Allen On Travel

A 30 year veteran of world travel (but knows nil about Orlando-area attractions), Will Allen III writes about his weekly odysseys by air on business and how the airlines rob him--and you--of time, the most precious commodity on earth. Time: It's all we have, and the airlines routinely take it from us. This blog challenges the airlines to keep their basic promises.

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Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States

Born 1948 in Kinston, NC and raised there in beautiful eastern North Carolina, I now live in Raleigh and commute around the country and the world.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Hertz's Secret Agreement With PlatePassCom Charges You $30 For 30 Minutes on E470 Toll Road Out of the Denver Airport

Be warned that this true tale has so many layers of "wrong" in it that my head is swimming.

In the summers of 2007 and 2008 I have flown into Denver airport and then driven 600 miles up to Montana via Cheyenne, Wyoming to visit my wife's family. Both years we rented a Hertz car.

The most direct route to reach the Interstate to Cheyenne when leaving the Denver airport is via a short stretch of Colorado toll road E470. The E470 link takes about 15 minutes in each direction.

In 2007 and 2008, I paid the tolls in cash. On 8-03-08, for example, I passed two E470 toll plazas and paid $2 + $2 for a total of $4, and then returning to DEN two weeks late on 8-18-08 again paid $2 + $2 for a total of $4 in cash, for a grand total of $8 in tolls.

This summer, however, I paid a grand total of $30, $22 more than last year, to travel the same 30 minutes (15 minutes in each direction). Here's what happened:

In August, my family and I again flew into DEN and rented a Hertz car. Just as in previous years, we traversed the short stretch of E470 to reach the Interstate to Cheyenne, but this year (on 8-08-09) we found the cash lanes have all been closed, leaving no obvious way to pay the tolls.

In place of the permanently closed cash toll booths, I saw new overhead license plate readers, but Hertz never warned us of any automatic billing based on reading our license plates. I wondered how this would play out, but since it was only a few dollars, I didn't worry about it at the time.

Two weeks later on 8-22-09, we returned from Montana through Cheyenne, Wyoming, and once close to the airport we traversed the same short stretch of E470 to get back to DEN. As before, we found all cash lanes permanently closed.

I asked Hertz about it when I returned the car at DEN but the people processing returns had no information.

Then on my 9-15-09 American Express Platinum Card statement I found two charges from an entity called (exactly as printed on my AmEx statement) wwwplatepasscom for $15 each. There was no reference to Denver, to E470, or to the dates we drove on the E470. The charges were dated 8-27-09 and 9-10-09. There was also no reference to Hertz.

I phoned American Express and had them remove the charges as unrecognizable pending an investigation, and I then phoned 1-877-411-4300, the number American Express gave me for wwwplatepasscom.

The wwwplatepasscom customer service rep who answered, Mary Coon, told me that they indeed had charged me for driving on the E470 out of the Denver airport, and that they had a contract with the State of Colorado for toll collection—now entirely cashless—on the E470.

Ms. Coon also told me platepasscom has a separate contract with Hertz to obtain Hertz renters’ credit card numbers so they could charge the tolls direct to the renters instead of through Hertz.

Funny, I thought, that Hertz would be giving third party companies like platepasscom my credit card number WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT.

As if the shock of finding Hertz was willy-nilly handing out my AmEx number to companies I never heard of was not enough, I got another jaw-dropping bit of info from Ms. Coon: She said that the actual tolls were now $2.50 at each toll point (up from $2.00 in 2008), so my actual toll charges were $2.50 + $2.50 for a total of $5.00 on 8-08-09 and the same amounts ($2.50 + $2.50 for a total of $5.00) on our return journey across E470 to get to your airport on 8-22-09.

Not too bad, I thought, just a fifty cents per toll plaza increase from last year.

But then Ms. Coon dropped the bomb on me when she further explained that wwwplatepasscom charges a $10.00 per week “administration fee” on top of the actual tolls for Hertz renters as part of their agreement with Hertz. Yet Hertz did not make me aware of any wwwplatepasscom charges, either in writing or verbally.

