TCC fee a cash grab
I’ve been getting passed by seven-year-olds in the slow lane at the Canada Games Aquatic Centre for more than a year now.
I tend to throw up a couple of bricks on the basketball court and then hammer out a few breaststrokes before hitting the showers.
Usually, I leave the Tournament Capital Centre feeling refreshed, despite the embarrassment.
Last week, though, I left with my Speedo in a knot.
A $15 administrative fee for a missed payment had me puffing furiously on my post-swim cigarette.
I lost my Visa in Vancouver a few weeks back.
I was at a bar and left it behind the counter (we’re being transparent here, right?).
It took me about a week to receive my new credit card — my automatic gym-membership payment to the City of Kamloops did not go through and my account was frozen.
No problem, I thought. I’ll just pay the 30-something dollars I owe the city this month with my new Visa, then polish my aggressive butterfly stroke and go home.
When the kind lady at the front desk threw out a dollar number in the 50s, that’s when my 1970s swimming goggles started to fog up.
Maybe I’m just a cheap Scotsman.
That might be true — but it’s also about the principle.
I’ve been a loyal TCC member for more than a year. I’ve never missed a payment.
It seemed a harsh penalty for an honest mistake, so I took my grievance up with the city.
The very-accomodating city employee I spoke with said the $15 penalty is a credit-card administration fee.
What does that mean? It’s a man-hours thing, I was told.
I said the fee might be a turn-off to customers — because it was to me — and asked if the city employee agreed.
The response: “I do but, equally, we have a responsibility to the taxpayers, of which you are one, and so is this as a business.”
To me, it seems like a cash grab.
Does it really cost $15-worth of man hours for someone to smash a few buttons on the keyboard, or run my new Visa through the debit machine?
I doubt it.
Surely the task can be accomplished during a TCC employee’s regular shift hours.
Granted, I should have called the TCC when I lost my Visa — that was my mistake.
But, it was the first time it happened and it was an innocent error. I simply forgot.
Let’s make one thing clear — I don’t want my money back.
(Shortly after I finished writing this column, I received an email saying I would be refunded the $15 because the contract I signed — an older contract — never mentioned the fee. I sincerely appreciate the gesture, all jokes aside.)
Getting my money back is not what this is about, though.
It’s not about me proving to the great citizens of Kamloops what a humanitarian I am, either.
I think most people can relate to the feeling of knowing you’re being ripped off and not being able to do anything about it — that’s what it’s about.
If there is a new contract that does mention the discredited credit-card penalty, it should be amended.
The TCC powers-that-be should devise a system in which members receive a phone call or an email asking them to pay their regular dues now or pay extra later.
Or, if that’s not doable, what about a one-time grace clause?
That way, we could save city staff from the supposedly painstaking duty of the dreaded credit-card administration-fee task — and consequently save gymgoers $15.
I know the city values its TCC patrons.
The facility is awesome and I don’t plan on nixing my membership just yet.
That being said, I think the fee is ridiculous and something should be done about it.