407 ETR Aggressive Collection Tactics Have to Stop!

CTV News has been doing a great job covering the billing nightmare people have had to endure from the toll highway, 407 ETR. Tonight they talked about a woman who didn’t drive on the highway, but because her boyfriend used her car and drove on the highway, the company is coming after her. 407 ETR claims the car was on the highway over 600 times. As far as I am concerned it’s just this company’s word against this woman’s because I doubt they provided proof that those trips from back in 2003 actually occurred.

407 ETR took this woman to court for $24,000.00 on a debt that was from 2003. This is not the first time I heard of this happening. The company presents to the public that they have 15 years to enforce collection of a debt by going to court, however, the Limitations Act says 2 years. The company thinks the rules apply to everyone else except them. We are waiting on a decision from Justice Edwards on exactly how long 407 ETR has to enforce collection on a debt. My guess is he will rule 2 years just like the Limitations Act says.

Unfortunately, when the company bully’s people like this, they usually can’t afford a lawyer and end up without a defense and they get hosed. Thanks to Torkin Manes, that could all change very soon. This law firm has concerns about people having access to justice and has been working to see if there is some way to represent a Class or two of people that have been stung by the 407 ETR in this way. I think that is great because 407 ETR has been the bully in the play ground for far too long. It’s about time someone knocked them down!

These older cases from the late 90’s and early 2000’s are so questionable and really unfair. You see, 407 ETR voluntarily suspended their Plate Denial rights around this time. It seems to me they knew there were issues, but they didn’t reveal those issues publicly. The Province did an investigation and revealed some of the issues in 2004. Regardless, in August of 2003, the company started to deny a limited number of people’s plates. Why only a limited number? I think it’s a question the company should answer because they knew there could be significant changes in their reporting on their financial statements. Was it because they knew some of those debts could not be proved? Did the company just arbitrarily decide to try anyway and just dictate to the public the way it was going to be? If the company was exercising their right to place people in Plate Denial in 2003, did they place this woman in Plate Denial and did they try to enforce collection?

Maybe not because the company complained that they did’t gain access to Plate Denial until November 2005, following a judicial review. They claimed that as a result there was a “backlog” of accounts, including from plates no longer attached to the vehicles that drove on the highway. So did they then place this woman in Plate Denial and try to enforce collection? Why is this an issue in 2015???? It seems to me this company had ample opportunity to enforce collections.

“The Advocates Society” hits the nail on the head in that the company claims Plate Denial (which is a mechanism to enforce collection) is more than a collection tool. They claim it’s also about behavior modification and that Plate Denial (or should I say aggressive collection) will help us be better drivers. I would say that is absolutely ridiculous as this case is proof that they view Plate Denial as a collection tool along with other collection “strategies”. They weren’t interested in whether or not this woman became a better driver, she wasn’t even the one that drove on the highway. All this company is concerned with is aggressively collecting money that may not even be legal to begin with.


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67 Responses to “407 ETR Aggressive Collection Tactics Have to Stop!”

  1. TJ says:

    Tammy what was the outcome of that 24,000 dollar court case.
    Please tell us the case number. Back in 2003 the SOL was 6 years.

    The Judge in Day already ruled it is 2 years.

    Problem is he rewrote the law to 2years from plate denial..which basically means they can have up to 15 years depending on if and when they put you in denial.

    The issue is not the SOL and the lawyers know it.
    There is nothing in the 407 act that says the Must put you in denial…only MAY.

    There in lies the problem and their ace card.

  2. TJ says:

    The only info on record to the general public is it has been returned to the Judge for clarification of his stipulation on plate denial.
    Is it when you are notified by letter that it has been denied or on the date you go to renew and the say no.

    If you know of anything different then please share.

    As it stands now they do have 15 years if they do not put you in plate denial, because the 2 years never starts.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      TJ, please do not lose sight of what we are trying to accomplish. At this point, this is all the information we will be giving out. We will be keeping our playing cards close to our chest on this one. Just know that this company’s days of bullying are over.

      • TJ says:

        Please give us the case you spoke of…

      • Jmo says:

        Until my vehicle has a sticker with the current year showing, nothing anyone can say makes me feel the days of bullying are over. There have been several moments that things were looking good, and not one has come to fruition. A lot of legal mumbo jumbo, and politics… Always more delays, and reviews, and appeals. This entire mess has taken way too long, and cost far too much. This case is an embarrassment to the Canadian court and justice system.

