'This can happen to you too': Couple keeps getting toll bills for car they no longer own
Author: Mike Rush
Published: 7:01 AM CST February 14, 2018
Updated: 7:01 AM CST February 14, 2018
DEFENDERS 3 Articles

They thought they were cutting ties with a clunker, but a Leander couple found out an old car they sold wasn't quite ready to part ways with them.

A mistake they made created a burden that's kept coming back, month after month, for nearly two years until the Defenders helped put the brakes on the problem.


'This can happen to you too': Couple keeps getting toll bills for car they no longer own

Chapter 1

Endless toll bills

"Twenty-second of December, Shoreline drive," Tom Noonan reads from a toll bill. "Dec. 18, Parmer Lane," he continues to read.

The tale Noonan's toll bills tell... is a man who really gets around.

"Nov. 30, Lake Creek Plaza," he reads. "Nov. 22, Lake Creek Plaza, Nov. 20, Lake Creek Plaza," he continues. "In fact, we have a whole list of Lake Creek Plazas; that's obviously a favorite."

"Let's play a little game," KVUE Reporter Mike Rush said. "Where were you on the evening of Christmas Day?"

"Where was I? I was at home," Tom Noonan replied.

"According to this you were at Parmer Lane," Rush said.

A toll bill sent to Tom Noonan shows he was exiting the Highway 45 toll road.

"Well, the car, I'm sure was there," said Tom Noonan

He's talking about a multi-colored, oh-so-imperfect car that's taking him and wife Ana on a journey down a road of nonstop hassle.

They bought the '93 Civic for their son several years ago. It mostly sat in front of their house for a couple of years.

"My brother told me that the value of the property went up the moment we sold that car," Ana Noonan laughed.

Chapter 2

Sale gone wrong

The sale was to their son's friend. A couple of months later, Tom got a letter from a parking company.

"Dear sir, your car has been parked illegally in a certain part of Cedar Park," he read from the letter.

But wait, it wasn't his car anymore.

And then, one after another, those toll bills started coming.

"They've averaged pretty much one a month since June of 2016," said Tom Noonan.

There are even images of the car passing under toll cameras. The pictures show the car has a new paint job, but the same old license plate the Noonans had. They didn't take it off when they sold the car and that's a big deal.

As Tom says, someone from TxTag explained to him, "Our regulations oblige us to go back to the last regular, or the last registered owner, and Mr. Noonan, that's you," he recalls.

Their son's friend, who had promised to return the plates after he registered the car didn't do it either. In fact, he tells us, he quickly sold it again to a co-worker, who then sold it, too.

Bottom line, the Honda has had at least three owners since the Noonans and no new registrations.

One of the toll companies told Tom Noonan the issue will solve itself when the plate expires.

"In 2023, so she said look at the brighter side," he laughed.

Not willing to wait five years, Tom made calls and got a letter from the state proving the Noonans no longer own the car. The agencies responsible for toll bills, TxTag and the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority, do waive the fees, but that doesn't stop the bills.

"He has to remind them every month that he's not responsible for these charges," said Ana Noonan.

Chapter 3

KVUE Defenders look for solutions

Looking for a permanent fix, "[the KVUE] Defenders was the first thing that came to my mind one day that Tom was just frustrated," Ana Noonan said.

After the Defenders contacted the two agencies, both zeroed out Tom's balance and promised to put the brakes on the bills.

Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority wrote the Defenders that it's added an additional processing filter to "...avoid sending him more bills..." and TxTag told the Defenders it's put the plate on a list to "...alleviate Mr. Noonan receiving any more bills...".

"I would say Thank God; thank God for the Defenders," said Tom Noonan.

And to anyone selling a car, the Noonans say, if you don't keep your license plates, "this can happen to you too," warned Ana Noonan.

Bigger picture, tolls pay off debt on the roads, so the Noonans worry that if this is happening enough, people bucking the system, we'll all pay.

They still would like to have their plates back. If you've seen the car or the Texas plate with the number DSJ-3907, email The Defenders at defenders@kvue.com or call us at 512-533-2231.

Use the same info to tell us about other issues you'd like us to investigate.