Rockwall Woman’s $300 Toll Bill Now Nearly $18K

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News

ROCKWALL (CBSDFW.COM) – Patti Roach knows she can cut 45 minutes out of her commute from Rockwall if she takes the George Bush Turnpike.

She knew she’d have to pay extra, but she never though it would cost her so much. “126 tolls they want $2,551,” she points to an invoice for just one month.

Roach says she would have paid, but stopped getting bills from the North Texas Tollway Authority last July.  “Around the end of November I received a citation Texas Department of Public Safety saying there was a warrant for my arrest for unpaid tolls,” explains Roach.

After calling the agency Roach discovered she owed about $300 in tolls.  But add up all the penalties for unpaid bills over the last eight months and Roach owes the agency $17,911.

“Of course I can’t afford $17,911, I have a kid graduating this year, that’s college money,” says Roach.

The NTTA wouldn’t talk about the specifics of Roach’s case.  But CBS 11 wondered why did a few hundred dollars balloon into several thousand?

“That’s part of the collection process as it goes through it goes deeper into it it requires more mail more checking more cross referencing and it becomes more of an expensive process,” explains Michael Rey with NTTA.

Rey says they get a driver’s address from the license plate, cross-referencing information with the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.

And if the mail is not returned Rey says, “We go on the assumption that it’s delivered to the address that’s good.”

Roach says she’s tried to pay what she originally owed, but the NTTA won’t accept any of her checks unless it’s the full amount.

“They are not interested in collecting the tolls, they want to collect the penalties,” says Roach.

The NTTA says they’re willing to work with Roach now and would only require her to pay 60% of what she owes.

If you find youself in this situation their advice is to contact them if you haven’t gotten any bills.  You can also check with the Texas DMV to make sure they have a correct address for you.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Concerned Wylie CItizen says:

    I had a friend in a similar situation, not with NTTA but another agency. When they refused a partial payment of all she could afford, she contacted an attorney and was informed that this cannot be done. If a person is making a good-faith effort to pay a bill, then the company has to accept it. If they refuse, the whole debt can be declared null and void and the creditor gets nothing. If she can afford it, I recommend she take this to a legal counsel and find out her rights in the debt collection process.

    1. Frustrated with NTTA says:

      We had the same problem, was relying on getting bills to come. They had messed up our account so bad when they debited our Bank Card that we stopped it. One month we received the October Toll bill, then the next month it was our August tolls! Twice they have received checks that they have not cashed because it was not the exact amount. I didn’t know they didn’t cash them until I received a past due notice with all the fees. We are so frustrated and there is no consistency in their answers at the call center. They told us a couple of years ago that our account was “fixed” and not to worry about it, only to find out that they had turned it over to collections and just started our new account all over again.

      1. don says:

        I’m with Jay on this. Just ignoring it, hoping it will go away. I pay over $100 to use the tollway and I’m sick and tired of the freeloaders. Get a tolltag and pay as you go.; “I didn’t pay and now I’m shocked there are consequences”???? give me a break. Contact the NTTA and work it out.

  2. Tommy Chapman says:

    How long are we going to be bullied by a private organization?

    1. MARhoses says:

      These “Bullies” are not only contracted by our “elected” officials to harass (i.e. collect with impunity) taxes owed to municipalities. A Toll is nothing more then a “tax”, & should not be handled by private industries when it comes to collection of owed taxes. Why Governments do this is because Private businesses are not bound by rules & regulations (i.e. restrictions) that government bodies are when it comes to people who can’t pay their “taxes”. In this case… & I’m sure many others… this is highway robbery (No pun intended). I think we as American’s are just about to the point where we are tired of seeing hard working citizens getting shafted by people who are suppose to represent us, but in reality (as we seem to find to often) represent big business only. They (the NTTA) should have a max ceiling when it comes to interest & penalties in these cases, so (As in this case) they don’t become an Over Extreme Burdon on the taxpayer. What they need to do is to accept this woman’s, owed fee’s, a little interest, & call it a day. The only reason i think this woman should pay some interest (as a penalty) is because she continued using the toll, knowing she owned money. She should have called to see why he bill quit coming. So, yes.. she does have some responsibility for this happening… but for the NTTA to let this bill continue climbing… they had most the responsibility for collecting it when it was a reasonably low fine. Someone else said it here, & I agree.. the NTTA looks to be overly greedy in this case.

