Raising the BARR – Week ending 20 April 2018

Raising the Barr

A Story About Your CTP Refund That You Won’t Believe

You may or may not have heard that you might be entitled to a part-refund on your CTP for the past 12 months. This has come about because the Government changed the laws to offer less coverage for those that get injured. This is good news for people that don’t get injured, because their insurance goes down (temporarily) but it is very bad news for people that actually do get injured because you won’t be able to access the treatment and money that you need to recover while injured and unable to work. But this is just background to the story that you are about to read.

To manage the refund process, it would have been the easiest thing in the world for the insurance company to simply send you a cheque. They know who you are, where you live and how much you should be getting. It would have been a very simple straight forward mail-out.

But that easy process just wasn’t good enough for the Government. No no no! You see they changed the laws and they wanted the thanks, the kudos, the recognition for the refund. So they decided that the refunds would have to go through them, so that when the refund was received it had the Government letterhead and signature, not that of your insurance company.

OK you might think. That’s a little bit petty and self-indulgent, but, OK. Well is it OK? Because for you, the consumer, it gets worse. You see, the Government decided that they would charge a $10 handling fee on the way through, to pay for their efforts in congratulating themselves (your insurance company would never have gotten away with this $10 charge!). And further to this, the Government decided that if the refund, before their handling fee was deducted was $20 or less, that you wouldn’t get anything because it was just too much effort and too little reward – so the Government would keep the entire amount.

By now you might be starting to get a little bit angry at the Government, but the story isn’t over yet. The Government, just like the insurance company, know who you are and how much refund you should be getting, but they are not going to send the money directly to you. Instead, you have to apply. You have to apply to get the money owed to you, minus the $10 fee. People have reported various ease/complexity in registering online for the refund with some saying it took 20-30 minutes and others saying it took over an hour. The application process is a complete farce, completely unnecessary and a ridiculous barrier between you and your money.

The purpose of the application process and registration is simple – it is to discourage people from asking for the refund. Why? Because the Government already have the money from the insurance companies, so any unclaimed money stays in their sweaty little palms. For this same reason, the Government is doing as little as it can to advertise your right to a refund. And one last insult to you; when you get your refund, the invoice on Government letterhead will make absolutely zero mention of the $10 administration fee that they have charged. If you hadn’t read this column, you wouldn’t even know that you were being fleeced.