        • Tammy Flores says:

          Actually JMO, that’s exactly how 407 ETR views this. They view it as a game to win as per Canadian Lawyer Magazine’s, Jennifer Brown http://www.canadianlawyermag.com/5093/Its-game-on-in-bet-the-company-litigation.html

          They are afraid of Social Media to quote the article “We live in the era of legal TMZ. If you have individuals tracking this case such as self-appointed activists suddenly your executives can be exposed to an interview right out of the blue. Some are only media savvy in a conventional sense. If someone sticks a cellphone camera in their face the next thing you know it can be on YouTube and you’ve lost control of it.”

          We are self appointed activists in their eyes. So what? Let’s give them what they want. They actually advertise their cases as being successful. They can go to hell. They aren’t successful. They are just arrogant and pompous.

          • TJ says:

            Call them what you want…..for now they are still winning the battles in court.

          • Tammy Flores says:

            In their eyes they are winning, but we are whittling away at them one case at a time.

        • Tammy Flores says:

          Do you propose we just give up? NOT A CHANCE!!! They will come in line with our laws.

          • TJ says:

            You mean the existing law that now gives them the opportunity to extend the SOL to how ever long they want up to 15 years.

          • Tammy Flores says:

            Why don’t we just let the lawyers do their thing and not make it easy for the company by letting them think they won? It’s not over until we give up and I don’t plan on doing that anytime soon.

          • Tammy Flores says:

            BTW there is NO EXISTING LAW that says any such thing. That’s just BS thinking and sucumming to the pandering of 407 ETR. I will never let them win. NEVER!!!

          • TJ says:

            Sorry there is that law now due to the ruling in DAY.
            He made law by saying 2 years from plate denial. And if they never put you in plate denial they have up to the ultimate Limitation which is 15 years.

          • TJ says:

            Its up to the next court case if it comes to strike that down.
            But as of now technically they have 15 years as long as they do not put you in plate denial.

  3. Pete says:

    Hello Tammy,

    I was wondering if anyone has made a request under the Federal privacy legislation to get access to all the information that the 407 has on the person?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Peter, I thought I did that back in 2005 (?) because the emails from MTO where quoting FIPPA. They told me I had to write this place… yadda yadda yadda. It was when I first started to take these guys on and so I didn’t understand where I was writing. It turns out it was just another division of MTO and not the Privacy Commissioner. I think it would be useful to do that if we can.

  4. Jmo says:

    So what’s really the deal here?
    I have been in plate denial since 2012, so well past 2 years. How do I force 407 to lift the denial? I call and write, and they still refuse.

    What’s the point of having a supreme Court judgement if it is not being followed by anyone?

    To me this is just a big game, and I am doubting the Supreme Courts true intentions more than ever.

    When does the law that rules our land press charges of business malpractice? I am assuming never at this rate.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      JMO we are pushing forward. I know it is frustrating, but if we don’t do it, nothing will ever change. Please just have patience.

  5. TJ says:

    Nothing in the SOL says they must renew a plate after the SOL has expired.

    No Supreme court ruling has said that either.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      So what?

      • TJ says:

        What do you mean…”so what”
        JMO asked why they are not forced to lift his denial….because they do not have too. that why so what.

        • TJ says:

          And what was the ruling in that case you spoke of?

          • Tammy Flores says:

            I can’t comment further on strategy. Just know that we aren’t giving up and that’s the message I am sending to 407 ETR.

        • Tammy Flores says:

          I was responding to your comment “Nothing in the SOL says they must renew a plate after the SOL has expired. No Supreme court ruling has said that either.” I was saying so what to that. I don’t mean to be too spirited, but that has absolutely nothing to do with what we are trying to accomplish. That’s just giving in and accepting what this company has been doing and I refuse to do that. They are going down. Just because currently, we are looking for a way to connect plate denial, doesn’t me that we haven’t found the way. I am sick and tired of everyone just giving in to these people. Just because the Province “SHALL” honor the company’s Plate Denial requests doesn’t mean the company had the right to place you there to begin with.

          • TJ says:

            Yes they did because the 407 act gave them that privilege.

            407 had better lawyers when that was drafted.

            The provincial lawyers our lawyers the ones we pay for gave them that right.
            And the case you spoke of is public knowledge, nothing to do with stratigies, again I ask what case.

