Monday, February 9, 2009

iPass Troubles

I have an iPass transponder. It's the newer kind, the one that does not indicate if the toll was collected successfully. Today, I got a "Notice of Violation" that I owe $83.40, which, I assume, is both the missed toll amount and penalties. I naively believe that I can fix this with a call to their toll free number which is on the letter .

So I call.

And get disconnected.

17 times.

I go to their web site which helpfully explains that I have to call them to resolve this. So I fill out a complaint form to pass the time while redialing. I eventually get through and am told how important my phone call is to them.

So while I'm waiting, I reread the letter. The first thing I notice is that nowhere on the letter is the date and location of the (alleged) violation. There is a nice photo of my car and license plate. There is a issue date which is not the violation date since I know I wasn't on the tollway that day. There is a due date, which is fortunately two weeks hence. There is the amount due, the violation number and a helpful reprinting of the section of the Illinois Toll Highway Act that explains that they can assess mandatory fines. There is a paragraph that says that failure to respond to the notice is my way of admitting guilt. The phone number that they want me to call to contest the notice is helpfully printed five times on the letter.

By they way. I'm still on hold. They said my estimated wait time is 10 minutes. It's been 19 so far.

They keep repeating that my call is important to them. They also say that for faster service I should go to their web site ( . Faster for them, maybe, because I can't resolve this issue on the web site. I know this because the web site says so.

I'm still on hold.

Their phone message also keeps reminding me what their business hours are. They close in about four hours and 15 minutes. I hope I don't have to stay on hold that long.

27 minutes.

I'm going to make dinner. I'll keep them on hold on the speaker phone and see what happens.

A little research turns up that the Tollway Authority has outsourced toll collection to Unisys. That's working well.

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