Toll scam in Orlando

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Old Jul 19, 19, 3:02 pm
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Toll scam in Orlando

I know I have used the word scam in my thread title but believe me I have good reason to do so.

So my card was charged $24.65 (4.90 in toll usage and 19.75 for use of Avis transponder) three weeks ago by HTA LLC. This is a firm which apparently does tolling for Avis and other rental companies. This was for a rental I had picked up in Orlando on 6/20.

When I looked at the receipt those charges were for 6/20 but for 2 hours before I picked up the rental. My rental receipt clearly shows I picked up the rental at 11PM whereas the charges are for 8:30PM the same day. I was actually on a flight to Orlando at 8:30PM.

Now why do i think it is a scam - those charges are for the same car car travelling away from the airport towards Disney World. What are the odds that someone actually took that car from airport to Disney and back within those 2 hours - and took different routes on the way to Disney and back (as there are no toll charges in the reverse direction)?

When I picked up the car at 11PM, I also took a tolled road (completely different from the one billed to me) but paid my toll in cash and saved the receipts. I called HTA LLC 2 weeks ago and explained the situation. They told me they will get in touch with Avis to verify the time I picked up the rental and resolve my concern within 48 hours. One week went by and nothing happened so I called them again last week. Explained everything again and they said they are backed up and will resolve within 48 hours. Again nothing happened. So I called them again yesterday and they said they will not resolve anything directly with Avis and the burden of proof is on me to prove I didnt use that road that day.

Fine enough - I had the rental receipt and my boarding pass so I said I can send them both (which I did yesterday). They said they will get back in 14-21 days!!!! They have not provided any request number or even acknowledged in writing that they have received my contract and complaint and will resolve. This is absolutely staggering and makes me feel even more strongly that this is a scam. They are expecting the customer to stop following up so that they can retain this money. Not sure how many others they are doing this to.

Purpose of the post is to make others aware and to get ideas on how to resolve this.

Last edited by cesc; Jul 19, 19 at 3:11 pm Reason: Error
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Old Jul 19, 19, 3:04 pm
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I'd be calling the credit card company to challenge those charges if you aren't hearing back in a timely fashion from the tolling company . . . if they're definitely being mis-attributed to you then the credit card charge isn't valid.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 3:53 pm
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Don't waste two seconds on a phone call. This is a simple chargeback which can almost certainly be made online and because the basis of the chargeback is that the service was not received, does not require you to seek a refund from the merchant vendor first.

Turn your lengthy post into 2-3 short declarative sentences, omit the emotion, and conjecture, and you will be done. E.g.

1. This item is for a toll transponder which apparently triggered a charge at 8:30 PM on [Date].
2. I did not pick up the vehicle attached to this transponder until 10:30 PM. I have attached a copy of the facesheet of the rental agreement to demonstrate the pickup time.
3. This charge does not relate to me and the service was clearly not received by me.

This should take you somewhere in the 60-90 second timeframe and, because the merchant vendor is not Avis, won't affect your standing with Avis.
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Old Jul 19, 19, 4:44 pm
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Hanlon’s razor states, “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” (or in this case incompetence)

I wouldn’t assume this was a scam in the sense of some planned attempt at extracting a few extra dollars out of you. If it was pervasive and they were doing this to a large number of people, there would be reports of it elsewhere which I don’t think we’ve seen, and a potential class action lawsuit.

It’s probably explainable by some IT glitch or shoddy code which doesn’t accurately track tolls from one rental to another. I’d simply open a case with HTA and provide your proof, and failing that, do a CC dispute.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 12:47 am
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File a complaint with Florida's Attorney General:
Florida Attorney General - File A Complaint

Only if they get a number of complaints will they wake up.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 1:27 am
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So I had an electronic toll with National, HTA takes care of that also.
It takes them almost a month to register the toll so you can see it online.

But in terms of proof, I think I did rent from Avis and told them it was impossible for me to have been in that state. They looked it up and it was impossible, so they removed the charge in a few days.
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Old Jul 24, 19, 8:12 am
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Thanks for your suggestions. I have raised a dispute with my card issuer as that seemed a better way out. I have a good mind to file that complaint with Florida's AG as well as I don't want other people to be similarly harassed
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Old Aug 13, 19, 3:11 pm
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This happens all the time in Orlando. In my case the Rental car company was at fault because the charges on the transponder for my car had not been paid for 3 months. I gave the toll authority a copy of my rental agreement and when I picked the car up was stamped on it. Charges were for 3 months prior so they wiped the charges off my card. It was a huge hassle however since I had to drive to their office.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 3:27 pm
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BYOT - Bring your own tag.

