Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Need Help From Revenue Canada? Forget It!

Have you ever tried to reach Revenue Canada?  They provide a phone number for you to call if you have questions. The problem is they don't provide enough people to answer it, or sufficient lines to handle the incoming calls.

Recently they sent out a mailing saying that an additional amount was owed, but the reason why made no sense at all.  The phone call was made, to 1-800-959-8281 and made and made, more times than I can remember, but the line was always busy. Always.

I know tax season is a busy time of year, but last year I had another question that wasn't so urgent, so I waited until summer to contact them. Then, instead of a busy signal, the line just rang and rang. I tried at different times of day for several days and never did get anyone to answer that darn phone.

It's bad enough to be put on hold for extended periods of time, but it's far worse not to be able to connect at all. There is a definite flaw in this system, and I have not even found a way to let them know about it.

I looked online for an alternative way to reach these people. Believe me, even finding that is not easy. The Canadian Revenue Agency has every roadblock covered, so they can protect themselves from irate people who may try to interrupt their workday with their questions.  The phone number they give is useless.  Actually, the number is listed as being available from mid-Feb to April 30,  But when they send you the tax assessment papers, the same number is listed on those, and "available" is not a word I'd use

 Altenate ways, such as e-mail and call back services, are listed as having not enough interest to warrant their existence. How do they know that when the only people they ever hear from are the ones lucky enough to win the phone number lottery and actually get through to them.  There are a great number of people, like me, who simply cannot make contact with them at all. It's like they are saying, "Just shut up and pay me!"  In the end, that's basically what we did, but only because we know that they will add interest to the unexplained charge, much like adding an insult to injury.

This is not the first year this problem has existed, and I doubt it will be the last. For Revenue Canada, this system is working just fine. The complainers can't get through.



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