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Old 12-05-2018, 02:35 PM   #1
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"A Cautionary Tale"

We are a pair of retired septuagenarians living in North Carolina who decided to take our 5th wheel out to the west coast to visit children, grandchildren, and National Parks this last summer. Since we are retired, we had no schedule and we stuck to it. We allowed up to 12 weeks for our journey, secured our home, and had our snail mail held by the post office until we returned.

On Tuesday July 10th we crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana on the John F. Kennedy Bridge on I-65. We saw signs indicating there was a toll, but there was no toll booth where we could pull over and pay the toll. We continued on across the bridge into Indiana. For the next two months we continued our west coast trip and returned to Aurora, NC on September 9th.

We evacuated our home on September 11th to avoid hurricane Florence and returned on September 18th. We picked up our mail from the post office and over the next week Carolyn did her bills paying the $7.18 to River Link for our bridge toll which explained why there was no toll booth. There were two toll notices in the mail, the first bill sometime in August, the first late notice on 9/6 which had a $5 additional toll notice charge, and the second toll notice on 11/10 which had a $25 violation notice added resulting in an additional $30 bill. River Link cashed Carolyn’s original $7.18 toll check on 10/17.

When Carolyn called River Link about the additional $30 invoice due on 12/9, she explained we were seniors on an extended trip out west and were hit with a hurricane when we returned. Carolyn asked them to please waive the penalties. The customer service person said she was sorry, but we had to pay the $30 bill in addition to the $7.18 original toll bill.

River Link’s process seems to be to take a picture of the vehicle crossing the bridge, acquire the owner’s address from the North Carolina DMV, and send the owner a bill. If it isn’t paid by River Link’s due date, they continue adding toll notice fees and violation penalties until the bill is paid. For seniors on an extended vacation across country, this is tantamount to an extortion annuity for River Link since they declined to forgive the penalties after we gave them a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time.

Even banks have the ability to waive penalties if there is a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time and many did waive penalties as a result of hurricanes and floods. River Link should be ashamed of themselves. Punishing travelling seniors is not a good strategy for Kentucky or Indiana to promote visitors to their states. All we can do is publish our cautionary tale to all of the RV forums and copy the Attorney’s General and Better Business Bureaus of both states. I expect these types of business practices are the reasons tolls declined in many states since the 1700s and the term “highway robbery” evolved. Like sergeant Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues said—“Let’s be careful out there!”
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:29 PM   #2
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No big surprise here. It's a money making scheme. It was set up for just that purpose!

We crossed-off everything east of the Mississippi long ago.
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:43 PM   #3
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Get a GPS and set it up to avoid toll roads.
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Old 12-05-2018, 03:43 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Trawlerphil View Post
We are a pair of retired septuagenarians living in North Carolina who decided to take our 5th wheel out to the west coast to visit children, grandchildren, and National Parks this last summer. Since we are retired, we had no schedule and we stuck to it. We allowed up to 12 weeks for our journey, secured our home, and had our snail mail held by the post office until we returned.

On Tuesday July 10th we crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana on the John F. Kennedy Bridge on I-65. We saw signs indicating there was a toll, but there was no toll booth where we could pull over and pay the toll. We continued on across the bridge into Indiana. For the next two months we continued our west coast trip and returned to Aurora, NC on September 9th.

We evacuated our home on September 11th to avoid hurricane Florence and returned on September 18th. We picked up our mail from the post office and over the next week Carolyn did her bills paying the $7.18 to River Link for our bridge toll which explained why there was no toll booth. There were two toll notices in the mail, the first bill sometime in August, the first late notice on 9/6 which had a $5 additional toll notice charge, and the second toll notice on 11/10 which had a $25 violation notice added resulting in an additional $30 bill. River Link cashed Carolyn’s original $7.18 toll check on 10/17.

When Carolyn called River Link about the additional $30 invoice due on 12/9, she explained we were seniors on an extended trip out west and were hit with a hurricane when we returned. Carolyn asked them to please waive the penalties. The customer service person said she was sorry, but we had to pay the $30 bill in addition to the $7.18 original toll bill.

River Link’s process seems to be to take a picture of the vehicle crossing the bridge, acquire the owner’s address from the North Carolina DMV, and send the owner a bill. If it isn’t paid by River Link’s due date, they continue adding toll notice fees and violation penalties until the bill is paid. For seniors on an extended vacation across country, this is tantamount to an extortion annuity for River Link since they declined to forgive the penalties after we gave them a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time.

