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Computer Glitch Leaves Millions Of Dollars In Unpaid Toll Fees
Thousands of drivers, maybe even you, drive the toll roads in Central Texas every day. But a glitch in the toll road billing system has caused a back-log of unpaid bills, many of which are now going out to unsuspecting toll-road drivers.
The glitch could result in hundreds of dollars in late fees for a bill you didn't even know you had.
Twice a day, five days a week, Kevin Head's daily commute takes him on two different toll roads.
"I take 183 A to work and the MoPac 45 toll to go home," said Kevin Head of his commute to work.
Since Kevin Head is a daily toll-road driver, he set up a TxTag account to automatically withdraw his toll charges from his bank account. He relies on the automatic payments to ensure he pays his bill each month.
"Nothing was setting off red flags that something was wrong," said Head.
Kevin says he was shocked to open his mail in January and see an enormous bill from TxDOT, claiming he had dozens of unpaid toll fees.
"There are $27 in toll fees and $750 in administrative fees," said Head in disbelief. "The current balance they told me I needed to pay was $777."
For every 90 cent trip through the toll, Head was charged $25 in late fees - for a bill he wasn't even aware existed.
"Any other time I've goofed off and didn't pay something I just got to bite the bullet and pay the fees, but this is not one of those cases," said Head, emphatic that the error wasn't on his end.
TxDOT explained that there was a glitch in their billing system. In a statement, TxDOT said a corrupted hard drive affected about half a dozen tolling points. While the hard-drive was replaced, the software that debits TxTag customers was not working, according to TxDOT.
About 25% of TxTag users were affected and about $2.7 million in revenue was delayed in posting to customer accounts, according to the TxDOT statement.
The problem is now fixed, but TxDOT is going back and trying to collect the back-log of payments.
Kevin was eventually able to work out a deal with TxDOT and lower his bill. But he's still questioning TxDOT's fee structure.
"It's just ridiculous that the toll system can be so harsh with their fees when other institutions like banks and credit card companies can't do that," said Kevin of his outrageous bill.
TxDOT tells us they're working with customers to fix the billing issue.
They declined to talk with KEYE TV on camera about the fee structure, simply saying the fees continue to go up the longer a bill sits unpaid and the toll fees are set "based on rates charged regionally".