5 On Your Side

Tiny bill becomes huge problem for toll road customer

Posted August 8, 2012

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— We all know if you don't pay a bill right away when it arrives, you end up paying more.

It happened to Cary's Tony Micale with his Quick Pass toll.

When the unpaid bill increased 80 percent in two months, he called 5 On Your Side to warn the rest of us.

"So I got a bill in the mail for 45 cents because my daughter drove on the toll road," Micale told us.

Micale doesn't have a Quick Pass transponder, so a bill arrived in the mail.

"I didn't really know how to handle a bill for 45 cents," Micale said with a shrug. "Do I write a check? Do I sign onto the Internet?  So I kinda figured 45 cents... forgot about it."

A month later, another bill arrived.

With the processing fee, Micale now owed $6.45.

"So I figured OK, better pay it this time," he told us, chuckling.

NC Quick Pass Tiny bill becomes huge problem for toll road customer

Again, time slipped away and when he finally went online to pay it, he was shocked.

"So by the time I remembered to pay this, I think it was around the third of July, it had already gone to $37.45."

That amount included another $6 fee and a $25 fine.

"So I think that's a bit of a gouge, really," Micale told us.

N.C. Quick Pass calls the fines a good business decision.

"Because sometimes $6 just doesn't get the customer's attention," said Barry Mickle, who heads the North Carolina Turnpike Authority.

Mickle says $6 covers the cost to chase down the customers each time they're late. The $25 civil penalty kicks in on the second late payment.

"For those folks who don't follow the rules that are in place and don't make their payment the first time, we do have to put some fees on it," Mickle told us. "Because it costs us money."

Micale admits he should have just paid the 45-cent bill when it first arrived.

"Right, exactly. Hindsight's 20/20 and that's what I should have done," he said. "I'm trying to just warn everybody not to neglect this 45-cent bill because it does accumulate processing fees and penalties in a hurry."

He added, "It's more of like an FYI for all my fellow citizens out there."

An FYI that plenty of new toll users hopefully will hear.

After all that, N.C. Quick Pass dropped the additional $31 in penalties.

But Mickle warns customers should pay attention to upcoming bills. The new section of toll road on Interstate 540 started charging August 2.

129 Comments

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  • Alexia.1 Aug 16, 2012

    "A bill is a bill is a bill. If you purchase something in a store and it cost .45 you think you going to get it free?" --superman

    The difference here is that you don't spend 45 cents on postage to buy a 45 cent item. North Carolina spent every bit of that 45 cent toll cost on printing the bill and mailing it, I suspect. That's stupid. What NC should do is just let the accounts like that accumulate until they reach some minimum level (e.g., $5). Then, I would have less sympathy.

    Heck, they could even tack the unpaid tolls less than $5 onto people's registration renewals. Those get mailed out of necessity, anyway.

    Even better, just get rid of the toll system. We don't charge tolls for anyone else in the state, but do for those drivers who elect to ride on NC 540. Why? If the road needs to be funded, then collect that via taxes like we do every other road in the state. Just how much more per driver would it cost us to cover this road? 25 cents/yr?

  • pay toll to the troll Aug 14, 2012

    Hello Loyal, responsible and citizens citizens, with the utmost integrity, providing an example for all to follow. Just heard from a friend who was deligent, went all the way to NC Quickpass office to pay his 45 cent toll ON TIME. and guess what, he got an invoice in the snail mail for another 6.00 bucks...Another fine business decesion by NC Quickpass...im telling you jokers...stand for something or you will fall for anything....DONT TREAD ON ME...

  • pay toll to the troll Aug 13, 2012

    ok AGIAN, I went to pay my bill plus the late fee. I received a bill for .45 cents did not pay it and another one for 6.45 which I paid. I NEVER received a SNAIL MAIL bill for 37.45. You have no right to question, my responsibility, integrity, or how I teach my children. I can't help it if you dont fully understand what is going on with NC QuickPass and if you want to believe its for your best interest go right ahead drive the toll road all you want...instead of whinning at me, send them a check....as for my friends allinfantsareatheists, its the who what and ROCKMAN....let me buy you a cup of coffee, I had an unexpected windfall and would like to share with you

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 13, 2012

    tmicale whined, "You know if the late fee would have been reasonable, I would have paid the whole thing..."

    Since you're here on WRAL reading the news and you passed all the road signs leading to the "toll road"...you can't claim that you were ignorant of fees.

    Then...you had to ignore the letter that you received in the mail in order to be fined $37.45 for a $0.45 toll. Did you think they’d just go away?

    It's sad that you don’t take responsibility for yourself. And, it's even sadder that you brainwashed your child by telling her this is somehow "unfair and unethical".

    Well...at least you know now and can't keep whining about paying.

    Oh...but wait...here you are...whining about *your* responsibilities. (sigh)

  • Its the who what Aug 13, 2012

    Same thing happened to me. I paid the 45 bucks because I should have paid the 77 cents in the first place!! I deserved the fine because I had PLENTY of time to pay the 77 cents. Didn't know I could cry to WRAL and get the fee dropped.

  • YippiYiyoKiYay Aug 13, 2012

    You know, you crybabies like this clown could have taken some responsibility and just paid the bill. You think it was like a parking ticket where they just put up with you ignoring the slips? Ha Ha Ha! Good. If you don't want to pay, don't use it. Simple. I do agree though that the tolls need to be taken on I-95.

  • pay toll to the troll Aug 10, 2012

    You know if the late fee would have been reasonable, I would have paid the whole thing and none of you would have never heard from me....whats reasonable....45 > 6.45 > 12.45?? 15.00?? 37.45 is extortion and Im glad I taught my daughter to question unfair and unethical practice. Its better to die once like a lion than 100 times like a lamb.

    did you know...

    the NC QuickPass "dispute" function on their web site does not work???

    that if you send them an email they do not respond even though they acknowledge and advise they will respond in 5 days.?

    that they send bills to citizens that no longer own the plates?

    that I paid 7.45 cents and was ready to bring the rest of the money to their office in pennies??? I called and asked to speak to a manager and he forgave my debt. and if you dont you are fools...like i have said. just keep paying those snail mail bills on time with credit cards and checks and they will be out of business vry soon.or they will raise the tolls

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Aug 10, 2012

    We all, always, lead by example.

    Dad should have handed the $.45 bill to the person who did the driving...his daughter.

    The fact that he took the bill upon himself puts the *fine* in his court, but he should STILL make his daughter write the $.45 check with his fine and put them both in the envelope.

  • goozleboy Aug 10, 2012

    When I wrote to these boobs before the tolls began, I was told they realized some people would not use the road. Perhaps they should also realize they can kiss my sweet petunia. I will never ride on that piece of thieving roadway. Anyway, Happy Friday!

  • Toddlermother Aug 10, 2012

    Same thing happened to us. My husband was working in an unfamiliar part of NC, and inadvertently pulled onto a toll road, then pulled off as soon as he could - bill was about $.45, then we got hit with the fine and late fees. Didn't the state spend more in postage than the amount of the bill? I agree that there should be an amount to get to before a bill is sent. If, say after 3 months, there are no more charges to that license plate, write it off!

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