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Achieva Nightmare: Holding my savings hostage for 5 years!!
March 25, 2015
6:33 am
Stan
Toronto
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When a TFSA GIC came due in Jan 2015, without my authorization, and in fact against my specific instructions in the past, they have virtually stolen $5900 from my savings account and placed it in a 5 year GIC. When asked them to rectify this, Achieva refuses, confirming they intend to hold my savings hostage until 2020!

Hello Stan
Thank you for your secure message.
All Achieva Financial GIC are set to automatically compound and renew unless you tell us your instructions prior to maturity as noted in our terms and conditions. We were not notified of any changes before the maturity date of this GIC, therefore your TFSA term renewed for another 5 years. The maturity date for this GIC is now January 5 2020.
Thank you,
Alyssa

March 25, 2015
9:24 am
Loonie
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Sorry to hear about your problem, Stan. A lot of financial institutions have provisions like this, probably most of them. You can't really argue with "Terms and Conditions".

You can plead though. It's not a huge amount of money from the point of view of a financial institution. I'm sure they have some flexibility if they want to exercise it. Rates at Achieva appear to have gone down twice since Jan, so it might be in their interests. On the plus side, if you don't absolutely need the money, the rate you have may look good compared to the next 5 years!

You could try going to the highest level in the organization and explain the hardship this will cause you as a member. You could perhaps offer a compromise, locking the money in for a shorter time. you will have to admit you did not pay close enough attention to the T&C, while also reminding them that you have never chosen rollover in the past.

If you really need the money and can't get it freed up, you could ask them for a loan at preferred terms.

You might also consider in future doing business with an institution that allows for early withdrawals, such as Outlook. On the bright side, Achieva is one of the few that doesn't charge a transfer-out fee, last time I looked (so far), so perhaps it will be easy to move your money elsewhere when the time comes.

March 25, 2015
9:59 am
Bill
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Stan, you say "without my authorization, and in fact against my specific instructions in the past". What had you instructed them to do with the January GIC (matured almost 3 months ago?)? When? How - verbally? As well, you can go into your account online and view or reset your maturity instructions at any time. Maybe you did not reset it from default of "on maturity renew for same term" or whatever their wording is - ??

March 25, 2015
10:17 am
kanaka
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Stan said

When a TFSA GIC came due in Jan 2015, without my authorization, and in fact against my specific instructions in the past, they have virtually stolen $5900 from my savings account and placed it in a 5 year GIC. When asked them to rectify this, Achieva refuses, confirming they intend to hold my savings hostage until 2020!

Hello Stan
Thank you for your secure message.
All Achieva Financial GIC are set to automatically compound and renew unless you tell us your instructions prior to maturity as noted in our terms and conditions. We were not notified of any changes before the maturity date of this GIC, therefore your TFSA term renewed for another 5 years. The maturity date for this GIC is now January 5 2020.
Thank you,
Alyssa

You mention specific instructions.......are instructions pertaining to that GIC? Perhaps you have proof? Perhaps you can email the CEO of Achieva.

Also as Loonie mentioned Outlook Financial (and Hubert) have an early redemption policy with penalty but in your case would have allowed you to dissolve the GIC that was renewed.

Any thing I do online I either snip, print or use a program using doPdf to capture all the entry in black and white and is filed. I also run an excel program with all my GIC information including maturity date and dates of interest due for GICs that pay annually. We also get one of those booklet calendars for our realtor that also reflects brief information for two reasons...1. To phone the institution. 2-3 weeks beforehand to confirm my wishes and 2. To confirm the expected deposit.

Outlook Fiancial has system issues that shows your exact input but once they input the GIC and you look online they all say they will be renewed at the same term at current rates.

Accelerate mails you a letter about a month before maturity.

March 25, 2015
11:07 am
Loonie
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I stand by what I said above but I also think the practice of auto-renewals is a questionable one. It primarily serves the needs of the institution by increasing the likelihood that they will get to keep and reinvest the money.
Some financial institutions ask you, when you take out the GIC, what you want done with it when it matures. Oaken does this, at least with non-reg'd funds. I think this is really the best way to handle it. This way, the investor has a clear choice and the institution can predict with a certain degree of certainty whether or not the money will be available to them to reinvest. The investor can always change their mind later, but most won't do so or will forget.
I really think that some rules around this should be legislated so that they are consistent and predictable, not a surprise.

March 25, 2015
11:18 am
kanaka
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Loonie said

I stand by what I said above but I also think the practice of auto-renewals is a questionable one. It primarily serves the needs of the institution by increasing the likelihood that they will get to keep and reinvest the money.
Some financial institutions ask you, when you take out the GIC, what you want done with it when it matures. Oaken does this, at least with non-reg'd funds. I think this is really the best way to handle it. This way, the investor has a clear choice and the institution can predict with a certain degree of certainty whether or not the money will be available to them to reinvest. The investor can always change their mind later, but most won't do so or will forget.
I really think that some rules around this should be legislated so that they are consistent and predictable, not a surprise.

I agree legislation on both transfer fees and process time limit and with regards of disposition of a GIC upon maturity. Even though I always confirm my wishes weeks before hand by phone......that in my mind can never be proved by me that the call ever happened......thus not fail safe. Perhaps by secure email or an online update by the customer.

