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Perry Jensen took out a mortgage with PC Financial back in 1998. His ex-wife worked at Loblaw’s (the parent company).
He collected PC points with each mortgage payment. He also carried a PC Plus card to collect points while shopping.
A Loblaw’s employee broke the card 10 years ago. It was in poor shape after being carried in a wallet in his back pocket, Jensen admits.
“I never bothered to get a new card. I’m not desperate for shopping cash and it was a hassle. I figured the points would just continue to build up,” he told me.
When he sold the house and closed his mortgage last fall, he decided to find out how many points he had collected. That turned into a long journey.
Eventually, he reached a person who said that another account had gained access to his PC points and used them.
When he wrote to PC Financial, he was asked six identifying questions and answered five correctly. He didn’t recall the email address he had when enrolling in the program.
“I pointed out the absurdity of needing to provide an email address I haven’t used in more than 15 years,” he said, “when PC Financial had all the information it would need, tied to the mortgage I had been paying for almost 20 years.”
After having no reply since February, he asked me to help him find the lost points.
PC Financial spokesperson Lana Gogas said the complaint had been sent to CIBC (which handles its mortgage operations). That was the wrong destination and caused a delay.
“Please pass along my apologies to Perry. I will ensure this gets resolved ASAP,” Gogas said.
A day later, he learned he was getting a new card to give him access to his points – all 1.87 million of them.
“Not sure what that’s worth in real money, but I think my groceries are covered for a while,” Jensen said. “I may be able to afford a better class of gruel this year.”
Financial institutions usually won’t talk about fraud. While not disclosing details, Gogas said resolving the case took longer than what was considered acceptable, but in the end, PC Financial was able to resolve the issue for its customer.
Her advice: If you have a PC Plus card that is broken or lost, you are encouraged to get a new one at any store or download the app to your mobile device.
Here are other banking complaints – two about travel and one about insurance – that I helped resolve.
Xavier Wynn-Williams paid $ 1,700 on his BMO World Elite MasterCard for a Hertz rental car to pick up at a New Zealand airport. BMO assured him the car would fit five to six people comfortably for three weeks.
After 35 hours on a plane, he was offered a subcompact Australian-made car that was too small for his family. He returned to the counter and agreed to a larger Toyota Rav4, figuring he would settle later.
Charged $ 320 for a forced upgrade, Wynn-Williams failed to get a refund. But when I contacted BMO, “we resolved the matter to his satisfaction,” said spokesman Ralph Marranca. “Thanks for reaching out to us.”
Glenn Gundermann received an email about a 25-hour sale by TD for Expedia. After trying to use his coupon 12 hours later, he was told it could not be used for a $ 3,500 booking he made for airfare and hotels.
“I went ahead and booked anyway. I should have saved a minimum of $ 650. The email did not say while supplies last,” he said, sending me a copy.
TD issued a $ 200 credit, which he called “piddly.” After I contacted spokesperson Cheryl Ficker, the customer received a credit for the full amount he had expected to be discounted.
“We have made refinements to the wording of TD for Expedia offers to be more clear when there is limited availability and/or limited time to take advantage of the offer,” Ficker said.
Brad Savelli asked for help with his mother’s life insurance policy with CIBC. Starting in 1997, she had paid a monthly premium of $ 141.16. She’s now 94 and lives in a long-term care home with dementia.
“My mom has paid a total of $ 33,878 for a $ 25,000 policy. She’s paid 36 per cent more toward that policy than the face amount,” he said.
CIBC spokesperson Caroline Van Hasselt said the complaint had been settled to Savelli’s satisfaction. He signed a non-disclosure agreement, but confirmed that he was happy with the outcome.
“In cases where a policyholder enjoys a long life beyond the average life expectancy of most Canadians, they may find they have paid more in insurance premiums than they planned for,” CIBC Life Insurance Co. said. “It is important for clients to assess their insurance needs on a regular basis.”
In other words, it’s your job not to pay more than the face value of a policy. Despite their caring talk, banks will let you overpay for life insurance until you catch the problem on your own.
Ellen Roseman appears in Smart Money (firstname.lastname@example.org ).