An E-ZPass mounting error that can cost you hundreds

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — A Virginia man who mounted his E-ZPass in a poor spot was charged more than $100 in tolls, even though his trips were exempt.

Inmar Villatoro mounted the E-ZPass on the top of the windshield on his Prius C.  He mounted it vertically, instead of horizontally.  He also placed the E-ZPass under the dotted tint near the rearview mirror.

“Has anybody complained about customers being charged unfairly when they have three occupants in their vehicle just because their transponder is not mounted correctly?  I have been charged over $130.  I thought their system was really good, but they are telling me because the tint around the rearview mirror is causing the system not to read my E-ZPass,” writes Villatoro in an e-mail to WTOP Ticketbuster.

When Transurban was unable to read his E-ZPass Flex, it searched the license plate and found his E-ZPass account.  Transurban automatically charged Villatoro, unaware he was taking sluggers on an exempt trip.

“You only want to mount it on the clear glass.  So if you have the roofline tint that goes on the top of the windshield, or dotted tint near the rearview mirror, you don’t want to put it on top of that,” says Transurban spokesman Mike McGurk.

Newer cars and those with OnStar tend to have the tint and make it especially important that customers pay close attention to where they mount the E-ZPass.

“The signal is key to ensure reading the transponder.  It sends us a unique signal about your E-ZPass.  Mounting it under any tint can prevent the signal from being read under the toll gantries,” McGurk says.

He explains that at highway speeds, the way the E-ZPass is mounted matters even more than at a traditional toll booth when your speeds are very low.

After researching his case, Transurban agreed to refund Villatoro $105.40 in exempt toll trips.

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