Pardon Services: Wolves in sheep's clothing
Beware of companies offering pardon services. I've had a bad experience I'd like to share with Unpublished Ottawa's audience.
For starters, before you sign-up with any one of them, do a background check through the Better Business Bureau of Canada and Consumers Protection Ontario. A lot of these places go under two or three different names. Once you get in touch with them, they immediately ask for your Visa number.
After doing a web search to find a pardon company to represent me, I contacted them through their online contact form. When the representative called me back, he indicated that they could get me a pardon in three months, quoting me $800. He then insisted on having my Visa number before even listening to what I had to say. He also told me his company was the sole company doing pardons in Canada, and all other pardon requests eventually ran through his company.
He operated on a first name basis only, never divulging his last name. Naively, I gave my Visa number to him. I then received instructions by email to go to the police station to get my police record, which I did. I had to pay for them on my own. As requested, I sent it to the company that was seemingly going to get my pardon. Afterwards the company sent me a long questionaire which included irrelevant details from 30 years in the past.
All they did for me was direct me to do the work myself and the submitted it to the parole board on my behalf. Had I known that I could have done this myself directly through the Parole Board of Canada, who in fact are the ones granting the pardon, I would have saved myself over $2400. You see, as they took months in-between each instruction and further requested more money after receiving my answers back each time.
After almost 2 years had passed since starting the process with this company, after they had finally submitted my request and back-up documentation to the Parole Board, the Parole Board replied that they need more information, or the application would be declined in 90 days. This company then said they could appeal it for another $1250 and double that cost to have a guarantee that I get a pardon.
At that point as my suspicions of this being a corrupt process were heightened, as they were constantly asking for money and had not told me up front the whole costs, I decided to part ways and write back to the Parole Board myself with the further information they required.
I was successful in getting my pardon, while incurring no further cost. Unfortunately, when I re-addressed the company to demand that they had been scamming me, they should give me some of my money back, the 2 year statute of limitation for suing was up, so I could not take them to court. They delayed submitting my application to the Parole Board because the statute of limitations is 2 years. Meaning you cannot take them to court after 2 years of the initial agreement with them.
Besides delaying, they were continually asking for more money with excuses like, Oh, your case is more severe then we thought. Or, the parole board requires more information so that means we’ll have to re-apply.
Never do business with them over the phone. I prefer to do business with people when you can sit down and look them eye to eye.They are expensive and you have to get all the documentation gathered on your own and write all the scenarios yourself. They write none of it for you. You find out that you could have done the whole process yourself and saved yourself thousands of dollars.
I'm sorry I ever called them.