OK, this is insanely out of control. The latest billing problem with our tolling systems as reported by KOMO News is due to a problem with the tolling company’s computers. Electronic Transaction Consultants Company, the company who provides Washington’s tolling system did not send people their bills in a timely manner. Now they are sending out bills for trips people made long ago, in some cases over a year ago. It is reported that in some cases customers are facing a bill of $1300 and the average owed is $110. Their mistake affects 126,000 trips made by 8,200 people who don’t have a Good To Go account. It is very likely these people would have adjusted their driving habits to avoid toll roads and toll lanes or would have set up a Good To Go account to get better prices if they had known they were racking up charges. It is an incredible injustice that WSDOT expects people to pay up charges for trips made as much as over a year ago for which they were never sent a bill.
Knowing all the hundreds of thousands of billing errors that have been made by WSDOT which incorrectly billed people, it is likely many of these charges are erroneous. How can these drivers possibly dispute charges from that long ago? And what recourse do these people as a group have?
This is not the first time there has been a problem.
Jan 29, 2015 – Class action suit filed against WSDOT for charging penalties without ever sending a bill.
Jun 3, 2011 – Thousands of drivers are incorrectly ticketed on Tacoma Narrows bridge.
Jun 15, 2015 – predatory billing practices.
Sep 16, 2015 – FlexPasses don’t work in hundreds of car models.
Oct 6, 2015 – Good To Go Passes fail for motorcycles.
Oct 13, 2015 – 3,350 Drivers double-charged tolls on I-405 ETL. and 2person carpools.
Dec 11, 2015 – Improper credit card processing led to erroneous surcharges.
Dec 14, 2015 – WSDOT Customer Service frustrates drivers with 30 minute hold times.
Dec 30, 2015 – 226,000 trips were over charged.
Feb 19, 2016 – Credit card numbers were stolen. The incident was kept quiet for 3 years.
Apr 22, 2016 – 126,000 trips billed as much as a year later, drivers expected to pay.
Apr 26, 2016 – Illinois driver charged who has never even been to Washington State.
May 4, 2016 – 800,000 tolls can’t be billed.
Feb 14, 2017 – Getting Jesse Jones involved when no bill is sent for over a year
I personally have been erroneously billed 3 times, none of which were related to these issues published by the media. These problems are chronic and grossly negligent by WSDOT and the Texas company they employ, Electronic Transaction Consultants Company. We do not need our government abusing us like this. After 5 years of these problems impacting close to half a million trips, we say enough is enough.
First, the vendor, Electronic Transactions Consultants, is fully responsible for this and should carry the loss.
Second, WSDOT needs to totally rethink this tolling business that is hurting citizens, provoking anger, resentment, undue stress, causing congestion and putting financial burdens on people in ways that are reprehensible. Yes, we must pay for our roads. But tolling is riddled with so many flaws, problems, costs, inconsistencies and injustices that it must be revoked and a more functional, equitable, and less complicated solution be made for our taxing and funding methods. If you are or you know anyone who is an attorney who would like to take on the state in a class action suit, in particular for this latest travesty of billing a year after the transactions were made, we would love to hear from you. And for the rest of us, please take this as another wake up call to get more signatures on the petition at http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/stop405tolls