E-Z Pass – A Growing Frustration for Motorists as Complaints of “Scam” Increase
Despite the fact that E-ZPass has revolutionized millions of commuters’ lives, allowing them to zip through tolls, thus saving time and money, it appears that for a growing number of motorists, this popular convenience is actually causing some costly problems as was reported back in 2011 by CBS 2’s Dana Tyler.
According to her extensive research, motorists have registered complaints about standard passenger vehicles being charged the same price as tractor trailers, gates on bridges not going up after their toll was paid, and grievances about being grossly overbilled for tolls.
“We’ve gotten, literally, thousands of complaints,” said Robert Sinclair of AAA New York.
The Automobile Association of America says it’s on-going. “From technical problems to problems dealing with customer service being unresponsive to overcharging, overbilling,” Sinclair said.
“They overcharged me three times the amount that I’m expected to pay,” said one motorist.
According to the CBS report, the motorist said he called and complained right after receiving his bill and E-ZPass told him to expect a refund but nothing ever came. He continued to call and even went in person and again was told a refund was coming. But instead of a refund he eventually received a letter saying his dispute had exceeded the agency’s 180-day time limit.
“What difference does it make if it’s 180 days or 1,800 days? Since when is there a statute of limitations on doing the right thing?” he said.
All across the Internet hundreds of other angry E-ZPass customers complain about overcharging and other problems. “They are really just trying to pick my pocket,” Michael J. Moore said.
“They’re charging us tractor trailer prices,” Sarama said when the CBS report was originally filed in 2011.
Sarama and her husband run a business transporting race horses from New Jersey to Delaware. It’s supposed to cost $12.50 round trip for her pick up and trailer, but Sarama has been charged as much as $30. Over the last three years, she said E-ZPass has overcharged her $2,800.
“They said it was our fault for not recognizing the fact that we were being overcharged,” Sarama said.
As a result, they’ve joined other motorists with trailers in a class action lawsuit against E-ZPass. “I think it’s ridiculous what they’re doing. I think they’re imposing a burden on the people,” attorney Jeffrey Pocaro said of E-ZPass.
Part of the problem is different agencies oversee E-ZPass. It all depends on what road you happen to be driving on. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority handles the Verrazano Bridge.
“They charged us, with fines, about $100,” Roxanne Hartman told CBS 2’s Kristine Johnson in a 2012 report.
“Every time I’ve crossed the bridge, they’ve charged me 16 bucks,” Jeff Hutchinson said. “I got a ticket for $175,” added Robert Socolof.
Motorists are strongly advised to read their statements carefully and take action on mistakes immediately.
CBS 2 discovered on at least one local roadway some drivers are paying more than others.
For example, if you drive the entire length of the New Jersey Turnpike – mid-day — and you have an E-ZPass that was issued in New Jersey, you will pay one price, but if you drive with an E-ZPass issued by another state, including New York or Connecticut, and you’ll pay nearly $4 more.
Sinclair of the AAA said, “It’s really unfair, we think, to motorists.”
Not everyone drives the entire stretch of the road, but even if you’re going a few exits you’ll still end up paying more than your New Jersey neighbor. “That’s not how it’s supposed to work,” Socolof said.
“There’s probably a lot of people who don’t realize these things are happening,” Hartman added.
Socolof said he’s so fed up with E-ZPass he’d rather sit in traffic and pay more than continue using it. He gave his E-ZPass tag back in protest.
“I wait an extra four or five minutes every time I cross the bridge. I’m idling, I’m polluting, I’m wasting my time, but I don’t trust the system,” Socolof said.
Hutchinson said he feels the same way. He said he’s been charged nearly three times what he’s supposed to pay, and it’s happened more than once.
“My tag has been issued only to a passenger-type vehicle, but yet they charge me a commercial rate,” Hutchinson said.
It’s a common problem we hear about all the time: E-ZPass users from all across the country complain online, saying things like:
* “E-ZPass has been ripping me off for years.”
* “They are a bunch of crooks and run massive scams.”
* “Twice it has sent me a fine notice and a photo that SHOWS my transponder in the window.”
David Ben Hooren, the publisher of the Jewish Voice has recently voiced his complaints about the questionable practices of E-ZPass.
“E-ZPass tells a motorist who does not have a transponder in their vehicle that they will get billed for the toll. The bill arrives and not only are you billed for the toll but you are issued a $100 fine. The worst part about it is that E-ZPass does not even inform motorists that they will be charged such a huge fine. When you try to call them to dispute a bill or contact them in any manner, it is all but impossible to reach them. Also, if you do not get payment in on time, they
double or triple your bill. I think EZ Pass needs a major overhaul and I would sincerely hope that our elected officials would make this matter one of their top priorities, “he said.
In January of 2017, the Boston Globe reported that one woman said that she had been charged for going through the same toll location multiple times in less than a half hour. Others have said that they are regularly double charged for their commute.
As recently as August 12, 2017 on the Department of Consumer Affairs web site complaints about E-Z Pass were still appearing.
John from Pittsburgh said: “This is to those of you trying to decide if you should get an EZ Pass, as people just take these roads without thinking. I got an EZ Pass a year ago and I just regret half the times I go on the turnpike. They always find ways to screw you, are impossible to contact, have terrible customer service, and most of all, I hate giving my money to support a business of toll roads with inferior service. The transponder I have works 50% of the time, I've gotten false charges that I try to dispute and their customer service is terrible, accusatory, and just not friendly. There is ZERO way to email them, leave a message, other than contact them during your busy work week.
Despite crystal clear evidence, they will still fine you and refuse to look through their army of cameras taking photos of your license plate for proof. Truly, the Turnpike is a trash organization. More often than not, the non-toll road is just 10-20 minutes more to wherever you are going when traveling several hours, I think it's best to just stick to those. For the trips where you are considering a longer commute with friends and want to take the Turnpike to save the time of yourself and others, I totally understand, perhaps take the road and just pay cash to minimize your overall contribution to the pockets of this atrocious business.”