Platepass/Hertz

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Feb 2, 2015
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#1
Rented from Hertz. Charge card had bill from Hertz and a second bill from a company I never heard of, Platepass, who charged me $27.43 for a $1.34 electronic toll on 2 separate days. $24.73 markup or almost 1000%. I never heard of this company and was never informed by Hertz personnel of this service. Hertz had lost my Hertz gold reservation and wasted 30 minutes getting me a car so I was in a hurry to leave when signing.
Now Hertz says talk to Platepass and it is on page 3 of a contract that I was handed to sign after the incompetence of losing my resercation and making me wait for a car that was supposed to be waiting for me in a designated space. Platepass says because I went through electronic toll, they can charge 5 days of $4.75 administrative fee a day regardless of use. They said pay whatever we say to pay. How can this ripoff be possible. Hertz would not help and did not care about the 1000% markup or losing a longtime customer. How can consumers be charged such an excessive amount for a service that they are not informed about? I have rented many times from Hertz and this is the first time I have had to deal with Platepass.
 
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bodega3

Guest
#2
You were charged the tolls and an administration fee. I rent from only Hertz and this is how it is handled. You used their car to go through a toll booth and they are handling the paperwork.
 
Likes: VoR61

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
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#3
I may be wrong, but the last couple of cars we rented from Hertz had printed PlatePass information handed to us at the time of rental. And in order to use the service we had to manually slide open the PlatePass device affixed to the windshield ... if you did not open it, it did not work (and thus we would not be charged).

Yes, if you open the PlatePass and use it once, you're automatically billed the admin fee for EVERY day of your rental. I find that a poor policy ... it should be charged only on days you use the service.

I'd suggest that Mr Gordon follow the chain of command at Hertz and attempt to get back the admin fee for the days on which he did not use the PlatePass service.
 
Jan 3, 2015
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#4
Charles, I feel your frustration. I've been in the same spot with Hertz and PlatePass. When I've questioned Hertz on these charges in the past, they always just point me to PlatePass. When I try to contact PlatePass, they are very un-responsive and have always refused to talk to me about my complaints.

Unfortunately, legally, they did nothing wrong. It is just a very overpriced product, and a product that you cannot avoid in some areas. When you go to places that are "Electronic Tolls Only", you need to use it.

For me, I've just dropped my push in trying to get some of those administrative fees back. I'd love to hear if you have success pushing it though.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#5
It is just a very overpriced product
I'm going to politely disagree with Matt on this being overpriced. Given the back and forth processes involved in paying and collecting unpaid tolls, I think $25 is reasonable. They have to not only satisfy the debt from the toll, but then collect from renters, communicate with Hertz, and log all the transactions.

From the Hertz website:

"Fee: Hertz customers will pay a service fee of $4.95 per rental day, including any days when customers do not use PlatePass®, plus the posted cash toll rate for any incurred tolls. The maximum service charge (excluding tolls) is $24.75 per month."

What I now do when renting is ask the local agency what roads have tolls and plan accordingly. The last time was in Seattle, and I was told that none of the roads in our itinerary were toll roads (one was, but only going to Seattle and we were headed the other way). But I knew that if there were I would consider the $5 per day for the device if the toll plazas were unmanned. More states are automating their plazas, which means they takes pictures of your plate and send the bill tot he registered owner. Thus in the case of a rental Hertz, Alamo, etc. incur processing charges to pay/collect.

Just my opinion based upon my own research and opinion ...
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#6
I've been hearing all the rumblings about these toll pass things which haven't made much sense, people seem to be really upset. I'm very familiar with tolls in Europe which we pay by credit card, but we don't have any highway tolls in northern CA that I know of, so I've been rather ignorant. But I just picked up a rental from Enterprise at Fort Lauderdale and there's a flyer telling me all about it. It will pay my tolls and charge me $4 for each day I use it. I don't mean to be stingy here, but why would I waste $4 when I can just pay the toll myself? If you know you have this kind of thing included in your rental, why would you just breeze through the tool booth and be surprised when you get the bill? If the car rental desk tells me about the service and I chose to use it, fine. But if nobody tells me about it, why would I not pay the tolls in cash like I always do?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#7
I've been hearing all the rumblings about these toll pass things which haven't made much sense, people seem to be really upset. I'm very familiar with tolls in Europe which we pay by credit card, but we don't have any highway tolls in northern CA that I know of, so I've been rather ignorant. But I just picked up a rental from Enterprise at Fort Lauderdale and there's a flyer telling me all about it. It will pay my tolls and charge me $4 for each day I use it. I don't mean to be stingy here, but why would I waste $4 when I can just pay the toll myself? If you know you have this kind of thing included in your rental, why would you just breeze through the tool booth and be surprised when you get the bill? If the car rental desk tells me about the service and I chose to use it, fine. But if nobody tells me about it, why would I not pay the tolls in cash like I always do?
Because more and more toll plazas are becoming automated. They take a picture of the plate, send a bill to the rental agency and then you get a bill for approx $25 for the extra handling they have to do to get you to pay the toll. If the tollway allows cash, you are right that you can pay as you go. This is why I call the local agency.