    2. Michael Lombardi says:

      These idiot toll cameras claim to have captured my license plate more then five hundred miles from my home when neither myself or my vehicle were ever even in that city in my whole life! I wrote letters to to no response or resolve other then another bill. I kept refusing to pay, I knew I did no wrong and wasn’t going to be bullied by their tactics that if you don’t pay you risk the possibility of forever losing your license or jail time! Finally, they acknowledged that I was standing tall against these false charges and cleared me.
      My advise to all motorists—-ASK FOR A RECEIPT AT EVERY TOLL BOOTH!

      1. Katelyn says:

        Michael- Unfortunately, you can not request a receipt anymore at toll booths in most of the metroplex as you simply drive through the lane, photo is taken, and you are then mailed a bill. There is no human, you do not pay then, so no receipt. Which means people like me can’t use the tolls at all. Despite correcting my address multiple times with DMV, after being fined for not paying bills I never received, I have given up. So tolls that I used to pay each time I used the road, now are billed to an imaginary address, and then fines are owed– upping the amount of money they collect from me each time I use the road. Yeah… nice try. I will just use “free” roads, thanks anyway.

      2. Aprtopaz says:

        You do realize you can get a toll tag so you don’t have to wait for a bill? Heck, I don’t even LIVE in DFW but I still have one for when I drive through…

  3. Robert L says:

    GREED, GREED, GREED – pray on those that can not do anything but pay. Can you say HIGH WAY ROBERY – We as Texans need to rebel until this is corrected. If they want the toll paid, just fix it so that the actual toll has to be paid when you go to get your next years’ auto registration. Problem solved and at much less expense too. No wonder they got rid of the toll booths. Now they can rob the public.

    1. Kay says:

      The woman buys something…access to the toll road. She apparently doesn’t bother finding out what each trip would cost her. Then, when she gets her bill, she doesn’t bother paying it. Nor does she call the toll company talk about it. Then, when the bills stop coming, it doesn’t cross her mind that she’s been sent to a collection agency? What? She thought they just decided “Oh, she’s not going to pay. Let’s just let her keep using the turnpike for free.” Yeah, right. Sure.

      After all the decisions SHE made to not pay her bills, we’re supposed to feel sorry for her…why?

      Yes…I agree the penalties are absurd. But she *did* bring this all on herself all by herself simply because she couldn’t be bothered paying her bill.

      1. Lylith says:

        I’m with Kay on this one. She should have paid like everyone else. What makes her so special that you don’t have to pay? NOTHING!

      2. Daniel says:

        Of course she should pay her tolls and she should also pay a fee as penalty for not paying on time or inquiring about the bills. But $18,000 over $300 in tolls. That’s more than just absurd, that’s morally wrong to demand that much money. Even 60% is still way too much. The law should not permit NTTA to behave this way.

  4. Ahart says:

    One simple rule to live by, “Pay as you go and you won’t owe….” Why doesn’t she just get a prepaid tolltag? She evidently travels the tollway enough to WARRANT one, get it….

  5. d. smith says:

    with the construction in dallas i got routed down the same toll way my mistake and took the first exit and turned back, i am just wondering how much my toll bill will be because of a simple error in judgment and construction.

  6. goatpup says:

    The NTTA is in the process to make more roads in Texas tollways. Now that toll booths are not needed along with the expense and labor cost (hence high unemployment rate) they sit back and let computers do all the work. The state of Texas gets a little cut and the privately owned NTTA gets rich.

  7. mark says:

    concreate robber barrons

  8. wthj77 says:

    theres no construction on earth that will FORCE anyone to get on the tollway unless youre just not paying attention…. get off the cellphones while driving, pay attention to what youre doing…. and if all else fails, have a preplanned route BEFORE you go somewhere you are unfamiliar with (yes i know this is not relevant to the story but responding to a comment above regarding being routed onto the same tollway) like there was absolutely no other way to go… BS

    1. judy says:

      Of course it is not relevant to the story ,you just wanted to run your mouth and say crfap you cannot back up. There most certainly is construction that is making people get on the toll way. Threre are many people comploining right now about being forc ed on the toll road and not having the cash to pay ! So before you start your scantamonious BS you better have your facts straigtht. Infact some of the states are now not making these people pay for the tolls.

