Some Ontario drivers will have to pay to replace defective licence plates that peel and bubble because of a manufacturing problem.
The faulty plates are estimated to amount to 1%-2% of the total 1.4 million made in the province each year. That means as many as 28,000 plates could be returned to Service Ontario locations annually.
And Whitby resident Bob Eberle found out the hard way recently that if your plates are more than five years old, there is no warranty. He had to pay $29 to have the defective plates replaced.
“You could peel the whole front of the plate right off,” he said, adding that he wasn’t alone that day. At the same Service Ontario location, there were others in line to replace their peeling plates, too.
“It’s just the principle of the thing, $29 is $29. But there were five or six other people just like me with the same problem, Eberle said Tuesday.
The retired police officer said he was recently pulled over and warned that his plates needed to be changed. Rather than risk a $110 fine, he paid the fee.
“I think they should replace the plate at no-cost to us because it’s a defective product that they’re putting out,” he said.
Anne-Marie Flanagan, spokesman for the Ministry of Government and Consumer Affairs, said the government has been aware of the defect since fall of 2012. Since then, the manufacturer, Trilcor Correctional Industries, has been investigating the problem, she said.
The company provides adult offender work programs for inmates at Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay.
“It’s important to note the manufacturers are working on it,” she said. “They are looking at other jurisdictions seeing where this may have happened in other cases.”
Flanagan said similar problems with the laminate cover peeling off have been reported in B.C., Illinois and the British Virgin Islands. The cost to replace the plates is being born by the manufacturer, not the province, she said.
“We recommend to people if they’re having this problem with their plate, please come in if it’s less than five years old as long as it’s normal wear and tear,” Flanagan said. “It will be replaced free of charge.”
Eberle said he’d like the government to solve the issue.
“I’d just like the government to be responsible,” he said. “I don’t mind paying for a service, but when I pay for that service, I either want a quality product or quality workmanship.”