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New Jersey E-ZPass To Refund 79,000 Motorists Who Received Hefty Administrative Fee Bills Due To 'Processing Error'

NEW JERSEY (CBS) -- Refunds are on the way for nearly 80,000 motorists who received an incorrect administrative fee on their New Jersey E-ZPass bill. Eyewitness News broke the story last week after hearing from drivers who owed hundreds for tolls that should have cost just a few bucks.

The affected drivers are those who do not have E-ZPass accounts but had to use E-ZPass lanes in New Jersey while the toll plazas went cashless in the spring due to COVID-19.

They were advised to expect a bill in the mail for the toll they owed but what they received demanded far more.

"They were asking us to pay $750," Philadelphia resident Lindsay Weiner said. "I never got a first notice. For two of these, I only got a final notice."

She crossed over the Ben Franklin Bridge 25 times between late March and mid-May when the tolls went temporarily cashless.

At $5 a trip, she expected to receive a bill in the mail for $125. But instead, she was billed $750 -- $5 for each crossing, plus a $25 administrative fee for each trip.

"I'm hoping it's just a glitch, but I just know that a lot of other people are going through the same thing," Weiner said.

Well, there was a glitch and now the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, the lead agency handling E-ZPass in the state, has announced that due to a "processing error" by their billing contractor, approximately 79,000 customers were never sent first notice bills. So when they did receive a bill, it already had a late fee attached.

Those fees will be canceled.

The New Jersey Turnpike Authority added this: "The toll-by-mail program was a temporary alternative to cash collections, and it was put in place under difficult circumstances. We regret any anxiety this mistake might have caused our customers."

But Weiner isn't rid of anxiety yet. She said she's not sure if all her fees will be removed and still hasn't had any luck getting in touch with the Turnpike Authority.

"I hope that because we shed light on this that our fees will be taken care of. I already wrote a check for exactly what I owe so I'm hoping that is good enough and we'll see," Weiner said.

Since last week, Eyewitness News has tried multiple times to reach the NJ Turnpike's Media Relations Department and have not heard back.

According to Wednesday's announcement, those who have already paid these fees will be refunded.

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