in which the stickers expire, but the Alberta government does not have a block if you are only purchasing the current year.
4. I was told that I can purchase replacement stickers here in the city for an additional cost of $22.45 and then throw out the ones that arrive by mail. However, the ones that expire in 2017 haven’t been processed yet and therefore not available.
5. Alberta Registries told me I should have renewed three weeks ahead of the expiry date. How would I know that? (What if some Albertans can’t afford to give the government their money that far in advance?)
6. I could pay an additional $84.45 today and get the updated stickers, but then I would have to try to get a refund for the $84.45 that I paid online.
7. No one seems to know how to deal with this problem. There is new policy, technological interface and a population that doesn’t seem to understand what is required or how to correct difficulties.
8. When I asked if I would be reminded about my renewal date for my operator’s licence I was told, “We don’t know.”
This whole thing was a total waste of time and provided a great deal of frustration in my already busy week. I have been wondering how many people in the province don’t have a computer, a way of reminding themselves or stamina to handle this new way of doing things.
Seems to me the government will not only save more than $3 million with the new system, but also see increased revenue from traffic fines levied for people “forget” or “paid at the wrong time.”
Linda Hancock, Medicine Hat, Alta.

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