Thus I was charged by wwwplatepasscom $2.50 + $2.50 + $10.00, for a total of $15.00, on 8-08-09, and wwwplatepasscom charged me another $2.50 + $2.50 + $10.00, for a total of $15.00, on 8-22-09.

Later that day I contacted the Denver Airport authority, and they are still investigating (they knew nothing about the scheme).

I also phoned the DEN Hertz Station Manager, who identified herself only as Vicki. Vicki told me that I was supposed to have been given a one-page flyer among my Hertz paperwork that explained the wwwplatepasscom charges if I drove on E470. I told her I still have all my paperwork from the rental, and there is nothing there about wwwplatepasscom.

I asked Vicki to mail the wwwplatepasscom flyer to me so I could see it, and I gave her my address, and also my Hertz Rental Agreement number. To date, one week later, I had not received any such flyer from Hertz.

Vicki also advised me to avoid E470 at all costs, saying she and her colleagues NEVER use the toll road any more since it went cashless because of the ridiculous charges.

I then called Hertz Corporate Public Relations to ask:

1. Why I was not apprised of these charges and thus warned before driving on Denver-area toll roads that are part of these agreements;

2. Whether Hertz Corporate knew of the absurd $10/week “admin fee” tack-ons to the actual toll collections: and

3. Where in my Hertz Master Agreement or Rental Agreement that I gave Hertz the right to share my American Express card number with another entity.

Hertz Corporate had no immediate answer, saying they were unaware of the details, but they promised to look into it and get back to me. To date, one week later, I await their callback.

That’s where we are today on the Denver part of the story about Hertz and platepasscom.

But there are more unexpected charges for unwary Hertz renters out there across the country: I also discovered that platepasscom has an agreement not just with Hertz at Denver, but also with Hertz through the Northeast (e.g., NY and NJ tollroads), in the Chicago and Indiana areas, and in Florida and Texas, to collect tolls and charge renters from the license plate tied to your Hertz Rental Agreements.

And there is no relief, no opt-out possibility, when you rent from Hertz. Thus I will henceforth stop renting from Hertz, even though Hertz is my preferred vendor of rental cars. This is not something I do out of spite, but what am I to do? My clients won't pay for these stupid charges, and I am not going to swallow them myself.

This is so wrong on so many levels:

- Colorado, along with Indiana, Texas, Illinois, Florida, New York, New Jersey, and other states rip out their toll road cash lanes, forcing drivers to pay electronically or be subject to huge fees and violation charges;

- Hertz makes a secret deal and doesn't tell its renters about the unreasonable admin fees;

- Hertz dispenses confidential credit card information to third party vendors without the cardholder's knowledge or consent;

- American Express has no idea what the charges are and doesn't really care;

- Denver Airport has no idea what the scam is about; and

- Hertz Corporate claims ignorance of its own company's outrageous scheme.

And nobody, NOBODY seemed to care when I questioned it!

FOOTNOTE: Here are two references to the platepasscom/Hertz deal, the original of which says you are charged only for the days you use it. Then the Flyertalk thread makes it clear that the terms changed:

If others have had similar experiences with Hertz and platepasscom, or with platepasscom and any other car rental companies, I hope they will comment here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had the same thing happen to me out if NYC. I was happy to enjoy the convenience of the service until I received the bills. Now platepass AND Hertz are trying to bill me. I received no documentation prior explaining the outrageous surcharges. Luckily for me, at least there are still cash lanes. But I will be complaining.

10/02/2009 11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I experienced the same think with Avis in Colorado. I believe they charge an extra $2.50 per day that it is used. I now avoid E-470 on my visits there. However I did get totally lost on my last visit. E-470 is convienient but not worth the extra cost.

Why can't we buy something like the I-Pass we have in Illinois and the East that can be good for multiple cars? Is that possible?

10/02/2009 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will, I think one week is enough to wait for a response on something of this magnitude. It appears to be a form of wide-scale fraud, IMO.

Don't you think you'd get faster action if you notified both the Denver Business Journal and Denver Post? Perhaps someone at one or both of those publications will be "all ears."

