Connecticut residents should be aware of new cashless toll systems.
While they do speed up traffic, some people are getting hit with fees they say they don’t really owe.
A Cromwell couple said they were unfairly charged a penalty after they drove over the Tappan Zee Bridge in New York.
They didn’t have EZ Pass and expected to get a regular toll ticket in the mail. Instead, they say they received a toll violation notice from the New York thruway with a penalty fee attached.
The violation notice also warned of the penalties for failure to respond such as: additional charges, even suspension of your vehicle registration, and getting transferred to a collection agency.
“They claimed that this was their third notification to us of a toll that we didn't pay so they were putting on a $25 administrative fee,” said Eugen Koenig.
Eugene said he mailed two letters to the Thruway disputing the violation notice and the fee, because he and his wife never got the first two notification invoices, only the violation.
The Thruway responded saying he still owed it.
Despite that, the Koenigs weren't giving up.
“Would you pay a fee that you didn't owe?” Jean asked.
Jean called customer service several times, but wasn’t getting anywhere.
“We couldn't let them get away with this,” said Jean.
They refused to pay the fee.
They contacted the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters so we reached out to the Thruway to find out what might have happened in the Koenig’s case. A spokesperson said the couple was sent two previous bills for the toll, which went unpaid. The Koenigs dispute that. But in the end, the Thruway finally agreed to drop the penalty.
We also asked the agency how many other complaints they have gotten from people claiming they never got a first or second invoice notice only the third, the violation. A spokesperson said they don't collect that type of data .
But we learned the company contracted to process the cashless toll violations and mail out the notices is Xerox State and Local Solutions.
We reached out to Xerox for comment, but a spokesperson told us the Thruway is “the only one who can respond” to our questions.
We learned Xerox also services the cashless toll systems for the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. According to data collected during an assessment in 2013, over a two month period, out of 216,000 drivers about 300 of them "believe that they did not get a toll invoice mailed to them first before they received a toll violation."
The New York Thruway sent a statement saying, "We encourage all customers to thoroughly review their bills (E-ZPass and Tolls by Mail) for accuracy and they should report any discrepancies right away."