Computer glitch causes scare for EZ tag customers

April 1, 2010 6:48:38 PM PDT
A message sent to thousands of drivers in our area saying their accounts were delinquent and they owed money to the Harris County Toll Road Authority was a mistake that had a lot of people calling in with questions. Possibly thousands of toll road customers' inboxes started receiving notices Thursday morning that their accounts were delinquent or suspended when in fact they were up to date.

The notices like were sent out first thing in the morning to as many as 2,700 customers. Some customers in good standing were told, "Use of the EZ tag lanes without a positive balance on your account will result in you receiving a violations invoice for the tolls plus administrative fees."

A representative with the HCTRA says as the computer system was evaluating accounts that needed to be replenished with more funds, somehow the delinquent notices were emailed out. Customers that just deposited more money into their accounts as late as last week were told their account was now delinquent.

Calls began flooding the customer hotline as puzzled EZ tag holders tried to figure out what was going on. But a toll road representative says out of their more than 900,000 accounts, it only affected less than 3,000.

"What happened to our system last night was that out of the 20,000 that needed to be replenished, 2,800 of those were sent notifications saying that their accounts were suspended. Out of those 2,800, a few of our customers were incorrectly sent suspended notifications," said Lawanda Howse of the HCTRA.

The toll road authority's IT department is still investigating the glitch and expects to send to letters of apology to affected customers on Friday.

If you are still having problems with your account, you are asked to call their customer service department 281-875-3279.


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