I don't have an E-ZPass account, so during the beginning of Covid19 the state of NJ or E-ZPass decided to suspend Toll collection. Every day I drove one exit north to get to work, each way was a dollar charge. At the end of a 5 day work week 10 mailed invoices would be mailed... what a waist. Anyway some of those invoices came to my mail box late, just over 30 days, turning some of those $1 toll charges into $52.00 now totaling $781.00!! All within in a 60 day period... Do I have a case?
The New Jersey Turnpike Authority suspended cash collection as of 10:00 p.m. March 24th, stating that "All tolls will be collected electronically". They explain that
If you do not have an E-ZPass tag, the equipment in the lane will capture a photograph of the license plate on the vehicle you are driving, and an invoice for the cost of the toll will be mailed to the registered owner. You will be billed at the cash toll rate; no additional administrative fees will be charged if you make payment by the date specified on the invoice.
and they also explain how to open an account. You presumably paid the charges that you received on time, and the issue is the ones that arrived late - 30 days??? I presume that the delay arose from a postal delay, not them sticking the notice in a corner and mailing it a month later. You can yell at the post office, but you can't sue them: from a legal POV, you were notified when they mailed the notice, even if it took a month to get to you. Also from a legal POV, the administrative charge (late fee) is not illegal, and might well be justified given the actual costs of hunting down a violator. I don't see any case at all. However, non-legal remedies may be available (they may dismiss the administrative fee).
Technically, You can Sue But It's a Complete Waste of Your Time Paul Johnson is correct in terms of realistic terms. You usually don't sue someone that you owe money to but technically, you can sue them. Yesterday, I wrote that I forgot what it was called (my law school professor would probably yell at me for not knowing but it's been 20 years). It's called a Declaratory Judgment.
The Purpose of a Declaratory Judgment In court, the court would determine that the person who might be owed money is declared to not have such a right. Why does such a legal mechanism exist? Well, there are many reasons why this might be needed. For example, say a big company like Verizon threatens to sue another for infringement of Verizon's patent. But, the other company truly believes that the patent doesn't apply to their product but before spending a $100 MM dollars to build a factory to manufacture their product, they want to be sure. They will sue for a declaratory judgment, barring Verizon for suing them for patent infringement in the future for the product this company wants to sell. Imagine if they spend $100 MM to build the factory and they spend another $200 MM on other expenses, and then they make $1 B dollars. Then, Verizon sues them for patent infringement. Guess what happens? You're right. They will have spent all this time and energy to make and sell this product and will have have lost a ton of money. Declatory judgments aren’t just something conjured up by lawyers to waste people's time. It really does serve a valuable function sometimes. I agree with you. I agree that the legal system has gotten out of hand and so much money is wasted on complete nonsense.
It's Scary at First But Realize Everyone Gets Those Letters I know you are pissed off by the shocking amount in the mail. It scares and stresses you out, right? You'll get used to it. I get those letters all the time and I'm an E-ZPass customer! They just make a lot of mistakes.
At first, I used to call E-ZPass and they would tell me to just mail in the amount I only owe. But, I soon found out that even that took too long as the wait on the phone was too long.
Just Pay the Small Amount You Owe and Nothing Else will Happen Choose the easiest option. Simply mail them a check for the actual amount that you owe and checkmark the box that indicates you don't owe them the administrative fees. Or, add a simple note explaining what happened. The E-ZPass employee opening the envelope will just mark your account paid in full and take off the administrative charges. I feel sorry for the dumb folk that actually pays those administrative charges when they don't have to.
By the way, why don't you have an E-ZPass account anyway? I truly want to know. I never understood why people simply don't register for E-ZPass. It's free, isn't it? Why wait in those long lines to pay the toll in cash? I never understood that.
My Question Uh..why did I get a downvote? Please let me know.