The Case Of The Phantom I-Pass Transponder

Reader and commenter ChicagoOutfit is having trouble with Illinois’ much-loved tollway system. His I-Pass account has someone else’s transponder attached to it and he’s paying for some random jerk’s tolls. He calls the ISTHA and has it removed, but Illinois doesn’t refund his money and the transponder keeps coming back.

(For those of you who have never lived in the good state of Illinois, I-Pass is like E-Z Pass in other states, but presumably more corrupt and less efficient due to its association with the State of Illinois. For those of you who don’t know what E-Z pass is, it’s a thing that lets you pay tolls without opening your window or stopping.)

Hey there Consumerist,
I’m not sure this is a “tip”… but I’m wondering if someone out there can help me move forward with an annoying problem I’ve had all year with the Illinois I-Pass system’s billing:

Later this morning (Wednesday, Oct. 24) will be the fifth time this year that I have to call and tell them that they have, yet again, tied someone else’s I-Pass transponder to my account… deducting money from my debit account each time said other person uses his/her rouge I-Pass transponder and brings my account down to a $10.00 “re- fill” amount. And, it’s the same rogue I-Pass transponder every single time (#01500376144) this year!

I have been “assured” that it will not happen again on each previous occasion, but it never holds true. All Illinois I-Pass does is delete said rogue I-Pass from my account, but *never* credits me back the money deducted by the rouge I-Pass! I have no other debit account that I could tie mine to (and in Illinois, if you do not use the I- Pass system… you pay double the toll fee), if not I’d just turn it off. I’ve been in Beijing, China for over a week and can see the usage of the rogue I-Pass transponder on my account.

– What can I do to force them to give me every cent the rogue I-Pass transponder (#01500376144) has used this year?
– What can I threaten them with should this happen again?


We took a look at the I-Pass Terms & Conditions and there was no information about obtaining a refund, except to say that all disputes must be be submitted, in writing, within 180 days of the transponder’s use to:

2700 Ogden Ave.
Downers Grove, Illinois 60515

We assume this office has a garbage can underneath a mail slot, but that’s just our experience with Illinois talking. Our gut says you’re probably going to need a lawyer if writing them at this address doesn’t work. We might also recommend removing the automatic refill function from the I-Pass account for now, though when the jerk depletes all your money, I-Pass will start sending you toll violation notices. Those aren’t much fun.

Has this happened to anyone else? How did you fix it?

Anyone gotten their money back?


Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.