Even banks have the ability to waive penalties if there is a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time and many did waive penalties as a result of hurricanes and floods. River Link should be ashamed of themselves. Punishing travelling seniors is not a good strategy for Kentucky or Indiana to promote visitors to their states. All we can do is publish our cautionary tale to all of the RV forums and copy the Attorney’s General and Better Business Bureaus of both states. I expect these types of business practices are the reasons tolls declined in many states since the 1700s and the term “highway robbery” evolved. Like sergeant Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues said—“Let’s be careful out there!”
Sucks for sure , they could waive it if they wanted but they don't give a rats puttuty . worse things is many of these tolls are not operated by the states but are private companies they send a small portion to the state and keep the rest . This should not be allowed . but it is . sometimes you just have to bend over and take it like a man and move on . when i head cross country i avoid all tolls which can be done very easy except one and that's the Topeka turnpike but they have booths set up for payment when you get off .
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:28 PM   #5
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I had my GPS set for no toll roads. Programmed my next destination said the trip was 4,000 miles and some change. Reprogrammed 3 times always the same result. Took off avoid toll roads and it was 164 miles. I paid the toll.
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Old 12-05-2018, 06:47 PM   #6
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I had my GPS set for no toll roads. Programmed my next destination said the trip was 4,000 miles and some change. Reprogrammed 3 times always the same result. Took off avoid toll roads and it was 164 miles. I paid the toll.

ok no way around a bridge other then driving 4000 miles . get a new GPS .
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Old 12-05-2018, 08:51 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Trawlerphil View Post
We are a pair of retired septuagenarians living in North Carolina who decided to take our 5th wheel out to the west coast to visit children, grandchildren, and National Parks this last summer. Since we are retired, we had no schedule and we stuck to it. We allowed up to 12 weeks for our journey, secured our home, and had our snail mail held by the post office until we returned.



On Tuesday July 10th we crossed the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana on the John F. Kennedy Bridge on I-65. We saw signs indicating there was a toll, but there was no toll booth where we could pull over and pay the toll. We continued on across the bridge into Indiana. For the next two months we continued our west coast trip and returned to Aurora, NC on September 9th.



We evacuated our home on September 11th to avoid hurricane Florence and returned on September 18th. We picked up our mail from the post office and over the next week Carolyn did her bills paying the $7.18 to River Link for our bridge toll which explained why there was no toll booth. There were two toll notices in the mail, the first bill sometime in August, the first late notice on 9/6 which had a $5 additional toll notice charge, and the second toll notice on 11/10 which had a $25 violation notice added resulting in an additional $30 bill. River Link cashed Carolyn’s original $7.18 toll check on 10/17.



When Carolyn called River Link about the additional $30 invoice due on 12/9, she explained we were seniors on an extended trip out west and were hit with a hurricane when we returned. Carolyn asked them to please waive the penalties. The customer service person said she was sorry, but we had to pay the $30 bill in addition to the $7.18 original toll bill.



River Link’s process seems to be to take a picture of the vehicle crossing the bridge, acquire the owner’s address from the North Carolina DMV, and send the owner a bill. If it isn’t paid by River Link’s due date, they continue adding toll notice fees and violation penalties until the bill is paid. For seniors on an extended vacation across country, this is tantamount to an extortion annuity for River Link since they declined to forgive the penalties after we gave them a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time.



Even banks have the ability to waive penalties if there is a rational explanation of why the bill wasn’t paid on time and many did waive penalties as a result of hurricanes and floods. River Link should be ashamed of themselves. Punishing travelling seniors is not a good strategy for Kentucky or Indiana to promote visitors to their states. All we can do is publish our cautionary tale to all of the RV forums and copy the Attorney’s General and Better Business Bureaus of both states. I expect these types of business practices are the reasons tolls declined in many states since the 1700s and the term “highway robbery” evolved. Like sergeant Phil Esterhaus on Hill Street Blues said—“Let’s be careful out there!”


I’m just wondering what would happen if you don’t pay the bill
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:21 AM   #8
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I’m just wondering what would happen if you don’t pay the bill
It goes to collections and is reported on your credit reports.

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Old 12-06-2018, 06:18 AM   #9
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We got hit with this same scam a couple of years ago crossing the same bridge. Crap like this is infuriating.

According to some of the documentation I read, they can possibly hold up the registration of your vehicle when you go to re-register.
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Old 12-06-2018, 06:40 AM   #10
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It goes to collections and is reported on your credit reports.

