Dear dimwits at the 407 ETR (*) office:

by DaniGirl on August 29, 2008 · 10 comments

in Rants and rambles

I acknowledge that the first mistake was mine. When we used the ETR toll highway to bypass highway 401 last May and you sent the bill for $20, I paid it through online banking without stopping to think that my account was attached to the old car and not the new van. So when I got a collection notice from you in June, I called right away to resolve the issue. A nice lady at the ETR office could quite clearly see the credit sitting in one account and the debt sitting in the other, so she offered to amalgamate the two accounts and transfer the payment.

All was well, or so I thought.

Imagine my surprise when I received a bill the next month for 24 cents. That’s right, you spent 55 cents to send me a 24 cent bill. Never mind the fact that I paid the bill on time, just to the wrong account. I’ll admit, I wasn’t in too much of a hurry to send you your 24 cents, but neither was I in a hurry to give you another call to resolve the situation. With three little boys at home, my time is worth a lot more than 24 cents.

And imagine my further surprise when I got an automated collection call the very next day at dinner time, during which you impelled me to call your toll-free number to resolve an important collection issue. And I’m sure you can imagine my annoyance when you did not even give me the opportunity to click through to an agent, but simply repeated the telephone number. Since you called me at 5:15 pm, when I was making dinner while feeding the baby and unloading the dishwasher and removing the dirty tupperware from the boys’ day camp backpacks and chatting with my husband about his day, I didn’t exactly have a free hand to write your number down. So I hung up.

And you can imagine my growing consternation when I got the very same phone call the very next day at exactly the same time and you probably won’t be surprised to hear I was busy doing the exact things that prevented me from writing down your number the day before. But you can bet that I dropped everything to do just that, and in fact I immediately called that number, where I waited on hold for seven minutes before being disconnected without actually speaking to a human being.

And by that time I was righteously frothed and it’s a very good thing that the agent to whom I spoke was pleasant and understanding of my annoyance. That agent informed me that HER computer screen showed a balance outstanding of $20.24, even though your now-one-week-old bill showed a balance of $0.24 and even though more than a month ago another agent reassured me that the balance was nil. Lucky for you, turns out she was even more appalled by the snafu that was my account that I was, and she assured me that she would take care of everything.

That was last week. I have no idea what my current account balance is, nor do I really care. You have, it seems, at least one kind and intelligent employee working the phones. Thanks for that. On the whole, though, I think putting up with the traffic on the 401 at rush hour may have been less of an annoyance than paying the 407 ETR toll.

(*) 407 ETR is a toll highway across the top of Toronto, one of the few if only toll highways in the province.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Fawn August 29, 2008 at 10:53 am

Oh my, Dani! I do hope this is the end of this sorry saga! It’s amazing what can happen when a little common sense isn’t built into these bureaucratic nightmares…

2 Chantal August 29, 2008 at 12:41 pm


3 twinmomplusone August 29, 2008 at 1:54 pm

oh my, two friends of mine had the exact same saga happen to them this past summer! Evil toll!!

4 Dani Donders August 29, 2008 at 2:24 pm

Blogcasting: Dear dimwits at the 407 ETR (*) office:

5 Belinda September 3, 2008 at 11:27 am

Ah, yes the 407 toll, we have had a few relatives fall prey to this evil roadway. One was because they loaned their trailer to a friend and of course the owner of the trailer not the car gets the bill. I vowed the day that thing opened I would never use it no matter how convenient it is! Hope everything works out for you.

6 Mac and Cheese September 7, 2008 at 4:30 pm

I always get a follow up bill after I pay my initial one in full. It’s always small enough that I just pay it anyways to make it go away. Stupid highway!

7 anita kaiser September 10, 2008 at 6:29 pm

made me laugh large – I can feel the pain – these sorts of things drive me bananas as well and yet I often find myself dealing with them in one form or another – the 407 sucks but damm the avoiding of the traffic in the summer – it’s a fine balance wouldn’t you say?

8 Cynthia March 12, 2009 at 11:34 am

Ah, I have one better! I too was promised that everything would be transferred to my new car for my transponder account. Ha, I was silly thinking it would be that easy!!! For two years now I have been getting two bills. Even one of their friendly staff concurred that I should not be getting two bills. Think about it… I am one person, who can only drive one car at a time, and be in one spot. My old car is toast, the plate is gone too! But naw, they have to show me going on the 407 in the same spot, same time, but did you know, not only do I drive my car, but I must also be driving my transponder alone at the same time I am driving my car!! Argghh, so what do they do to resolve the issue and put an end to it? Attach the fee due to my license plate. I want to renew my plate sticker, I pay the bill. I had no choice, paid it. But let me tell you. I don’t have the problem… Have you ever been to the 407ETR office on Steeles? You gotta go for a laugh. You want to talk about issues? When you arrive the office, you have to pass by 6-7 football sized security guards just to speak to someone! They are the ones with problems and issues. I truly believe they resolve their issues and they wont need the security guards. frustrating but worth a laugh. I also told them what they can do with the transponder. 401.. here I come!

9 StopBuggingMe! April 29, 2009 at 10:17 am

I had to drop a line to concur with the stupidity that is that 407ETR outfit. I vowed also to never drive this hwy personally. To do so is to condone private enterprise gone awry. In fact, 407ETR is the WORST example of privatization in Canadian history. All for the almighty dollar ….. the burly security guards make me laugh. If that doesn’t tell you that your company is in trouble, I don’t know what does …. Why – WHY – do some people PAY the late charges, added on service fees, etc… when they are unjust? It is that mentality that keeps the 407 people in business. I urge you all on principle to complain about billing errors, protest, tie up the their phone lines, complain to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, your MPP. This madness has got to be stopped.

10 Tammy Flores May 16, 2010 at 10:28 pm

Hi! My name is Tammy Flores and I am a single mother with 3 boys. I am looking for anyone and everyone that has ever had, or that currently has an issue with the 407. I started a Facebook group called “Stop the 407 ETR’s Abuse of Power!” The government acts like they are helpless when the 407 puts you in plate denial. They are not helpless. I need an army of people behind me. I have a reporter that may be interested in helping us. The Ministry of Transportation is the landlords of the 407 and as such has a responsibility to do something with the public is being harmed by their tenants. Feel free to contact me directly at… When you read my story on the facebook page it is unbelieveable.

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