407 bills can hound drivers for 15 years


 

Hundreds have criticized 407 toll road's ability to block plate renewals until it gets back payments.

Here’s a surprise for drivers being hounded over 407 ETR bills: The toll road says it has their permission to pursue them for unpaid balances and added interest charges for up to 15 years.

We’ve been hammering at the 407 since revealing how it bills people for drives allegedly taken years earlier – usually with no supporting documentation – and adds annual interest of 26.82 per cent. The resulting invoices, arriving out of the blue, can total thousands of dollars.

More than 400 angry emails and calls poured in from readers, along with hundreds of comments on thestar.com over these charges and the 407’s right to deny drivers who don’t pay up a licence plate renewal – unparalleled power for a private business.

A few readers asked why Ontario’s Limitations Act, which was amended at the start of 2004 to require businesses to take legal action to collect unpaid balances within two years of the billing date, doesn’t seem to apply to the 407.

On the back of every invoice is written: “Each trip by your vehicle on Highway 407 after the Bill Date of this bill constitutes your agreement that we may commence proceedings to collect each amount that is or will become payable by reason of such trip until the fifteenth anniversary of the Bill Date of this bill .”

Litigation lawyer Alan Heisey, former chair of the Toronto Police Services Board, said it is “absolutely absurd” for the 407 to claim its customers agreed to waive their rights by driving on the road and accepting an invoice. “It is very unlikely that a court would uphold a contract that purports to have a person waive their rights under the Limitations Act in advance of even incurring a claim,” Heisey said.

“I would hope the provincial government would examine the practice involved in this purported waiver of rights and make its own court challenge of the contract. In my view, that’s a basis not to enforce the plate-renewal option.

“And if they don’t have that right under the agreement, (the province) should be trying to get an interpretation from a court so that they’re not in a position that they may be enforcing rights on behalf of 407 that the 407 doesn’t have.”

A provision to waive the two-year period is “only meant to encompass a very conscious and deliberate decision by both sides,” in which the two parties acknowledge the terms by way of a signed agreement, he said. “Otherwise, the statutory rights are meaningless.”

“On this basis, every business could add to every invoice for every service that the invoice means you have agreed to waive the Limitations Act in relation to any debts owing or outstanding,” he said.

“That can’t be right, legally or any other way. It’s too important a right to let go of without a very upfront discussion and deliberate review and agreement. How could this constitute an agreement? I find it astonishing.”

So do we, and probably you do, too.

It’s time to turn up the heat on Queen’s Park to put an end to the 407’s self-serving interpretation of the Limitations Act.

Article From: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/fixer/article/732443–407-bills-can-hound-drivers-for-15-years

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34 Responses to “407 bills can hound drivers for 15 years”

  1. teresa trimarchi says:

    Four years my friend went to the 407 and paid up fines to the 407 totally $7,000.00 He had asked them make sure there are no more outstanding invoices.

    They checked the system and they said “sir, there are no more outstanding fines”

    He got his sticker renewed every year since that time.

    Until Sept 2010 he got a bill in the mail stating that he owed the 407 over $1,000.00. We went to the office and he told the CSR, where is the proof or the invoices.

    The CSr told him there is no toll video of his licencse plate getting on to or getting off of the 407. They also told him the statement is proof.

    He asked them why it took 4 yrs for this invoice to show up on his record.

    WE want to take it to court. But we don’t know which court to file in it seems no one wants to deal with the 407. it is very frustrating.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      It’s been 6 years now I have been asking for documentation. They just sent me the invoices, but not “proof” that I actually drove on the highway.

  2. admin says:

    Teresa, please be sure to join our facebook group to stay up to date on lawyer developments as we are working on one right now 🙂

    Facebook Group:
    http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_117168841656505

  3. Morrice says:

    Can somebody clear some issues for me.

    I have an ETR bill that I am refusing to pay. ( my reason for not paying is that I have never driven the highway my ex wife did )

    My plate renewal is denied. Fine. Since I live rurally and have to drive to earn income to pay for food, kids clothes etc. I drive with out of date plates.

    How can I earn a living ( the right to work has to be a fundamental human right, I would have thought ) if my plates are in denial? I believe that the real court challenge lies in the right to work and provide the necessitates of life.

    BTW I have been stopped by a the police and explained my situation. Not once have I been ticketed.

    If I stand in front of a judge and explain myself what are the courts going to do? Fine me? That would help.

    My plate is being denied for failure to not pay a bill not because it has been suspended for DUI, careless driving etc.

    Any thoughts?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Morrice,

      Please be sure to join our Facebook Group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power” I just sat down with a few lawyers that are working diligently to see how we can fix this problem. Then you can message me and I will see how we can help.

