The state promises to clean up motorists’ accounts once the credit-card-processing problem blows over.
There’s no need to waste time phoning a customer-service line if you’re among thousands of highway tollpayers caught in this month’s credit-card processing snafu.
So says the Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT), which acknowledged Monday it can’t keep up with the incoming calls. Also, the state promises to clean up motorists’ accounts anyway, once the problem blows over.
“We’ve said that because we want to respect our customers’ time,” said Ethan Bergerson, tolling spokesman, who apologized for the hassle. Customers have been waiting an average of 25 minutes or longer.
Last week, WSDOT said its toll contractor, Electronic Transaction Consultants (ETC), had intermittent problems handling credit-card payments. Many cards are being blocked.
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The errors affect the Good to Go “automatic-replenishment” accounts, which charge a motorist’s credit card more money when the toll-account balance shrinks to near zero. Typically the state moves $30 into the toll account when it drops below $8.
Through no fault of their own, drivers were receiving stern emails or even a bill that showed negative balances and unpaid tolls.
The state will eventually reconcile those, so people with automatic replenishment shouldn’t need to take action, Bergerson said.
“We are going to take care of this for them,” he said.
Motorists who manually feed money into their Good to Go accounts online are encouraged to keep trying online, Bergerson said.
In addition, the state and ETC are now catching toll bills before they’re sent out, to avoid mailing people wrong bills, he said.
The state didn’t have a count Monday of how many vehicles are affected and said ETC is still working on a fix.
If customers still find late fees that are the state’s fault, they’ll eventually be able to call or email to get those canceled, according to Bergerson. If all else fails, people can use the state’s one-time amnesty program to erase fees and penalties. Customer service lines (for later use) are 1-866-936-8246 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meanwhile, tolls ranged from $2.75 to $5.50 in mild traffic Monday morning in the Interstate 405 express toll lanes, where rates hit $8 to $10 in severe congestion last week.
The credit-card errors also affect the Highway 520 bridge, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and Highway 167 high-occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes.