Couple Says Clerical Screw-Up Resulted In $27,331 Fine From Tollway

The couple says they are being charged 12,000% interest for a clerical error.

The couple says they are being charged 12,000% interest for a clerical error.

An Illinois couple say that a confluence of clerical cock-ups not only resulted in one of their vehicles racking up several hundred dollars in skipped highway tolls, but having those missed tolls spiral out into more than $27,000 in fines, penalties and late fees.

The couple tell CBS Chicago’s Dave Savini that the trouble began over a year ago, when one of their debit cards was stolen. They got a new card and called the folks who run the state’s IPASS automated toll-paying system to update the payment information on both of their transponders.

But it looks like someone goofed and failed to update the information on one transponder, meaning that the vehicle was piling up hundreds of dollars in unpaid charges on the Illinois Tollway. Making matters worse, the couple says the notices sent by the state about these tolls were being sent to the wrong address for over a year.

By the time the couple found out, all of the late fees and penalties had caused what should have been $210 in tolls to balloon up to $27,331.

β€œIt’s absurd,” the husband tells Savini, “a loan shark would be embarrassed about what the Tollway is doing to the people of Illinois.”

Their attempts to argue the case or at least be given the option to pay the money in installments were shot down, says the couple. They were given 20 days to come up with the full $27,000.

After CBS got involved, the Tollway folks agreed to knock the amount down to $1,100, which is still more than five times the original amount owed.