          • Tammy Flores says:

            TJ I have the architect behind that agreement disagreeing with you. The Province tried to rip up the contract and couldn’t. That doesn’t mean they can’t regulate. There is absolutely nothing in the 407 Act that gives them the right to do what they are doing now. They say they were given permission but there is nothing in the law that gives them permission to ignore the rule of law. It’s just a bunch of back room finagling with a bunch of over paid lobbyists.

        • Jmo says:

          At the end of the day, we all seem to be on the same side… how about taking the fight to MTO rather than 407? After all the years of chasing and bashing the 407 and getting no where, how about taking the MTO to task for their monster style contracts and practices? 407 does not work for the tax payer, so changing what they think or do is not likely. Steal cookies if it’s allowed… And only stop when mom catches you and tells you not to anymore. MTO is the evil, not the 407.

          • Tammy Flores says:

            JMO, you are right. We all want the same thing and we have to work together. We went into MTO in 2012. I even have the architect behind the agreement willing to show them the way on how to regulate this company, but because politically there is no will they won’t budge. When the proverbial S*&T hits the fan… then maybe.

  6. TJ says:

    Tammy why are you avoiding giving the info on a case that is long gone and in the public domain.

    You said it went to court…what was the outcome.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I hope this is what you are asking. I can’t keep up with all the posts. It was reported last night on CTV News. We are looking into the case now http://toronto.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=604255

      • Jmo says:

        If 1.7 billion dollars can be given away by our politicians to NOT build gas plants… And still get re-elected… Perhaps they can just toss 407 a few billion to change the policy. There always seems to be plenty of scandals that waste ridiculous amounts of money, and nothing is done by the law, so how about we get treated the same? At least I would benefit from this bribe money, rather than some corrupt politicians looking to keep golden parachute jobs.

  7. TJ says:

    The architect can disagree with me all he wants.
    Years ago the courts ruled they ve that right as crumby as it is by the contract all these smart lawyers drew up.

    Tammy do not get me wrong I agree with you totally but we are governed by laws not emotion….and as it stands today the law is on their side because of stupid judge rulings

    • Tammy Flores says:

      TJ I respect that. There’s nothing wrong with spirited debate. These kind of conversations are important to make sure we have the facts straight because in the end that’s all that matters is the facts. The fact is that the Province settled with this company and that settlement is ruining a lot of people’s lives. If we can appeal that … damn it, I’m gonna make it happen. I am so thankful that finally we have people stepping up. Professionals that can make it happen. I heard a lot of no’s and are you crazy to get to this point.

      • Jmo says:

        My next step is to start panhandling on the 407 offramp lights… My sign will say… No sticker, driving illegal, 407 has broken me.
        .. Any $ will help.

  8. peter says:

    Why not just incorporate and register your car in the name of the company?
    The 407 cannot touch that can they?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Some have chosen this option, but that doesn’t prevent the company from suing you for the delinquent bill 15 years downs the road. We are trying to establish precedents.

  9. D Murph says:

    We can not sue the MTO according to the law, but we can complain to the Ombudsman!!!
    Strangely enough? the 407ETR, did take the MTO to our Canadian court to force the issue of plate denial, after 2005, I owed a very small amount that was in dispute since 2003, the last payment the 407 received was in 2004, I never drove on that highway again! I renewed my plate sticker for 4 years after and in 2008 I was suddenly, denied my plate sticker for “FINES” it was then that I told the MTO office, that I had NO Fines!
    I was then told that the Ontario Court ordered the MTO to go against our Laws of Ontario and to enforce the plate denial scam on behalf of the 407 etr. “A Private Company” a non Crown Corporation!!!
    So why hasn’t everyone been complaining to the OMBUDSMAN??? Since, none of us??? have any “Fines” owing to the Provincial Government of Ontario, at all!!!
    This entire mess is the fault of our Greedy Ontario Government from the past till now.
    Federal Law, out ways Provincial, so why? is it taking so long for this Judge, to make recommendations on Laws that already exsist to protect the consumer against the Private Company of the 407 ETR and they’re false billing practices.
    I have some legal points that need to be address, but thats for another time.

  10. J.G. says:

    My argument is with the fact that the government is supposed to be the servant of the citizens – who elected it and pay taxes to maintain it. So who are they serving? I would suggest that they demonstrate their acknowledgement of this fact by removing the plate denial restriction for those who are bankrupt and let the 407 corporation sue the government, instead of allowing the 407 to literally destroy the lives of so many of its citizens.