      • Charlene says:

        @Morrice – here is how to get plates when in the process of sorting out your plate denial. Many people absolutly must drive while fighting the 407’s abuse, and because they are unwilling to help, sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

        1) Go to http://www.ontario.ca/en/services_for_business/STEL02_039990 and register a business name. Pick anything you want – as long as it is unique. It will cost you approx. $100 to complete this. You will get a business license when you do this.
        2) Then call up your insurance broker and explain you want to move your vehicle’s ownership, plates and insurance into your company’s name. I explained plate denial to my broker and she said that if I was only using for personal use – i.e, drive back and forth to work (and not to transport goods for profit in the context of running a business), that my premiums would be no different.
        3) Resafety your vehicle and then get a Used Vehicle Information package and ‘sell’ your car to your company for a nominal fee.
        4) You will need to take your business license (comes from #1 above) and go to the ministry and buy new plates for your car. You will need your safety certificate (maybe an E test) too. The ministry will create a new RIN for your ‘company’ which is not tied to your driver’s license number or denied plates.
        5) You will need to pay taxes, and the transfer on the vehicle at this point too, but your new plates have no such denial – so try to keep it that way 🙂
        5) Happy driving – stay off the 407.

        Believe me, this is a hassle and will likely cost you a couple of hundred dollars, BUT it is a way around a system that will not help you. Believe me, I don’t advocate NOT paying your 407 bill, but I too live rurally and absolutely require plates as well and have been denied for years because of a large bill my ex ran up too! I got sick of explaining myself to police and paying fines (yes I had to pay plate expiry fines!). Ps. should you opt to lease or finance a vehicle in the future, make sure they know that your ‘company’ is buying it – even if you have to ‘cosign’ your company to get the finance 😉

      • Frankie says:

        Tammy..can you please contact me..I need to know which lawyers have been fighting the 407 and join the group…thanks..frankie

    • Verna says:

      I have been in plate denial for quite a few years now…….my original bill was $6.00 and now it is over $3,000.
      I am the only driver in the house…my partner does not have a drivers license…he is a self-employed artist and he depended on me to drive him to pick up supplies for his business and also to we would deliver paintings to clients etc…but now we have not been able to do this….so his business has suffered too.
      I have 5 daughter n their families who live in various parts of the province and I do not see them as often as I used to when I was able to drive. One daughter put a vehicle in her name for me…..but one day i went on a trip and didnt notice that the insurance was outdated by 3 days and I got stopped by the opp and they seized the vehicle…and we lost it to the garage….it was fully paid for and had new battery etc…
      So this little bill has allowed this foreign corporation from spain to cause complete havoc in my life and the lives of my family…..abosolutely crazy.

  4. jennifer stubbs says:

    My other half and i are about to do battle with the 407 etr for $11,000 or so they say has been racked up due to interest on a very very old usage fee. the usual, did not receive a bill for years and years, then suddenly it is thousands… still trying to find out if a driver’s license, not a license plate, can be renewed with outstanding bills. sorry i dont; have a face book account.
    I am about to embark on getting a lawyere to send the 407 ombudsman a letter. any suggestions ?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Jennifer: I just posted some new information on who to contact under “Know Your Rights” please check it out. I hope it helps.

  5. tracey says:

    i just got a phone call from collection agency for the 407 etr they are trying to tell me i owe $35,0000 i have not used the 407 in about 10 yrs or more and told them to prove to me with invoices she said its not her job so i said im not paying it then she was very rude how can the goverment allow this to happen anything for a buck at our expenses.

  6. Dan says:

    I think most of the posts here are not realizing the real problem here. Sure, if you use the 407, then by all means you have to pay for it, agreed!
    What is not agreeable is that the 407 has the power to collect its past due amounts through the MTO and hold registration stickers hostage. This in all practicality is a violation of our civil rights, PERIOD! As a privately held company, unlike any other, they need to collect unpaid invoices, agreed, but unlike any other privately held corporation, they have bestowed upon them the special privilege of knowing that there monies due are guaranteed!With the start of any company, inherent risk is a part of doing business, I wish my company had the power to hold the citizens of this province hostage and have my money guaranteed! The old saying was that there are only 2 guarantees in life, death and taxes, well now the new saying is that there are 3, death , taxes and a 407 bill! Regardless of whatever product or service a privately held company provides, unpaid or due monies are collected in a fashion that compliant with collection laws and regulations, how is it possible that the 407 is “ABOVE THE LAW”.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Dan, We have been communicating with MTO regarding how 407ETR has been abusing the process of Plate Denial. We will keep you posted via this blog on developments.

  7. Tina Wegener says:

    I went to get my sticker and was told that I needed to pay an extra 80 dollars or so because the license plates on the car had belonged to my C/L spouse Robert when a bill of 80 dollars had incurred with the 407 toll fee The car was transferred to me because my spouse is no longer able to drive, since 2010. Apparently the government has an agreement with a private company to collect there bills for them. I wander if the government will do that for me? Any way I did not incur this bill and my question is why do I have to pay this. I have struggles paying my own bills. What do I do.

  8. Tina Wegener says:

    I have always understood that that government works for the the people not a Corporation. Show me the legislation that allows that the Ministry of Transportation to collect for privates companies. Using plate suspensions until fines are paid in full. Even if the fine is not yours and is attached to the plates Can you please to me the legislation 519-836-8432

  9. Donato Di Staulo says:

    What happens after fifteen years is past on your over due bill????

