Province hires U.S. company to robocall Albertans regarding vehicle registration notices
The Notley government’s decision to scrap vehicle licence and registration renewal notices sent via Canada Post in April of this year continues to draw the ire of Albertans facing hefty fines for expired tags or driver’s licences.
Now, nearly five months after the conclusion of mailed notices, the province is attempting to reduce the number of drivers caught unaware by notifying the registered owner of the change by phone with an automated message.
The following is a transcription of the automated call:
“You will no longer be receiving renewal reminders for vehicle registrations, driver’s licences and i.d. cards in the mail. You can now choose from a variety of electronic reminders or mark the renewal dates on your calendar. Setup your electronic reminders at a registry agent, A.M.A. or at eservices.alberta.ca. Persons with disabilities will continue to receive reminders in the mail. Those over the age of 70 will receive mail reminders until April 1, 2017. For more information call 1-877-770-4636 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is a message from the Government of Alberta.
The ‘robocalls’ originate from a phone number with a generic 1-877 prefix and CTV has confirmed the provincial government hired a U.S. based company to notify Albertans.
In response to CTV Calgary’s inquiries, government officials state the call centre was the only company that met all necessary requirements and was also the cheapest.
For some Albertans, the government’s attempt at damage control comes as little consolation as they’ve already received tickets for driving with an expired licence plate. The accompanying fine for the infraction is roughly $310.
Earlier this year, the province announced the removal of mail-out notices would save $3 million a year. Albertans were notified of the service change through radio advertisements with little fanfare or publicity.
Calgarian Jorge Vargas visited a registry on Wednesday to renew his vehicle following a recent traffic stop. “I was driving and a police officer stopped me and he told me ‘You are expired. You have to pay your registration again’. “
Vargas says he had no idea his registration was due as he had not received his annual letter from the government and is thankful the officer chose to let him go with a warning. “I was lucky.”
Not all Albertans have been as fortunate as Vargas.
Joan Graff, manager at Calgary Registry Services, says customers are entering the business on a daily basis to pay fines for expired licences or registrations.
“They’re upset,” explained Graff. “They didn’t feel like they got enough notice.”
According to the province, 2.5 million Albertans will receive the robocall regarding the removal of mail registration renewal notices.
With files from CTV's Kathy Le