POLITICS

Saskatchewan refunds overcharged campers and throws in $100 bonus

03/11/2014 04:38 EDT | Updated 05/11/2014 05:59 EDT
REGINA - Saskatchewan Parks Minister Kevin Doherty says $1.4 million has to be refunded to hundreds of campers who were overcharged by the province's online reservation system.

Doherty says more than 950 credit-card holders were charged more than once for their campsites — one man was overcharged $17,000.

To make it up to people, the province will mail out cheques for $100 above and beyond any refund, he said.

"There's no question that it caused some stress for people. It was a huge inconvenience and it ought not to have happened," Doherty said Tuesday at the legislature in Regina.

"In light of that ... we thought we need to start rebuilding some trust with our customers who are the citizens of Saskatchewan and those that use our parks, the tourists that come to use our parks. So we thought as a sign of good faith, what's a token of our appreciation for them to continue to want to camp in our parks and enjoy the Saskatchewan summers, that we could provide them a $100 cheque," he added.

Doherty says about half of card holders have been contacted. He says the rest need to contact the province so that the charges can be reversed.

"Nobody will be out of pocket on any aspect of this," he insisted.

The first set of parks were available for booking March 3. The government says the high volume of campers going online to nab sites quickly contributed to a processing error.

Doherty has said the difficulty lay between the reservation system and interfacing with the financial processing system. At some point during the peak times, they stopped communicating with each other as they should have been.

The bonus cheques will total nearly $100,000.

"It's my intention to recover those fees from the service providers that caused the error here," said Doherty.

"Nobody's come forward and put up their hand up and said, 'Oh by the way, this is our fault,' so we're going to continue to pursue that and we fully expect to recover damages from them," he added.