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Never Take the Phone Word of the BUREAUCRACY

by Gerald S.Peter
(Calgary, AB, CANADA)

I called the RIV.CA 1-800 number, not knowing of the Internet site and, at the advice of my local AMA(AAA) office, to check on the status of a 1997 DODGE RAM 3500 "XPLORER" VAN.

I even spelled out the manufacture's name X P L O R E R. However the "dip" at RIV, after some searching, advised: "Yes the van is ADMISSIBLE" and quoted the 1997 DODGE RAM 3500 EXPLORER VAN as admissible.

I then, having been advised that the van I was inquiring about was admissible, made a bid on the Ebay advertised unit. I was successful.

I flew to CHICAGO and purchased the van, and crossed the border and told the Cdn Border Service that I had checked and the van was admissable under Clause 5 and 6 of the MOTOR VEHICLE SAFETY ACT.I paid the excise and GST on the purchase price and drove to Calgary.

I took the van to have an out-of-province safety inspection and, only when I applied online, as advised by the Canadian Border clerk of the RIV.CA, to pay the $205 inspection fee and filled in the identical data that I had on the FORM 1 at the border was I shocked to learn the vehicle was inadmissible.

I have had the unregisterable van in my driveway since Jan 14th and made appeals to the DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT with the details of every event in the sequence chronilogically to date.

The initial query to RIV on the phone was taped and there is proof that I did spell out the correct ID of the van, but RIV were adament that the van was inadmissible, and that I should take it back to the US or wait 'til 2012 when it would be admissible under the 15 year term of the Act.

I did receive a phone call from the office of the local MP for my constituency. He stated that my letter had been forwarded to the MINISTER, and that I would be receiving direction from the Minister in a "couple of weeks". That was 3 weeks ago.

The letter I sent; (all REGISTERED MAIL) to the PRIME MINISTER, the MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, and the Head of REGISTRY OF IMPORTED VEHICLES. All with copies of all documents from TITLE TO PROOF OF INSURANCE faxed to the dealer on the day of purchase, the FORM 1, the OOP INSPECTION FORM, all stating the correct ID of the VEHICLE .

Thus, from the above, you can see that the RED TAPE and BUREAUCRACY are not tuned to what the purpose of RIV is.. IT seems to me that they are there to PREVENT vehicles from entering Canada. Even when they were brought in due to their error. I think that is what is sticking in the RIVs craw.

I have gone to a lot of expense on their VERBAL OK, and when I spoke with TRANSPORT CANADA, they made statements that I learn are not true. They said to take it back to the USA and register it there. I find that to be virtually impossible.

They say take it to the US and sell it. No mention that I have put out THOUSANDS of DOLLARS in travelling to CHICAGO to buy the van and transport it to CANADA and do some brake and rear seal work to get it PROVINCE SAFETY APPROVED and now they want me to go to the US and get accommodation and wait for someone to buy it or consign it at a commission expense, after paying to deliver it to a major center for resale.

All that for 20 months of the duration to when the inadmissibility will expire. I assume that the van will be SAFER in 20 months. ALSO this identical vehicle can be driven across the border by a US CITIZEN for a temporary term of up to one year with no concern about "SAFETY".

I am hoping for some MINISTERIAL DISCRETION. I am pleading for the VAN to be deemed 1995. I have been treated as though I smuggled this van into CANADA and lied and connived to import an inadmissible vehicle. No one in the RIV or TRANSPORT CANADA wants to concede that they are the ones that made the error and they do not want to accept any accountability for such.

Their main vocative direction is GET THAT VAN BACK TO THE US. and thus their "MISTAKE" will be negated and all will be fine. I said to them I will not do anything with this van unless it is in writing. I want documentation of what kind of treatment you get when you are lead into the jaws of the bureaucracy and they dig in there heels and quote the ACT.


P.S. Comment back if you like. I would appreciate feedback too, since all I get from the govt is shuffling and callous cold shoulder

Comments for Never Take the Phone Word of the BUREAUCRACY

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Aug 15, 2015
Loop hole for dealers
by: Alicia

Some manufactures do not add their vehicles list in order to protect the Canadian dealers I ran into this with a Vespa motorcycle . It is the exact same bike sold in Canada . By not providing a letter verifying that, the manufacturer effectively blocks import into Canada . That way Canadian dealers can charge significantly more for the same unit in Canada .

Sep 21, 2010
You Should E-Mail Them All and Threaten to Sue!
by: Andy M.

It works for me!

Sep 21, 2010
ACharmer, Your, Point, is, Valid,
by: Lester D.

Believe , me, on this, the RIV.CA makes, things, as, difficult, as, they, can, on, the player, and van importer,

We, need, to discuss this issue, together, over a hot cup, of coffee, and a good smoke, in the Paddock Room,

Sep 21, 2010

Well if you want further evidence of the incompetency of the RIV.CA, let me just update you on the recent events. As I have said, on February 22, 2010 I mailed "REGISTERED LETTERS" to the MINISTER OF TRANSPORT, the PRIME MINISTER (my constituency rep) and the manager of the Registration of Imported Vehicles. I presented in the most accurate and truthful account of what had happened and how I have ended up with an INADMISSIBLE VEHICLE . I received no acknowledgement or response. On July 9th,2010, I sent a follow up letter asking for some reply to my request for discretion and a review of the status of my FORM 1 application and case number.

