RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you zip through tolls and don't pay, VDOT will launch an aggressive pursuit. 12 on Your Side looked into one woman's complaint -- a 75 cent toll violation that may cost her hundreds in fees.
Sharon Mounts says she's no toll runner. But she was served with summons for three 25 cents missed tolls in 2008. Sharon can pay $75 and get the violations dismissed, or go to court.
"The fact that I have to take a day off without pay, just to defend 75 cents. I've already paid it. I've got a receipt that shows that," said Sharon.
Sharon Mounts got 3 summons tacked to her door - allegedly for driving through toll plaza 93, lane 37 without paying two years ago. VDOT EZ-Pass then followed up with notices in the mail.
"It's unbelievable that they can go after 75 cents like this," she said. "Postage was $1.56, double what they say I owed them. They could have just saved money there. I just think it's crazy."
Charging $75 for 75 cents in missed tolls may sound ridiculous and exorbitant, especially since Sharon says the tolls were paid. But VDOT responded 2 ways: Sharon paid the missed toll one month late escalating fees, and pursing toll runners is not a matter of being cost effective.
"It's state law the process that we take," EZ-Pass spokesperson Shannon Marshall said.
Sharon will dispute the violation in court. A Smart Tag user since 2000, she believes the toll booth equipment had some malfunction.
"If I go thru a toll and I don't have money on my Smart Tag, I go thru the pay exact change [lane]. I always do. Got money sitting in my exact change thing," Sharon said.
VDOT says there are measures to monitor equipment failure.
"If that account is active and in good standing, we'll go ahead and take care of the toll right there. In good standing means a positive balance in the account," said Marshall.
Sharon wrote to the judge asking that it be dismissed. It wasn't. She says court fines and fees could be close to $200 if she's found guilty. EZ-Pass says if a customer feels a violation notice is in error to contact customer service.