    2. Brandon says:

      Not true… sometimes they close a highway without notice and you are forced onto the tollways. Just recently, they closed down 75 for construction and didn’t post notice, forcing drivers on to SH 121. It happens often, so don’t pretend to know everything. BS pal.

  9. ilvrw says:

    Never should a $300 toll bill blossom into $17,000 plus. This is unacceptable business collections practice. The TX DoT needs to investigate and possibly get another company in here to run this. There has to be a much better solution.

  10. Rick McDaniel says:

    This is not an isolated example, of outrageous bills, being sent to people, just because the system CHOSE to go to billing!

    This is nothing but licensed highway robbery, and they know it!

  11. Beanz says:

    Seriously? I cant believe you people are bashing this woman! Do the math! If her driving on the tollway costed $5 a day-IT WOULD TAKE ALMOST 10 YEARS FOR HER TO OWE $18,000! Obviously the NTTA is just trying to get over on this poor woman. This is exactly why I dont drive.

  12. Jay says:

    This woman wants SYMPATHY? PAY THE TOLLS. I’m so sick of people taking short cuts, then wanting mercy when faced with the consequences of those actions. If everyone could just skip the tolls and pay the bill with no penalties when they are eventually caught….WHO WOULDN’T DO IT?!?!?

    1. Josie says:

      The penalty is $25 per toll transaction….that means everytime she went through a toll, which usually cost $1.50, she was tacked on $25 for each of those times…she could have had 25 of them in a single month or more…you do the math. Especially if she didn’t receive them….

    2. Shannon Kratzmeyer says:

      You obviously no nothing about what you are commenting. The tolls are automatic. When you move, if you don’t register the move with their website, you won’t get the mail. When you do find out about it later in the form of a warrant, there is a $25 charge added on to EVERY time you drive through. Obviously she is willing to pay the tolls….shoot she would probably gladly pay double the charge. But she can’t. She will end up paying no less than $10,000 dollars for an honest mistake. Get the facts bro.

      1. Ladylon says:

        If she was willing to pay the tolls, why didn’t she? She was getting bills, not paying them, then they stopped sending them. Give me a break. If I just ignore my credit card bills, eventually they’ll stop sending them. Will you feel sorry for me when I’m charge an enormous penalty??

  13. Donna Sayles-Corbin says:

    Really? These companies are going way overboard with sh!t now days. I know here in Riley and Geary county Kansas, if you have fines and haven’t paid them off by a certain time, they will send it to a collection agency that charges a 45% fee on top of the fine. This is FINANCIAL RAPE is it lowest forms. She should tell these people to send it to collections and file bankruptcy on them. For those of you who feel you are so much better than this woman and are bashing her; step off. You damned well this isn’t fair and if you were in the same situation you’d be complaining too. But then again, maybe ya’ll work for these corrupt people.

    1. Kay says:

      Then pay your fines on time!! Or don’t get them in the first place!!

      Jeez Louise. Grow up! No one made you get those fines. No one prevented you from paying them on time. Act like an adult and take responsibility for your own behavior, your own decisions. I mean, if *you* aren’t responsible for your own behavior, then who the heck is???

  14. Seriously says:

    Nobody is preying on this woman… She chose not to pay the tolls, ands she chose not to pay when she got those first bills … They “stopped mailing her bills in November”??? Why the hell hadn’t she already paid it by then?? People like this make me crazy. Be a responsible citizen and do the right thing and stop whining when there are consequences if you don’t!

  15. goatpup says:

    I agree the woman should have paid her bill, but does the punishment fit the crime? The profit margin on electronic tolls are astronomical.