Bottom line: $5 a day is not a lot to pay for the peace of mind.
 
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bodega3

Guest
#8
Judy, you live in the SF bay area. You know that the GG Bridge is cash free and this is becoming more and more the way throughout the US. I don't like and try to avoid tolls when at all possible.
 
Jan 3, 2015
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#9
VoR61, I don't mind disagreements with me :). I do agree that having some type of administrative cost for this makes sense. However, charging me for days I do not use it is what I think is absurd. If I have the car for a week, and pass through one 25 cent toll, I'll be charged $25 for that toll. That is doing more than just covering administrative costs. To me, something more reasonable would be a 10% addition to the cost of the tolls you pass through to cover the administrative costs.

The most frustrating thing is that there are no options to get around this in some places where the tolling is automated only.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#10
VoR61, I don't mind disagreements with me :). I do agree that having some type of administrative cost for this makes sense. However, charging me for days I do not use it is what I think is absurd. If I have the car for a week, and pass through one 25 cent toll, I'll be charged $25 for that toll. That is doing more than just covering administrative costs. To me, something more reasonable would be a 10% addition to the cost of the tolls you pass through to cover the administrative costs.

The most frustrating thing is that there are no options to get around this in some places where the tolling is automated only.
Once again, we play the cards that we are dealt. First, I've never seen a 25 cent toll. Most are $1.50 or so. And thus the agency could lose money if I went through multiple toll plazas in one day (try E-470 from south Denver to DIA and back). It's a compromise I can live with.

And I was referring to the $25 charge to collect the toll when a renter does not purchase/use the device.
 
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#11
VoR61, in the Northeast, there are definitely tolls that ring up under $1 that are done through the EZPass system. Again, I'm not sure how an agency would lose money by having their profits tied to a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you went through $25 worth of tolls in a day, they'd charge 10% or $2.50. If you went through a $0.50 toll, they'd charge $.05.

Also, the administrative thing...remember, this is all automated in their systems. No one is sitting there going through each toll and then charging their customers accordingly (if they are, they need to enter the world of 1990 when these types of transactions started to be automated for most companies).

One thing I've learned over the years is when a company charges for "administrative fees", the number is usually made up to earn them profit, not to cover actual expenditures.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#12
VoR61, in the Northeast, there are definitely tolls that ring up under $1 that are done through the EZPass system. Again, I'm not sure how an agency would lose money by having their profits tied to a percentage rather than a flat amount. If you went through $25 worth of tolls in a day, they'd charge 10% or $2.50. If you went through a $0.50 toll, they'd charge $.05.

Also, the administrative thing...remember, this is all automated in their systems. No one is sitting there going through each toll and then charging their customers accordingly (if they are, they need to enter the world of 1990 when these types of transactions started to be automated for most companies).

One thing I've learned over the years is when a company charges for "administrative fees", the number is usually made up to earn them profit, not to cover actual expenditures.
Again, I disagree. When pictures are taken of a license plate and the toll passed on to the agency (in CO it was mailed), the agency then incurs administrative costs to collect from the renter. I m quite sure a person has to be involved in that process.
 
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#13
VoR61, I'm curious, when this happened to you, how did you know that PlatePass received a photo of the license plate in their physical mail? And then a person had to perform the paperwork to process it to the correct renter?
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#14
I didn't say that PlatePass did. What I outlined was the process in Colorado. If you pass through a toll location without the device, they take a picture and send it to you via USPS. You can then pay by mail or call and pay with a CC over the phone.

So, if PlatePass is at all similar, the agency must "hand hold" the bill to collect from the renter. If they've somehow paid the $$$ to automate (highly doubtful IMO), then the $5 per day (or the $25 without the device) pays for that. 220 ... 221, whatever it takes (see Mr. Mom) ...
 
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#15
I'm doubtful that a company like PlatePass is set up to receive the bills from the tolling agency the same way a regular consumer does. I could be wrong, but a company like this typically makes a deal with the tolling agency to automate this process.

I think we just need to agree to disagree :)
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#16
So I called PlatePass and found out the following:

1. Varies by state, but PlatePass has setups with and without transponders
2. If renter declines option, picture is taken of plate and PlatePass receives an email with a spreadsheet attched. An employee pays the toll and then seeks recovery from the renter.
3. If they have the renter's CC information, CC is charged approx $5 per day for administrative costs. If no CC on file, then renter receives a bill in mail.

So, there are at least three (3) touch points for a PlatePass person ...
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,199
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#17
I did think about the Golden Gate going automated after I posted. It astonished me then and astonishes me now that the bureaucrats have decided that certain toll collection areas be automated. We are just supposed to get in line with this, whether we have any advance warning or not. Seems to me the rental companies need to step up here and tell everyone to read the flyer in their contract envelope. Oh, what am I saying? Those fees to look up your information will add to the company's bottom line, won't they?
 
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bodega3

Guest
#18
Last weekend we drove across the Crockett Bridge heading back up to the Napa Valley for dinner. We had a toll taker than seem to hate his job. We wanted to tell him to just wait, he will be out of job when that bridge goes cashless somewhere down the line.