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Tampa Bay area driver pays forced to pay same toll over and over again

Bills lead to threats that scared local driver
Posted: 6:27 PM, Oct 30, 2018
Updated: 2018-10-31 11:53:17Z

Thalia Denarte said her trouble started after she took a spring trip to Miami and used a toll road.

Denarte was hit with a $4 charge and paid the bill to the Miami Expressway Authority. She showed ABC Action News a receipt for a money order dated May 22, but in July, a late notice arrived.

This time, the bill added a $5 late fee on top of the $4 toll. Denarte mailed a second money order for $9 to the tolling authority, telling ABC Action News, “I did send the payment. I don't want no problems.”

Denarte assumed that was the end of it. But then a third bill arrived in August. This time the authority sent more than just a demand notice – now for $18.62. The letter stated her account was in collections and her vehicle’s registration was on hold.

Denarte said the notice only added to her stress as she battles breast cancer.

She made a call for action to Consumer Reporter Jackie Callaway after the tolling authority said they never received payments.

After the fourth bill arrived, ABC Action News contacted the tolling agency for answers.

A spokesperson said the authority never received the first two payments but later confirmed it received her final payment.

In an email, the Miami Expressway Authority said, “We found the one money order check for $18.62 that was posted to the account back in August and the account shows a zero balance (paid in full).”

Now Denarte said she can focus on her fight against cancer and recovering from a recent surgery.

The authority told us it believes Denarte mistakenly mailed a payment to another tolling authority, but the agency also admits it may have sent out the final bill before processing Denarte’s payment.