  16. Beanz says:

    Yes you should pay your bills but owing $18,000 dollars for $300 dollars! And its been less than a year! If a bank tried that it would be illegal! But since its the NTTA its ok right? SMH at you people.:-/

  17. tok says:

    thats a bunch of nonsense..no company or person has to accept payments no-matter good faith or not. its up to them.i work in the credit and collection field and have for over 20 years. if you think you know then try it with your rent car/house payment,your electric bill and so forth.shes another person who thinks she doesnt have to follow the rules.its pay now not when you feel like it.gheeze 126 times she didnt pay nor did she ever stop to pay at one of the booths.i hope her kid goes to college and majors in economics so he can teach her a thing or to.

  18. Sherri V says:

    This is not the first and last time that NTTA will unfairly gouge a person. We HAVE toll tags in 3 vehiciles. Somehow they inadvertently got switched and the wrong tag was in a vehicle it wasn’t licensed too, although I was paying for all three tags with the SAME account. The toll was charged to the tag, but THREE YEARS later (after all the online charges have fallen off) I get a bill with massive penalties showing the license plate. It was a huge cluster. I had to call them, HAVE Them look up the account and switch all the tags. I hadn’t realized the tags were switched for at least a couple of years so every few months I have to go through this exercise to get the penalties taken off because I obviously DID pay the toll because it doesn’t NOT charge to the tag just because it’s in the wrong car.

  19. Ad Astra per Aspera says:

    I interviewed for a job with NTTA to be a customer service rep. During the interview process I was advised of these policies and procedures regarding collections. Needless to say, I was SHOCKED that these people have such authority. The interviewer advised that the NTTA was going to crack down on people who did not pay to use THEIR roads, and this story is a perfect example of what I was told would be happening.

    I asked if the building was secure, because I could see the potential for a disgruntled driver to come in, guns-a-blazing. I was told that the building is secure. Funny thing…I had no trouble getting in without a pass key.

    Even though I am still unemployed (11 months now) I would never have accepted a job with these thieves!

  20. TRCYC says:

    Lets’s get the story straight. Seriously? I know her, and she has been trying to get original invoices to pay her tolls for four months now! She never received any notices or invoices in the mail to know that she owed these tolls. All of the bills that she has received, she has paid! Would you pay for a bill that you have never seen?!!! I doubt it! She IS a good citizen and would never ignore a bill that is owed. Another problem is the fact that you cannot even pay through a booth anymore, so you have to rely on “Zip Cash” to send you a bill. They never sent her the bill for them! That’s all that she has been asking for four months! And by the way, she has told them that she will get a toll tag and pay for the charges, not the fines. They told her NO! Seriously people!

    1. ABL says:

      She would never ignore a bill? A toll is something you have to pay. She made a conscious decision to ignore the law and ignore the tolls. A bill shouldn’t have had to be sent to her to pay the fine BECAUSE she should have paid it at the toll- and she is costing the state more money by demanding a bill be sent to her. FOR SOMETHING SHE DID WRONG. Who the heck does she think she is? If they want to make an example out of her, let them. She is NOT above the law and now wants sympathy. This America is getting to full of people who don’t take responsibility for their own actions and it completely disgust me. No one should feel sorry for her.

      1. Katelyn says:

        ABL- you dont know the details of the situation. In the Dallas Metroplex they switched about a year ago to a system where you DONT pay the tolls when you go through. You just drive through and are billed monthly for it. She didnt “run” the tolls without paying as you are implying. The system was switched, and it allows them to impose fines for every address that they have incorrect in their system- for people who previously paid their tolls, at the tollbooth, every time they drove through.

  21. JG says:

    This also happened to a friend of mine. The total charges were a little over $10. She was a day late and the total bill then became over $500. That is robbery. I called them to pay my toll charges. They explained they don’t send a bill unless it if is over $10 and there was no way to pay it. I said no way. You have an account for me I want to pay now. If I even go near a toll road now I call them and demand to pay the bill.

  22. Jennifer says:

    Corea Firm in Dallas is handling multiple class action lawsuits against NTTA. All they need if you’re interested in joining this lawsuit is faxed or emailed copies of your ‘violation notices’.

