Sat | Mar 24, 2018

Letter of the Day | Scammed by TAJ

Published:Tuesday | February 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMDamian Shirley


I have been scammed out of my hard-earned money by using the Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ) online system.

I received a traffic ticket in January 2017. Acknowledging that I was at fault, I accepted the ticket and agreed to pay. When seeing the length of the line in the tax office, I proceeded to use the much-advertised TAJ online system to pay for my traffic violation.

After setting up my account, entering the information (ticket and banking) and clicking 'pay', I got an error message. I did this a second time and again got the same message. I then went to my account online and realised that the payment to TAJ had been held. The following occurred:

1. I went to the tax office and spoke to a representative, who informed me that I was lucky to have got past the stage where the ticket number was to be entered, as the system was not working properly, and advised that I called customer care.

2. I made three calls to customer care personnel, who informed me that they were not seeing the said payment (though reflected on my account as being transferred to the Inland Revenue, 0000203) and I should pay the ticket again and send an email to them and, if they locate the payment, it would be sent back.

3. I went back to the tax office and checks were made, and I was again advised that I should pay the ticket a second time.

Now, the tax office was aware that the system was not working properly and instead of shutting it down until it had been rectified, they invited customers to avoid the long lines and use their online system. I have, therefore:

- Spent hundreds of dollars talking to their customer care representatives.

- Spent hundreds of dollars paying the Urban Development Corporation for parking to visit the tax office in an attempt at having the problem rectified.

- Spent hundreds of dollars in gas travelling to the tax office several times.

- Been charged by Bank of Nova Scotia for using its online system to make payment.

- Been forced to pay a traffic ticket TWICE!

I hasten to add that I appreciate the assistance of two persons at the King Street Inland Revenue Department and one person at the Port Antonio Inland Revenue Department (where I also tried to have the issue rectified on one of my trips to Portland), who were very courteous. I, however, felt that much more could have been done.

I would have felt better being scammed by a common thief than by the Government, which should be protecting me!