Disclaimer: We had a legitimate dispute and are not just toll-jumpers who did something stupid and are now trying to get out of it. If you knowingly missed tolls, did not keep your I-Pass account up-to-date or anything else that would put YOU at fault for toll violations, I strongly recommend you accept the responsibility, pay your fines and move on.
If any of you have been following my adventures with the Illinois Tollway, you will remember that we were sent a violation notice for over $2,000 in alleged missed tolls and fines.
I originally posted here:
Beware of the Illinois Tollway UPDATED
To make a huge, long story short, we were I-Pass customers in good standing when the alleged violations occurred, and we had updated our current address (in Indiana) with the Tollway. We had gotten new drivers licenses and vehicle registrations in Indiana and our Illinois ones were no longer valid.
Over a year after we moved to Indiana, a final violation notice was sent by the tollway to our old address and it was not forwarded by the post office, an old neighbor delivered it to us.
Upon calling to Tollway to straighten it out, they originally admitted the violations themselves were not valid because we were I-Pass customers with a current account, but they claimed they couldn’t void the fines because we never responded to the notices. No one could understand that the address the Illinois Secretary of State had for us had not been valid for over a year and WE had no way to correct that. We did our jobs. We updated our information with the Tollway and registered our vehicles and got new drivers licenses in another state. Upon trying to update our info with the Illinois Secretary of State, we couldn’t because according to their system, that vehicle registration and drivers license no longer existed. Yet the Tollway reps INSISTED it was our responsibility to do something that could not be done.
So what did we do?
First we filed a written complaint, the outcome of which I wrote about here:
Highway Robbery on the Illinois Tollway
We got absolutely nowhere with it.
We also found that while Ohio and Minnesota drivers were getting help with their Illinois Tollway complaints from the Attorney General’s in their states, Indiana said they couldn’t help us.
So we made more phone calls, searched the web for more information and finally came across something that in a way was right under our faces to begin with. The Illinois Tollway has an Inspector General whose job it is to ensure that the Tollway operates without fraud or mismanagement, or at least to investigate allegations of these kinds of things.
So we called.
And that one single phone call, although it would still be a month before we saw things resolved, was what saved us.
We explained our case to their office and they agreed with us that we should not be held responsible for the fines associated with the alleged violations. BUT….they couldn’t do anything about it. What they did do, was give us the name and phone number of a Violations Manager that reviewed our case. It took numerous phone calls, and the manager’s assistant was an angel through the whole thing. They are obviously busy and we had faxed them like 20 pages of paperwork they had to wade through, but finally…
The manager told us they agreed with our assessment of the situation and are cancelling the fines and the collection and simply charging our I-Pass account $8 for the tolls the I-Pass somehow missed.
Three and a half months after our initial phone calls to the I-Pass customer service.
So how does this help the countless others faced with these issues?
While the frustrated angry part of me that was stressed out and faced with the fear of having my driver’s license suspended for the last 3-1/2 months wants to give you the name and phone number of the manager we dealt with, I will not post that here nor will I be handing that information out to anyone via email or any other manner.
The reason I will not is because I don’t know your story, and if I post that information and these folks are inundated with guilty people who are just trying to cause trouble and complain, that serves no one and the innocent people with legitimate issues are less likely to be heard.
But I will leave you with the following information, meant to help those with legitimate arguments against the validity of any violation notices they have received. Again, if you are a toll-jumper or know that you are guilty of the violations, do everyone a favor and just pay it and move on.
If you have tried calling the Illinois Tollway customer service, only to be met with frustrating, mean people who refuse to listen to your story, document your phone calls, thoroughly review your I-Pass account, and if possible, get an itemized list of all of your alleged violations so you can compare them with you account so you can ensure they are legit. Then write your story down in detail.
Then you need to contact the Office of the Inspector General of the Illinois Tollway at this number: (630) 241-6800 ext. 1300. Be patient, be calm and tell them why you believe that the violations and/or fines are not valid and explain that you have attempted to contact customer service with no success.
If they see validity in your complaint, I am confident, like in our case, they will provide you with the name and phone number of someone who will help. You will still need some persistence to get it worked out, but if you are in the right you should not have to pay fines that you don’t owe.