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Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 27, 2017 02:33PM
I just saw a charge $163.80 charge pending to my credit card for tolls from a recent rental, and the places I would need to call about it are currently closed, so I'm wondering if anyone had run into this before.

I had rented from this location before and in the past there was a transponder in the glove box that you would put on the windshield if you wanted to use there service, but this time there wasn't one, and on the windshield there were the remains of the velcro mounting strips but no transponder either.

I use my own transponder, and in the past if there was one from the rental agency I would remove it from the car for the duration of the trip to avoid charges, but this time I couldn't find theirs.

All of the tolls that I went through were correctly charged to my transponder / account, so when I saw this charge, I was expecting to find that there was a double charge that I would need to dispute by showing my detailed online receipts with exact time and lane info for each toll.

I was able to find the detailed billing from PlatePass website, that the rental agency uses, and it was totally different than what I expected. There were 18 toll charges all from roads that I didn't drive on, and some of them even occurred after I had dropped the car off at the agency (they were closed, and I left the key in their lockbox).

So, it seems that someone had stolen the transponder from the rental car before I received it, and I got charged for any tolls that they went through during my rental period.

My gut tells me that this is not going to be easy to resolve, and I may eventually need to dispute the charge with the credit card company, and ask for proof of me or the car that I rented passing through any of those tolls.

Has anyone experienced something like this before.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Speedy
Date: August 27, 2017 03:06PM
Doesn't the toll authority take pics of the license plates? If they do, that should get you off the hook.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: billb
Date: August 27, 2017 03:18PM
A committee was not formed to study the evidence and determine if sending you a bill was warranted.
Some grunt just did his/her job forwarding charges. Maybe even a machine.
You're definitely going to have to either bend over and pay a bill that shouldn't be yours to pay or get on the phone and dispute it.
I'd certainly start with the credit card company if they paid the bill and now want their pound of flesh.
They have people who are adept at adding to the tall pile of disputes at accounts reconciliations departments.



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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: August 27, 2017 03:46PM
Was the rental license on your transponder account? My state requires the car to be on the account prior to any charges. If it isn't then you have to pay anyway.

When you go under the reader, your transponder is charged and the assumption is made that you were driving a car on that account. At the same time, every car is photographed and electronically matched to a transponder. Unless your rental car was registered, it comes through as not having paid.

I wouldn't bet on this getting reversed. The rental company has a bill from the state that has to be paid. The state will say they don't have a way to know that your car wasn't driving along right next to you.

Stupid, i know, but your dealing with government.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 27, 2017 03:52PM
Quote
Speedy
Doesn't the toll authority take pics of the license plates? If they do, that should get you off the hook.

I think they're supposed to, but I'm not sure how to go about getting them, I think the transponders are registered with PlatePass, and they would probably need to request the pictures.

From searching, PlatePass seems to be owned by the same company that does Red Light cameras, and all you see from searches are complaints.

It really looks like whoever was using that transponder was a Taxi, this rental was in the NYC area, and the there were 3-5 charges per day for going through the Queens Midtown tunnel, all this while I was driving between NYC and Boston.

Just found this discussion which sounds very similar to mine, and with one person reporting success with PlatePass customer service.

[www.flyertalk.com]

But there are are lots of other stories about it being impossible to resolve anything and circular finger pointing.

[www.consumeraffairs.com]
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 27, 2017 04:00PM
Quote
Ombligo
Was the rental license on your transponder account? My state requires the car to be on the account prior to any charges. If it isn't then you have to pay anyway.

When you go under the reader, your transponder is charged and the assumption is made that you were driving a car on that account. At the same time, every car is photographed and electronically matched to a transponder. Unless your rental car was registered, it comes through as not having paid.

I wouldn't bet on this getting reversed. The rental company has a bill from the state that has to be paid. The state will say they don't have a way to know that your car wasn't driving along right next to you.

Stupid, i know, but your dealing with government.

The tolls that I actually drove through were correctly charged to my EZ-Pass account, and were NOT recorded by PlatePass.

All of the tolls that PlatePass reported were for Bridges and Tunnels that I did not drive through and I was hundreds of miles away from. This really has nothing to do with MY transponder or the tolls that I drove through, and apparently doesn't even have anything to do with the car that I was driving. It's about the PlatePass transponder that was never in the car that I rented during my rental period, but seemed to do a lot of traveling in/out of Manhattan while I was driving to/from Boston.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 27, 2017 04:28PM
Quote
billb
A committee was not formed to study the evidence and determine if sending you a bill was warranted.
Some grunt just did his/her job forwarding charges. Maybe even a machine.
You're definitely going to have to either bend over and pay a bill that shouldn't be yours to pay or get on the phone and dispute it.
I'd certainly start with the credit card company if they paid the bill and now want their pound of flesh.
They have people who are adept at adding to the tall pile of disputes at accounts reconciliations departments.

Yes, I realize that I need to get on the phone, but that needs to wait until tomorrow when the places that I need to call are open.

