I’ve decided to write about my experience with the home buyers plan in the hopes to give additional information to anyone who will soon be requesting their retirement plan to transfer into a home buyers plan and hopefully cut some of the confusion out of the process.
First thing that should be told is that the RRSP in question wasn’t with banks, but financial institution that also do other forms of insurance.
Why make things easy when you can make them complicated.
The client who is requesting to use the Home Buyer Plan is not a financial guru who does this every day. It’s a client who has no clue how the system works and is calling their financial institution hoping that they will guide her/him through the process.
“No problem, we will send you the form. Simply fill it out and send it back.”
Well, that’s sound easy. The form arrives minutes later. This is great! Everything is working out smoothly. We fill it out and we are ready to send it back.
Nowhere does it say where to send it in. Call the financial institution back. They give me a fax number, but then says that I need to add all kind of information on the top of the page that is not asked for in the form or the email of the first customer service representative who sent me the form and tells me I void cheque of the bank account I want the money deposited into, even if the form asks all the necessary information for a deposit. No problem, I can do that. I just wished I had received all the information the first time I called.
Add the information, include a cheque. Get refused, the cheque is in my husband name, not mine. I get told by email that I need a cheque that shows my name. The cheque with both our names are in the mail, but could take 10 to 20 days to arrive, which is passed the deadline. The bank can print a few cheques, but without our names.
I call the financial institution to find out if that would be accepted. I get told no, but you can print a direct deposit form and get it stamped by the bank. That will work. Fine, no problem, but why not tell me that the first time I called. Now, we’ve wasted a week and we have a deadline to meet with the notary for the deposit on the home.
The poor customer service guy, who wasn’t the one I spoke to the first or second time, didn’t understand why I wasn’t given the information either. He did tell me to call the service line 2 days after faxing them, to confirm reception and there is no other technical issues with the request.
We went to the bank and found out that they don’t use direct deposit forms anymore, but can make us a full page specimen form. I sent it in to the financial institution in charge of my retirement plan hoping it will work. At this point I had very little hope left.
So I called the company to follow up on the request. I learned that they refused the full page specimen form and were asking for real cheques (which we will get past the down payment deadline or the direct deposit form with a stamp that the bank no longer do). After much arguing with the representative, I won my case. They accepted the full page specimen form and put a rush on the deposit.
A few days pass and the money is still missing from the account. I call back for a followup. We have 3 days before we meet with the Notary. We started this process 1 month prior. Guess what?! It was refused again, because the referral number the last customer service guy gave me was not on the original home buyer plan form that I had sent in. Are you kidding me?! Why is it that no one ever calls to let the client know something is awry??? The new person I spoke to, because it’s always a new person you speak to, said he will reopen my case and make sure they don’t process it as a new request, because it would mean I would get the money in the middle of next week which is too late. Now I have to wait and trust (yep, trust, after all of this) that everything will be okay. I’m to call back only Friday to make sure everything was accepted. I am mad as hell.
The financial company should call the clients once they receive the forms and do a once over to make sure everything is good. We call this good business. The financial company failed to call me every time they did find something wrong. My case just sat in a pile of incomplete requests. There is a total lack of service there especially since it’s a Home Buyer’s Plan and the client only do this once in your life.
Later that evening the customer service representative contacted me to confirm the amount I needed deposited in my account. There was some confusing with all of the back and forth and he wanted to make sure that everything was on track. I was relieved and really happy.
The next morning, we checked the account and the money was deposited. The wrong amount. I couldn’t believe it. I burst into tears at that point. I called back and the new person I spoke to explained that there was confusion due to the amount of forms they received. Are you kidding me? You are the one who kept asking me to send the documents all over again every time we spoke?! And guess what, they asked that I send the forms again and they will try to get it through by tomorrow. I don’t want to swear, but the “bleep” deadline is tomorrow. Will our dreams of home ownership actually come true?
Well, all is well, the missing money was finally deposited in the account at the last minute.
Seriously stressful process. From what I hear, it’s much simpler when your RRSP is with a bank, so if you have a choice, you know what to do.