I imagine Oaken will have an option to give disposition for registered funds as they plan to have RRSP RRIF and TFSA savings accounts in place in the future.

March 25, 2015
3:10 pm
Stan
Toronto
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Bill said
Stan, you say "without my authorization, and in fact against my specific instructions in the past". What had you instructed them to do with the January GIC (matured almost 3 months ago?)? When? How - verbally? As well, you can go into your account online and view or reset your maturity instructions at any time. Maybe you did not reset it from default of "on maturity renew for same term" or whatever their wording is - ??

Bill,
My specific instructions go back at least a couple years ago when Achieva pulled the same stunt on my wife. I instructed them email, secure email, and by phone, to NEVER do something like this again on our accounts. They refused to accept email via our usual email account. They would only accept instructions via their secure email system. But now, when I try to find the secure emails I had sent them, they have all been deleted.

When you say, "go into your account online and view or reset your maturity instructions at any time" While I may have done that in the past with regular GICs, but their website is totally screwed up, that "feature" on their website doesn't work for TFSA accounts. When I tried to utilize that "feature", although I have two GICs in my TFSA account, the website responded "You don't have any GICS", so I couldn't change anything!

So after the "screw-you" response from Achieva, I sent the complaint on to Cambrian CU, the parent company: ccuinfo@cambrian.mb.ca;

And also the Manitoba Governmental department responsible for overseeing the conduct of Credit Unions: coop-cu@gov.mb.ca;

And also the central Manitoba Credit Union organization: cuinfo@cucm.org

For some reason, Achieva, now seems to have had a change of heart, are no longer going to hold our funds hostage, and have released the 5 year GIC into our TFSA savings account!

Stan

March 25, 2015
4:59 pm
kanaka
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YAAAAAAAAAAAAYYYYY!!! Way to go Stan!!!

March 25, 2015
7:07 pm
Loonie
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Way to go, Stan!sf-cool

March 26, 2015
7:32 am
Bill
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Stan, sounds like you got the desired result you deserve. Usually a financial institution will be reasonable if there's been a misunderstanding like this. I don't have a TFSA there, just regular GIC - maybe you can talk to them to get a fix re the inability to set the renewal instructions online for TFSA accounts. And if you're really upset with the way you've been treated, you may want to reconsider your relationship with the business. Personally, I always set my GIC renewal instructions to be deposited into my savings account or paid out, i.e. never to renew. Then when my calendar note indicates a GIC is coming due soon, I decide if I want to change those directions. The institution is always helpful if you want to change it to locking up with them again and I've never had a single issue.
Some folks here have mentioned legislation is needed. I'm against that, if only because every time you have legislation like this you need to hire civil servants to enforce it. More importantly, as an adult I expect no-one else but me to look after my dollars (as I expect financial institutions to look after their dollars, i.e. my deposits) and I'm up to that responsibility even if it means reading all "fine print". Our society is based on people and businesses adhering to what's been agreed on (and having legal recourse if there's a breach), there's no way we want government to legislate every agreement we all make with each other. We want choice, we want different types of financial institutions, so check out the terms and if you don't like them, don't accept the offer, take your dough elsewhere. sf-smile

March 26, 2015
3:42 pm
Stan
Toronto
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Bill sez:
Usually a financial institution will be reasonable if there's been a misunderstanding like this. I don't have a TFSA there, just regular GIC - maybe you can talk to them to get a fix re the inability to set the renewal instructions online for TFSA accounts. And if you're really upset with the way you've been treated, you may want to reconsider your relationship with the business.

Bill,

I tend consider myself a rather sophisticated financial planner, and Achieva a bunch of small minded rapscallions, hijacked $5900 of my $$ to be held ransom for 5 years!! The small amount involved, is hardly a consideration, compared to how much they have interrupted and taken useless hours out of my life to combat their arrogance! And all for an insignificant few paltry bucks for which I was forced to work below minimum wage.

I haven't contributed to a TFSA for the past three years, and I will celebrate Jan 2016, when the my last remaining GIC expires! From there, setting up a TFSA account with TD Waterhouse, and ridding ourselves of Achieva is a primary objective, which Achieva attempted to hijack.

We only have a trivial stagnant remaining $120,000 in Achieva, which is about to reside in more favourable climes in the near future.

On the other hand, our interaction with Accelerate over the years has been exceptional in every way! One example, was when I sent them something by mail, and they immediately observed that I used my own envelope, rather than theirs. A week later, I received in the mail, a bunch of return envelopes from Accelerate.sf-wink

March 26, 2015
7:06 pm
Bill
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Stan, sounds like terminating your relationship with Achieva is a good idea in your case. I've only got a couple of GICs with them (don't keep much in credit unions), just renewed for one year, and maybe I'll have them deposit them to my savings account when they mature in 2016 just to see if I have any issues. If I do, I'll just get my money out and close up shop with them too.

You say you haven't contributed to a TFSA for 3 years. You are aware, I guess, that you can have TFSAs with various institutions, e.g. you could have opened a TFSA with TD Waterhouse 3 years ago, don't have to wait until 2016.

Fyi, I've used TD Waterhouse for a few of my discount brokerage accounts for many years and have never had any problems.

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