‘I was just at a complete loss’: Action 9 helps driver with unjustified toll lane charges

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — A Mooresville woman says she racked up hundreds of dollars in toll lane fees that she shouldn’t have been charged for, and that the Department of Motor Vehicles even threatened to revoke the vehicle’s registration because of it.

Katie James lives in Mooresville, but she had to make frequent trips to the University area to her daughter’s doctor’s office.

James used the toll lanes often, so she bought a North Carolina Quick Pass transponder to save money. Drivers who use the prepaid system can get up to one-third off the usual price.

James said the state kept billing her anyway. “I was just at a complete loss, but continued to use the lanes because no one in the customer service department told me otherwise,” she said.

James said the tab exceeded $600 and that the DMV threatened to revoke the registration on the vehicle. “I had been dealing with this for a year and a half, with no resolution. I emailed Action 9 and, within two weeks I would say, I heard from somebody at NC Turnpike (Authority),” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.

Action 9 emailed the North Carolina Turnpike Authority, which runs the toll roads. The agency stated that this seemed to be “a unique situation” and that James’ transponder had issues. It also said that NC Quick Pass did not properly process the dispute, which was “an unacceptable customer experience.”

The state refunded James’ money, and she told Stoogenke the car’s registration is now safe.

“I’m so relieved,” James said. “(But) it’s not fair that I’ve taken this much time. Not everybody has that amount of time to spend to find resolution, and certainly don’t have the money to spend. We didn’t have $600, $700 to go and just blow on something that we never should have been charged for in the first place.”

NC Quick Pass has a list of vehicles with windshields that make it hard to read transponders that go inside the car. If you have one of those vehicles, the agency suggests using a transponder that goes on the outside of the vehicle.

James’s SUV was not on the list of vehicles that should use the exterior transponders, so that shouldn’t have caused the issue. If you have problems with an NC Quick Pass transponder, Action 9 suggests:

- Keep good records.

- Be persistent.

- Contact Action 9 if you need help.

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