It's also too early to dispute the credit card charge, it just appeared as a temporary charge, and you can't dispute it until it becomes a permanent charge in a few days. But I'm certain it will become permanent since the PlatePass website can provide me with a detailed bill that matches that amount, based on my rental agreement number.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Janit
Date: August 27, 2017 07:13PM
Quote
Ombligo
Was the rental license on your transponder account? My state requires the car to be on the account prior to any charges. If it isn't then you have to pay anyway.

When you go under the reader, your transponder is charged and the assumption is made that you were driving a car on that account. At the same time, every car is photographed and electronically matched to a transponder. Unless your rental car was registered, it comes through as not having paid.

I wouldn't bet on this getting reversed. The rental company has a bill from the state that has to be paid. The state will say they don't have a way to know that your car wasn't driving along right next to you.

Stupid, i know, but your dealing with government.

Not the case for New York EZ Pass:

[www.e-zpassny.com]

Quote

Should I add my rental car information to my E-ZPass account?
Do not add rental car information to your E-ZPass account. However, you can use your E-ZPass Tag in any vehicle of the same class. Please ensure that your E-ZPass Tag is properly mounted as per installation instructions in all vehicles in which the Tag is used.

In fact you don't even need to own a car to get a New York EZ Pass:

[www.e-zpassny.com]

Quote

I don't own a vehicle. Can I still get E-ZPass®?
Yes. If you do not own a vehicle, you can still enroll in E-ZPass®. Your tag can be used in any vehicle with two axles, a maximum gross weight of 7,000 pounds and single rear tires (includes RV's with dual rear tires). Please ensure that the E-ZPass® tag is mounted as per the tag installation instructions in all vehicles in which the tag will be used.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Janit
Date: August 27, 2017 07:19PM
Presumably the stolen transponder usage continued even while the car sat idle at the rental agency. That should be additional evidence in your favor (unless they want to accuse YOU of stealing the tag). Hope you can get camera readings confirming your travel route.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: MarkD
Date: August 27, 2017 10:06PM
1. Report a rented car without a transponder for the record. Be self-serving and describe what you did and why it did not matter because you used your own. (is this a standard practice to use your own?) See if you can send a written report.
2.make a timeline as to what you were doing and how your rental was consistent (simple as marking your tolls and adding some additional evidence if you ate in Boston or if you had just flown in with receipts or documents to substantiate your story.
3. If it is a government operation, there has to be an appeal and not just a phone clerk (5th Amendment taking)
4. Ask about the pictures and the linkage of the pictures and the transponders.
5. Wish you good luck and a lot of patience and let us know what happens.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Markintosh
Date: August 27, 2017 10:32PM
popcorn smiley



“Live your life, love your life, don’t regret…live, learn and move forward positively.” – CR Johnson
Loving life in Lake Tahoe, CA
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 27, 2017 10:35PM
Quote
MarkD
1. Report a rented car without a transponder for the record. Be self-serving and describe what you did and why it did not matter because you used your own. (is this a standard practice to use your own?) See if you can send a written report.
2.make a timeline as to what you were doing and how your rental was consistent (simple as marking your tolls and adding some additional evidence if you ate in Boston or if you had just flown in with receipts or documents to substantiate your story.
3. If it is a government operation, there has to be an appeal and not just a phone clerk (5th Amendment taking)
4. Ask about the pictures and the linkage of the pictures and the transponders.
5. Wish you good luck and a lot of patience and let us know what happens.

6. If unhappy with the outcome, express that unhappiness in the customer service survey that the rental company asked me to take after returning the car. I had forgotten about it, but they just sent me a reminder that I hadn't filled it out.

I looked at the rental agreement, and this is the part that applies to me:

"Where permitted by Toll Authorities, you may opt to use your personal transponder: Follow the instructions above for NOT utilizing the PlatePass and install a compatible transponder properly."

The instructions "above" are:

"IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO USE PLATEPASS IN THESE STATES, keep the transponder fully within the shield box and use only traditional cash lanes (if available) to make payment directly to the toll authority"

That's exactly what I did except there was not shield box or PlatePass transponder, which would make it impossible for me to use their service, and their billing seems to indicate that the PlatePass that they think I had was traveling in another vehicle.

Maybe the call to PlatePass will go smoothly, but I somehow doubt that.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 28, 2017 12:31AM
Since I'm driving a rental at the moment and using my own ez-pass, you got me nervous!
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Michael
Date: August 28, 2017 07:28AM
I got snagged with this in Denver a couple of months ago. There was a small notice in the upper left of the windshield that said they had a device that would pay the toll and then I'd be billed for the toll "plus a reasonable service charge," amount not specified. There was no device in site, either on the dash or in the glove box. I picked up the car late at night and didn't see the notice until the next morning after I had already gone through the toll area the night before. Coming back a few days later I simply went around it and spent an extra 20 min or so in the car. I got a bill for $28.xx for the toll plus "reasonable service charge." That charge was $25--didn't seem reasonable to me, but not worth the time to fight it, so I just paid it and decided that looking up automatic toll roads when I travel is something I'll have to do in the future.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 28, 2017 08:35AM
....yes, most rental cars have the ability to pay tolls from the rental car but if you don't know, then you are in trouble.....the tolls usually hit the rental car a few days after the car is returned.......