Seriously if you want to avoid this, bringing your own tag is the only solution.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 3:58 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
BYOT - Bring your own tag.

Seriously if you want to avoid this, bringing your own tag is the only solution.
I did this in NY (EZ-Pass from NJ) and yet I got charged anyway so they'll pretty much screw you any way they can. The company really is a pain to work with and they always say you're guilty unless you prove you are innocent. Luckily I was dining 75 miles away and had a receipt within 30 minutes of the toll so it was easier to get it removed although first they weren't going to do it until I asked if they expected I drove 120 mph at rush hour in New York to get to the toll booth.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:07 pm
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Angry Definitely there is a toll scam in Orlando

I believe the rental company was Budget. Picked the car up at MCO drove it to West Coast of Florida , the returned it to East Coast of FL. Paid cash for all the tolls. Received a toll bill from NY company on my AMEX for Fort Lauderdale area roads/bridges for days car was in Tampa/ Sun City area..Called NY contact number referenced and they directed me to FL DOT to file complaint. They blew me off and seemed to be co-conspirators with this FL toll collection scam. Disputed the charge with Amex who removed it on the first telephone contact.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 4:21 pm
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You should also send a copy to the Florida AG, and your own state if you are not a Florida resident. I had a similar type issue in NY (I live in CA) and my state AG got a refund direct from Hertz, who then presumably went after the toll servicing company.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 6:06 pm
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Budget Dulles - Same Toll Scam 6/2/19

Turned car in at 6am, charged three weeks later for toll made at 1:30pm. Had boarding pass and wifi receipt. Took me three weeks and numerous phone calls and emails to get this $21 charge removed. $1.60 toll and $19 something to find me.
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Old Aug 13, 19, 10:47 pm
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Originally Posted by garykung View Post
BYOT - Bring your own tag.

Seriously if you want to avoid this, bringing your own tag is the only solution.
Even though I live in CA, I regularly travel to the east coast...and with all of the Mass Pike, all NYC bridges, etc. being EZPass-only, there's no longer the cash-pay alternative. I either pay this highway robbery from HTA, or I bring my own transponder.

Thankfully, the MA EZPass program does not charge a monthly fee and will allow anyone to sign up online with a valid credit card and auto-refill. They did not charge to mail me the transponder, and I just leave it in my work backpack. Then when I pick up a rental car, I simply log on to EZDriveMA (their EZPass Web site), add the rental car's license plate, make, model, and year on my account, and then mount my transponder on the windshield. (You can even specify that the vehicle you're adding is a rental, and specify the end date and time for the rental.) I figure that way I'm doubly covered -- if my transponder isn't read properly, then I've registered the plate.

I do wonder what would happen if I somehow ended up with a pay-by-plate charge instead of my own transponder being read, I've registered the plate with MA, and HTA has it on record from the rental company. But (knock on wood...) I haven't encountered that situation yet.
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Old Aug 14, 19, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by dmach View Post
Even though I live in CA, I regularly travel to the east coast...and with all of the Mass Pike, all NYC bridges, etc. being EZPass-only, there's no longer the cash-pay alternative. I either pay this highway robbery from HTA, or I bring my own transponder.

Thankfully, the MA EZPass program does not charge a monthly fee and will allow anyone to sign up online with a valid credit card and auto-refill. They did not charge to mail me the transponder, and I just leave it in my work backpack. Then when I pick up a rental car, I simply log on to EZDriveMA (their EZPass Web site), add the rental car's license plate, make, model, and year on my account, and then mount my transponder on the windshield. (You can even specify that the vehicle you're adding is a rental, and specify the end date and time for the rental.) I figure that way I'm doubly covered -- if my transponder isn't read properly, then I've registered the plate.

I do wonder what would happen if I somehow ended up with a pay-by-plate charge instead of my own transponder being read, I've registered the plate with MA, and HTA has it on record from the rental company. But (knock on wood...) I haven't encountered that situation yet.
My experience with Avis/EZ pass in MA has been very good. Sometimes, the EZ pass will not read and Avis will bill me the toll. A quick phone call to HTA and they refund me within 3-5 business days.
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