Fun fact: The Xerox Corporation used to operate FasTrak (they still kind of do, though under another name), and a class action suit accuses them of lodging unfair charges on Golden Gate Bridge drivers.
If you feel like you’ve ever received an unfair FasTrak charge for travel across the Golden Gate Bridge, you’re not alone. Back when the Golden Gate Bridge got rid of human toll workers in 2013, moving to an all-FasTrak system, drivers who did not have a FasTrak account were supposed to be sent an invoice. This was initially a $6 invoice, though of course, bridge fare has increased intermittently since. Many drivers say they never received these invoices, but FasTrak kept racking up late charges on the undelivered invoices. A 2014 class action lawsuit called out this practice, but FasTrak has managed to tie that lawsuit up in the courts for the last six years. It is tied up no more, though, as ABC 7 reports a judge has refused to dismiss the lawsuit, and it will begin next month.
"There have been hundreds or even thousands of people who were charged penalties for invoices they never received,” class action attorney Adam Gutride told KGO. “What FasTrak did was they just shredded the invoices and imposed the penalties."
Unsurprisingly, Gutride’s firm would like to hear from you if you were ever an un-invoiced Golden Gate Bridge driver who was charged the late penalty.
What is surprising is that the FasTrak system was formerly operated by Xerox, and that managing company has since been spun off into a Xerox subsidiary called Conduent. The lion’s share of these complaints come from 2014, during the early years of the mandatory FasTrak system. But those late fees have piled up for many drivers, who cannot renew their vehicle registration without paying them.
Sure, FasTrak will let you dispute the charge — but only once you’ve already paid the full bill! If that’s not kangaroo-court enough for you, FasTrak also tried to ban the public from the upcoming trial. That request was shot down in December, according to KGO’s dogged and years-long reporting on the matter, though the company did win a victory in being allowed to keep various tolling and penalty policies secret during trial proceedings.
The trial is scheduled to begin March 2, 2020, and you can still jump in on your chance at (probably very small) monetary relief if wrongdoing is proven.
Image: Bay Area Fastrak