10/02/2009 3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Afer a week I would be inclined simply to file an action in my home state and let Hertz's legal meter start running. This tactic has proven effective in getting the attention of unresponsive airlines when they cheat customers. Seems it should work reasonably well with these thieves as well.

AND - thanks for he tip about rental cars at DEN. Iam going there tomeorrow. Just asked my assistant to cancel car (Avis) and book Carey. Less hassle anyway.

10/02/2009 6:28 PM  
Blogger Che Grovera said...

I'm agitated just reading that story -- I can't imagine how aggrieved I'd be if that actually happened to me!

I've had my own unpleasant run-in with Hertz in the last couple of weeks that has me reconsidering them as a vendor. I arrived at LAX a couple of weekends ago and found a Mustang sitting in my Gold stall where I had requested a midsize sedan (for me, my wife and teenage son, each with bags). If you know the size of the trunk in a Mustang you know how inadequate this was. In redoing the paperwork at the counter I gave them a different credit card than the one in my profile -- big mistake. I wound up with a total of three $500+ holds spread over both cards, and had my preferred card declined at hotel check-in due to the $1,000+ in erroneous holds.

Now, two weeks and four lengthy phone calls later, one of those holds is STILL on the card from my profile (the one that wasn't even used to actually pay for the rental). Seems that Citibank will only remove a hold at the merchant's request, and Hertz has a difficult time finding this hold since it isn't directly associated with a rental.

Bottom line: I'm extremely wary of giving Hertz access to ANY of my credit card information. Your story is just icing on the cake.

10/02/2009 7:11 PM  
Blogger Kevin Horne said...

Hats off (with sympathy also) for exposing another great example of what passes for American business "management" in today's travel industry = slipshod planning, lousy execution, nonexistent customer service. Sort of a trifecta, if you will. ;(

10/03/2009 8:34 PM  
Blogger Kevin Horne said...

Hats off (with sympathy also) for exposing one more in a long line of examples of American business "management" - slipshod planning, lousy execution, nonexistent customer service. A trifecta, if you will.

10/03/2009 8:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something similar, only with a happier ending...Rented a Hertz out of SFO (with my brother) he was driving into the city I read the rental agreement top to bottom...Noticed that the car had EZPASS option BUT also noticed that if we did use EZPASS that we would be charged (no amount given) for EVERYDAY that had the car (not just he days we did use EZPASS) we did use the bridges and toll roads in the bay area we had the opportunity to use EZPASS....however, my instincts told me (again, since the cost of using this very convenient option was never stated) that we would instead pay cash (and the tolls/bridges still had cash lanes; what happens when they do not?)and not worry about the huge charges at a later date on the credit card.

Again, this would be a wonderful and convenient service to use, but the cost are way out of line for the convenience.

10/05/2009 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just received my Chase Visa bill and noticed a strange charge of $19.98 for wwwplatepassocm. Rented car from Hertz at Den airport 9/17 to 9/21. From aiport went to Colorado Springs traveling on E-470
and returned same way. When I picked-up rental car Hertz never made a mention of the toll or gave any flyer information to me. I'm from a state (AZ) were we have no tolls so I'm not well educated on them. I guess I have no choice but to pay the fee? Thanks for all of your comments.

10/06/2009 2:02 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

I rented from Dollar out of DEN Aug 16 to Aug 22 and I was given a handout explaining the issue. Dollar also rents an electronic transponder for some absurd rate for those customers choosing to use 470. As my travels were not in that direction, I skipped the transponder rental and avoided 470 entirely.

You will want to place blame for this travesty on the moron representatives in the Colorado Legislature who did not fund the cash toll takers, which necessitated removing the cash lanes from the tollway.

