407ETR Hoodwinks Thousands


Change the 407 Act supporters, this cause can really use your support right now. Please go to the Premier’s website and vote this policy idea up. If you have any positive suggestions, please post them there. This could go a long way to nipping this issue in the butt once and for all. Here’s the link http://commonground.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Change-the-407-Act!/13642-25935 Thank-you so much for sharing this and helping decision makers pay attention to this.

 

Change the 407Act! Sign & share the petition http://www.change.org/petitions/premier-kathlynn-wynne-glen-murray-tracy-maccharles-change-the-407act

This article can be found in the Wednesday, August 14th, 2013 edition of the Toronto Caribbean on page 21 you can picked up in over 300 Caribbean establishments throughout the GTA or you can download it for free here http://torontocaribbean.com/?wpdmact=process&did=MS5ob3RsaW5r

 

Thousands of people have been hoodwinked by 407ETR.   407ETR made errors in their “Notice of Failure to Pay” and accordingly they should withdrawal  their section 22 notices with the Registrar, but they don’t and MTO interprets that to mean there is nothing they can do because of a 2005 Judgment.  MTO has an obligation to firm up the language in the Act so that it complies with Consumer Laws.    The 407 Act doesn’t trump, override or amend other laws unless it specifically says so (e.g., para 8 — Non-application of Expropriations Act).  The unwillingness for either the Ministry of Transportation or the Ministry of Consumer Services to intervene comes down to politics and jurisdiction and has me very concerned about the quality of service the public is receiving from the government.

According to a Judgment made November 7th, 2005 #40 says “Section 9 of the Regulation requires 407 ETR to advise the Registrar at any time if a person ought not to have received a notice under s. 16 of the Act due to error, payment, or 407 ETR’s failure to comply with the Act and Regulation.  At the same time, the owner must withdraw the s. 22 notice and request that the Registrar “not take the actions he or she would otherwise be required to take under subsection 22(4).  By this section, the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council has placed the onus on 407 ETR to withdraw an improper s. 22 notice.  This is consistent with the general scheme of plate denial and consistent with the intention of the Act that the mere delivery of the s. 22 notice triggers the Registrar’s duty to act.  The Registrar must act unless the s. 22 notice is withdrawn.  This is consistent with the mandatory language of “shall” in s. 22(4).”
Herein lies the problem, because of the atrocious language in this Judgment and the Act, MTO interprets this to mean that unless 407ETR withdraws, they will still act on Plate Denials.  Is this fair?  Absolutely not!  As a result, 407ETR has been able to hoodwink thousands in the Province of Ontario. 407ETR had sympathy from this Judgment because they took 10 of the most flagrant abusers of this highway and plead a case.  MTO has the responsibility to go back to court and demonstrate how 407ETR has flagrantly abused this atrocious language and as a result thousands of consumers have been ripped off!
Just look at the language in #27 & #28 “ As noted above, the purpose of the Act was to privatize the operation of Highway 407 and, given its open-access character, to provide the owner an effective method of toll collection.  The Legislature recognized that plate denial is a necessary feature of an open-access toll highway given the exceptionally large number of transactions, the small balances, and the cost of other means of debt collection.  Contrary to the submissions of the Registrar, the Act places the onus on the user to dispute the obligation to pay, rather than on the owner to prove an entitlement to pay before delivering an invoice or a s. 16 notice… the Act does not require the owner to satisfy the Registrar the user is accurately identified.”
This is an error in Judgment and needs to be challenged, not only because it is against consumer laws, but because 407ETR gives you nothing to defend yourself.  How can a consumer defend weather or not they have been on the highway when the operator will not provide any proof of being on the highway?  The consumer is doomed! This atrocious language has allowed this company to financially exploit thousands.  
 
Further,  how can the “user” dispute the obligation to pay when he or she has been hoodwinked into following a 3 tiered internal process that is designed to catch you up?  If you go onto 407ETR’s website, they tell you if you have a dispute call Customer Service, if that doesn’t work, you can speak with a Customer Advocate with the Office of the President and if that doesn’t work, then you can write into the Office of the Ombudsman.  This process is all an internal process, in house of 407ETR, and is not the dispute process according to the act.
 
#29 in the Judgment says “They place the onus for disputing payment and proving that the debt is not owed on the recipient of the s. 16 Notice of Failure to Pay.  The Act is explicit that a recipient of the notice is expected to pay the charge (or have his or her licence plate renewal denied) even if a dispute is pending.  If the dispute is successful, the Act requires 407 ETR to reimburse the recipient of the notice with interest.  There is a right to appeal the determination of a dispute to an independent dispute arbitrator appointed by the Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council (s. 18).  These sections of the Act provide a comprehensive code of dispute resolution and do not involve the Registrar.” Also, according to this Judgment, 407ETR is supposed to notify you of your right to independent arbitration, but they do not.
 
The problem is that 407ETR has informed thousands to follow their internal process and as a result, consumers have not been informed of their rights according to the prescribed dispute process in the act.  When  people realize that they’ve been hoodwinked and try to follow the process according to the 407Act and file their “Notice of Dispute” and start to inquire about independent arbitrators, 407ETR tells them you have missed your window of opportunity and so they languish in Plate Denial with no way of getting out.  This is completely unfair, against Consumer Laws and must be addressed by the Province.
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