Highway robbery? Fixer gets a mystery 407 bill


What’s to be done when an invoice with no supporting documentation arrives from 407 ETR demanding money for charges you don’t recognize?

The Fixer decided to pay the four-year-old bill – mostly accumulated interest charges totalling $21.12 – rather than deal with collection calls and credit rating woes.

But it has us wondering how many others have received similar bills for phantom charges from the express toll road, which has the authority to ensure that drivers who don’t pay are denied a licence plate renewal sticker – the only private company in Ontario with such a privilege – and how it was resolved.

Our problem began when a bill for $20.70 showed up last month with no absolutely no information on the invoice about how we ran up the charges.

It said only that our previous balance was $20.29, and with interest charges of 41 cents, the current balance was $20.70.

We have not owned a vehicle since July 2004, nor received a 407 bill in many years; our blood pressure was instantly ramped up.

We called the 407’s customer service line and talked to a guy named Bill, who explained that we made a payment of $130 in April 2004, but failed to pay the full amount owing, leaving a balance of about $7 that had since swelled to the current balance.

Huh?

Not only could we not recall the $130 payment or the driving that resulted in the charges, it made no sense that we would pay all but $7 of such a large bill.

Why didn’t you bill us for the other seven bucks, we asked? If we paid you $130, we’d have paid the rest, we reasoned.

Oh yes we did, said Bill. We’ve been sending you a bill every month, but you didn’t pay.

Beads of sweat popped up on The Fixer’s forehead. The conversation turned lively. Nonsense, we said. We had not seen – never mind ignored – any bill from the 407 for longer than we could recall.

If we’ve been getting bills for more than five years, why would we pick today to call and raise hell about it, we asked?

Not my problem, said Bill. You owe, so pay up.

We asked Bill for details of the individual charges from 2004, as well as the calculations used to arrive at the current balance.

It’s on the 407 website, said Bill.

We checked the “My Account” category, but found no more information about how we accumulated the charges than we did on the invoice.

A new bill arrived last week for $21.12, including 42 cents in new interest charges. It said our account may be sent to collections.

Oh boy.

We called again Monday and spoke to a fellow named Absar, who listened sympathetically while we outlined our story and asked why they didn’t forward the bill to collections years ago, if they were sending us monthly invoices.

It was not lost on us that if they had billed us monthly, the postage would add up to a lot more than we supposedly owed.

Absar said his records showed we were mailed a bill each month until November 2006, when it was “suppressed” because we didn’t respond. He couldn’t say why bills suddenly started coming again last month, but added no unpaid bill is referred for collection until it reaches $25, which is why we haven’t started getting the dreaded calls – yet.

We decided it was easier to pay the bill than deal with through-the-looking-glass madness; we sent a cheque for $23, including $1.88 more than we allegedly owe, to ensure that another bill doesn’t show up five years from now for a tiny phantom charge with a lot of accumulated interest.

We want to hear from readers who have received similar bills from the 407 for charges they don’t think they owed.

We’ll run a feature article in a week or so detailing your problems and highlighting the worst situations, as well as an explanation from the 407 about why it sends out bills for charges that are many years old, with no details of how they were run up.

When what you owe is whatever the 407 says, what choice is there but to pay, or get screwed over?

Article Source: http://www.thestar.com/news/gta/fixer/article/705960

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4 Responses to “Highway robbery? Fixer gets a mystery 407 bill”

  1. Naser says:

    Yes, it seems that they are the authorized legal Robers and there is no one to listen or help the public. My cousin got huge bills for driving on the 407 when while he was not even in the country.

    There are stories but no help.

    • Tammy Flores says:

      Naser,

      Be sure to join our Facebook Group “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power”. We just sat down with a lawyer that’s interested in doing something. We are starting off with people that are still in Plate Denial despite claiming bankcruptcy.

  2. David says:

    How can I join the group of people which are talking to a lawyer to challenge the legalized Mafia highway robbery that the 407 has become?

    I am being sent invoices (now given over to a collection agency) of over $40,000 for a $7,000 outstanding bill!!!

  3. steve says:

    I sent a polite letter stating due to health issues I was temporarily out of work and was about to start back and would do my best to pay a bit each pay until the $240 was paid off. I received a plate denial (may due) and then today a bill with $20 enforcement fee. We must put a stop to this. Mike Harris needs sued. The 407 act is illegal because the government has no right selling OUR property (or 99 year lease..same thing)

    GRRRRR!!!

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