(WSVN) - It has been a rough road for Florida’s SunPass toll system. A meltdown last summer caused big billing problems, and complaints are still rolling in. The Nightteam’s Brian Entin has our special assignment report: “Tollgate.”
If anything gets South Floridians fired up, it’s tolls, and it’s especially frustrating when drivers are billed for toll roads they never used.
Paola Concepcion, upset about toll bills: “Now we got three in a period of three weeks, and I’m like, ‘That’s it. No more!'”
Paola Concepcion handles the SunPass accounts for her entire family.
Paola Concepcion: “This was the first invoice that we got, and this is my mom’s car.”
First, this bill came in the mail.
It shows her mom’s name, but the car is not her mom’s white Altima.
Paola Concepcion: “The picture on the invoice is a black Altima.”
Then came the next bill with her uncle’s name on the invoice.
The picture is hard to see, but again, it’s not the right car.
Paola Concepcion: “It showed that he went through the toll on Dec. 25, 2018. Well, he was in Italy.”
Days later, another bill showed up.
This time it shows the right vehicle, but her mother-in-law’s pickup is on the back of a flatbed tow truck.
She got charged for the tow truck’s toll.
Paola Concepcion: “That was the third one, so I said, ‘That’s it. I’m calling Channel 7.'”
We have been investigating SunPass complaints since last year when there was a system-wide failure nicknamed “Tollgate.”
State contractor Conduent botched a massive upgrade, which caused a backlog of at least 200 million toll transactions.
Customers then started unexpectedly getting billed over and over for old tolls.
Brian Entin: “Is it frustrating?”
Federico Larrosa, driver, August 2018: “Super. Beyond, beyond.”
Johnny Farias, driver, July 2018: “Oh, it hurts because these are charges that you’re not expecting.”
Now, we’re hearing from SunPass customers reporting bills that were not just delayed, but flat out wrong.
State Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami-Dade County: “Even I have gotten bills that I’m like, ‘Where did these come from?'”
South Florida lawmakers here in Tallahassee say they are not surprised by the complaints we’re continuing to get about SunPass. They say they’re fed up and that these SunPass problems have been going on for far too long.
Brian Entin: “Have you been given a timeline? How much longer we will be dealing with this?”
State Sen. Annette Taddeo: “Not really, but the way that things we’re being told, that they’re getting better and better.”
State Sen. Annette Taddeo says she still gets SunPass complaints every day, but things are improving.
FDOT tells 7News the backlog of old tolls has cleared.
They say it’s too soon to know whether billing errors — like wrong cars or misread license plates — are connected to last year’s meltdown.
SunPass says its license plate readers process 200 million tags every year, and they say the readers are accurate more than 99.95% of the time.
Paola thinks drivers just aren’t complaining.
Paola Concepcion: “You get an invoice for 80 cents, and people just prefer to pay the 80 cents then spending 45 minutes to an hour on the phone trying to get somebody to speak to.”
SunPass did refund one of Paola’s tolls, and FDOT says they have added more staff in their call centers so wait times should improve.
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