CHOICE membership

E-tags re tolls


#1

I have an e-tag and money is taken out of my bank account automatically on a regular basis.

What I am finding concerning is that if the e-tag is not working, I am sent the toll to pay with an admin. fee. I have no problem with paying the toll, but I do not believe the admin. fee is fair.

Consumers should be informed that they need to attend to their e-tag if there is a problem. They have a right to know.

Apparently there are beep codes which inform you if you are running out of money on your e-tag, but I was not informed about this. Also this would be a problem for people with a disability ( e.g. hearing impaired) and drivers who need to concentrate on their driving ( all of us?), rather than listen to and count beeps.

Financial counsellors are dealing with people with toll debt and the admin. fees are a big part of the debt.

Something does not sound right. I think all this is privatised . I wonder if profits are made out of the admin. fees?

I have dealt with some staff from the toll companies about the above, and they bombastically proclaim that they are not the government but a private company - they give the message they can do what they want.

It would be in the government’s best interest to investigate all this as tolls are a big election issue and can anger voters.

Also there is a toll ombudsman but the toll companies never seem to mention him. They should be informing consumers the toll ombudsman exists.


#2

Have you replaced your eTag?

https://www.service.nsw.gov.au/transaction/replace-e-toll-tag

Also, did you ask for the admin fee waiver since it was not fault of your own that the eTag did not work (and especially if your eTag account was not in deficit)?

Did you also ask if there are other options for payment other than auto refilling of eTag balance…is the payment through number plate recognition an option for you to avoid a recurrence?


#3

No I have not been informed of those options.

I don’t see why admin. fees are necessary when I have an account .


#4

It is possibly just a blanket company policy…when a toll isn’t paid or it is paid manually (say over the phone an admin fee applies). It is possibly blanket as it is possibly thought that non-payment is due to the customer’s actions (tag not fitted to car/removed or in glovebox, credit card declined, etc). When you have an account, the same car is used that is registered for the account/for the eTag etc, then it should not apply.

When it is the tag that fails through no fault of your own, then I would be requesting reimbursement of the admin fees.

Try calling them again as one is not expected to know the differences between beeps, the number of beeps or if there are no beeps. If they don’t reimburse, say you plan to lodge a form complaint with the company and the State Government Transport Department. If they still don’t, lodge a complaint with the company and the State Government Transport Department. Websites of both should have information of how to lodge complaints.

Check the information on payment options with your eTag provider when you log in to your account and see what options exist and what may be better for you. Different payment options have different advantages and disadvantages and potentially costs/fees.

I am surprised that they didn’t cover this with you if you have had problems with the eTag.


#5

Thanks. Yes they are claiming that I should have heard the no. of beeps which indicate there is no money in my account - I have no idea what this means.

I hope the toll ombudsman is helpful.

The tolls are a real mess, especially the admin. fees which I am sure play a big part in increasing their profit.

Surely the govt, is intelligent enough to realise voters will not be happy about all of this.


#6

In Vic that has an admin fee attached to each toll.

Unless government thinks something has enough votes in play to lose a seat in comparison to other problems, would they care beyond offering empathy, if that?


#7

The lodgement of a dispute with the State/Territory Administrative Appeals Tribunal can also be worthwhile particularly when a tag has failed to work.


#8

What is root cause of e-toll not working?

  1. Faulty tag - get it replaced for free.
  2. Tag does not work through your car’s glass/coating - register this fact (car make & model, car rego) and your account is debited normal amount (no admin fee) each time by number plate recognition (leave the tag in a drawer at home).
  3. Time lag between automatic payment and/or size of automatic payment does not match the frequency and/or amount of use. Adjust the trigger value and/or the payment amount.

#9

As @Joe1 posted, the device emits beeps for this and that, and the driver is supposed to hear the beeps and be aware of what each sequence means, as well as notice when it doesn’t beep at all.

While not necessarily germane to @Joe1’s circumstance, being a senior with high frequency hearing loss I do not hear some frequencies, such as many kitchen timers, oven alert signal, washing machine end alert, or dryer end alert, so I can empathise with his comments. We seek out devices I can hear when hearing them matters. AFAIK the tags come in a single ‘flavour’.

