Wrongly billed for tolls, frightened Sun City Center couple pays charges

SUN CITY CENTER, Fla. (WFLA) – A Sun City Center couple is the latest to join an ever-growing list of people mistakenly billed by Florida’s Toll-By-Plate electronic tolling system.

Cathy and Miles Rieker received such a bill in June. They were charged for a plate from a car they sold seven years ago.

“It’s very intimidating,” said Cathy Rieker.

Intimidating because along with the “Toll Enforcement Notice” comes a warning, failure to pay may result in:

  • Referral to collection agency
  • Vehicle registration stop
  • Traffic citations

The Riekers sent paperwork to the Florida Department of Transportation, showing that the plate was canceled in 2010.

“And then we got another summons in the mail, saying that they had increased the fee,” explained Miles Rieker.

“And he starts telling me about citations and he’s telling me they could take away the registration, so I said, ‘let’s just pay it,'” added Cathy.

It happened again in December.

The Riekers are not alone.

Twice now, the state billed Christina Rochd for tolls on a plate she was issued but never received.

We went to Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, FDOT and the Pinellas County Tax Collector’s Office, and the charges were eliminated.

The problem reoccurred in November.

“There’s a disconnect somewhere, there’s something happening. I don’t know if there are multiple agencies involved that are not communicating with each other,” said Rochd.

The inability for one state agency to connect with another translates into bills and intimidation.

Rochd’s latest toll bill went away.

And so did the Riekers’ after they told FDOT they contacted Target 8.

“We’re glad that you’re out there doing this kind of work,” said Rieker.

Christina Rochd received a letter from the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority telling her she should file a missing plate report with law enforcement to prevent future billing mistakes.

She asks, if the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles knows that the plate in question doesn’t belong to her, why doesn’t FDOT?

If you know of something that needs to be investigated, call our Target 8 Helpline at 1-800-338-0808. Contact Steve Andrews at sandrews@wfla.com.

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