Summary of Circumstances: The customer drove on NTTA toll roads, and an invoice was mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle based on Texas Department of Motor Vehicles records. After not receiving payment within 30 days, the NTTA sent a First Notice of Nonpayment, which included an administrative fee. The customer disputes receiving the original ZipCash invoice prior to the First Notice of Nonpayment and has expressed concern over the amount owed, which includes tolls plus an assessed administrative fee. The customer stated that the neighborhood mail carrier frequently makes mistakes in delivering the mail to the proper address and that the customer received only the First Notice of Nonpayment. The customer continued driving on the toll roads and received an additional ZipCash invoice for those transactions. The customer does not dispute receiving a later ZipCash invoice.
Ombudsman’s Response: The Ombudsman reviewed the customer’s transactions and determined that the customer does not have a TollTag account. The customer contacted the NTTA Board of Directors and NTTA Customer Service several times as described below.
January 28, 2013 – The customer sent an email to NTTA Customer Service stating that he/she just received a First Notice of Nonpayment that included an administrative fee and that he/she was ready to make payment if the administrative fee was removed. The customer service representative responded by explaining the NTTA mailed a ZipCash invoice and a First Notice of Nonpayment via the U.S. Postal Service and used the USPS Track-n-Trace service to confirm mailing and critical letter handling dates.
January 31, 2013 – The customer called the NTTA inquiring about invoices that had been received. The customer stated that he/she would not pay the administrative fees incurred since the neighborhood mail carrier does not always deliver the mail to the correct address. The customer service representative explained that NTTA confirmed mailing through USPS Track-n-Trace, and therefore the administrative fees would not be waived. Customer then asked to speak with a customer service supervisor. The supervisor reiterated the same information. The customer again stated that he/she would not pay the accrued administrative fees because of the problems with the mail carrier. The supervisor offered to waive the administrative fees if the customer opened a TollTag account and maintained it for the next six months. The customer declined the offer. The supervisor explained if invoices are not paid in full they will continue accrue additional fees, would eventually be sent to the collection agency and possible further legal action. At that time the customer did not make payment on an additional ZipCash invoice, which included tolls only.
March 19, 2013 – The customer sent an email to the NTTA Board of Directors concerning the two invoices that he/she received, stating that he/she did not agree with paying the administrative fees since he/she allegedly did not receive the original ZipCash invoice for the first invoice. The email was forwarded to the NTTA Director of Customer Service to research and resolution. Both invoices had not yet been paid, incurring additional administrative fees as a result.
March 20, 2013 – The director responded to customer with the history of the invoices, including the address to which all invoices were mailed. The director reiterated that the administrative fees would not be waived since USPS Track-n-Trace confirmed mailing and that the address on the invoices was not flagged as undeliverable.
The use of Track-n-Trace is recognized as a reliable mail tracking tool. The processing and invoicing of these transactions complied with state law and NTTA business rules.
ZipCash customers receive invoices for their tolls based on their toll road usage, and invoices are mailed to the registered owner of the vehicle based on Texas Department of Motor Vehicle records. The longer a ZipCash invoice remains unpaid, the higher the related fees will escalate. Customers can avoid any fees by paying their ZipCash invoices, which cover tolls only, within 30 days or by opening a TollTag account backed by cash or credit card. For more information about the ZipCash billing process, https://www.ntta.org/AboutUs/WaysToPay