On December 25, 2014, thousands of holiday travelers passed through the toll plaza on Interstate 95 in Newark, Delaware on their way to hundreds of destinations across the Eastern Seaboard. One of these travelers, whom, to respect his privacy, we shall refer to as “Stuart,” passed through the toll plaza without incident. He used his E-Z Pass transponder, which remains affixed to his windshield, to pay the $4.00 toll, which is incurred on most vehicles.
Assuming that his automatically-replenishing E-Z Pass transponder had successfully paid the toll, Stuart continued on to his destination.
A Delaware Snare
Fast forward to June of this year. Towards the middle of the month, the Delaware Department of Transportation, located in Dover, sent out a “notice of toll violation” to Stuart. The letter, right, stated that Stuart had not paid the $4 toll incurred at the Newark Toll Plaza and that his E-Z Pass transponder had not been read. Stuart filed an appeal soon after, instructing the DelDOT to deduct the $4 toll from his E-Z Pass account. Shortly thereafter, Stuart received another letter from Dover:
In this letter, the Delaware Department of Transportation states that they were “unable to obtain payment from [Stuart’s] E-Z Pass account.” Why? Because the transaction was over 60 days old! However, it wasn’t Stuart’s fault that the State of Delaware sent out the violation 6 months after the transaction date.
In an attempt to settle the case, Stuart enclosed a check for the $4 toll in a letter to DelDOT.
But it didn’t end there. Dover sent Stuart yet another letter just a few weeks later, after his check had been cashed, stating that they’d reviewed Stuart’s appeal once again and found that he wasn’t responsible for the toll violation. Stuart breathed a sigh of relief- but is still waiting on the return of his $4.