Appeal Court Rules 407 ETR Debts are Discharged & MTO is to Reinstate Plate‏


Justice
There has been some exciting developments for those that support reining in 407ETR’s abuse of power.  For about 3 years now, the group, Stop the 407ETR’s Abuse of Power, has highlighted the need to regulate how 407ETR uses the provision of the Plate Denial process.  It seems the group may be gaining momentum.
The Appeal Court of Ontario has ruled in the case between the Superintendent of Bankruptcy & 407ETR that the discharge of Moore dated June 21, 2011 released him from all claims provable in bankruptcy, including the debt of the 407 ETR and that the Ministry of Transportation is hereby directed to issue license plates to Moore upon payment of the usual licensing fees.
In the 45 page ruling by Justices Doherty, Simmons and Pepall, they declared that s. 22(4) of the 407 Act is inoperative to the extent that it thwarts the purpose of providing a discharged bankrupt with a fresh start.
We are still waiting on the lawyers comments on what this means for the Class Action lawsuit that was launched, April 27th, 2012, against 407ETR on behalf of people that claimed bankruptcy and 407ETR did not acknowledge their discharge. In the meantime, people everywhere can take this ruling as a sign of change for how this company has been conducting itself since securing a 99 year lease, on this highway, in 1999.
I have been critical regarding the lack of will from our political leaders to regulate how this company uses Plate Denial, however, I want to take the opportunity to thank the Province for not advancing the notion that collection of 407 ETR debts from a bankrupt person, is in the public interest.  407 ETR made the claim that the collection of debts arising from the use of Highway 407 is in the public interest, as well as in ETR’s interest, so as to ensure that the public private partnership flourishes. I can agree that this is true for toll collection, however, 407ETR is not just collecting on legitimate tolls.
I think there is a glimmer of hope that the Province is not pleased with the business practices of 407ETR, using Plate Denial as a means of collecting against bankrupt persons in our society.
One can only hope that the Province is also not pleased with how 407ETR uses Plate Denial to collect unproven, questionable debts. Thousands of people in the Province of Ontario has experienced this company’s lack of respect for established laws.  For example, not only have they been ignoring our Federal Bankruptcy laws, but also, the Statute of Limitations.
This company claims that, they don’t have to send you a bill in a timely manner and that it doesn’t matter when you receive a bill from them or what details are on the bill.  If they say you owe, you owe and they don’t have to provide any proof whatsoever behind their claim.  They use the Plate Denial process as their means to collect. Consumers are at their wits end with this company.
They claim that they can accumulate interest charges (in many cases on phantom toll charges) and collect for up to 15 years.  So if you have never received a bill from this company, but out of the blue, you all of a sudden receive a bill for an outrageous amount of money… it doesn’t matter as long as they claim you received it within the 15 year window. We have yet to see this challenged in court.  We are hopeful that the Province doesn’t need another court case before they act on what is obviously an abuse of process by 407ETR on how they are using the provision of Plate Denial.  The Province can and should regulate the use of the Plate Denial process.
This company’s shady business practices include an invoice suppression scam, usury rates of interest charges, wonky fees, as well as circumvention of the legislative process re: independent arbitrators.
Is it wishful thinking on our part to expect the Province to regulate how this company uses Plate Denial? Perhaps. But it is our hope that the Province will start to listen to us regarding the need to regulate how this company uses the Plate Denial provision.

 

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14 Responses to “Appeal Court Rules 407 ETR Debts are Discharged & MTO is to Reinstate Plate‏”

  1. Carol I. Jones says:

    This is great news. I declared Bankruptcy Dec/2008. My plate was denied for 2014. I had to pay $2,400. in order to renew my plate stickers for Feb/2014. I am a widow on pension and definitely could not afford this, but need my vehicle. I wonder, will people who had to pay to get their sticker, will they get any compensation back from the 407ETR??? I have a 2-3 inch file with my dispute with the 407…..Congratulations on all persistent hard work….

  2. Jay says:

    Well today I received a letter from a lawyers office demanding I pay $9000 within 10 days or they will proceed with legal action.

    I am not a bill or toll thief. I pay all my bills on time every month.

    In 2006 I called the 407etr as well as all my other creditors to update my address as I was moving in 3 weeks. I also needed to discuss for the 3rd time why I don’t receive bills to my home address.

    The first thing I was asked by the 407etr agent, is my address. I gave them my address and they said they don’t have an account for that address. I said that I am aware of that because the bill was going to an address that I have not lived at in 20 years!!!

    I explained that I would drive by my old address once a month to pick up any 407etr bills that were left laying around. Most times there were no bills. I would have to call for the balance.

    She asked me to verify the old address and she confirmed the account. She then asked me for my current address. I told her I will give her my new address because I am moving in 3 weeks. She said she needs the current address first. I gave her my current address and then I asked her to update my new address. I gave her my new address and then we discussed billing errors from months prior and questionable charges at times in the day when I was at work. And charges for entering and then next exit, exiting. The conversation was pretty heated as I only had a few bills to refer to. She then diffused the situation by telling me she is going to credit the balance. She asked if there is anything else she can assist with and the call was done.

    Well I moved 3 weeks later. Since I moved closer to work, I did not need to use the 407etr anymore on a regular basis.
    I did not see another bill from 407ETR until about end of 2007 when I used it. I received a bill for about $8.00 and paid it. I took the 407etr several times a year from 2007 until 2011. When I got my bill, I paid what I owed. I did not use it often so I had no use for a transponder.

    In Oct. 2011 I received a bill for $12.00.
    3 days later, I received another bill from 407etr for the amount of $5300 and the bill had a totally different account number.

