ALEXANDRIA, VA –Transurban (USA) Inc., Transurban (USA) Operations Inc., and a proposed class of plaintiffs, led by Hausfeld LLP, Tycko and Zavareei LLP, and Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP, have reached a proposed settlement in a class action lawsuit regarding the assessment of administrative fees and civil penalties for toll violations in Virginia.
If the proposed settlement is approved by the Court, Transurban will introduce new initiatives to enable customers to sign up for missed toll email alerts and provide Virginia E-ZPass customers additional time (from 5 days to 10 days) to replenish their account to pay a toll missed due to insufficient funds before facing any additional fees. Transurban will also generally wait at least 90 days (currently at least 60 days) before sending violations to debt collection as part of the agreed terms of the settlement.
In addition to the new consumer initiatives reached under the proposed settlement, E-ZPass customers who paid from $100 to $300 in administrative fees and/or civil penalties (after their unpaid tolls advanced to debt collection or court) may be entitled to a $10 refund, and E-ZPass customers who paid more than $300 in administrative fees and/or civil penalties (after their unpaid tolls advanced to debt collection or court) could be entitled to a refund of 70% of the amount paid in excess of $300. Eligible customers will need to show that they had an active E-ZPass account at the time of the missed tolls. E-ZPass customers who are eligible for a refund will receive a notice in the mail later this year.
While Transurban is confident that its US enforcement policy is in accordance with Virginia law, the settlement prevents further legal costs and ends any uncertainty created by this matter.
Separate to the legal case, Transurban has made a number of improvements to its enforcement policy and processes to give customers who missed a toll every opportunity to avoid additional fees. Its First-Time Forgiveness program, introduced in 2014, has helped more than 35,000 customers avoid escalated fees and penalties for missed tolls. If the proposed settlement is approved by the Court, Transurban would continue its First-Time Forgiveness program for at least five years as part of the agreed terms of the settlement.
According to Transurban, less than 0.08% of trips on the 95 and 495 Express Lanes in Virginia–or 0.24% of customers–reach the courts and only after tolls have remained unpaid for at least six months despite multiple notifications.
Unlike Australia, in the U.S., Transurban manages the enforcement process.
The parties have issued this joint press release to communicate the settlement terms.