407 ETR – The modern day Sopranos


 

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So here’s the thing, any normal traditional business in Ontario should have proper business ethics right?

I’m baffled by the poor billing practices the 407 ETR have been practicing all these years, and totally stunned that the Ontario government just stands by the side and keeps blinders on and pretends these problems don’t exist. My only theory I have to justify and make sense of this is the obvious, 407 ETR is a huge cash cow and like any company that operates above the law, they usually have people or departments on their pay roll, like a modern day mafia! Tony Soprano is nothing compared to these guys lol.

Recently we had a visitor on the Facebook group that identified himself as “Exp Tollroute” claiming to be a 407 ETR employee and for “safety reasons” he wanted to remain anonymous. Now there is nothing wrong with doing so, however I believe the good cop bad cop routine he played was very suspicious and even at times very contradicting. One moment he would defend the company and pull legal information showing how the Spanish corporation has the right to do what they do, but then he would give little insights and supposed “inside knowledge”.

Ironically, it seemed to be done during business hours lol, which was a little weird considering the dangers of getting caught and trying to stay under the radar. 407 ETR does have a PR representative (Kevin Sack)  that is constantly on the net trying to watch over anything that is getting a little to much PR. Recently some of the members of the Facebook group and the Facebook group itself has been getting a lot of attention by the Toronto medias and for obvious reasons that would catch his attention, and since he is well known, it would be to his advantage to try and cool things down as a alias employee just trying to do the right thing.

With all his explanations however, it seems that the Spanish corporation – 407 ETR has positioned itself to literally fall between all the cracks of legalities so that they would seem untouchable.

Being self employed, I understand a lot of the things you have to deal with on an everyday basis including delinquent accounts. HOWEVER! I also know that like any other traditional company, I am only legally allowed to keep charging a delinquent account interest for a small period of time AND that interest is at a cap and cannot go over by law, yet it seems that this is something that the 407 is immune to and seems to have the ability to keep the account open for as long as 15 years and constantly charge a high interest percentage and feel they are entitled to it at the end – almost like you borrowed money from them at the beginning and did not pay it back.

We have heard so many stories from people in the Facebook group, the Toronto Star and also on many forums of people being charged thousands and thousands of dollars of interest on the original balance! We’ve seen people getting bills years later for an original $50.00 balance that has now turned in to an average of $2000.00! and others owing ten, twenty and even over thirty thousand dollars! 90% of it is interest charges.

I’m still trying to figure out how this is ethical and how the corporation expects to collect those amounts when they couldn’t collect the original amounts off these same people.

407 ETR needs to realize that they are not selling a product to the higher class, every day average people as well as above class, lets just say everyone uses this…. but the majority is your working class average to above average person that uses their service and usually complains about the fees as it is – so where would they get the money to pay these obscene balances?

Now! Saying this, I also understand that this state of the art, high tech highway – 407 ETR is also helpless due to the fact that they do not have a old fashion, physical “toll booth” at every entrance to the highway to ensure people pay before entering, this leaving it wide open to anyone to access it without consequence right? Well over the years like any company, you evolve and learn but its like the 407 ETR goes beyond that! They now have become instant judge and jury with the ability to have MTO (without question or proof) deny a person the renewal of their license plates until they pay their bill and to to ensure that their investment is secure and no one can use it without consequence, they now have specialized OPP Police cars that patrol the highway with a scanner to scan license plates to find delinquent drivers on their highway and give them a fine.

System fixed right?

You would think that alone would be enough, but it seems like the company wants to severely punish the person for not paying and give them the “cement boots”. Without remorse, after 2 months of non payment, 407 ETR claims that to save paper, they usually do not send out any other invoice, BUT they still add on the high interest charges without invoicing the user thus not notifying them that they are constantly being charged! Then when the balance is high enough for them to pay a high paid collection lawyer, they go after the delinquent account.