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 28, 2017 11:46AM
I just rented a car from AVIS. They have an EZ-Pass in a metallica box that I closed and I used mine. Several years ago I put theirs in the glove box and I put mine in the windshield, and then I got double taxed at some (not all) tolls.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 28, 2017 12:31PM
OK, made the first two calls, and it will be a few days before I can get an answer.

1) I called the local rental location where I got the car, they admitted that there have been problems with cars being returned without the PlatePass, either accidentally, or maliciously. They've said that they've tried to secure them better, to the point where you would have to crack the windshield to take them. But in the end they said that I needed to deal with PlatePass.

2) PlatePass rep was understanding, admitted that stolen transponders do happen, but said that the records didn't show a report of this transponder being missing by the rental agency. He said that it will be sent to their "research department" to investigate, and they will get back to me in two days via email.

The credit card charge is still shown as temporary, so I can't call to dispute it yet.

So, maybe this will go smoothly, I'll know more in two days. I would have been more optimistic if there records showed that the transponder was missing.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 28, 2017 12:56PM
....For Whom the Bell....Tolls....



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: mrbigstuff
Date: August 28, 2017 03:24PM
I just closed the pass box and detached it from the windshield and stuffed itin the door panel. We shall see what happens.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 28, 2017 03:36PM
Quote
mrbigstuff
I just closed the pass box and detached it from the windshield and stuffed itin the door panel. We shall see what happens.

For a previous rental about a year ago, I removed it from the car and put it in the house before leaving on the trip, and put it back before returning the car. And then I just used my own EZ-Pass.

I have found that wrapping a transponder in aluminum foil also seems block it's signal.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: August 28, 2017 03:39PM
....so tin foil hat......WILL....stop it....???



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 28, 2017 03:46PM
Quote
NewtonMP2100
....so tin foil hat......WILL....stop it....???

Only if you're paranoid.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: August 28, 2017 05:54PM
Seems like a RFID blocking bag would cure the issue. Might be worth having one in your travel kit,



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: rjmacs
Date: August 29, 2017 09:40AM
Quote
Ombligo
Seems like a RFID blocking bag would cure the issue. Might be worth having one in your travel kit,

My EZ Pass shipped with one for just this purpose.



rj
AKA
Vreemac, Moth of the Future
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 29, 2017 10:18AM
Quote
rjmacs
Quote
Ombligo
Seems like a RFID blocking bag would cure the issue. Might be worth having one in your travel kit,

My EZ Pass shipped with one for just this purpose.

Yes, when I think of those shipping bags I have this mental image of a truck load of EZ-Pass shipments passing under one of those overhead toll scanners.
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 29, 2017 04:44PM
Just got the email, success, they are issuing a refund. I'm really surprised that it went this smoothly after reading the experiences posted online by others.

Quote

Dear GGD,

Thank you for contacting PlatePass® Customer Service. After review of your account corresponding to Rental Agreement xxxxxxxxx, we have determined you are not liable for the toll charges in question.

A credit card refund request has been forwarded to our Accounting Department for the amount of $163.80. You should see the refund reflected on your credit card account within 5 business days.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. Thank you for choosing PlatePass®. We are committed to providing the highest level of customer service.

Thank You,

George B. | PlatePass® Support Specialist
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: space-time
Date: August 29, 2017 06:43PM
I never heard of PlatePass before, I have seen Peach Pass (I believe it was in GA or FL, can't recall). Question: what happens if I use my NJ EZ Pass in those states? Does EZ Pass work there, or not?
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Re: Rental car toll issue
Posted by: GGD
Date: August 29, 2017 08:00PM
Quote
space-time
I never heard of PlatePass before, I have seen Peach Pass (I believe it was in GA or FL, can't recall). Question: what happens if I use my NJ EZ Pass in those states? Does EZ Pass work there, or not?

EZ Pass seems to cover a large number of North East states, here's their map.

[www.ezpassnj.com]

I was using my parent's EZ-Pass on this trip. In CA, I use FasTrak, which is basically the same thing but just for CA. I really don't know how these different systems react to a transponder from a different system and if they can even read them.

[www.bayareafastrak.org]

I found this blog that has a good summary of all the different systems, and had this info about compatibility goals / legislation.

[blog.capterra.com]

Quote

Legislation passed in 2012 has stipulated that all toll transponders must be interoperable by October 2016. Now, of course that’s not really going to happen on time. California is looking at 2018 to be up to snuff and ready to work with the rest of the country, for instance. There’s a good rundown on Minnesota’s Transportation and Land Use site that gives a breakdown of all the pieces in play, fi you want to know more about this.

This is the Minnesota link they referred to, lots of good info there.

[streets.mn]
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