Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Easy isn’t always cheap

Land Line keeps a close eye on tolling and so should you, especially if you have a transponder and an account to pay your tolls electronically.

News stories continue to surface about customers being overcharged or penalized because of a glitch, an expired account or some other problem related to technology or an electronic account.

Penalties and fines are in place to prevent people from cheating the system but sometimes those penalties are wrongly assessed or exorbitant. It pays to check your books to make sure you’re not being overcharged.

I recently touched base with a California attorney, Anat Levy, who filed a lawsuit in early 2007 against the Orange County Transportation Authority. A group of motorists suing the Authority say they were charged exorbitant penalties for racking up so-called violations on the 91 Express Lanes toll road.

One family involved in the case was assessed $43,638 in penalties after incurring just $140.68 in unpaid tolls on an expired transponder account. They had been using the toll road to drive their daughter to cancer treatments in 2005. The case is ongoing with a hearing scheduled for later this summer, Levy says.

Electronic tolling continues to gain in popularity as a way for a roadway operator to cut costs.

Take some time to balance your books and keep your electronic accounts paid up to avoid getting in a mess. In most cases we’ve read about in recent months, tolling authorities will work with customers at resolving issues. If that doesn’t work, there’s a legal system in place.