10/07/2009 11:03 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

This has also happened to me. I found this post when I googled wwwplatepasscom which appeared on my credit card statement. I am from England and rented a Car from Denver airport only for 3 days to drive to Fort Collins so not far at all. I have now been charged $15 plus the conversion rate in to GBP. Had I been made aware of this at the time I would have at least used my US card to avoid that charge (I paid for the rental in cash).
Hertz should definately not be giving out credit card numbers to seemingly 'mysterious' companies and if it is in the small print of the rental agreement then it should be made a whle lot BIGGER!
Not worth me persuing this now as it will cost a fortune in international calls but good luck anyone that is making a complaint.

10/08/2009 7:18 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I have had the same experience and found this thread when searching for WWWPLATEPASSCOM in google. I am from England and rented a Hertz car for just 3 days in September to Drive from Denver airport to fort collins so only a short distance!
I have now been charged $15 plus the exchange rate in to GBP plus a charge for using my card abroad. Had I been made aware of the charge at the time I could of at least used my US card to avoid the charges (I paid for rental in cash).
Hertz should definately not be sending credit card details to a seemingly 'mysterious' company and if it is in the small print of the rental agreement then it should be made a whole lot BIGGER!!
Its not worth me persuing this now as it will cost a fortune in international calls but good luck to anyone who is complaining!

10/08/2009 7:22 AM  
Blogger Ann, CTC said...

If you think the charges for the E-470 are bad for using the service in a rental car, you should see the charges for using Toronto's 407. Pretty outrageous even in a personal vehicle.

10/09/2009 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I lucked out the one time I used it in Florida (when the charge was still only $2.50/day of use) - I took a roundtrip from Orlando to Ocala on the Florida Turnpike but only got charged for a one-way trip (plus the service fee). The new fee arrangement is disgusting - anyway to make a buck.

10/09/2009 8:17 AM  
Anonymous LRB said...


When traveling North out of DIA, ie Ft. Collins, Cheyenne, etc., take Pena Blvd...the main road out of DIA, to I-70, W. to I-270 then to I-25 North to destination. It is only a few miles further distance than the E-470 route.

When traveling South, to COS, etc., Same Pena to I-70 West and almost immediately exit on I-225, South to I-25, South to destination. Again, only a few miles, maybe 3 at he most, further and you save the tolls.

Complain like crazy to Hertz, Avis, etc., and to your CC company. Threaten to cancel, especially if you charge a LOT on those cards.

And finally, use the internet to warn others of these rip off scams...and let AMEX and HERTZ, and others know what you are doing.

10/09/2009 10:49 AM  
Anonymous SAPMAN said...

I know some Texas toll roads also have "camera only" vs. toll cash plazas. I wonder how much they charge a personal car for the toll and if there is any "convenience fee" tacked on. I assume there would be some cost for the Toll Authority to get the data from Hertz and cross reference to the car and date of driving, but that should be only a buck or two -- and only for the days one use the "cashless" toll roads.

10/09/2009 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It looks like all the rental firms do the same thing :-(

I occasionally use E470 - it wasn't cashless last time I went through but that was a few months ago.


10/09/2009 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While visiting Dallas last year I had a rental car with Dollar Rent-A-Car. I got on the newly created toll road near Frisco which was not marked with any warning signs that there were no toll booths. The toll was less than two dollars and was charged to Dollar. I ended up with a $30 service charge for a "ticket" that Dollar had to pay on my behalf. Luckily I was able to talk it down to half that- but the situation is infuriating.

10/10/2009 4:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I had the same experience earlier in June 2009, and I also claimed to Heratz, the E-470 authority and Platepass, although nothing was resolved. I payed $11 only for $1 section where I mistakenly got into because of an unclear sign of an exit. However, I am happy to hear that many other people also think the system is something wrong. I am from Japan, and the transponder with rent-a-car is common also in Japan. Only the difference is the toll is much cheaper with the transponder and we never pay any fee with the equipment. It was my unpleasant experience in Colorado!!!

10/19/2009 2:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My wife drove E-470 in Denver in July - renting from Thrifty. She just got a bill from Thrifty from $54.25 - which was $4.25 for tolls and $50 in administrative fees. Her credit card had expired during the time since renting - so apparently they couldn't add to the card - but now expect us to ante up $54.25 for $4.25 in tolls? Goodbye, Thrifty!

