$43,000 owing to the 407 ETR Highway. Please pay immediately.
Are you cringing yet? Andrew Bird definitely was when he opened a letter from a collection agency representing the 407 ETR, demanding payment of $43,000. The payment included tolls, interest charges and penalties for using the highway throughout the past ten years.
At this rate, you must wonder how much driving you could do to accumulate a bill of that magnitude! Less than you think. It’s the interest that kills us.
After using the highway somewhat frequently to visit his mother in Hamilton, Bird believes he owed $2,000 before the additional charges were applied. Bird agrees he should pay the $2,000 as that is how much he owes. The bill has been in dispute for years. In 2007, Bird moved to Alberta and forgot about the unresolved bill.
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About a year ago, Bird moved back to Ontario and until December was driving with Alberta plates. Recently, he went to ServiceOntario to register a new vehicle and was informed he had to pay his 407 bill first. Ouch.
Bird has since launched an online petition on change.org urging the provincial government to change the rules surrounding the plate denial.
According to wheels.ca, Bird feels the province “should not be a collection agency for a private business” and “blocking a person’s ability to register a vehicle because of an alleged outstanding bill owed to a privately owned company is unconstitutional.”
Kevin Sacks, spokesperson for the 407 ETR, urges that the 407 needs this power otherwise it has no way of keeping the drivers who owe money off the highway. The Ontario Court of Appeal made the decision that those who have gone through the bankruptcy process should not have to pay their 407 ETR bills.
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Obviously, then came the class-action lawsuit against the 407 ETR from all of those who were forced to declare bankruptcy because of those hefty 407 charges.
David Thompson, their lawyer, says that he has come to know “dozens of individuals who complain about the enormous amounts owing composed of significant interest charges.”
Can you believe one in one case, the person owed charges of $100,000?
The thought is sickening.
The worst part is many of these people are in the dark about how much money they owe. So many individuals dispute the charges, and like Andrew Bird, they become tied up in the court system and potentially forgotten.
That is, until you find that $43,000 bill in your mailbox!
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