Tens of thousands of drivers use the Illinois Tollway every day and one of the keys to a smooth ride is a working transponder. But imagine the surprise of learning how a few back-and-forth trips on the Tollway system could send you to collections.
Vincent Kaczmar of Michigan City, Indiana, said he drives the Illinois Tollway several times a year to head to medical and dental appointments in Chicago’s western suburbs.
“I got my transponder from day one and I found a very nice place to put it,” Kaczmar told NBC 5 Responds.
But Kaczmar said a mix-up with his transponder and license plate classification led to him owing more than $900 in fees and penalties for unpaid tolls.
“They weren’t picking up the transponder for some reason,” Kaczmar said.
Kaczmar said he visited an Illinois Tollway customer service facility last year and learned that there had been a prior mistake involving his license plate classification. At that point, Kaczmar said he thought the issue was settled.
But several months later he received calls from a debt collector. Kaczmar said he tried getting the issue resolved once-and-for-all, but with no luck.
NBC 5 Responds asked Illinois Tollway to investigate Kaczmar’s concerns. A spokesperson called it a “complex situation”.
“A Tollway customer service representative reviewed his records and corrected Mr. Kaczmar’s I-PASS account to accurately reflect the classification of the license plate on his vehicle,” Dan Rozek of Illinois Tollway. “That discrepancy in license plate classifications had prevented the Tollway from using video tolling to collect Mr. Kaczmar’s tolls when he traveled on our roadways without his I-PASS transponder.”
But after NBC 5 Responds got involved, the Tollway said it worked with its legal department and offered Kaczmar a settlement that would allow him to pay only the $22.50 he owes in unpaid tolls.
“We have reminded Mr. Kaczmar that I-PASS customers are required to always travel with a transponder in their vehicles,” Rozek said.
Kaczmar insists he followed the rules regarding his transponder. Still, he said not having to pay the $900 is a relief.
“You’ve done a world of good for me,” he said.