If you pay a credit card late, you could be looking at.. what is it $40 fee? I don’t know if the credit card fees are still ridiculous, but even then, at the least, you would just be dealing with a $40-ish fee one at a time. E-ZPass seems to think that like a credit card company, they should charge a hefty fee too if you make the mistake of not paying a violation within 30 days.
Fine, let’s say that’s moral. The problem though is that with E-ZPass, you could have quite a few violations at one time if there’s an issue with the transponder or some other error. That’s what happened to me in December. I had just gotten my new car and traded in my old one. I called E-ZPass NY to notify them of the new vehicle and they told me that they can’t add on a temporary tag and have to wait until I get a permanent tag. Well I didn’t get my permanent tag until late January so between late November and late January, on the few instances that the E-ZPass Maryland toll booth didn’t read my transponder, it couldn’t match my license plate to a transponder and sent me a violation.
All in all, there were 5 violations in question. And when I didn’t pay within 30 days, a $25 fee was put on FOR EACH violation. so on a toll which could be as low as $0.55, there was a I-don’t-know-how-many-thousand-percent increase violation.
I thought E-ZPass MD’s customer service might be helpful. Surely talking to humans who make simple human mistakes too would be a cause for understanding. But alas, best she could do was reduce the fees down to $5 per violation. A nice drop but still, that’s $25 for something which wasn’t my fault. Yeah I didn’t pay the violation on time, but that original violation wasn’t my fault – it’s EZ-Pass NY’s policy. I don’t know how they handle it.
This is sort of off-topic but while we’re here, I may as well point out how sucky E-ZPassMD’s customer service is. After a crazy long hold time (they tell you at the start it’ll be longer than 6 minutes – that’s it, the only detail they give you), I spoke with someone named Marika who first offered the 80% price drop proposal. I asked to be transferred to a supervisor and after another crazy long wait, she said she found someone and transferred me. But that was of course voicemail. I left my voicemail message for I don’t know who and then had to call back E-ZPass Maryland, wait a crazy long time again, and finally speak to someone again.
This person was more helpful. Her name was Lydia (ID# 10846). She explained better that the 80% drop was all they could do on their end, but also made me aware of the option to dispute with the MDTA. She gave me their address (which is P.O. Box 17600, Baltimore, MD 21297 – I’m making you aware of it because when you come to this corrupt state and get a ridiculous fine, you too will need to reach out to them). Also, she took down my complaint for the previous rep Marika not telling me she was transferring me to the voicemail of a supervisor and gave me a reference for the complaint. That was nice. While I’m mad Marika didn’t give me enough details nor make me aware that she was transferring me to a voicemail (so I could have stopped her), I am more mad there was no supervisor around for me to talk to during both calls at 4-something PM on a Thursday.
Anyways, I paid the $25 violation fine plus the toll fees (the latter part I of course don’t have a problem with). I emailed E-ZPass NY to see if they would be willing to help but if they don’t, I can live with $25 down the drain just to pad Maryland Transportation’s wallets. And if I get a chance I’ll do a dispuate with MDTA.