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Saturday, January 11, 2014

I-495 administrative (administration) fee scam Part 4

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WHO ARE BEING HOUNDED BY TRANSURBAN FOR HUNDREDS OR THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS, OR IF THEY'VE ALREADY GOTTEN A JUDGMENT AGAINST YOU -- or if you are just mad because they are asking you to pay a $12.50 administration fee for an obvious mistaken entry --  please read through the comments below, and email Lisa Marie Comras (lmsdigiulio@gmail.com), who is organizing a class action against Transurban.  Her attorneys will contact you and then you'll be able to decide for yourself whether you want to be part of the move to hold Transurban accountable.
According to Emily Miller of Fox 5 DC, Transurban filed 26,000 lawsuits against drivers in 2014 alone.  Maybe you're one of those drivers.  If you're facing an immediate court date, you might find some good ideas here or here, courtesy of attorney David Bernhard, via Fox 5 DC's Emily Miller.  But when that's over, you should still strongly consider joining the class action.

Original Post

It looks like this is the blog that people go to to complain about Transurban's predatory "administration fee" for wrong-turn drivers on the I-495 express lanes.  There are a number of stories here:  http://pricefixer.blogspot.com/2013/06/ive-posted-about-i-495-express-lanes-on.html

For what it's worth, a good number of people are already mad about sending toll money to Australia (TransUrban is an Australian Company), and are avoiding using the express lanes for that reason.  Here's a relatively recent story; see the comments for the people's views:

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/nov/17/not-so-fast-use-of-495-express-lanes-in-virginia-f/?page=all

The story indicates that Transurban is not making as much money as expected from tolls -- usage is low.  The assumption is that there is a slow "ramp up" for people to get accustomed to the idea of using this kind of lane.  That's certainly possible, but I can name a few people now who would probably rather just sit in traffic than pay even a dollar or two to a company that charges a $12.50 "administration fee" for first-time "offenders."

Perhaps their real money comes from the repeat offenders (e.g., people who have moved and are not receiving their mail) -- for every offense after the first offense, the fee is $25.00, and before too long they take you to court, with you paying court costs.

It really brings us back to the whole question about phony capitalism.  Yes, I'm sure that Transurban got this concession based on some kind of a "competition" with other private companies.  But the "competition" was for the ability to have a monopoly, and now we the people -- for the next eternity -- have a privately owned, relatively unregulated monopolist on our hands.

I assume that the Virginia Legislature has retained some ability to control Transurban and prevent it from acting in a predatory manner.  Hopefully, the Legislature will do something like that.  Maybe we need to be writing to them.




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