10/22/2009 10:50 PM  
Anonymous Anissa said...

I got a "bill" today from Thrifty (same company also owns Dollar). I went through (4) tolls in Dallas on the new George Bush Tollway, noting the signs that they are now "cashless" and all tolls are "License Plate" tolls. I figured that the tolls would be added to my bill- no problem, since the total was $3.42. I'm a Blue Chip with them and have had good customer service in the past.

My "Bill" that I received today was for $103.42, and they informed me that they were charging the tolls PLUS a $25 Admin Fee per "Violation." What violation??? There are no humans in toll booths on that road to collect a toll.

I called and spoke with a customer service person named "Ireland," who explained that, (quote) "due to these economic times, the companies are trying to collect extra revenue." And, without any argument, she said that she would immediately remove the Administrative Violation Fees that had been automatically billed to my card, without my consent or knowledge.

She recommended that I never use Toll Roads when I travel (huh???) because of these circumstances.

I was fine with how the reversal was handled, but the whole idea has been bugging me for hours, which is how I ended up here. It's wrong that no mention was made at the time of rental, no paperwork provided- nothing.

I'm considering speaking to my attorney to see if he is interested in putting together a class action suit. Sounds like there may be a case, considering what I've read here.

If anyone has already looked into this, please feel free to contact me.

10/23/2009 9:59 PM  
Blogger William A. Allen III said...

I appreciate eveyrone's comments, but several have stood out as particularly egregious, such as the $103.42 bill from Thrifty in Dallas!

We must do something about these outrageous charges, or they are certain to get worse as the rental car companies see that we are willing to swallow them.

10/24/2009 10:11 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

Here's one for you.... Rented Hertz minivan out of Fort Lauderdale airport for a week. Upon return, car was scanned back in but under someone else's reservation. Didn't notice till I was on the plane with return receipt. Apparently, car info was mixed up with a reservation from orlando International airport. Took two days to clear the mix up. Now I have a charge from platepass for toll lane use in Orlando while I was vacationing in Fort Lauderdale. Waiting for plate images to see if plate number corosponds to my rented vehicle. Fishy!!!

11/03/2009 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found a $30 charge from platepass on my AMEX after renting from Hertz in the New England area.
We noticed the device on the windshield and thought it must be like the toll tag we use in Dallas.
We used lots of toll roads and bridges. I'm afraid the $30 may not be the last charge I get! :(

11/13/2009 1:36 AM  
Blogger DT4Storms said...

I just received a letter from Dollar Rental Car tonight regarding this same rediculous unmarked toll road in Dallas.
$2.69 in two different fares, and $25 PER VIOLATION making this a ridiculous $52.69 for the same unmanned toll plazas, THAT I DON'T EVER RECALL SEEING SIGNS FOR.

Sorry about the caps... just got this today, and rather frustrated as you can tell. AND I had beter have that same result as Annissa with them reversing my charges.

11/18/2009 8:06 PM  
Anonymous C Russ said...

In the last few years I have brought my Massachusetts Fast Lane transponder with me and used it on rentals. Once I have my rental car, I go online and add the plate number to my Fast Lane account. Once when I couldn't get online I phoned Fast Lane and they added the rental car for me. There has to be a way to opt out of the rental companies' arrangements - right? What a mess.

11/20/2009 10:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the earlier posters mentions something about buying a transponder and using it instead. Well, don't do that. I travel to Orlando often enough that I purchased a SunPass Transponder for use in any rental vehicle I use. I was unaware that Budget used the PlatePass, and as a result, both my transponder account AND the PlatePass were charged, so I effectively paid double the tolls PLUS the PlatePass administrative fees.

Listen up, companies who service travelers: You can't keep jerking us around and upping the prices for everything, or you're gonna lose the business. Ask the folks at gogo Inflight Internet. They're charging $12.95 per session for Internet access on the plane, and they can't figure out why no one's buying. For $5, I might do it, but for $13, I'm not gonna do it. I'm willing to pay a $5 convenience fee for PlatePass, but I'm NOT willing to pay $10 per day for the entire rental...