  10. Richard Theriault says:

    Hi one day out of the blue I fell victim to the 407. My bills were always paid and suddenly I receive a bill for 4500.00 when I contacted them they said I had an unpaid bill of which I never received and when I asked for proof I was told I would have to pay them 200.00 just for them to look into it I have delt with the collection agencies and them over the phone I will be going down to the office soon in person and see where I can get. They had put me on plate denial shortly after the notice which has been a few years now 5 I believe

  11. ihate407 says:

    407 is the modern day form of high way robbery -LITERALLY.

  12. body figures says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d want to find out some additional information.

  13. Pat Ward says:

    My husband just received a call from a collection agency regarding the 407. He was told that he owes $1,000.00 from 2003. He asked for the invoices and they won’t provide them. How can you demand money for a bill that doesn’t prove that you owe them. What do we do?

    • TJ says:

      Since back in 2003 the Statute of Limitations was 6 yrs the debt is too old for them to collect using the courts.
      The collections can call you all they want and threaten you with court….they are just huffing and puffing.
      Is he in plate denial and if so since when?

  14. Theo Kanarellis says:

    Hello: I too am being held hostage by the 407. I am the father of 5 children and, being the only driver in my household, it is imperative that I am able to drive my vehicle.
    Since plate denial last September, I try my best to limit my use of the vehicle only for doctors’ appts. and grocery store(s), etc.

    I too was stopped by police and fined for having an expired sticker on my plates. I then had no choice but to plead guilty (what possible defense could I have in court, even if I had requested a court date??). This has resulted to a Conviction on my driving record, which will lead to an increase in my insurance rate. And to make matters worse, the province won’t even issue to me a Temp sticker! Not until my $5200 is paid off.

    My question is this: Would I be able to transfer the ownership of our family vehicle to my wife’s name by “selling it to her for $1000”? Or, will the province hold me hostage again by demanding I pay the 407 before I can sell the vehicle?

    This stress is killing me!

    I agree with all of the good people here who’ve complained about the 407. In the end, this is capitalism screwing the little guy… thanks to our provincial government.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  15. Frank says:

    I used the 407 years ago and had issues with the bills my questions were never answered so I stopped paying and it’s been many years since I recently received a bill with a total of 78000$ are these people for real and why doesn’t the government do something about this or are we fighting a losing battle

  16. andy says:

    Change address wait 3 days. And 407 fines will drop off for 7-14 days. Renew sticker. Away u go.

    • dave says:

      how does that work about changing your address?

      • Tammy Flores says:

        We are required to change our address at the Ministry of Transportation. 407 ETR was supposed to access the Ministry of Transportation’s database to make sure they were billing their customers correctly. 407 ETR did not do this properly until they changed their policy on it in 2010 and that’s why if you moved, you didn’t get a bill. Because the company practiced invoice suppression to save on postage costs. They suppressed your bill for years then they would access MTO’s database to find you because they wanted to collect. By then there were thousands of dollars in trumped up fees and interest charges. You would get a bill for thousands of dollars with no details whatsoever as to what the company was claiming against you. If you didn’t pay up, they would deny your plate.

    • Tim says:

      How does changing your address allow me to renew my sticker ?

      • Tammy Flores says:

        It doesn’t. The thread is about how if you move your obligation is to tell MTO you moved and the company’s job was to access MTO’S data base to make sure they were billing their customers correctly. If you are in Plate Denial the only way to get a sticker is to move out of Province or pay whatever usury amount the company is asking.

  17. Arab Jalo says:

    My car was sold in 2000 and I mailed the transponder and paid outstanding bills . Somehow, the transponder was intercepted and had been used for less than 100. Today, their bill has becom over 2500.00 and was given to collection agent. It has been over 10 years I couldn’t register any car under my name . Is it legal to block registration after the fact that the account has been transferred to collection agent?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      407 ETR doesn’t comply with consumer protection laws. The Supreme Court of Canada just ruled the company was not exempt from the BIA but the company still enforces collections via plate denial until the person is discharged. They are supposed to stop enforcement action as soon as someone claims Bankruptcy. I know that the company is supposed to give you proper notice of outstanding tolls. 10 years later isn’t proper notice but the company thinks they are special. They interpret the 407 Act to suit themselves and not in the context of consumer protection laws. The company will say they are complying with the rules but as is the case with the BIA they have not been.

      So what do we do? Keep taking them to court until the Province does their job to regulate the company’s behavior.

  18. Josh says:

    Hello

    I need some advise on this. I received an invoice April 2016 for a $9000 bill that was reduced to $2990 as per the discretionary interest reduction. This outstanding debt is over 8 years old. I am in the process of buying a house and dont want this to show up on my credit. I have no problem paying this however if i pay will they send this to the credit bureau. Its isnt on the credit bureau now. Ive been receiving phone calls from a so called lawyers office asking me to settle for a fraction of the debt. What do i do? if i dont pay this new invoice will it eventually show on my credit report? If i do pay it will it show up? Please help?

    THanks

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