E-ZPass Express Lanes can alleviate the bad traffic in this area. But some drivers were getting hit by massive fines for accidentally missing tolls on the 495 Express Lanes. FOX 5 exposed these abuses and the drivers who were being financially strapped to pay them.
As a result, the company that manages and operates these Express Lanes -- Transurban -- capped their lawsuits against drivers last fall at $2,200, but only going forward.
Now, Transurban has decided to make that cap retroactive. Anyone who paid more than $2,200 will now get a refund.
"There are plenty of people like myself who have paid more, so why can't we get more?" said Rachel Amarti.
Last fall, we told you about Amarti, who commutes on the 495 Express Lanes. Because of some technical glitch, her E-ZPass missed about $100 of tolls. She only found out about it a year later when she got sued for $25,000! She settled in court with Transurban.
She has mixed emotions about the company saying it will give refunds retroactively to anyone who has paid more than $2,200.
"I think it's awesome, but why wouldn't I get the whole amount?" she said. "Why am I paying $3,600? But great, I'll take the refund."
We also told you about Chris Lane. Transurban sued him for $30,000 for less than $50 in missed tolls. He had two credit cards linked to E-ZPass. But because of yet another glitch, he had to settle out of court. Now, Chris is now due a refund of $2,400.
Larry Neukam had a credit card linked to E-ZPass. He didn't know it had expired and missed about 20 trips. Then he was sued for $100,000! Neukam settled also and paid $9,000.
Transurban said it will send a letter to anyone who is getting a refund.
All of these drivers all say the same thing -- they are happy to get some money back for using these Express Lanes, but they say paying $2,200 for a few missed tolls is still highway robbery.
Lawyer David Bernhard has taken the lead on fighting Transurban in court. He said this sudden change of policy is for both legal and public relations reasons.
"I think they have been terrified of the terrible public relations," said Bernhard. "They are going to be with us for 75 years. They got to be members of the community here and they have not been from a business perspective acting as good businessmen."
Bernhard has been winning big cases against Transurban in court on various legal technicalities. He said this $2,200 limit might be a smart move. The company might be trying to avoid paying a lot more money now that a judge said all the cases before March 3rd are invalid.
These huge lawsuits against drivers for accidentally missing tolls were under the radar until we started exposing this last year.
"Emily, you started it all with your original report before I was even involved, got these summonses capped -- that was huge," Bernhard told us.
Transurban said people due a refund will get a check in the mail by mid-July. If you don't get it by then or want to know if you qualify, you can call them at 855-495-9777 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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