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Phantom debt

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Revenue Services of BC

For several years, Ali had been receiving collection notices and telephone calls from Revenue Services of BC (RSBC) demanding payment of Medical Services Plan (MSP) premiums.

Ali, whose first language was not English, enlisted the help of her son, Trevor. Trevor called RSBC to inquire. As a senior relying on an old age security pension, Ali was eligible for premium assistance. How could she possibly owe anything for unpaid premiums?

When Trevor reached RSBC staff to address the issue they assured him there was nothing for Ali to worry about; she did not owe an MSP premium debt. Nonetheless, the collection notices continued to arrive until, finally, Ali learned that her income tax refund would be directed to the province as payment toward Ali’s debt. At a loss, Trevor contacted us and we investigated.

It turned out that Ali’s contact information was mistakenly entered on the file of another person. As a result of our investigation, the ministry corrected their error and wrote a letter to Ali confirming that she had no debt. Furthermore, the ministry apologized to both Ali and Trevor, recognizing the lengths the two went trying to resolve the matter.

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