Moving on, regardless of whether one can hear them or not, once a person is educated to the beep they should adapt one way or another, such as auto top ups or routine account checking, but that first time can be a surprise. It also puts the onus on the driver to pay attention to where toll points are, and to listen for a beep and recognise when there is no beep or many beeps in addition to paying attention to the traffic.

I am with @Joe1 that it seems a bit over the top to add admin fees, at least for the first time it happens.


#10

While there may be a sting with the admins fees, you get no credit for having a positive balance most of the time in favour of the toll operator. It does seem a little one sided.

We have only had rare issues with tags not working, notably when the batteries died internally. It is not immediately obvious! That risk is unfortunately with the user, and yes there is a delay in getting replacements. How each toll provider cover this interim period may vary?

Our toll account is set to give us an email reminder when the account balance drops to a set level. That leaves enough to do a few more trips, and is evident on the smartphone email.


#11

CHOICE has weighed in on toll fees before. It’s a pretty concerning state of affairs if you ask me, you can also find some info within the article about contesting a toll.


#12

We go through tolls infrequently. We noticed that sometimes the tag does not beep. I’ve phoned on at least one of those occasions to make sure the car was sighted and the toll recorded. Never was I told that I was being charged a match up fee. I only discovered that when I went online to check something else. Last weekend, tag beep one way but not on the return. I phoned the toll number, and this time, complained - nicely. I was told the tag was most likely faulty, that they will send me a new tag, and they would reimburse the match up fee for this trip. I asked for all match up fees to be reimbursed. I will check again in about a week to see if the toll people have done the right thing.


#13

In Melbourne, I have spoken to a few people about the reasons for the speed limit changes on the newly completed Tullamarine “freeway”. VicRoads changed it to 80kph at the beginning of the roadworks, then announced it was going to stay at 80kph after the roadworks were completed. After RACV and public outcry “trialled” it at 100kph, but it is going to go back to 80kph and you’ll find the study supports it for safety reasons.

The Toll companies get more revenue, that is more corroborated identifications of cars/transponders at lower speeds. It’s nothing to do with safety and all to do with revenue.

Joe, it’s not you, it’s them. Once again poor software is costing Victorians money, ala Myki.

I’m not sure what you can do, but I suspect it is about the transpoder ID system “seeing” your car better.

Fighting the system might only work with an ombudsman’s help I agree on that. It’s like the old wars with the telcos.


#14

Except that was funny. Tolls - user pays but don’t we all benefit from better traffic flow? whether directly or indirectly?

I heard a story over the break of a tollway in Sydney where tolls were removed when the road was paid for, then came back to pay for something else, along with the reinvention of all the infrastructure that had been removed.

Do we get the Government we deserve? maybe …

I guess they need to pay the computer overtime to run that routine … :wink:


#15

The situation you have described is indicative of a deep well of issues in my personal opinion. Unfortunately, other modes of transport are frequently woefully inadequate, often with large flow-on costs.

In NSW, there is a toll rebate scheme, but this does little to ease the ludicrous administration charges and frequently clandestine conduct of the toll operators that can find people facing toll debt shock.


#16

A similar thing happened with my RMS issued etag in NSW. It ran out of battery and would not work any longer and I was charged number plate matching fees for each trip. I had to take it personally into a NSW Service Centre to exchange it for a new etag and got all extra fees waived. Given that the Service Centres are few and far between it was quite a hassle, I don’t know why they couldn’t mail out a new etag.


#17

It reminds me of the old saying:

“I’m from the Government, I’m here to help you”.


#18

Flow Toll now LinkT (Qld) had no problem mailing out new Etags. We still had to post the old ones back, but that was no problem either.

Yes, the batteries going flat and not being forewarned is an issue. The new tags have a set minimum battery life. LinkT should know from when they are issued to send out a friendly reminder by email and to our account 3-6 months in advance to confirm we need replacements.


#19

Imagine if they put a USB rechargeable battery in them- with a warning LED that the battery is low, so you just plug an adapter into the lighter socket for an hour or 2 to keep it functioning until the next warning LED appears… a whole lot of hassle saved for all concerned, especially motorists who are being gouged for admin fees etc.


#20

With a low leakage Eneloop battery it might only be once a year?