When businessman Jay Kimel-Fleishman began garnering media attention for the novel idea of charging people a small fee to help them get court dates to fight parking and traffic tickets, many people were taken by the concept of saving time and money.
Sharon Baker, Laura Main and Elvira Lovas, former clients, were sold on the idea – until Kimel-Fleishman charged them for services they say he failed to provide, leaving them on the hook for hundreds of dollars in unpaid fines and interest, along with his fees and empty promises about issuing them refunds.
The women accuse Kimel-Fleishman, CEO of filemytickets.com, of being unprofessional, unaccountable and of owing them hundreds of dollars.
In an interview with The CJN, Kimel-Fleishman said, “Like any business we are human beings and we make errors… I’m trying to make sure we only portray a good image and make sure we let people know. I’ve probably filed well over, I don’t know, 30,000 or 40,000 tickets, probably more. We have done a lot of good. We are making a few errors here and there, but we’ll take care of them and we plan to act like a professional company.”
Kimel-Fleishman said he’s committed to settling his debts with Main, Lovas and Baker. “Everyone’s been contacted and will be reimbursed,” he said after The CJN interviewed the women about their cases.
In 2011, Kimel-Fleishman launched filemytickets.com, a service that allows people slapped with expensive parking and traffic tickets to have someone else line up for them and file for a court date for a small fee.
Once a ticket is registered online, a “filer” takes it to a provincial offences or parking tag office, where the person files the ticket on behalf of the client.
Over the years, mostly through word of mouth and some advertising, business boomed. Before long, local news media, The CJN included, profiled Kimel-Fleishman about his new, thriving business.
When Sharon Baker, got slapped with a ticket that ran her about $450, she decided she wanted to fight it.
A friend, who had a positive experience with Kimel-Fleishman, referred her to filemytickets.com.
She said after paying the court booking fee in November, Kimel-Fleishman emailed her with an offer of “an additional service” – one that’s not advertised on his website.
“He said, ‘If you pay me half [the ticket fine – $225] now, I will settle the ticket on your behalf and you won’t have to pay anything more’… I feel really stupid that I agreed to it,” Baker said.
“I transferred him the money via email, and then it went dark. It was really hard to get him to respond. Then I got a court date notice in the mail, which I thought was weird, because he was supposed to be settling it.”
But Baker said Kimel-Fleishman continued to reassure her that the ticket was being taken care of.
Her court date was scheduled for this past April, but soon after, she received a notice in the mail that she had to pay the fine, as well as a penalty on top of it, amounting to almost $500.
After that, Kimel-Fleishman made “a couple promises to pay” and several apologies.
Laura Main was a repeat customer and recalled that while he did handle some tickets to her satisfaction, there were others that fell by the wayside.
“He submitted some and he didn’t submit others. There was one time he hadn’t done it for me, and I had to chase him down. I called him 20 times, and he finally paid me back,” Main said.
But last year, when Kimel-Fleishman also suggested he could take care of her fines for a fee – $100, plus half the cost of all the tickets he’d fight on her behalf – she felt it was worth the money.
She paid the fee he requested up front, with the understanding that he would take care of it, and “I would never have to see it or deal with it again.”
“Fast forward, I get notices in the mail that I haven’t paid my tickets. I collected interest,” Main said. “Now I’m on the hook for the full price of the tickets and what I paid him.” She said when she confronted Kimel-Fleishman about it, initially she didn’t get a response, “but I was pretty persistent. I called him multiple times, I texted him, I sent emails.”
He promised to reimburse her, asking for more time to process the refund, but as of February, “there was radio silence.”
Currently, Main estimates Kimel-Fleishman owes her between $300 and $400 for services she paid for, but were never delivered.
When Elvira Lovas registered her traffic ticket through the website in February 2014, Kimel-Fleishman emailed her to ask if she “wanted help fighting that ticket,” adding that he “works together” with a paralegal to offer the service.
“I collect on his behalf, and he is notified on your case when the court date arrives to your address,” Kimel-Fleishman wrote to Lovas in an email.
Lovas agreed, but said that after she transferred him the $250 fee he charged, he became hard to reach.
When Lovas followed up by email the day before the court date with the paralegal that Kimel-Fleishman had supposedly commissioned, the paralegal told her that he still had not been retained or paid to represent her.
After confronting him about it, Kimel-Fleishman replied about two weeks after the court date, saying, “My guy was sick on the day of court. Oh my… I do not like when this stuff happens. I am so sorry.”
Lovas demanded a refund, but aside from an email two months later in which he promised to reimburse her, she never received the money from him.
Lovas and Main both said they considered taking Kimel-Fleishman to small claims court, but figured it would be too time-consuming. Baker said she threatened to send his case to collections, since her husband is in the collections business, but never followed through.
Kimel-Fleishman confirmed that he offers an extra, unadvertised service, asking clients for half the cost of a ticket to hire a paralegal to attempt to get the fine dismissed or reduced.
“If we lose a battle, the customer is going to be upset when they get a bill… we have no problem reimbursing that person,” Kimel-Fleishman told The CJN.
When asked about Baker’s case, he said, “Please understand that I’m dealing with a high volume of tickets. I have people helping me, but it’s not an excuse. If you want to give me her name, I’ll make sure she is reimbursed.
In the days after Kimel-Fleishman spoke to The CJN, Baker and Lovas said they were each offered a $50 e-transfer payment with a promise to pay the rest back. Neither Baker nor Lovas wanted to accept the partial payment, because he wouldn’t commit to a full payment plan. Main did not confirm whether she received a payment from Kimel-Fleishman before The CJN went to press.