Friday, March 8, 2013

Illinois Tollway Actiing Like Loan Sharks? Demanding $27,000 After Clerical Error

The Illinois Tollway said, at least until very recently, that Dan Usselmann of Illinois owes them $27,000, pronto.

The trouble begain when the Usselman family had their debit card stolen, according this report from CBS News 2 in Chicago. Usselman said he called the Tollway, explaining the problem, and giving them their new debit card number to use that to charge their account, rather than the old number.
Toll road authority or loan shark?

The problems began, Usselman said, when a Tollway clerk entered the new debit card information on only one of the family's cars, but kept the old information on their other car.

So, the Usselman's were racking up charges on their old card without ever knowing it.

The Tollway began sending them notices, saying pay up. And maybe the Usselmans would have, had the Tollway not been sending the bills to an address the Usselmanms hadn't lived at in years.

The Usselmans weren't clued in on the problem for over a year, so by then fines escalated to $27,000.

The family asked if they could at least start paying the fine in installments, but the Usselmanns said they were told no.

When the CBS station started poking around at this wild outrage, which after all, seemed to be largely the Tollways's fault, the Tollway authority "generously" offered to cut the bill to $1,100. But only after the media attention. They figured they could buy their way out of bad publicity, perhaps?

I guess not.

The $1,100 is ridiculous since, if the Usselmann's account is true, it was the Tollway's screw up, not theirs.  Yes, municipalitites need to find ways to raise revenue. But doing so like the world's worst loan sharks?

So, next time you're in Illinois, don't drive on the roads controlled by Illinois Tollway. It could be an incredible expensive trip.

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