Thruway probes claim of overcharges due to E-ZPass malfunction


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Cheektowaga man says he was overcharged by E-ZPass, and when Chris Badura tried to work things out with E-ZPass officials, he only got partial satisfaction, so he contacted Call 4 Action.

E-ZPass is the private company that electronically collects tolls for the New York Thruway, and toll agencies in 15 other states. Accountholders are issued a transponder known as a “tag” that is attached to the inside of the car’s windshield, and the tag is read when the car goes through a toll booth.

Badura believes his tag was either defective, or sometimes just was not read at the toll plazas.

“Nearly every time I would drive through an E-ZPass, I would get the message, ‘No tag, call E-ZPass’.”

But when Chris called E-ZPass, authorities would tell him no problem, that is until he bought his Chevy pickup, and when he switched the tag from his Jeep, he got a shock when he went online to check into his account.

“Upon logging onto the website I had looked at a history of charges, and had noticed that there were several charges spanning 18 months, saying my vehicle had been at several locations that it hadn’t been.”

Chris added up $125 in overcharges, going back 18 months, and some of them were outrageous.

One charge showed Chris entered the Thruway at the Lackawanna toll barrier and more than an hour and a half later, he supposedly exited the Thruway at the same Lackawanna toll booth–without going through any other tolls.

Another series of charges showed Chris getting on the Thruway at Ripley, then exiting at Lackawanna; then Badura got back on Thruway at the Woodbury Plaza on Long Island—a distance of more than 300 miles–and got off at Depew. All that driving in a matter of 13 minutes.

On other occasion, the bill again shows Chris getting on at Lackawanna, and getting off at Lackawanna, without going through any other toll plazas.

E-ZPass credited Badura’s account for about half of what he feels he is owed, but Chris would rather get the entire amount on the credit card linked to his E-ZPass account, or in cash.

In a letter from E-ZPass to Badura, officials told him that was their final answer to the billing dispute, “The letter said, we consider the matter closed.”

E-ZPass officials advised Chris if he wanted to pursue the matter any further, he might have to hire a lawyer, but Call 4 Action contacted the Thruway Authority about the dispute, Wednesday afternoon, a Thruway spokesperson acknowledged officials are looking into Chris’s complaint.

The email from Shane Mahar, Deputy Communications Director for the Thruway Authority reads:

“In reference to your E-ZPass inquiry, we appreciate WIVB bringing this matter to our attention and we are investigating the customer’s complaint. We will be in contact with the customer once our review is complete.”

No date was set for completing the review.

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