Should I worry about this?
February 18, 2009 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Would I face Fastlane/EZpass violation(s)? What should/could I do?

I drove from DC to Boston, unaware that the credit card on file for automatic recharge of my Fastlane/EZpass account had expired a few days before. The account was not automatically recharged. Fastlane/EZpass account balance dropped below zero in-route, leaving a trail of negative balances in these places:

1) New Jersey Tnpk - Delaware MemorialBridge- Lincoln Tunnel/NJ
2) Delaware DOT - Newark Plaza
3) NYS Thruway - New Rochelle Toll
4) Port Authority NY/NJ- GeoWashingtonBr

Would I face one or more Fastlane/EZpass violation(s)?
Do these violations have the same effect as "moving violations" issued by the police that carry points?
Would I be able to pre-empt violations from being issued somehow?
And if it comes to it, what would work to appeal, and how likely is it to win?

Note:There were no notices/warnings to update the cc on file. Account has since been updated, recharged, and paid in full.
posted by MD06 to Grab Bag (12 answers total)
When this happened to me I just got a phone call from them and they updated the credit card on file. Nothing else ever came of it. This was years ago, however.
posted by odinsdream at 12:02 PM on February 18, 2009

I am sure that I have also done this multiple times without any ill effects in these same areas. Don't worry, they will just charge your new credit card on their next pay cycle (or their next "check delinquent account" cycle) and all will be well.

The only time I got a warning from EZPass was when I breezed through a fast lane at 70mph on the Garden State Pkwy. Now that I live in another area of the EZPass network, I've "tested" whether they were serious about that warning dozens of times and I've never gotten a follow-up warning or fine.

The point of my story is: don't worry about what most certainly is a very common honest mistake. I actually violate a policy almost daily and nothing bad has ever come of it...yet. Knock on wood, etc.
posted by vincele at 12:12 PM on February 18, 2009

Here in California I had a similar problem with Fastrak and I was many, many charges in arrears...up to about $500 worth. I eventually got un-scared and called them. They updated my card info and charged it for all the past charges without any penalties.
posted by rhizome at 12:17 PM on February 18, 2009

I am terrible with remembering to pay my EZPass (NJ) account, and when I get the CALL SERVICE CENTER message instead of the normal PAID LOW BALANCE (which is anything under like $20), I call the number and pay the balance over the phone. The state troopers have yet to kick in my door for crimes against the EZPass system.

Just pay it and everything will be fine.
posted by crankylex at 12:29 PM on February 18, 2009

Back when I lived in the US, I had something like this happen with Fastlane and called to try to update the credit card on file. They actually wouldn't let me do it -- saying that when the card expires, they just automatically switch over to the new card (which, of course, has the same number but different dates). So everything worked out fine and I didn't have to pay any more than the regular tolls. I'd imagine the scenario that unfolds for you will be similar. I wouldn't worry too much. If you're especially concerned, you could call them, but I suspect it might not even be necessary.
posted by dseaton at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2009

I don't have a direct answer to your question, but I believe that EZPass will pay out to the localities whether or not you pay EZPass (this is totally a guess based on my understanding of how EZPass works with the localities). So you'd only, theoretically, be in trouble with EZPass.

Now, non-theoretically, I've had my account go below $0 and into negative area *with* an active credit card several times. They just didn't do the automatic deposit in time. Nothing bad happened to me, they just billed the card the next day and I never knew about it until I looked at the account history a few months later. If you end up getting charged a fee by EZPass for having an expired CC on file, you could try challenging that. But they probably would have done this by now.
posted by skynxnex at 12:37 PM on February 18, 2009

I've gone into a negative balance with EZPass with a current credit card on file. The negative balance means that they did charge you for the toll, so I doubt you'd be liable for any sort of toll violation. As others have said, they might try to charge you some kind of fee for letting the credit card in the profile expire, but I doubt it. Since you've already updated the account and paid the amount due, you're most likely fine.
posted by bedhead at 12:41 PM on February 18, 2009

It'd be nice to hear of more recent experiences, but if the trend had been that way, that's a relief.

I was especially alarmed by the mention of possible multiple outstanding violations across multiple states during my phone conversation with the Fastlane(MA) customer service rep, and my quick web search follow up seemed to indicate more aggressive issuing of fines and being more stringent with appeals of late, but guess I'll have to wait to see if anything comes of it.

Thanks everyone.
posted by MD06 at 2:38 PM on February 18, 2009

MD06, one more thing comes to mind reading your last comment. The customer service reps I've encountered with EZPass rarely have accurate answers. You could hang up, call again, and get a different answer. In fact, the EZPass/Fastlane system seems more inept than the usual big corp. when it comes to reliable customer service. It sounds like the rep you spoke to was just fucking with you or having a bad day.

Then again, MA rarely passes up a chance to suck money out of your pockets for fines. But those other states aren't going to bother, I guarantee it.

I still say that chances are a thousand to one, no fines or points will accrue to your account.
posted by vincele at 3:03 PM on February 18, 2009

IPass (Illinois) has a website where you can do that kind of stuff online. I'd imagine yours does too.

But I'm sure you don't have violations in each of those states. I'm sure they just submitted the charge to your account, and that your account now has a negative balance.
posted by gjc at 5:45 PM on February 18, 2009

The last time this happened to me - credit card 'expired' or really, changed years - I got a violation notice in the mail. EZPass, PA TPK. The violation had a picture of my license plate, date and time. There was a box that I checked that said something like "I hereby certify that I had a valid EZPass account at the time of violation." I did, and I did self-certify. Visted EZPass web site, changed 2007 to 2008, and viola. You'll be fine, don't worry.
posted by fixedgear at 5:58 PM on February 18, 2009

final follow up: I updated the expiration date on file online, negative balance was recharged the next day, and ... that was that. Nothing came of the 'threat'. Thanks everyone!
posted by MD06 at 8:23 PM on July 15, 2009

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