TEXAS CITY, Texas – The only thing more annoying than getting bills in the mail is getting a bill that you don’t owe. A Texas City woman contacted KPRC 2 Investigates team after she received toll road fines for a vehicle she doesn’t even own.
Shunda Rolland drives a 2018 Dodge Durango. So when she got a few bills from the Harris County Toll Road Authority with a picture of what they said was her white pick-up, she was perplexed.
Rolland couldn’t get anyone at the Harris County Toll Road Authority to listen to her when she told them the truck that went through the toll stations without paying was not hers.
“We’ve never owned a white truck,” Rolland explained.
She got one bill and then another. Finally, Rolland recognized the license plate number on the bill. It matched a truck she and her husband used to own.
“We haven’t owned his vehicle in eight years since 2015,” said Rolland.
When she tried to explain that to HCTRA a customer service representative, they put the burden of proof back on Rolland.
“Do you know the last odometer reading? Do you have the title? I don’t have any of that, it was a trade-in,” Rolland said.
HCTRA told Rolland without that information she would continue to receive the bills.
“I don’t care if it’s 25 cents or $25. If I pay that bill, every bill that that person acquires gonna come to me, and I’m not gonna pay it,” she said.
It is a good thing she didn’t because when we reached out to HCTRA to figure out what was going on, a spokesperson revealed that HCTRA made an error by misreading this blurry license plate. The number eight was actually a zero on the plate. This bill was taken off of Rolland’s account, but if we hadn’t called, how long would HCTRA have demanded payment?
Steps you should take when you sell a vehicle
One way to protect yourself any time you sell a vehicle is to submit a vehicle transfer notification through the Department of Motor Vehicles and save the document. If you submit the transfer notification within 30 days of when you sell or trade-in your vehicle, you cannot be held liable for parking tickets, toll violations, fines, or other penalties that occur after the date of sale.
Of course, the buyer should transfer the title, but if they don’t, you could be stuck with those tickets and toll fines. And you may not know this but when you trade in your vehicle the title will stay in your name until the dealership sells it. That could take weeks or months. So protect yourself and file that transfer notification.
“Our customer service team has researched Mr. Rolland’s invoices and has identified the cause for the receipt of the invoices in question. The team found that the error was due to a misread license plate. The number 8 in the plate CSB2**8 was being read as a zero (0).
Our customer service team has reached out to Ms. Rolland to let her know that the correction has been made and the invoices have been removed from her previous license plate.
Our team has reviewed this incident and will review our procedures to ensure we minimize future errors.
We regret the inconvenience this may have caused her. We are looking into why we have not received updated DMV records for the license plate CSB2430. We truly appreciate the opportunity to help a customer and thank you for bringing this to our attention.”