RMA admits to $70 toll charge mistake

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Officials say human error is the reason dozens of E-ZPass customers got charged 100 times what they owed for a toll charge on the Downtown Expressway.

We've learned 74 customers were charged $70 instead of 70 cents in one of the plaza's new E-ZPass lanes. The problem lane was lane 44, a new lane on the westbound travel side. It happened March 22 though March 26.

We tracked down one victim, Tammy Johnson, who counts on the convenience of the E-ZPass lanes, because she passes through them 6 times a day. Tuesday, she said she had a problem getting through the tolls.

"The man looked at me like I was crazy," said Johnson. "He looked at the light like I can't go through and I was like, 'No, I got a smart tag!'"

Turns out she saw red, because her tag was in the red.

Officials with the Richmond Metro Authority say they were to blame. Someone manually entering fees misplaced a decimal, charging E-ZPass customers $70 dollars instead of 70 cents to pass through.

"It is an expensive toll when actually our toll here is 70 cents," sighed Linda McElroywith the Richmond Metropolitan Authority. "The good news is that we caught the issue early and are able to rectify that situation with those 74 customers."

Johnson says she just wants her money back...and the convenience of being able to use her E-ZPass again.

"I have to go through the exact change lanes which are always longer, which are putting an extra five or 10 minutes onto my busy schedule," said Johnson. "I'm a working mom. Every minute counts."

Officials say this shouldn't be a problem again — they've transitioned to automatic withdrawals on the new toll now, and they say they've never seen an error like this one with that system.

The Richmond Metropolitan Authority says it takes full responsibility for this mistake and they say all impacted customers should have their money back.

Some customers did have automatic replenishment, which means money automatically goes into their E-ZPass accounts when a balance gets low.

E-ZPass officials say they're still figuring out the best way to refund that money.

If you think you were impacted, you can call E-ZPass Customer Service for help at 877-762-7824.

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