As New Jersey motorists continue to complain about receiving inaccurate and unwarranted E-ZPass violations, a panel of appellate judges continues to review all of the evidence in the class-action lawsuit.

The litigation argues that the $50 fee for E-ZPass toll violations is unconstitutional.

“We have asked them to make a decision on our claim that the $50 fee is illegal and invalid,” said Matthew Faranda-Diedrich, a partner at Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld, the Philadelphia law firm heading up the class-action suit.

“The actual cost to the Turnpike (Authority) to process and collect the toll when someone goes through without an E-ZPass, or the E-ZPass does not register, that actual cost is far less than the $50 that they say it is.”

Faranda-Diedrich said after studying the issue in depth, the true cost of processing an E-ZPass violation and collecting the money that is owed seems to be no more than $1 or $2, “and so our contention is that the $50 charge grossly overcharges motorists on a daily basis.”

Think E-ZPass has ripped you off?

He said if you want to join the class-action lawsuit “it is still possible and we’re happy to give assistance to anybody who we’re able to as well. What motorists should do is they should feel free to reach out to us.”

He said those interested should contact Delialah Burns at DBurns@rccblaw.com, or call 267-546-0116.

The case has been dragging on for years, and a final decision could still be months away.

“Especially with a case this complex, this far-reaching and this significant, it’s not uncommon for it to take a longer period of time like it has so far," he said.

A motorist passes through a New Jersey Turnpike toll plaza, July 31, 2020 in Carneys Point (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
A motorist passes through a New Jersey Turnpike toll plaza, July 31, 2020 in Carneys Point (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
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At the beginning of this year, a fact-finding judge who had been appointed to determine whether the $50 fee charged by the Turnpike Authority was fair, concluded it “is neither arbitrary nor capricious; it fairly represents the cost incurred by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority in processing and collecting a toll violation.”

However, it appeared Judge Alberto Rivas’ conclusion was at odds with what the Authority had stated on its own website in the past.

Rivas stated in his report that the New Jersey Turnpike Authority “begins the process of collecting an unpaid toll by first reviewing a photographic image of the license plate. The [Authority] then conducts research to identify the registered owner of the vehicle that committed a violation. If the registered owner is determined to have an E-ZPass account, the toll is simply deducted. Those steps are performed by [Authority] employees, not Conduent [the third-party company contracted by the Authority].”

But on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority website, in a description of what happens when a vehicle enters a toll plaza, it says “if the transponder is not read, Conduent conducts an image review to manually identify the license plate of the vehicle and double-check the accuracy of the data.”

The description goes on to say Conduent (not the Authority) will then follow up on any license plates from out of state, and a notice of the violation is sent to the offending party, and Conduent (not the Authority) will then deal with any disputes that arise.

Garden State Parkway EZPass
Garden State Parkway EZPass
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Faranda-Diedrich said his team is confident that when all the evidence and information is considered and reviewed it will be clear that “the actual cost to processing and collecting a single toll is far, far less than $50.”

David Matthau is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at david.matthau@townsquaremedia.com

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