Bruce
Dont see how, no social security number linked. I know if you dont pay out of state tickets it sometimes pops on a tow companys list if they hit ur plate with a scanner. Then they tow the vehicles, but thats rare.
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Old 12-06-2018, 07:58 AM   #11
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Dont see how, no social security number linked. I know if you dont pay out of state tickets it sometimes pops on a tow companys list if they hit ur plate with a scanner. Then they tow the vehicles, but thats rare.
They have no problem getting a mailing address from the state. They also have no problem reporting your bad debt to the various credit report agencies.

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Old 12-06-2018, 08:07 AM   #12
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Well I understand your irritation at being charged an additional late fee,but why didnt you check at your first chance on how the fee was collected? There appear to be plenty of signs that a toll would be charged. River link appeared as soon as I googled the bridge with multiple ways to pay. I dont see how the fault lies with Kentucky or Indiana at all. While I avoid toll roads whenever possible, I find the removal of Toll Booths definitely a plus
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Old 12-06-2018, 08:18 AM   #13
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Phillip--

1st you should call river link again and ask to speak to a supervisor. If a supervisor is not available ask for one to contact you.

Ask if there is some sort of appeal.

I just visited their website and they have a facebook link at the bottom.
When I clicked the FB logo it took me to their FB page where I could send them a private message.
If your follow up calls fail to get some relief you should send a message thru FB. Be polite but firm. Do not get angry! Make them WANT to help you.

Failing all those PM me and I will try reach out myself. I know they have a spokesperson who shows up in our newspaper every so often.

AND I agree with n-e-d being able to drive across those bridges at the speed limit rather than having to stop at a toll booth is way better. At rush hour those booths would be nearly impassable!!!

AND I wonder about the wisdom of leaving your mail un-monitored for 3 months??? Even with auto bill pay you're bound to get something that needs attention during that length of time. Do you have a friend or family member that could check your mail for..... things like this river link bill that need attention before your return??
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Old 12-06-2018, 09:38 AM   #14
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I loathe these "public-private partnerships." They basically hand government power over to companies. They give a private corporation the ability to access your government info and use the power of the government to coerce you. Quick story:


Sold a truck. Got a toll notice a few weeks later. Called and told them I sold the truck. Don't worry, it'll update when they register. Few weeks later, another notice with late fee added. Called again. Don't worry. Several more weeks go by. Another notice with warnings. Bill now gone from like $6 to $50. Called again. Was told that I showed to own the truck at the time. Called Regional DMV- new owner registered truck as having bought a couple months later than actual. Had title pulled- he had changed the date on the title. Was clear he had and they agreed it had been tampered with. MADE ZERO difference. They did remove the late fees but forced me to pay the original toll. Tampering with the title is supposedly a felony offense, but they made no charges. Told me I was supposed to get a form "123- yadayada" when I sell a car. Asked how I would have known this. And what was the point of signing and dating the title if it was pointless to do so? Crickets.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:16 AM   #15
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Follow up question to Phil--
I note you are in NC.
Do you have an Ezpass transponder??
Do you ever encounter other toll roads or bridges?
This currently includes roads in Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia,West Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:43 AM   #16
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No big surprise here. It's a money making scheme. It was set up for just that purpose!

We crossed-off everything east of the Mississippi long ago.

You're 100% Correct, many of these "companies" actually pay that states for the right to collect the tolls and then slam you with every fee under the sun that they can. Nothing short of an opportunistic money making scam.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:52 AM   #17
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They are sending us the form to contest the penalties. I don't disagree the service is valuable, only their business policies.
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Old 12-06-2018, 11:59 AM   #18
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Thanks for the cautionary tale. We'll pay more attention in the future.

I too like the removal of toll booths. I just wish that there was one toll tag that worked in all states.
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Old 12-06-2018, 12:14 PM   #19
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Since you are in NC there is a road around Raleigh like that NC540. They send you the bill in the mail. If you don't pay they flag your tag renewal and you can't renew the license plates until you pay the tolls/fees/etc. It is a nice road with hardly anyone on it because no one wants to pay for it. Especially since the northern side I-540 was never toll. The people on the south side don't think it is fair and refuse to pay for it.
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Old 12-06-2018, 05:27 PM   #20
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They have no problem getting a mailing address from the state. They also have no problem reporting your bad debt to the various credit report agencies.

Bruce
Ive never heard of that here in ny.
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