Sunday, August 7, 2011

EZ Pass Scam - There is no such thing as cash lanes...

I have come across so many people who have paid their tolls in the automated lanes (where you do not get a receipt), the sign tells them that the toll is paid and that they can go, and a couple of weeks later they get a ticket in the mail for $25. EZ Pass then claims that the lane that the toll was never paid, and that the driver went through an EZ Pass lane. This has happened to me. I know for sure that I tossed money in the bucket and the sign told me to "Go" and yet EZ Pass wants me to believe that the toll was not paid and somehow I went through the wrong lane. This is consumer fraud and I would like to start a class action lawsuit against EZ Pass. If you have a similar story, please share.

EZ Pass Scam - There is no such thing as cash lanes...

A few years ago my employer sent me to West Long Branch, NJ to attend a training.  I traveled the on the Garden State Parkway from RT 78 in Union to exit 105 (West Long Branch) each weekday for those 2 weeks. I did not have EZ Pass at the time, and I paid the 75 cents toll at the cash only lane to enter the Parkway Northbound at the Monmouth and  again when I exited at Union (totaling $1.50 per day.) I went through the self-serve lane, tossed my toll money in the basket, and waited for the sign to read "Paid / Go."
After the training was completed, I returned to my regular office in Northern Jersey. A couple of weeks later, I was shocked to receive 10 EZ Pass tickets in the mail. All the tickets were from the Monmouth toll plaza, and one was issued for each day that I attended the training. Each fine was $25, totaling $250. EZ Pass claimed that I had gone through an EZ Pass only lane. Knowing full well that I had paid, and their automated sign gave me the go ahead, I knew that there must have been some kind of error.
Outraged, I called EZ Pass. After being put on hold for 45 minutes, a very unpleasant woman took my call and informed me that there was nothing that she could do, and  I would have to pay the bill. Bullshit! EZ Pass offers no options for customers to question charges on their bill, other than use the 5 tiny lines on the back of the summons to write them a little note to plea your case.
 Maybe had I just been visiting the Jersey Shore for the day, and had gone through the toll only once, I would have accepted the $25 fine assuming that it was my mistake. However, I know that I would not have made the same mistake 10 times!! And since the lane is self serve, there is no receipt, and I have no proof that I paid.... except logic.
I did write to EZ Pass, and I never heard back. They sent me 10 more tickets the following month... the fine went up to $50 per ticket. I called EZ Pass again, and after another lengthy hold time and being shuffled around to several different departments, I was once again told that there was no other recourse but to pay the fines. They told me to pay my bill, and put my complaint in writing. If they deemed that my complaint was valid, they would return the money. I told them that I had already put my complaint in writing, and they claimed that they did not receive it.... proving to me that EZ Pass is a viscous circle of incompetence, and a complete and utter scam!
I never did pay the fines, and after a few months they gave up on sending out tickets. I was afraid that my credit would be affected, but there does not seem to be any change since this whole thing started.
Since this incident, I have gotten an EZ Pass account. When opening my account, I wondered if my old tickets would catch back up with me, but it has never come up. For the most part, the EZ Pass account is accurate, although I find the statements, and reserve amounts/ withdrawls to be a little confusing. I went about 5 years without any trouble, then in July '11, I received a ticket that made absolutely no sense. The fine was given because EZ Pass claims that it could not read my tag. Oddly enough, my tag # was on the ticket. My account has plenty of money in it, and I regularly use the toll plaza that the ticket originated in.... in fact, I had used that plaza the days before and after the ticket was issued. The ticket is for $50. I called EZ Pass, and they could not explain it to me either, but said that I should pay the amount and write a complaint. I wrote a complaint, but I am not paying the fine.
EZ Pass is a corrupt organization which needs to immediate attention from the government officials. If enough people have issues with EZ Pass, the government will be forced to step in.