  11. TJ says:

    These rulings that we keep hearing about from Days judge or the Supreme court re bankruptcy sure are a long time coming.

    You would think an issue that effects hundreds of thousands of drivers would be a little more timely.

  12. GMS says:

    Well, I just got a bill for $12.95 from the 407etr. Supposedly, one of their transponders read my plate at 6:06pm April 15. It was a flat rate charge because, as they stated on the bill “we were not able to record oneof your entry/exit points.

    Well, it happens that I and my car were in Belleville, Ontario at that time and were were in the middle of a household move from on location in Belleville to another, also in Belleville.

    It galls me that resistance if futile, that my only viable approach is to suck it up and give these blood-suckers their pound of flesh.

  13. Mike says:

    I’ve moved to Alberta from Ontario 21 years ago. I started getting collection calls from Christensen law firm a few months ago claiming they are handling and important legal matter for me. I call them and it turns out to be a charge form the ETR407 back in June of 2000 on a tent trailer plate that i sold in 1994. The original charge was 11 bucks. They now wanted $1100.00. They threatened my credit rating so i quoted the SOL and they told me that the 407 was exempt.I did some digging here in Alberta and found out they were not legally allowed to do collections out of province. I called the OPP and reported my plate missing. I called the MTO and found out i was in plate denial since at least 2012. I called the Christensen law firm and asked them to stop calling and they said they would never stop. I sent them a letter stating the i was disputing their case against me and that i do not wish to be contacted by them or the affiliates unless it was for the purpose of informing me of legal action through the courts. The calls stopped immediately.
    The ETR 407 are scum bags. They offered no proof of my plate going on to their highway yet they threatened me and try to intimidate me. They cannot legally touch your credit rating.They have to lie to the credit agency on the date of the debt which is a practice called re-ageing debt and its against the law.
    The experience has taught me a lot about my rights and debt collection.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Now I am getting an education. I had no idea. Thanks for that. 407 ETR thinks they are above the law, but we are doing our best to hold them accountable. Thanks for the info and here’s the definition.

      Negative Re-Aging

      Negative re-aging is changing the delinquency status of an account to fool the credit bureaus into thinking it’s more recent than it really is. Negative re-aging is illegal and if it occurs, the collection would remain on your credit reports longer than the seven years currently allowed by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Some collectors do this intentionally and some do it accidentally. Regardless, you need to make sure that the collection doesn’t stay on your credit files any longer than allowed by law.

      How long is that? Collection accounts may be reported for seven and half years from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor. That’s true regardless of whether the account is paid, unpaid or settled in the meantime. If a collection agency re-ages the original date of delinquency it is likely breaking the law, and the consumer should contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and/or a consumer law attorney.

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  15. Grant says:

    I have been in plate denial for years, more than 5 and I have been getting hate mail from “Christensen Law Firm” looking to collect 22,000.00 form the lat nineties. I can’t afford to pay this, I can’t get plates to be able to get to work. I live in a rural area. Now I’ve got lawyers telling me that I have one week to settle or else they will sue. Who win’s now?

    • Tammy Flores says:

      They can’t do anything if you have been in plate denial over 2 years.

      • Grant says:

        So if i have been in plate denial since 2011 I can tell this Christensen Law Firm to go away? Could you possibly guide me to the web site about the “SOL”? I am so glad we have people like yourself helping us fight the monsters.

        • TJ says:

          Yes, simply tell them you dispute the debt and then hang up. Say nothing else.
          If in fact you do get served a statement of claim from the courts answer it witin 20 days citing the Statute of limitations as you defense. The judge has no option but to throw case out.

          This is all assuming you were notified in 2001 that you were in plate denial.

  16. Jacqueline says:

    Hello, Tammy I was beginning to feel I was alone with the problem with 407etr and the collections. I have a very similar story, except it’s happened to my father, who I might add was never and I mean never interested in driving on the 407. Any event one of my brother’s was driving a van which was registered to my father and long story short he ran up a bill over $600, most of which were “non transponder fees”. Over the course of a year there were bills which sometimes were paid or not at all by my brother. Bare with me as I try to make this story very short…..At one point I learned from my parents that the bill had reached over $4,000. I went to 407 office with my dad to resolve this case and to get it reduced. I was beyond astonished to learn that they refused to try to work on a settlement because it went into collection. I asked the woman, “let me get this straight we are here to work on some sort of settlement and because it’s gone into collection you refuse to negotiate a settlement” her reply “yes”. I then spoke to someone senior on the phone that the customer service rep called and they said the same thing. I told both reps that is the most asinine thing I have ever heard, so I guess the account will never get paid. The rep I was in front of even said to me before we left “I agree with you, I wouldn’t pay it either”.

