So...You get a bill for a toll gate...someplace you've never BEEN...?

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by CaseyJones, May 26, 2020.

  1. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    I get a bill, today, from GoodToGo, the Washington state toll-billing network...a bill for a toll, on a bridge in Eastern Washington. Little under $5.

    I have never been there. I know where I was that day, and I have three VISA charges in local shops to prove it.

    The plate is off my Kawasaki Versys X-300. I know where IT was that day, also. The garage. The plate was firmly affixed, and it remains.

    Three days earlier, it was not - it was on my trailer, riding back from Nevada where I'd left it for the winter. But the bike had not moved under its own power, other than on-and-off trailers, since November.

    I have not been to Washington State except to pass through the Tri-Cities area on my way to Portland. That, with a rented van, to pick up another purchase.

    So there is no mistake. I wasn't there. They have the right person for the plate number, but the plate wasn't there. Somehow they read it wrong.

    "Reading it wrong" doesn't appear to be an option, at least according to their form. I can try to prove (a) that the plate was stolen, and provide police reports; or (b) that the vehicle was sold and the new owner didn't re-register it. WA assigns plates to vehicles and transfers the plates, owner to owner.

    Neither apply.

    Contacting a lawyer over this is probably gonna cost at LEAST $200 for him to make a phone call. Ignoring it...their penalty schedule will have me owing thousands inside of a year. And who knows but I might have a need to move to Washington...this happened to me before, with a California ticket I wanted to blow off, just before having to relocate to California.

    Paying it cost me $5. Paying it, is what they're betting on. This is FRAUD. Does anyone rational just fork over money because an official envelope and letter tell them to?

    Anyone know of a way to fight this, once they blow off my excuse, and charge the first round of late fees?
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  2. sluagh

    sluagh not fade away

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    Did you call them? I had a similar experience in California and the person I talked to about it was very reasonable and we worked it out. I doubt that they want to cheat you. Probably the character recognition system misread someone else's plate and it's just an honest mistake.
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  3. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Got it after business hours today.

    I've not had much luck with disputes in the past. My own experience is, most "mistakes" are done with intent, and often incentive.

    YMMV. I'll call them, and also write them, but life has made me gun-shy of the consequences of blowing something like this off.
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  4. C/1/509

    C/1/509 Think for yourself

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    Call them.
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  5. sluagh

    sluagh not fade away

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    I suppose it's possible that the state of Washington is trying to cheat you out of $5 but I doubt it. Like I said, probably the license plate reading system made a mistake. There should be a photo, which can be examined by a human who can see that it's a false identification. You can probably have them send you a copy.

    It's annoying but mistakes happen. I've had incorrect charges on my credit card. I called them up and they corrected it. Part of life to deal with this stuff occasionally.
    #5
  6. der_saeufer

    der_saeufer ?איפה בירה

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    "Never ascribe to malice that which is adequately explained by ignorance."

    They have a photo. They are capable of looking at the photo, and the photo will show them that it's not your bike. But the toll-by-mail process just has a computer "read" plates and mail out bills. Most of them are correct, so there's no reason to pay people to process them all by hand.

    My guess is that someone with either the same plate number in a different state or a very similar Montana plate number went through the toll.

    Washington bike plates by now should all have been replaced with the "1A2345" format, which IIRC is the same format as Montana plates from single-digit counties...

    Also, from https://www.wsdot.wa.gov/GoodToGo/disputes.htm

    "Reasons to dispute an entire toll bill . . . The vehicle license plate in the picture is not your plate."

    So pick up the phone and call them so a human can look at it. It's a lot easier than thinking there's a vast conspiracy to balance the budget by stealing from motorists $5 at a time.
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  7. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    I've received bills for tolls that I claimed I did not incur; this was easily remedied by a quick phone call each time. It took you longer to write your post than it will to fix the problem. My calls went like this: "Hi, I got this bill but it wasn't my vehicle." "Ok, no problem, we will cancel the charges." Should be very easy; assuming there are any actual people working in WA during the covid shut-down!
    #7
  8. Jim Moore

    Jim Moore "You ain't black!"

