Pity Jorge Exposito. There, but for the grace of God, go you.
Exposito shared with us his tale of highway toll woe. He owns a SunPass transponder, which he thought was replenished. But in late April, he got a letter from a collection agency telling him he owed $691.80.
Before then, he had never received a notice from the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) or SunPass.
Through confusing conversations with MDX, he's pieced together that he was probably charged toll violations after he replaced the credit card connected to the transponder. For whatever reason, Sunpass and MDX did not have his current address to let him know. Late fees piled up.
If that's the case, it was technically Exposito's fault for not thinking of giving his new credit card information to SunPass. But still, talk about your cautionary tale. "I think I'll have to just pay it, or else risk getting my license suspended," he says. "If it happened to me, I bet it happened to a lot of people."
He's right on that. MDX spokesperson Cindy Polo said she couldn't comment on Exposito's individual predicament. But with minimal explanation from Riptide, she nailed what probably happened to him. In fact, she said even she once forgot to change her credit card connected to her SunPass account.
She maintains that users not knowing that they were racking up infractions before being contacted by a collections agency is rare. Her agency usually sends out three to four letters, and waits about eight months, before referring a debt to a collection agency. But because MDX uses address information on state records such as a driver's license, it's sometimes unable to send notices of infractions to users. "Collection agencies have much better ways of finding you than we do."
If you find out that you are being hit with infractions because of a cancelled credit card, call MDX. Usually within the first sixty to ninety days, Polo says, they can retroactively charge you for those tolls.
Floridians are freakin' confused, says local toll watchdog Carlos Garcia: "The lack of communication on MDX's part is something we've been hearing about." He adds that, with the SunPass-only roads in effect for just over a year now, users are getting some nasty surprises when they try to renew their plates-- only to find that they owe big money for toll infractions they didn't know about.
This reporter can relate. I received a past-due notice saying I owed around $170 for an unpaid toll violation I had never heard of before, even though I have a SunPass transponder. Being
a lazy asshole an average American, I paid it. I remain filled with bitterness.
What about you, dear reader? Have you been stunned by a shitload of charges from Florida's asshole eyes in the sky?
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.