BY TAMMY FLORES
I got home from work last week to open an invoice from 407 ETR for one of the three accounts the company opened in my name that showed the previous balance of $7,240.12 had been reduced by $5,610.40. The invoice gave no explanation why other than to say, that it was to “assist” me in settling my account. It’s called a “discretionary interest adjustment” and the company claims on the invoice that no further interest will be added.
So I called 407 ETR right away to see what it was all about. I was told in 2012 that there was nobody that could assist me in settling my account because I had exhausted 407 ETR’s dispute process. Fast forward to 2016 and now, after sixteen years of mismanaging my accounts, 407 ETR says they want to help me settle my accounts.
After a forty minute conversation with CSR Curtis, someone pointed out that this new provision was on their website. I soon realized that what was said on the invoice was not the true intent of the company.
“In 2016, 407 ETR introduced a discretionary interest suspension practice for delinquent account balances of qualifying customers. Specifically, on qualifying accounts, interest is no longer being charged on unpaid amounts invoiced more than five years ago. 407 ETR determines the eligibility criteria for interest suspension and may change the eligibility criteria at any time in its sole discretion. At any time, 407 ETR reserves the right to stop interest suspension and resume charging interest going forward on all amounts owing. Amounts which are eligible for interest suspension will not incur further interest charges, but will remain outstanding until paid in full and are subject to licence plate denial and all collection remedies available to 407 ETR. Any amounts not qualifying for interest suspension will continue to be charged interest. Any new usage or charges will also be subject to interest. 407 ETR payment allocation rules apply to all accounts, including accounts which benefit from interest suspension. Specifically, any payments will be applied against the oldest amounts owing until the balance is paid in full. https://new.407etr.com/en/help/general/faq-howbillswork/faq59.html “
407 ETR is like a bully on the playground nobody likes. The company doesn’t say what qualifies for this “adjustment” but goes on to say that the eligibility can change at any time they want it to, even stopping the interest suspension and resume charging interest going forward on all amounts owing.
Here’s the forty minute call I had with them. It’s in Google Drive so you have to be logged into your Google account and use google player to hear the conversation. The conversation is very frustrating because they just keep saying you owe because it says so on the screen. https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4Ev5DuapM5dRnVaNnYwREttYzg/view?ts=571a4157
CSR Curtis denies the company made any mistakes. He goes as far as to say he would be on my side 100% if he had the facts, but when I told him I could send him the facts, he didn’t want them because the company would accuse me of doctoring the invoices.
I showed him how I accused the company of doctoring invoices in a letter from 407 ETR’s very own Ombudsman. The letter said that the company didn’t doctor the invoices, but merely updated the account. Curtis said he didn’t believe me and didn’t have that particular letter… convenient eh? He went on to say that the company didn’t make any mistakes and I own all the mistakes. After sixteen years, they still cannot provide me with all the photographic evidence that tolls occurred, but I still somehow owe them money for undocumented tolls and cannot legally license a vehicle in the Province of Ontario.
CSR Curtis is an unbeliever. He does not believe what I had been saying about 407 ETR all these years. At minute mark 31:34 he actually said that if what I was telling him was true, they should be in jail. He’s right; they should be in jail for what they have done to me and so many other people.
While this new provision of a “discretionary interest adjustment” may appear to be that the company is learning from their mistakes and trying to play fair, when you look beneath the surface it’s the same old song, just put to a different tune. Will the Province ever do their job and act for what’s in the best interest of consumers? Don’t hold your breath waiting.