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New and traditional ways of exploring the globe, and your own backyard.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

EZ Pass: One of the Reasons the State is in Debt

So, in my blog title, I might be a little hasty and exaggerating the affects of EZPass on the state's everyday financial life.
But...when they do something as stupid as what happened with me. They kinda deserve it.
You may remember how in August I accidentally went through an EZ Pass lane. It was raining, I had just lost my passenger side windshield wiper, and apparently my ability to discern "cash" from "EZPass." I admit, it was a stupid mistake.
To my slight surprise, after appealing through the state Thruway and EZPass, they reduced the $43 fine (including an $18 toll assuming I came from Buffalo and not Albany and a $25 administrative fee) to $5.25, the actual toll that I would have paid from Albany to the NYC area.
I was extremely happy and had almost a new found appreciation for this process, even though (as can be seen with the $25 admin fee) it's an expensive process.
This respect and appreciation, however, was shattered the day I got another toll violation notice in the mail and further shattered when I called EZ Pass today.
In preparation of the call, I dug out the piece of paperwork they sent stating I only owed $5.25 and then compared it with the new violation. I then noticed they had two (very) different reference numbers and I wondered if EZPass had sent me the wrong account number to pay the balance, which I noticed had been deducted from my account two days prior to the postmark of the new violation.
As I attempted to find my way through the EZPass phone option maze, which eventually tried to have me just pay the bill online, I finally got an operator named Edward.
I explained the situation to him, told him about the first violation notice, the appeal, the bill, paying the bill, and gave him both reference numbers. I was then put on hold for 10 minutes. After which, he said he and his supervisor came to the conclusion that they sent me the wrong reference/account number to pay the bill. And that I had paid someone else's balance.
He then put me on hold again. And then once more, ya know, for good measure.
By the end, I had spent at least 30 minutes on the phone (or waiting on the phone) with EZPass. Edward said he would put in a request to change the payment so it would pay my balance and not someone else's. And he said I would receive documentation about this in 7 to 10 business days.
So, overall, it was a success.
I just thank my parents for instilling that "trust no one, especially the government" mentality (or was it Fox Mulder that instilled, it was my parents who encouraged being a pack rat) which led to keeping my documentation since I doubt this could have been resolved without that.
Now, I await the finalization of this. I just hope this new paperwork doesn't say I have to pay the $43 again, which will lead to appealing again.
This is why the state is in debt....if they were a bit more organized, maybe EZ Pass and the Thruway would actually collect their tolls efficiently, ease the deficit and cut down on administrative costs.


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