AUSTIN, Texas — A few weeks after the Central Texas Regional Mobility Authority resumed billing transactions declined for payment by TxTag, KVUE viewers reached out saying they are still being incorrectly charged.
One of them is Aimee Ash.
"I waited an hour on hold," said Ash. "So, you know, my time is usually worth more than $3 an hour."
That's the small refund Ash received after finding out why she got a bill for $9.24 from CTRMA when charges were supposed to be taken out of her TxTag account.
"They had a picture of my car," said Ash. "So I knew it was a bill for my car with my license plate, which is T-SNICK. It's a short abbreviation for the nickname 'Snicklefritz.' So it's a custom license plate."
That custom plate is causing a particular issue.
To try and cut down on confusion, last year TxTag and CTRMA changed their systems to read the letters I and O as numbers one and zero.
TxTag reviews license plates digitally, then a person takes a second look to make sure these types of plates don't get wrongfully sent to CTRMA and charged through it.
RELATED: CTRMA resumes billing declined TxTag charges after 8-month pause; TxTag assures data is correct now
In Ash's case, it wasn't caught on five separate toll charges.
"I was flabbergasted," said Ash. "I thought, this is a state-wide system. How many cars could be impacted with the license plate I and the license plate with the letter O?"
She said this was her second time being wrongfully billed because of her custom plate. The first time she didn't investigate.
"I just kind of paid it, moved on, filed it in the that seems odd," said Ash.
The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles said it excludes all vowels and the letter Q from general license plates but they are allowed on personalized plates.
The Texas DMV couldn't tell KVUE how many license plates in Texas have O and I but said that as of 2021, there were 25,236,442 registered vehicles in Texas. Of those, 253,359 had personalized license plates. That's less than one percent.
While being overcharged $3 because TxTag thought she didn't have an account may seem trivial, Ash is wondering how much money is being made from these small mistakes and why it hasn't been fixed.
"It's about the principle, right," said Ash. "Thinking about the large scale of how many people, if you take a dollar or $3 from every person every month in the State of Texas that has a license plate with the letter I or the letter O, someone is getting rich off of this."
The reason CTRMA paused billing transactions declined for payment by TxTag in November 2021 was that it said TxTag data was unreliable. TxTag was having issues with a faulty system upgrade. Now, it has a new replacement back-office vendor and said they've made a lot of progress.
The toll service told CTRMA the issues are now fixed, so they can send bills to TxTag customers again.
TxTag shared the following statement about the issue:
"During the transition to the new TxTag system, there were changes made to reduce confusion related to Texas plates. When a customer’s TxTag sticker is not correctly read on the toll road, an image of the license plate is taken and through image review there’s an attempt to link the license plate number to a TxTag account. In this instance tolls could not be deducted from the customer’s TxTag account because (1) the TxTag sticker was not read and (2) the customer’s plate was listed with numbers 1 and 0 on the TxTag account.
We ask customers to contact the TxTag Customer Service Center at TxTag.org or by calling 888-468-9824 if they have similar experiences with their license plate that includes I, 1, O, and/or 0."
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