  23. Sabercrombie says:

    This sounds like the toll roads in Austin. A bunch of theieves and robbers they are. I hate the toll roads, but not as much as I hate the traffic in Austin.

    Listen lady. Pay your bill! If you want to cut 45 minutes out of your travel time to work, then leave earlier! Your high school kid can get himself to school. Not like my 5 and 7 year old sons and no one FORCES me to take the toll road to work. I pay my $20 every 2 weeks to use it.

    Boohoo.

  24. Wendy says:

    I guess she should have paid it when she knew it was due. I know the tolls are a pain and can get costly, but I have lived in states that have them and those that don’t. Right now I live in Michigan and the roads are so bad that I pay more in repairs (tires replaced yearly, winshield repairs/replacement, shocks/struts) all for bad highways. If anyone knows Michigan, there are only two seasons… Winter and Construction. So I would gladly pay the tolls, they are worth the hassle.

  25. L. Nelson Roberts says:

    Have her quit making house payments. Then what would you recommend? Call the TV station?

  26. jscott315 says:

    If I tell someone they have to give me a specified amount of money or I will lock them in a box, it is called “EXTORTION”, if I do lock them in a box it’s “KIDNAPPING.” Why is it OK and acceptable for the State of Texas to issue an arrest warrant for unpaid tolls? At what point does it become acceptable for a government to extort and kidnap it’s own citizens? This story is ridiculous!

  27. adam says:

    she should have been paying. the first 10, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 times should have sparked her lazt butt to take some action and start paying the toll like everybody else. it’s called responsibility. Charge her the whole amount.

  28. Seriously?? says:

    Come on people, common sense should tell you “hey i’ve been driving down the tollway everyday for over a month and still haven’t gotten a bill, maybe i should call and see what’s going on” It’s total irresponsibility. As far as having a wrong address with the DMV, should definitely make sure they have your correct address registered and if you move, you are SUPPOSE to get the vehicle re-registered within 30 days and NOT when the registration expires. Ignorance should be no excuse.

  29. Rommel says:

    Well,why are you surprised?It’s Texas, DUH.That state needs to be cut out of the union and returned to it’s original owners.

  30. Christine J. says:

    This is the most absurb thing I have ever seen! The NTTA should be ashamed of themselves! My husband and I have had issues with them in the past all because the people that work there couldn’t seem to grasp the concept that our street address had the letter “B” in it, & not the number “8,” which caused us not to recieve our bill’s from them too! How many times do WE have to call them to make THEM do thier jobs so we can get our bills? Isn’t that THIER job? And for them to say it cost thousands of dollars for someone to look up a address with the DPS is ridiculas! Do they mail out thier bill’s in solid gold boxes? I wouldn’t know since I still can’t get them to send me my bill!

  31. How awful! says:

    Really disgusting that a company can have this much power and charge such ridiculous fees for an overdue bill. The courts don’t even charge near that amount for fines for terrible crimes committed. This is so illegal and I certainly hope the lawsuit mentioned above is successful in bringing this company to their knees. I can just see their top executive and how over the top he’s living on what I view as stolen funds. This reminds me of the city officials that were left in charge of determining their salaries and they decided to pay themselves over $500,000/yr.

  32. ebony says:

    I defintely believe that she should have paid her toll bills, but there is no explanation that would make any logical sense of how a $300 bill ballooned to $18,000 in a matter of 8 months…..PLEASE!!! That is absolutely RIDICULOUS!!!

  33. Gemologist says:

    Such a rip-off… We paid for these roads to be built with our Federal Tax Dollars… TX then sold these roads, in some cases illegally, to the Private NTTA, who now charges us to use what we have already paid for, while the State profits doubly – First in Fed. Tax Dollars to build the roads, then from the sale to NTTA… Dirt-Bags all around… You could not PAY ME to use a TX Toll Road! Just the TX way of doing business as I keep hearing on the Church steps these days, “I rip them off when they come into my shop – They know it, They rip me off when I go into theirs – I know it. It all balances out!”