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    That has happened to me a few times in FL. Five-minute phone call to get it resolved.
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  9. rd400racer

    rd400racer Long timer

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    I hauled two plated bikes in the back of my truck to Pennsylvania and back this past weekend. They have the camera toll system...I'm half expecting a bill from them for the bikes. This will be interesting.
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  10. Edoz

    Edoz n00b sauce

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    This happened to me in my own state (Oklahoma) once. I called 'em, told them it wasn't me, and they cancelled it.
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  11. CharlesLathe

    CharlesLathe Been here awhile

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    I worked with a guy. He got a toll bill for his pickup truck. He knew he hadn't been there so he blew it off. Then he got bills for fines and he blew those off. It got up near $500 and he called them. "It wasn't me. I wasn't there." "We have the picture of your truck with your license plate, pay the bill." He paid. Later when complaining about the injustice of our state's bureaucracy, his son overheard and said, "Dad, that was me. I took your truck to Raleigh. Remember?"

    Not your case, but we all laughed.
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  12. Dan D.

    Dan D. Been here awhile

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    I got one from Miami once, and it definitely wasn't me. I disputed it, then got a second notice weeks later. I just paid it to get rid of it. It was only a few bucks... I figured my small way of paying it forward. :)
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  13. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    OMG. So you're saying the Washington State toll system has a computer program in place to fraudulent collect $5 from random plates? :fpalm
    The form should have a "we were wrong" box to check? :fpalm Have you EVER seen this option on ANY form? NO! Because everyone would check that box if it was an option.
    Does anyone rational think like this, no, of course not.
    Here's a crazy possibility, maybe the computer made a mistake. Ever seen that happing before? No, of course not, more likely that the state is out to cheat you out of $5 than a simple mistake. :fpalm
    And sure they'll bill you for thousands of dollars in late fees before they just review the picture. :fpalm

    Call them in the morning when you sober up.
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  14. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    "Another"? I'm not aware of any "conspiracy theories."

    In the LOCATION box on the form, it says **520E-520EB-01**. I asume that means, Rt 520, Eastbound, Gate #1.

    According to Google Maps, there's a State Route 520 along the coast, near/over the Sound.

    I have never been there. I have never been on a toll bridge or toll lane on any Washington freeway.
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  15. el Pete

    el Pete toda su base

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    michael_jackson_popcorn.jpg
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  16. sieg

    sieg Wearing out tires......2 at a time, day after day. Supporter

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    I think they send out fake toll bills for bridges that don't have tolls to plates that never crossed them. Yeah that's it.
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  17. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    Right.

    Takes pennies to make dollars. That's why, when they raise the price of Cokes at McDonalds, it's by maybe five cents.

    On one of my Navy ships, the disbursing clerks got brig time. Because they were shaving paychecks to the lowest rounded-off number - and appropriating the difference. Nice scam, for a few years, on a ship with about 4000 hands...and then, after the party is over, it's off to the brig.

    This, too. Mail these out at random, and then the collection company gets a percentage...nice little racket, minimal cost.
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  18. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    You got it.

    Actually, I was in two places at once. Buying provisions at Wally World down the street from me, while, at the same time, riding my Kawasaki 300 along the coast of Washington.
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  19. flei

    flei cycletherapist

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    I never imagined $5 could bring this much entertainment these days. What a bargain. :twitch
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  20. CaseyJones

    CaseyJones Ridin' that train

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    It actually occurred to me, that the dealer/storage place I had the Kawasaki in, could have been doing some funny stuff.

    So I had to check the dates - it was just three days after I brought it back. Had it been while the Versys was in storage, I'd have wondered if someone either "borrowed" the plate or made a copy of it for a friend. But, no...coincidence, unless maybe that bike, in traffic on my trailer, put the number out for someone to write down or phontograph.

    FWIW, I went nowhere in Washington or near Washington when towing that bike. Montana, Idaho, Utah, Nevada.
    #20