I had to Sept 14th received no communication, and when checking the online status with noted that the status was INADMISSIBLE but there was a foot note to call the 1 800 number to check on the status. I called on the phone and asked when I might receive a response to my letters.. The representative said .. there are no letters on your file at all. REGISTERED MAIL sent to RIV.CA with the case number in the REFERENCE and never made it to the file. Does that not look suspicious? Why are not those letters on file? Make you own supposition. The rep told me to email the letters and I sent them the next day. I got a phone call a couple days later that the status of the vehicle is INADMISSIBLE and that I will have to EXPORT that vehicle. I said. well would you please send me a hard copy of a letter documenting that decision and have is signed by some authority at RIV.CA. She asked if EMAIL would be sufficient. I say not that anything verbal or email that I have received from RIV.CA has been totally inaccurate or misleading. I want it in writing. And I will still appeal to the MINISTER OF TRANSPORT. Since as the RIV.CA has said. We cannot change the regulations only enforce them. Thus they cannot make any concessions for their own mistakes.

Just what conclusions can I draw from this treatment. They do not want to face the facts and cover up all notices of their errors under the carpet and put testy situations on the very back burner. HOW DO I GET JUSTICE and the assistance of a impartial ombudsman.

As was quoted to me by a rep of TRANSPORT CANADA. I AM HOOPED..

Sep 01, 2010
It's not about safety it's about control
by: Anonymous

I agree with everything that is said because I have had my own experience with importing an MZ motorcycle but I had gone to CBSA and they didn't advise me that I needed to go to RIV to see if it was admissable.

My motorcycle wasn't on their list but the importation says as long as it is registered in the USA and meets the USA manufacturing requirements and has the sticker indicating that it does it is importable into Canada. Not true. It must be on RIV's list.

It's not about safety at all it's only about control. The Federal Government is baby sitting us to make sure we all conform. If they are truly concerned about the safety on our highways how can a vehicle be anymore safe once it reaches the 15 year age?

Our roads have vehicles from other countries driven by tourists that we aren't allowed to drive on ours. Where's the logic in that? We have vehicles being imported from Europe because they are 15 years or older with the drivers side being on the wrong side of the vehicle. Our roads aren't designed for right hand steering wheels.

Importing vehicles should be based on a mechanical inspection period. If they pass inspection than they should be deemed admissable. Where is the freedom of choice? I favor the USA's position on importation.

May 10, 2010
I See Your Point.
by: Marianne

I do see your point and don't disagree with your arguments AT ALL.

I mentioned that tax analogy only to make the point of "our government departments not being liable for mistakes made by their employees." The lawyer speaking on that CBC program also did say that a good tax lawyer can often negotiate a compromise if there's clear proof that the person was acting in good faith. THAT'S probably a better comparison in your situation. I hope you don't need to hire a lawyer, though.

I'd love to know, as I'm sure my readers would too, how it all turns out. Please do let us know.

May 06, 2010
by: Gerry

Well Marianne, it has been a torturous route to this point, and I brought the van into CANADA on DEC 28, with no concept of the problems that would unfold.

Your analogy with the presence of this van in CANADA and being inadmissible and that of someone being mislead about what the government wanted in tax payment is stretched.. If you have a debt with REVENUE CANADA, it is a sum determined by a tax on income, and an amount owing, regardless of the errors made.

My van is here due to an error in communication, and if I were a US CITIZEN this van could be here in CANADA legally,even if for a temp.
period. If this van were 15 years old, it could be here legally. If I were a student from another country with a student visa this van could be here legally. So in each of those instances, an identical van would be allowed. By comparison an unpaid balance on your taxes would not be legal in any circumstance, regardless of a government error.

Marianne, I have another couple paragraphs to rely, but 300 chars did me in

May 06, 2010
What a nightmare for you!
by: Marianne

Wow, Gerry, that does sound like you've been through a nightmare!

I presume, by now, you have looked up the information yourself and discovered that the van wasn't, in fact, on the list of admissible vehicles.

I commend you for being wise enough to record the phone call with RIV and for taking the steps to involve your member of parliament.

While I hope you will hear back and get some "ministerial discretion," as you call it, I hate to say that I'm doubtful you'll be given an exception or a "free pass". The reason I say this is because of an interview with a lawyer on CBC Radio just last week. It was about Income Tax law, but I think the answer he gave would hold in any government department. He effectively said that the government is not held liable for an error made by one of it's employees. (In this case, being given wrong information, didn't let someone off the hook for paying their income tax or penalties.)

I'm not saying you should give up - on the contrary, if you've been promised an answer by your member of parliament, press until you get one. But, I think you may want to think about your options, if you don't get a positive resolution.

Can you just re-list the van on E-Bay, and sell it to a US resident? It should be in better shape than when you bought it, having brake work done, you could hopefully recoup most of your initial investment (minus the airfare expense).

The other option, like you said, is to wait until 2012 to register it. (On the positive side, at least that's less than 2 years away.)

And, lastly Gerry, while I don't want to sound unsympathetic, it would seem that you KNEW that there are certain makes of vehicle that aren't admissible - that's why you called RIV in the first place. Taking the word of that one employee over the phone and then just moving ahead with spending thousands of dollars was a bit risky, don't you think? And then, why would you record the call? You must have had some suspicion about this.

I think the title you gave for your comment says it all: "Never take the phone word of the BUREAUCRACY." - A good lesson for us all - sorry you had to learn it the hard way.


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