Wise up. Don't try to gouge me and my fellow travelers. We'll put you out of business so fast you'll feel like a dotcom in the late 90's.

11/20/2009 1:32 PM  
Blogger William A. Allen III said...

Biz Traveler said...
Someone at Hertz must have read this posting. I was just there (11/16) and it seemed every car in the Hertz lot had a flyer about the toll roads on the passenger seat and it was posted about 8 places!

11/20/2009 10:28 AM

11/20/2009 3:00 PM  
Blogger BHS said...

I am working through my expense report from a recent trip to Denver, CO. I saw a $10 charge from PLATEPASSCOM, searched the NET, and found this posting. The thing is... I did rent from Hertz, and NEVER passed any toll plaza. Go figure! That is the last time I rent from HERTZ.

11/30/2009 8:22 PM  
Anonymous I-PASS user said...

While the Hertz rental agreement does include consent to be billed by American Traffic Solutions (parent company of PlatePass), they don't spell out the fee schedule. I think $2.50 per day of use would be fine, but not for EVERY day of the rental regardless of whether the service was used or not.

That said, I have a tip for using your own I-PASS/EZPASS transponder with open-road tolling (as in Illinois). If the transponder doesn't read (as sometimes happens), a video toll will be conducted. However, it takes 7-10 days to process a video toll and they use the database AT THAT TIME.

This means that registering a rental car to your account opens you up to any tolls missed 7-10 days beforehand. It also means any video tolls you incur may not show up on your account if you unregister the car right after you return it. In that case PlatePass will surely be charging your credit card in a few weeks time.

The best solution for rental cars? Take their transponder off the windshield and go ahead and use yours, but don't register the car to your I-PASS/EZPASS account. Check your account online to ensure all open-road tolls showed up properly. If any tolls didn't, go to the Illinois Tollway website and pay the tolls (within 7 days). If you're in an EZPASS state that has no online missed-toll payment service it may be best to use the transponder but avoid open-road lanes altogether (i.e. use Cash-EZPASS combo lanes).

12/03/2009 8:15 AM  
Blogger Joel said...

I rented through Priceline. Got Hertz. They told me at counter about $2.50/day charge after I inquired. I chose to pay cash.

Somehow, PlatePass came up with one charge for 75 cents even though I paid cash for every toll. Some of the toll booths are cash or toll. I suspect I was double charged going through one. They tacked on $10 admin fee for 1 week for a total or $10.75.

I called PlatePass and told the person that I paid cash for all tolls. She said they'd investigate and I would get a response. Never did get a response, but I did get a second invoice with the same charge.

I guess when renting through Priceline the billing doesn't hit credit card. So, I can ignore or call again to protest.

What a bunch of nonsense Florida: Just raise the gas tax and kill the toll booths.

1/06/2010 1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was given a (free)rental car in Orlando from the auto dealership servicing my car. I forgot to transfer my transponer to the rental and drove home from the office on a toll road. When I returned the rental to the dealership I told them I had went through the $1.00 toll without the transponder. They said no problem it happens alot. I just received my credit card statement with a $8.50 charge for platepasscom. If I had passed thru the toll booth in my car and the transponder hadn't worked I would have received a letter from E-Pass and they would have waived the service fee when I paid the toll.

2/12/2010 7:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has nothing to do with rentals, but in January, I got on E 470 by mistake and exited right away. I got a bill for 2 dollars, which I paid right away. A couple of days ago, I got bill for $7.50 for two different days, I was supposed to have been on E 470 in March on a vehicle that's been sitting in my driveway for a month and a half with a blown head gasket!
I never go anywhere near E 470 on that vehicle!
I called and the lady said the license plate actually belonged to somebody from another state and they had canceled my bill! I asked her for the state of the other vehicle and she said she didn't have that information. Makes you wonder, no?
Thanks for the chance to get this off my chest! I'd like to be able to investigate this further!

