TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -A Tampa couple was shocked to learn that someone was getting a free ride on Florida toll roads, they were paying for it, and the state didn’t want to hear it.
“They just said, look, it’s on your account, you’re responsible,” Peter Milch said. But 80 year old Peter didn’t think he should be responsible for tolls for a car he doesn’t own, on roads he didn’t travel.
“It was unnoticed, we were automatically billed we’re billed to a credit card,” Jacqueline Milch added.
Like 75 year old Jacqueline, not a lot of people bother to check their SunPass bill. How could anything be wrong? It’s all electronics and computers. The Milchs even have transponders on their vehicles so SunPass automatically bills their account.
“I’m a trusting person and I figured they know what they’re doing,” Peter said of SunPass. In July, Peter discovered what being a trusting person can cost. Jacqueline needed an expense report for her job, so she checked the account. The Milchs discovered they were erroneously billed dozens of times. When he called SunPass, what did they tell him?
“Sorry, it’s your responsibility, and that was it,” Peter recalled. The Milchs contacted 8 On Your Side. Records we reviewed show that Toll-By-Plate was billing the Milch’s SunPass account for a car that wasn’t theirs, as far back as August 2014. The Milchs own a 2014 Buick with plate number CQI F68. Somehow a Ford, that they do not own, with plate number CRI F68 showed up on their account. Between August 2014 and July 2015, they were incorrectly billed 164 times for the vehicle that’s not theirs. Jacqueline wondered if someone hacked their SunPass account. 8 On Your Side contacted the Florida Turnpike Enterprise.
In an email spokesperson Christa Deason wrote, “No hacks. SunPass advises that the plate number was added to the account online, which means the customer did it himself using his PIN and account #. Per our policy, he should be responsible for tolls incurred by that vehicle, but as a courtesy, this time only, we are issuing a refund to his credit card.”
She went on to add,”I want to be clear on why the policy is in place. People will often add boyfriend’s/girlsfriend’s or relative’s plates to their accounts. They then break off relations and want to go back retroactively and say it was a mistake and they don’t want to be responsible for the tolls incurred by that person. It happens more than you can image. In this case, it looked like Mr. Milch just transposed a number on the plate he meant to add.”
Peter insists he did not add another vehicle to his account. He sent 8 On Your Side an email earlier today. “Miracles do happen. After I wrote to you that SunPass never connected me, I went back to see what my account was doing. To my surprise, $156.07 was refunded to my credit card. The reason given was double billing of the plate CRIF68 (the one that’s not mine).”