Virginia resident, Jason Bourcier has racked up a bill for unpaid toll charges that equates to the size of a mortgage. How did it happen? Simply being misinformed led to an E-ZPass bill that will take close to forever to pay off! Bourcier stated that a friend told him that there wasn’t a toll charge after 11:30 p.m, because no attendant would be present. Obviously, his friend was gravely mistaken. Not only were the tolls attended, but each time he drove through, the cost was calculated, and continued to mount. Then, came the bill.
“They provided me with a stack of summonses that was 12 inches high,” said Bourcier. But here’s the kicker. NBC Washington reports that the principle balance of the bill was only around $440. However, the state penalty charges and fees tacked on by the Virginia Department of Transportation changed everything. When the penalties, late fees, and interest charged were added to the $440 in unpaid toll charges, the balance swelled to over $200,000 – $202K to be exact!
Bourcier was taken to court this week by the VDOT because the bill had reached such an astronomical state. Fortunately, a settlement was reached, and Bourcier was put on a payment plan to knock down the balance due. “Me and my lawyers, the best that we could do was $40,000,” he said. “Another kicker is they put me on a payment plan for $150 a month.” While the settlement and payment options are a breath of fresh air, there’s still a downside. So, here’s the mathematics: Bourcier will pay $150 a month on the $40,000 principle. But, that principle is not free of interest. Based on the interest that $40K will incur, it will take him approximately 57 years to reach the payoff, which still equates to $95,000. Unfortunately, the interest will, indeed, surpass the principle. Hopefully, Bourcier comes across a windfall to eliminate the debt. Otherwise, he’ll be making payments until he’s 87! That’s quite a long time to be paying unpaid toll charges.
Although the punishment may not totally fit the crime, Bourcier did admit the lessons he learned as a result of the whole toll charge debacle. “One would be for state legislature to take another look at the fines and fees that they are assessing the taxpayers,” he said. “The other would be for me, and that would be don’t mess with E-ZPass.”