    Fast forward 8 years later and the bill is now $16,000. My father is in his 80’s, my mother who recently passed away and can’t transfer her vehicle into his name because of this. Being the executor and trying to resolve this mess has been one massive headache. I was not aware that during this 8 year period that there was a statement of claim and subsequent judgement, to which was never responded to by my brother or my dad. Because my father was always told by my brother “don’t worry I’ll deal with it”. I called the 407 once again and they said the same thing “…because it’s gone to collection there is nothing we can do…you need to speak to the collection agency”. the collection agency is a bunch of loan sharks I might add. Interest rates that are astronomical and the person I spoke to at the collection agency wants blood. He had the nerve to tell me that they got judgement and the only thing I can do is have my father pay as quickly as possible as the interest is racking up he went so far as to say that my father’s home is worth a lot of money and he could draw from that. Besides feeling disgusted by his comment, they refuse to come to some medium to reduce the amount.

    What’s frustrating, is not only was the loss of my mother sudden, my father has health issues, the financial burden of something that he didn’t even incur and to think that without knowing my father’s financial position they feel he should take a loan to pay these loan sharks. I told him flat out, that my father is not going to take a loan to incur interest charges on top of a bill which is riddled with more interest than the basic 407 toll charges which also include non transponder fees which were more than the actually trips taken.

    this is really a brief of what’s been going on and if there is anyone who can give me some advice to try to get this resolved, reduced and done with once and for all we would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you,

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I wonder if your father was given proper notice? I will look into this and email you.

      • Jacqueline says:

        Thank you Tammy. That was one of the questions raised whether my father was given proper notice but because of the lack of action on the one who actually incurred these costs, my brother. It seemed no one really knows and my mother who is now deceased may have had some answers. So far in the papers I found there is no envelope associated with the statement of claim, just a copy. I have not come across the judgement either, only what the collection agency (Christensen law firm) has put on their account summary/invoice which they sent.

  17. Sofia says:

    Since 2004 I have been disputing 407 charges that do NOT belong to me. Although I have refused to pay and have been in plate denial since, they still mantain that they have proof. When I asked them to take me to court, they had stated that they do not take their customers to court. Of course, why would they? Accruing ridiculous tax on tax. From a bogus few thousand dollar bill, this September 2015 it has amounted to $45,000.00. Yes. You read that correctly. $45,000. It has not directly affected me as of yet as i have nothing in my name, but it is very distressing and I really don’t know what I should do to make it stop. Help.

  18. Sofia says:

    I meant to write interest on interest of course. Just very baffling.

  19. MSM says:

    Yes they do take “their customers” to court. In 2012 they took me to court without notifying me, in Kitchener (no 407 Hwy in that jurisdiction, but further inconvenience to their customers)and they obtained a judgment against me for a couple thousand dollars. They then put in on the credit bureau which is now affecting my credit because the Spanish owned 407 is treated as “government”.

    • TJ says:

      If in fact you were not served with a Statement of claim then you can motion the court to set aside the judgment. A new trial will be set then it will be up to you to defend the action.

      They took you to court in 2012 when did you find that out as the judge will ask why now are you disputing this.
      It is your obligation not to sit on your hands and let your legal rights be abused.
      If you have a good reason he will set aside the judgment….if not your stuck.

  20. Ian Collins says:

    I am a senior Ontario trial lawyer. I articled with the Attorney General of Ontario and have done special prosecutions for department of Justice. My main law practice is defence.

    There is a way to deal with 407 that can lead to settlement for a fraction of amount claimed. I believe that conduct of 407 and the Gov of Ontario is outrageous.

    They can be held accountable AND be required to accept a low and reasonable amount to settle any REAL amounts owing. Ian Collins, iancollins@rogers.com

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Yeah there is that and turning Plate Denial into a toothless lion by means of the Limitations Act and any other consumer protection law. The company is getting away with this because the Province fumbled when it went to court with the company back in 2005. The contract is NOT iron clad like they keep telling us.

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