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.

  • Concerned Wylie CItizen

    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.

    • Frustrated with NTTA

      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.

      • don

        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.

  • Rockwall Woman’s $300 Toll Bill Now Nearly $18K « Fort Worth News Feeds

    […] Rockwall Woman’s $300 Toll Bill Now Nearly $18K 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. Go to News Source […]

  • Tommy Chapman

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

    • Michael Lombardi

      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!

      • Katelyn

        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.

      • Aprtopaz

        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…

    • MARhoses

      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.

  • Robert L

    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.

    • Kay

      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.

      • Lylith

        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!

      • Daniel

        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.

  • Ahart

    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….

  • d. smith

    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.

  • goatpup

    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.

  • mark

    concreate robber barrons

  • wthj77

    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

    • Brandon

      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.

    • judy

      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.

  • ilvrw

    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.

  • Rick McDaniel

    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!

  • Beanz

    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.

  • Jay

    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?!?!?

    • Josie

      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….

    • Shannon Kratzmeyer

      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.

      • Ladylon

        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??

  • Donna Sayles-Corbin

    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.

    • Kay

      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???

  • Seriously

    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!

  • goatpup

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

  • Beanz

    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. :-/

  • tok

    thats a bunch of 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.

  • Sherri V

    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.

  • Ad Astra per Aspera

    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!


    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!

    • ABL

      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.

      • Katelyn

        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.

  • JG

    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.

  • Jennifer

    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’.

  • Sabercrombie

    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.


  • Wendy

    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.

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