Their legal lawyers have become nothing but high paid collectors that will use any trick to find you and then bully you into thinking you must pay the now over the top balance that one must take a second mortgage loan out to pay the debt all because they drove on a highway years before.

Sound fair? It does to them!

Putting all this in perspective, I found it absolutely crazy that our government stands aside and allows this to happen. Any normal traditional company would come up on many legal charges for doing something like this…. except the Spanish corporation called 407 ETR!

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10 Responses to “407 ETR – The modern day Sopranos”

  1. Tammy Flores says:

    Very well written article. It crazy to think that you never borrowed a penny from them, but they charge you interest that accumulates better than any portfolio we’ve seen in the stock market lately.

    You just hit the nail on the head when you refered to, “that they are not selling a product to the higher class, every day average people as well as above class, lets just say everyone uses this…. but the majority is your working class average to above average person that uses their service and usually complains about the fees as it is” The 407 ETR raises tolls to lower traffic volume. Thereby making it a highway for the elite which begs an answer from the Minister of Transportation. How can you say you want a seamless system with regards to the highway 407 extension, sell us that the public at large will benefit, when this practice is exceptable and ends up only servicing the elite? I still don’t have an answer from MTO with regards to that one.

    Isn’t it ironic how the 407 ETR’s line of reasoning for having a “special status” is for collection? So they have an agreement with the government that makes the government their hencemen because although in that agreement the government says charges have to be lawful,they have no mechanism in place to determine lawful charges and they lean on the 407 Act that very well could contradict every other law that governs businesses in this country and if challenged would probably make the 407 ETR go back to the old fashion way of doing the toll business. TOLL BOTHS!

    The MTO tries so hard to distance themselves from the business practices of this highway, but they are forgeting that the public knows this is an attempt at a public private relationship. That private entity is serving a public need and as such, that distance between the government and the 407 ETR isn’t there. The ministry has to serve the public and fix this problem and stop creating another investment nech with out public services.

  2. […] another article (407 ETR – The modern day Sopranos) it referred to the 407 ETR shadowing a mafia style profile…. well I can honestly say this […]

  3. barbara weber says:

    I am one of those people who had a very small bill that I owed them in 2003 ..that has blossemed to over $2000. These people are cr0oks I have repeatedly asked for a copy of a bill as I was not even in the country driving on that stupid road when they say I did .
    But here is something …I just recived a bill from them with an Adjustemnt on it ..yes an actuall credit for transponder lease charges in the amount of $525…ok this really scares me ..as these people never give money back..
    They have denied my plate renewal on my motorcycle. do they care that I am loosing sleep about this stupid situation…I want to settle with them but I will not and cannot afford to pay $1600 for something I do not owe

  4. Adam says:

    407 claims that I owe them over 20,000. I have left a several messages to Kathleen Wynne (MTO) to look into this matter as well as Denise Peltier of the 407.

    I have taken legal action as well. Wish me luck

  5. Ray says:

    I have been sick for the past 3 years, in and out of hospitals and not able to take care of finances. At one point, my licence was held for non payment and paid the bill through the Government. Shortly after, I received another for significant amount but was too sick to even respond. It was not until last year that I realized that there were 3 accounts, one from a vehicle i had sold about seven years ago. Before that, i started paying of, what I thought was my only bill. To this day, I only get one bill per month from one account. Why is this? Does 407ETR pray on people that are sick and/or maybe even passed away and get settlements from their estate? Is someone getting paid on the sly in our Government?

  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 is compliant with collection laws and regulations, how is it possible that the 407 is “ABOVE THE LAW”.

  7. michelle smith says:

    I owe the 407 about 23,000 on a stolen license plate. 407 told me (when it was at 15,000) to pay 30%, then we can discuss it. ohhh best part, about 500.00 actual charges the rest is 8 years interest. I found out through plate denial. I put my vehicle in my business name. You can register a business for 60$ and have no filing requirements..but you can still get a sticker and plate.

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