A hard slog to an Easy Pass

2022 was a rough year, and no one was happier than I was to leave it behind. Or so I thought, until a couple weeks ago. Let me start at the beginning, which actually wasn’t until October 25, 2022.

Coming home from a New England Library Association conference, I found myself on a toll road in New Hampshire. I say ‘found myself’ because it’s not the first time I’ve entered a NH freeway and then found out I had to pay for the privilege.

No problem, it’s a nice road and only a dollar fee. Not having a E-ZPass© account, I pulled up to the CASH ONLY booth and was embarrassed to realize I didn’t have any cash either, not even change in the console dish. I explained that I really wasn’t trying to get off without paying and would he take a bottle of water in trade?

The man in the booth laughed, said “happens all the time” and gave me a card showing how to go online to pay the fee. The next day I did so, paid with a credit card and received an email confirmation within the hour.

In November I received a bill from E-ZPass© saying I owed them $1. I printed out a copy of the confirmation email and sent it with the letter back to them, figuring it was just a glitch.

The first week of December, I received another bill that now included a $1 “administration fee”. I assumed my reply hadn’t caught up (everyone’s understaffed – that’s what they tell us), but again sent a copy of the email confirmation of my payment along with a print-out of my credit card statement showing the charge to E-ZPass© the day after I “incurred” the fee.

On December 17 I received a letter dated December 9 saying I had seven days to request a review, giving details of my dispute. I composed and sent a letter requesting a review, again with printouts of my confirmation email and credit card statement. I reminded them that I had never disputed the fee but in fact had paid it. I was now up to $1.65 in postage trying to prove that I had paid their $1 fee. At that time I still thought it was humorous.

I then received a letter stating that I had not provided “adequate and proper documentation” in support of my “dispute”. They never said what adequate documentation might consist of, so I decided to save further postage and wait to see if the grinding wheels of government caught up.

On January 3, 2023, I received a letter that very graciously extended a settlement offer to resolve “these outstanding violations”, saying if I sent in a dollar, they would waive the administration fee.

So now I’m getting pissed, right? I called the customer service number provided. After refusing repeated methods for paying my bill, I finally was able to reach a real person who tried for over an hour to help me, but she couldn’t find any record of the account number they’d included in the letter nor any evidence of all the letters I’d sent in. She finally decided to send the whole thing to her “superiors” to figure out, and they would contact me.

Three days later I got a pink “late notice” showing that the administration fee had been bumped to $1.50 and giving me several ways to pay the now $2.50 bill. I assumed my helpful friend’s superiors had not had time to check it out, and again decided to wait.

On January 12, I received a letter from E-ZPass© signed “program manager” (no name). If I didn’t send payment or request for review (another one?) within 30 days, my registration and driving privileges in the State of New Hampshire “may be suspended”. (My registration is in Vermont.) At that point I was still hoping for those mythical “superiors” to step in.

On February 21 I found a new invoice in my post office box stating that a $25 administrative fee has been imposed, so the bill is now $26. Again, vague threats to suspend my “registration privileges”.

Folks, I am seventy-five years old, on blood-pressure medication and social security. I’ve always done most of my shopping in New Hampshire (have you tried buying groceries in Vermont? The last pound of butter I bought here was $8). I am now terrified of crossing the river and getting pulled over.

Easy pass? Seriously?

By the way, https://www.wcvb.com/article/5-investigates-costly-ezpass-mixup-massachusetts/41095611

It’s interesting reading. Apparently (so far) I’ve gotten off lightly!

2 thoughts on “A hard slog to an Easy Pass

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s