4/07/2010 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

same thing just happened to me in Colorado on 470. I plugged in the details from my credit card because I thought this was a fradulent charge only to find this web site with an explanation. Unbelievable, I was completely oblivious that I'd be charged this fee until now. $30 to drive some almost abandoned road in CO?

5/25/2010 12:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll go you one better, I hired a car in NJ from Hertz for business. I stayed and worked in NJ and never left the state. A month after returning to the UK, I get a platepass charge for £89 ($119). I phoned them to ask what the charge was, as I didn't know about their agreement with Hertz. They said I went into NYC every day for 14 days over various toll bridges etc. I told them it was a load of rubbish as I never left NJ and I only put 500 miles on the car and round trip from my hotel to NYC was about 100 miles. They told me too bad, they have a record of it, and I had to pay it. Serveral phone calls and loads of paperwork and I'm still disputing the charge, but they were pretty unhelpful on the phone, and more than a bit rude too. They didn't even pretend to care. And Hertz didn't want to know anything about it. How can they have a record of me going over a bridge I was no where near? Hopefully it will be sorted soon, but I won't hire from Hertz again. Months of hassle for me that was unnecessary.

6/09/2010 11:24 AM  
Blogger Erik said...

Well, after doing some research and asking for proof, here is what happened....I asked them to send me proof. Florida turnpike tollbooth pictures. Would you believe somehow, Hertz had the same license plate on the same make and model minivan in an office in Orlando Florida? I rented my minivan and spent the week in Ft. Lauderdale!! They would not believe me even when I showed them the mileage on the vehicle when exited and returned showing them it was impossible I could have traveled to Orlando and back with the low miles I have placed on the car. The funny thing is when I first complained about the charge of 14 dollars, they were immediately apologized and told me I should have never had gotten the car. I think they new something was wrong and they still let me drive out. I stopped fighting and surrendered the 14 dollars charge. I would never rent from Hertz again. P.S. some bloke who traveled to Orlando owes me 14 dollars. Karma!!!

6/10/2010 5:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This just happened to me after a rental from Hertz's Boston Logan Airport location. Got charged admin fees without having this be explained. To follow up, I made it through 4 (count 'em... 4!) PlatePass employees -- each of whom used the line "you signed an agreement to pay the admin charges. It's item #13A on the Hertz agreement." So I asked each one to recite for me what they can recall from the last car rental agreement they signed. And then I asked how my signature on an agreement relating to paying admin fees was related to them giving me a refund and making me a happy customer. And they all went back on script again.. "You signed...." Whatever. Also interesting is that each one said they were not authorized to refund anything and the 3rd guy (Kyle M) in the chain then said there was no one else for me to speak with above him. So I asked... "Are you the CEO? Is your name James Tuton?" (he's CEO of parent company American Traffic Solutions and the guy who brought speed cameras into being). All of a sudden Kyle was capable of offering to refund some of the admin fees. Not all. He wanted to give me back $5 and not the last $2.50. I had said all along that I would pay the $3.50 cost of the toll. For some reason this was the last straw for me. He had said he couldn't do anything and now he was trying to cut me a deal over $2.50. Admittedly, I was calling his whole office about $7.50... but what were getting at here is an unethical practice aimed at taking advantage of those who won't fight back. And all of a sudden... there was another guy to speak with above Kyle. Quite frankly, talking to Ahmad was no more satisfying. So I've gone to Amex and asked them to chargeback the whole amount to Platepass. What a waste of my time and theirs.

6/11/2010 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Tru said...

I just check my Visa online and see that the wwwplatepasscom just charge me $11.50 for passing a Beltway 8 tollbooth in Houston, Texas with a Hertz rental car. I have no clue about the charge so I google wwwplatepasscom and find your article. It is really helpful. Now I know why they charge me. I am kind of upset with Hertz. Last time, I rented Hertz, missed one toll booth and was billed for the toll which was about $2.00 ($1.00 toll fee + $1.00 fine). Now I was billed for the exact toll plus $10 fee. I did check the Hertz rental agreement and find nothing mentioning about the toll fee.

