Dear E-ZPass: I fixed the mistake, have mercy

It’s Saturday morning.  I have to visit a friend on the other side of the Capital District, who just moved into a new apartment.  As I picked up Exit 23 of the New York State Thruway, I could see the traffic  building up at the cash-enabled section of the toll plaza.

No big deal, I smiled.  I’ve got E-ZPass on my car.  I glide over to the right, looking at that beautifully empty travel lane with the 20 MPH right over the top.

Ah, life is good.  All I need to do is drive through the toll plaza, quickly glance as it says EZ PASS GO, and I can enjoy the beautiful sunshi–



What do you mean, LOW BAL – GO?

See, this was surprising to me – considering that my E-ZPass account was synched to my Rainy Day Credit Card Company credit card, so that if I ever ran out of money it would automatically reload.  And it’s been that way for ages.  Okay.  I gotta straighten this mess out right now.  Ain’t no way I’m delivering my photo entries to the New York State Fair via US 20.

Two exits later, I passed through another toll plaza.  Maybe there was a glitch in the software, I thought.  Maybe somewhere along the line, one of the terminals just conked out.  Surely, this can be straightened out –


Okay, this isn’t THAT kind of a mistake.  As I passed through the toll plaza at Exit 25, I saw a sign for E-ZPass’ toll-free customer support line.  So I called.

“E-ZPass, how can I help you?”

I gave the operator my E-ZPass transponder number and told them what had happened.

“Your card got rejected when we tried to reload it, sir.”

That’s not possible.  My card has plenty of credit on it.  I’ve been a good boy.

Be that as it may, I gave the operator an alternate credit card to use.  “No problem, sir, we’ll reload your account in a couple of seconds,” he said.

“So how low was my balance?” I asked.

“You were down to negative $1.38.”

Owtch.  “But it’s back up to normal, right?”

“Yes sir, but just to be safe, don’t use your E-ZPass for 24 hours in New York, or for 48 hours out of state.  And you may be getting a notice from E-ZPass, I would suggest either paying the $25 fine or disputing the charge in writing.”

I thanked the operator.  Next up – a call to Rainy Day Credit Card company.

“Rainy Day Credit Card, good morning Mr. Miller, how can I assist you?”

I explained the situation.

“Oh yes, Mr. Miller, E-ZPass did try to charge a renewal on your card, but they used an expired date.  We couldn’t verify it, since the credit card they had on file had expired, so we couldn’t honor the charge.  That’s all in the interest of keeping your credit safe, Mr. Miller.”

Gotta hand it to Rainy Day Credit Card.  I may not like when things get kludgy with them, but at least my credit is protected.

Then, this morning, I gave another call to E-ZPass.

“E-ZPass, how may I help you?”

I gave them the information regarding Saturday’s E-ZPass issues.

“Let me call up your history,” he replied.  “Yes, you were down to a negative $1.38, but I also see that the second it went down, you contacted us and everything was straightened out.  You shouldn’t be receiving any notices from us.  Have a great day, and thank you for using your E-ZPass.”

Nice.  Glad to hear that things were straightened out.  But just in case, E-ZPass…

Please don’t send the “yougottapayafineorwetakeyerlicense” police after me.  ‘Kay?