Wednesday, October 17, 2012

We really want to reach you

 by guest blogger Emily Pace

You might’ve seen recent article in the media about a customer who received a civil penalty for unpaid tolls, but never received a toll bill. We mail two toll bills to the registered vehicle owner on file with Department of Licensing. We give drivers 80 days to pay before we mail a third notice, this time with a $40 penalty for each unpaid transaction.

As with all mail, there are many reasons why a bill may not reach someone or is returned to us by the post office, some examples include:
  • The registered vehicle owner has recently moved and not updated their address with DOL. State law requires vehicle owners update their address with DOL within 30 days of moving.
  • The customer sets up a temporary hold (which can be in place for up to 30 days) but does not pick up their mail within 30 days, the mail is then returned to the sender.
  • The customer’s mailbox becomes too full to deliver mail, they moved and did not provide a new address, the address provided was incorrect etc.
We note in our files any mail that is returned to us for whatever reason. If a forwarding address is provided to us by the post office we reissue the toll bill to the new address. We have no way of knowing if the vehicle owner has moved, if they’re temporarily out of town or if they’ll eventually pick up mail at that address.

This brings us to an important point: If you don’t get a toll bill call us. You should receive a toll bill about 14 days after crossing either the SR 520 or Tacoma Narrows bridges. If you don’t get a bill for any of the reasons listed above, or you misplace it or throw it away – give our customer service center a call. When you call, if you have your license plate, state and name they will be able to look up any outstanding toll charges and you can pay them right then over the phone. You can also visit us at any of our walk-in centers in Seattle, Bellevue or Gig Harbor.

Quite a few people have asked why we don’t allow drivers to enter their license plate online so they can see any toll charges. It comes down to privacy. We don’t want people to be able to enter their neighbor’s license plate online, or anyone else for that matter, and be able to see all their toll crossings.

Ultimately, there must be consequences for drivers who don’t pay their tolls on time. If we don’t enforce the tolls, it isn’t fair to the drivers who are paying. Toll enforcement is also about ensuring we have enough revenue to provide funding for the bridge replacement.

If you have questions or concerns regarding a toll bill, civil penalty or Good To Go! account please call 1-866-936-8246 or email GoodToGo@GoodToGo.wsdot.wa.gov.

6 comments:

Case Ryan Talbot said...

Once you have already paid a toll, I don't see any reason why there couldn't be a simple registration system that allows you to provide the information you used to pay a toll to allow you to log in later and view your new tolls. That way you'd get the security of using the notice id the first time, and have verified your identity by paying, and then still be able to easily check your currently due tolls.

Case Ryan Talbot said...

Once you have already paid a toll, I don't see any reason why there couldn't be a simple registration system that allows you to provide the information you used to pay a toll to allow you to log in later and view your new tolls. That way you'd get the security of using the notice id the first time, and have verified your identity by paying, and then still be able to easily check your currently due tolls.

WSDOT said...

We appreciate your feedback and suggestion. If a vehicle is not on a Good To Go! account, we must look up the registered vehicle owner with the Department of Licensing each time before we send a bill in case the vehicle owner has changed. Without checking with DOL each time before we generate a toll bill, we have no way of knowing if the vehicle has changed owners since the last time it crossed a tolled bridge.

Bob said...

Really, this is sad and shameful, to steal $40 at a time from people just because they don't know how to use your system -- which clearly is flawed, because you can't even send out bills correctly. And it just took me almost 30 minutes to clear this up on the phone, using a system where your poor, perfectly nice operator's signal cut in and out constantly. Really, ya'll shouldn't sleep well at night because of this.

Tony W said...

So I just found out the WSDOT verifies the registration of ones vehicle by using an OUTSOURCED company, supposedly named "Ecommerce" (Really?), instead of using the Washington State Department of Licensing.

This is according to a customer service rep at 1-866-936-8246.

Why would WSDOT outsource information that is readily available and accurate to some random company?

Anonymous said...

How do you explain this:

I moved and updated my correct address with BOTH the Post Office AND the DOL.

Six months after we last ever drove over the 520 I receive the Civil Penalty Notice. No so called "warnings" were sent before.

I call WSDOT and the woman says we sent the warnings to (1234 Example). I stop her right there! My address was off by a digit! I didn't receive it! You had it incorrectly in my file, but the $1000 bill makes it to me? Fishy!

Now I'm waiting 90 days on an appeal I submitted back in JULY! Hope you can all sleep well at night robbing people of their money.