7/12/2010 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just received my Visa bill and saw a $15.36 charge to WWWPLATEPASSCOM. I thought WTF is that? I've already had to change my credit card due to fraud attempts so I'm quite wary about that. So I googled it and found your article, just saying thanks for writing this.

To Hertz's credit, I was warned about this. Maybe they've gotten enough complaints that they are now training their agents to inform their customers. Still I opted for the tollway as it was the most direct route out of Dallas for me and I thought I might avoid some of the rush hour traffic since it was a pay road (wrong assumption!). That said, the woman at the Hertz counter told me I could pay cash. But when I got to the toll areas there were no freaking cash booths anywhere, so I was stuck.

Live and learn, I suppose. The next time I'm out to visit family I'll go out of my way to avoid the George Bush toll road.

8/26/2011 2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a similar experience renting a car from Hertz at Dulles Airport in D.C.....we never left the states of Virginia and North Carolina with the car, and never went on any toll roads to "trigger" the transponder, but got a statement of a $78 past due account from PlatePass.....when we checked into it, they were billing us for tolls between NY and NJ, perfectly designed to fit the rental period (startng 1 day into it and stopping one day before we returned the car). I don't remember ever getting the original statement, just this vague "balance forward" one 2 months later. When we contacted them they "researched" it and found the charges to be "consistent" with our rental (!!)in spite of our insisting we were nowhere in that area. They finally seemed to have backed off after we emailed them a flurry of receipts to show that we were indeed in Va. and NC., but had no answer as to how this happened. I guess the consumer is guilty unless one takes the time and trouble to document one's innocence. And it bothers me that Hertz is either complicit with this scheme or has no problem with sending one's credit card number to a company that is up to such phony billing. And Hertz will neither discuss it or take any responsibility for the problem, even though we were THEIR customer. Never again!

10/15/2011 1:02 PM  
Blogger Zeya Irika's Dad said...

Allen, thanks for initiating this discussion. Hertz could do a lot better job of warning customers in areas where there are no human-manned toll booths. In my calls to both Hertz and ExpressToll, each company claimed that the other was levying the $2.95/rental day fee, regardless of how many rental days the car used a tollway.

5/30/2012 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just discovered and wasted time researching a mystery Plate Pass charge on my CC bill for a Denver business trip for $12.20. No notice of it, no paper trail, no live answer, Hertz gold people did not want to answer questions. I can't expense it if I dont have a paper trail - to have to dig to discover that Hertz gave out my CC to a company that does not email me reciepts mean National Gets my Rental business in LA next week, I am calling Hertz to cancel. Quid pro Quo. Rick In Oregon

11/23/2012 7:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a Hertz Gold Card member since 1985. The last two rentals, I was hit with the PlatePass scam. I am a government traveler, but the Plate Pass charges come in well after I have filed the travel claims so it comes staight out of my pocket. It is a ripoff either way - I can rent a car for 15 days, hit one toll road for .30 for the entire trip and still get billed a $2.75 admin fee for every day of the rental with a $16 bill for a single .30 toll fee. I just called the Gold Club and told them that they have lost my future business. Wes in Dallas.

12/27/2012 4:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rented a Hertz car for two days in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and drove it a total of 151 miles. I got a Visa charge from Platepass for $27.25. Since I never heard of them, I investigated, and found that they charged me for 7 tolls in New Jersey. But I never left Michigan with the car. Fortunately, Visa had no problem removing the charge, but Hertz has lost my business forever. Bob in Ohio.

4/03/2013 1:42 PM  
Blogger Stop PlatePass American Traffic Solutions & Tuton Brothers said...

It's 2013 and James Tuton CEO & his brother Adam with American Traffic Solutions owners of PlatePass are still up to their thieving shenanigans. I got a bill for $30.75 from Hertz / PlatePass for an already overpriced trip home south across the Golden Gate bridge which is now (surprise!) an unmanned toll road. Nevermind I was in bumper to bumper traffic with no way out after seeing a toll road sign. A class action lawsuit in 2013 with Hertz / Platepass ATS is underway and I suspect one in many steps to stop this madness.

12/10/2013 3:10 PM  

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