    I was in complete shock. I called the 407etr and they told me that when I called in 2006 to update my address, they updated it with the wrong address. They did not update their records to reflect my new address. They had the address of the place I was moving from even though the customer service agent took my new address back in 2006. The agent also told me that my account was not fully credited back in 2006. They apparently only credited the interest and not the balance.

    So once I moved, she said all the bill were going to my old address. I asked how that can be when I was receiving bills at my new address for my usage. She said that the 407etr did not have any record of my new address which is not true. They knew where I was living if I was receiving bills for my usage when travelling on the highway. And the fact I called in 2006 to update them.

    So since I moved to my new house and I did not receive any bills from 407etr until 2007 for my once in a while usage, how was I to know I even owed $1400??

    So now they combined the 2 accounts and I tried everything I can. In jan 2012 I went in with a cheque to pay them the $1400 I owed and they would not except it. They wanted $3000 from me. I told them I will pay what I owe because this is their mistake. They refused to settle with me. I took this all the way to the office of the president and was told their is nothing they can do anymore after I sent the ombudsman a letter. And I was told I have to pay.

    I called them last Friday to try again to settle and they told me someone will call me on Monday to discuss a settlement. Well nobody called me. All I got is a lawyers letter today Jan 15th 2014 asking for $9000.

    I will fight this vigorously and I will bring this to the medias attention as well. If they launch a lawsuit against me I will challenge them in court and I will counter sue them. The day I am served I will go right to all the media outlets. I am sick and tired of being bullied by the 407etr.

    I will call their lawyer tomorrow to discuss.

  3. Jay says:

    I will post my update as soon as I hear from their lawyers

  4. Nader says:

    Just curious as to the estimate on how many people have been forced to pay these debts despite being discharged in bankruptcy and the source of this information.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Approximately 6,000 people have claims bankruptcy with 407ETR listed as a creditor. There is a Class Action we are waiting on for certification on this matter.

  5. Jay says:

    The lawyer now wants to settle this at $2000.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      I will contact you.

    • Silvana Meli says:

      Jay your story is similar to mine. Almost 3 years ago I got a letter from a lawyer which I found out later it’s actually a collection company asking me to pay $6000. The account number was different to the one I have and pay off every month. We went back and forth and one of the conversations we had the women told me they know I lived at the 2 prior addresses and the address I lived at now and how much I bought my house for. I said well if you knew why wasn’t I getting a bill? She couldn’t answer me. I requested proof of what they were asking me which would consist of pictures of my plate on the 407 and bills from the last few years they were claiming I owed. I never received them and never heard back. In December of 2013 I received a bill now from the 407 saying I owe over $13,500. I called them and told them what I had requested 2 years prior and never received it. She had no notes on what this lawyer (collection company) had discussed previously. They sent me the bills but no pictures. When I got the 407 bill they have my name spelt wrong by one letter. I’m not sure if this is enough to not have to pay . I need to find a lawyer that will give me some guidence. There anrnt many lawyers that want to deal with the 407. Could you pass the name of your lawyer to me

      Thanks.
      Silvana

  6. Jacqueline says:

    Jay/Tammy – my parents have a similar situation. Random call from lawyer this week demanding payment out of the blue for a charge dating back to 2006. no bill ever received (admitted by 407). thousands of dollars in interest. no back up bill, etc. Any ideas on who to contact?

  7. Evelyn says:

    Just wondering who was lawyer that sent letter? My husband just got a letter from lawyer for almost 11,000.00. No info was given so he called and lawyer has not info. He called MTO and they checked back to when he was 16 nothing. Called 407 balance is 0. My husband has not had a plate in is name in over 10 years.

  8. Silvana MELI says:

    I’m looking for a lawyer. Most lawyers don’t want to deal with the 407. Can you suggest the lawyer you are using please?

    I posted my story earlier which is very similar to Jay’s but for some reason I don’t see it up here. Does it take time for it to show up?

  9. Lorne MacMillan says:

    Hi Tammy,
    Good work , nice to see someone with a passion to see thing right.
    I never even used the highway more than twice , accumulating at most a 30.00 bill. After falling to hard times I was broke , 407 kept sending my bill to collections then back to 407 billing, then back to collections then back to 407 billing. It has been 11 years since using the highway a couple times (not even long drives,using only a couple exits), they have sent me a bill claiming I owe them $1400.00 .I would support any class action suit against the 407. Have you guys considered a protest on the highway(blocking it) if nothing changes?
    It seems as citizens we really have no power over this as has been demonstrated many times. This is similar to the Native Land Disputes in which Federal Laws are being breached without facing legal consequences and no amount of paper protests will ever change or overturn this corrupt and criminal organization . I would consider taking more drastic forms to bring public knowledge to you cause.Is a joint news investigation possible for eg. The Fifth Estate, City TV , CTV, Global and as many radio outlets as possible. I have plenty of friends in radio. I realize that many have taken this to various media outlets on different occasions over many years, I think it is time for a full on media assault combined with protests and major pressure on Provincial politicians. I have a feeling this will be the only way people who are pushovers may come together to sign petitions and ask for change.
    History shows that the corporate powers are very good at deflecting issues like this and it doesn’t help that we have the most crooked government in Canadian history running our country.Sadly, drastic measures may be the only way to deal with this problem with the 407 and MTO.
    I highly support what you do and hope you are successful.
    Lorne

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Thank-you so much for your support Lorne. We are exploring legal options at this time. You are right. This is a very corrupt system and without the support of many people, it will remain as is. Even if we do win before the courts, change will take years because 407 will play all their cards and prolong it as much as they can. We are in this for the long haul. Unfortunately, the politicians don’t care about this issue and so we are left with waiting for justice while this winds through the courts. Change will happen, but it will take years. We have encouraged people to sign the petition and contact their MPP.

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