Monday, May 21, 2007

My Car, My Hassles (Part 3)

So, where were we?

The new car I bought is still in Nova Scotia. I am in Ontario. I am trying to register the car. I am not actually any farther along than I was in last week's episode due to the gross incompetence of certain government workers (with the one possible exception of buck-passing. That seems to be a core-competency. They're quite good at that.)

Edgar is still dead. Milo has a hole in his head.

I had been sent through various levels of the MTO, then to The Ontario Ministry of Finance, then to the Nova Scotia Department of Finance and back to the MTO in a futile attempt to get my Nova Scotia tax money back.

On my second call to the Registry in Ontario I was told to call the Ministry of Finance. At this point my blood started to boil. I told them "I already called them. They sent me to the Nova Scotia Department of Finance, who told me to call you. They told me if I bought a car in Ontario and registered in in Nova Scotia, Nova Scotia could get the tax from Ontario without me having to do anything. They suspected, as do I, that it wouldn't be any different to do things in reverse. I mean, why would it only work one way? Why would Nova Scotia work out that deal with Ontario, only to have Ontario not work out a similar deal with Nova Scotia?"

"I don't know anything about that. You'll have to talk to the Ontario Ministry of Finance about that."


So, I check the interweb. Somewhere on the MTO website there was something about calling the CRA. So I called them. Getting hold of them was a task in and of itself. The number I was calling was busy. Usually call centers don't give busy signals, they answer and put you in a queue. So this made me wonder if I was calling the right number. I called around different CRA numbers until I finally got someone working in the Child Benefit program. I was given a different number to call, which I did, then got transfered elsewhere. The person I got talked to had to pass me to her supervisor, so was able to help. He sent me to an online form that I had to print out and send to Charlottetown, PEI with my original Bill of Sale, not a copy, with no guarantee of them returning it. But I needed the Bill of Sale to register the car.

I asked her why a copy would not do. She said that way people wouldn't keep sending in copies to get tax returns for the same purchases. I asked why they didn't keep track of purchases somehow, like with cars, a VIN? Receipts are easy enough to fake with today's technology, surely they could think of a better way to prevent fraud than to make people give up original receipts. I suggested that policy be changed. She told me to write my local MP as the policy was written into law.

It then occurred to me that a problem with doing business with governments is that policies are often times written into law, so they have to followed, even when they make no sense. At least, in the private sector if a policy doesn't make sense, exceptions can be made.

(If I were prime minister, the first law I would try to have passed is that no policy or law would be enforceable unless the reasons for that policy or law were readily available.)

So, I didn't fill out the form right away for two reasons. First, I would do that when I was sure I wouldn't need the Bill of Sale anymore (after I registered the car) and second, the printer wasn't working.

In the meantime I had gotten the car insured, and my dad had driven the car up to Ontario for me, and I gave him his car back. I had been told by the MTO head office that the trip permit given to me by the dealership in Nova Scotia would be legal, so I didn't bother getting an Ontario Trip permit.

And, again I see this post is getting too long, so I'll have leave you hanging here. So join me next week, same car day, same car blog.

No comments: