Is there anything more annoying than standing in line for one, two or three hours to transact business that takes just a few minutes to conclude?
If you think queuing up is a complete waste of time, Jay Kimel-Fleishman is the guy to see. Founder of File My Tickets, he offers stressed-out and time-strapped individuals an easy way to avoid the lines. For a fee, his company will stand in line for you at government offices and request a trial date to fight parking and traffic tickets.
At $12 for a traffic ticket, $7 for a parking violation – there are discounts for multiple tickets – File My Tickets handles from 750 to 1,000 tickets a month. Business has really picked up since September, and “it’s just growing. Everyone gets tickets, unfortunately,” Kimel-Fleishman said.
“We help people set the date,” he said.
So far, the business is proving to be profitable and he’s hired eight people to work for him, full time and part time, either in the office or in line.
It’s not his first business. “I grew up in the family business” handling national accounts for City Water International, a provider of point-of-use water filtration systems.
Kimel-Fleishman, 33, came up with the idea for the company as a result of personal experience. “I got a lot of tickets when I was younger,” he said. “I always wanted an opportunity to fight them.”
He learned time and again that appearing in court to set a trial date was a real pain. You missed work, lost income and sometimes even got another parking ticket while waiting in line.
Looking at the faces of others waiting their turn, “I thought they’d rather be someplace else, like at work.”
But the fear of a conviction, demerit points and possible loss of licence or insurance was motivating them, he concluded.
“It’s a huge waste of time,” he said, but with the prevalence of the Internet and all kinds of online services, he wondered why government officials weren’t offering something to make the process easier.
Could it be that making it easier wasn’t on their agenda? “They don’t want to encourage something that would cost them money,” he suggested.
“I thought, if they [the ministry] won’t do it, I will.”
Kimel-Fleishman set up the web service at www.filemytickets.com and, mostly through word of mouth and some advertising, clients started to sign up. A small number were fighting parking tickets, the vast majority were ready to head to court to plead not guilty to traffic offences.
What the service offers is a warm body to stand in line for you and file a Notice of Intention to Appear, the legal document that tells the Ontario court system you intend to fight the traffic or parking violation.
File My Tickets won’t actually fight the ticket for you; it merely offers clients the convenience of doing the time-consuming legwork for them.
“We’re just processors,” Kimel-Fleishman said.
With the arrival of the new year, File My Tickets is planning to add several new services. In addition to setting court dates for clients, it will change court dates, search records to determine if a driver was suspended, go to government offices and pay fees to reinstate licences that were suspended for non-payment of fines, file change of address notices, pick up disclosure documents and order transcripts of court proceedings.
Kimel-Fleishman expects fees to range from $15 to $20 per service, although “our bread and butter is definitely setting trials. But people will really appreciate these services.”