Disabled veteran charged for toll road trip he never took
SAN ANTONIO - Have you ever received a bill for driving on toll road, but you couldn’t remember doing it?
It's sometimes hard to convince toll road officials you shouldn't be charged because they snap a photo of the license plate whenever a car uses their lanes.
In this case, the photo ended up helping car owner, Kenneth Hammes, but only after the Trouble shooters got involved.
Disabled veteran, Kenneth Hammes and his service dog, Dodger, go everywhere together.
However, Hammes was positive that they never took this particular trip to Dallas which he was being charged for.
“I've never driven this car in Dallas. So far since I bought it here in San Antonio, I’ve driven it only here in San Antonio.", say Hammes.
Hammes recently got a bill from the North Texas Tollway Authority for using the toll lanes back in January that listed his 2014 ford and his license plate number.
But there was a problem with the photo on the statement that was supposed to prove it was his car.
“It shows just the grille of the vehicle there's nothing else there. Not only that, the grille doesn't match the grille that's on my vehicle. So obviously it's not a picture of my vehicle.", said Hammes.
Hammes called up the North Texas Tollway Authority.
He says the customer service agent had a better picture and confirmed it showed a different vehicle, an SUV.
The license plate was different from his too, it didn't have the disabled veteran symbol on it.
Despite all that, the agent claimed the license plate number was a match.
So Hammes would have to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles, get a document proving it wasn't his car, and fax it to the Tollway Authority.
"And then the way they were acting, like it was my fault, and I have to provide them proof, just really upset me.", says Hammes.
So Hammes called the News 4 Troubleshooters and we made a phone call to the tollway on his behalf.
In just a few minutes they determined it was a case of mistaken identity.
The mistake was made reading the license plate number, an "O" was misidentified as a "D". It was as simple as that.
The Tollway Authority apologized and says Hammes did everything right.
"Customers should ask the customer service agent if there is a possibility the license plate is being read incorrectly. However, it sounds like the customer did press for further details. Again, we apologize the error was not corrected when they contacted customer service.", says Michael Rey at North Texas Tollway Authority.
So if you know you are right, be persistent. Ask for a manager, or keep calling back until you get someone who is willing to investigate your claim.