  34. Todd says:

    I’d tell NTTA to kiss it.I’d file for bankruptcy before I would pay these outragous thieves anything

  35. Kay says:

    The easiest way to deal with these toll bills is to 1) have the bill automatically deducted from your bank account each month or 2) have it paid by credit card each month. We chose the latter, the credit card bill *does* come each month, we pay the toll charges off each month…and guess what? No penalties. No late fees. No missing bills. No problems!!

  36. Asinine Behavior says:

    Seriously, this is insane and corrupt behavior by government officials! My husband went to visit his Mom, in Houston, this past January 2011. One week later we got a bill for $432 — for two tolls he took the week prior. That was the 1st notice we had received, we are still fighting them. Meanwhile our penalties are increasing and they refuse to take the the original amount of the toll. By the way, we *DO* have a toll sticker…but “it wasn’t read correctly.” Weird. These people are seriously out to harm citizens of our State.

  37. Jamie Wyss says:

    If you don’t pay your power bill because you didn’t get one in the mail, does that mean you get a free-bee that month? Or do you pick up the phone and call and check to see what you owe?

    She decided to let it slide and didn’t pay a toll for months on end. I say she owes every penny, good luck paying it! I’m sure you won’t see a tax return check for the rest of your life. LMAO

  38. Jen says:

    I’m actually really intrigued by this story and some of the responses because I had a very similar issue last year, except my bill was around $3K for a month or so worth of unpaid tolls on DNT in February… They mailed me pink notices weekly and finally I got a huge packet with about 45 pages, once I started adding it up I realized what the total was going to be. I actually did have a tolltag at the time but when I bought my car, forgot to update my account with the new plates. I called NTTA and explained the situation and the woman I spoke with said “You only owe $54”. This was in August, so about 6 months after the offense… No questions asked, I didn’t have to do any begging, pleading or negotiating – it was as simple as “want to go ahead and pay the $54 now?” “yes, please.”. So my confusion comes here: tolltag or no tolltag, I didn’t pay those fines when they were due, or for months after for that matter, so why would NTTA give me a break and not this lady? It really sounds like there is more to this than the story tells…

    1. Seriously?? says:

      From what i’ve experienced, if you have a tolltag before the transactions tjen you just get the tolls deducted from your account after updating it. I too once forgot to update my new car on my account and I just paid the discounted rate after putting the money on my account to cover the cost.

  39. john j says:

    FOR THE RECORD.. SHE CALLED NTTA AT LEAST ONCE A MONTH ASKING ABOUT THE BILLING. SHE WAS TOLD, WE MAILED THE INVOICE. SHE NEVER RECEIVED THE ORIGINAL INVOICES!! THAT’S ALLL SHE IS ASKING FOR, THE ORIGINAL INVOICES, SHE HAS ADDED UP THE ACTUAL TOLLS AND SENT THEM A CHECK, THEY SENT IT BACK. SHE HAS SAID ALL ALONG, SHE KNOWS SHE OWES THE TOLLS, AND IS NOT TRYING TO GET OUT OF PAYING THEM! SHE EVEN GAVE THEM AN ALTERNATE ADDRESS, THAT ADDRESS IS WHERE SHE RECEIVED THE PENALITY INVOICES! SHE IS SIMPLY ASKING THEM FOR THE ORIGINAL BILLING!

  40. john j says:

    Why won’t they send her the original billing?? I believe that is all she is asking for so that she can pay for the tolls that she never had any intention of NOT paying for!

  41. Susan says:

    I find myself in the same situation as Ms. Roach. I opted to pay for my medical treatments instead of paying NTTA thinking that I would get caught up the next month but then when I called NTTA the invoices totalled over $10,000. The ones that had not been sent to collections they allowed me to pay $1700 but now I owe $5700 to collections. NTTA would not work with me on those saying it was out of their hands once it is in collections and that I would need to call SW Collection Agency to make those arrangements. I called the Collection agency and they would not allow me to set up payment arrangements. I can pay $3000 today (which I do not have) or it can go to warrant status. So because I was in intense pain and went to doctor instead of paying $200 in zipcash (I have two cars – mine & my son’s) I now can face jail time, court fees, and possibly paying more thna $5700. They will not set up any payment arrangements and NTTA will not work with you once it is in collections. Very soon I too may have a warrant issued me.

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