So I am on my way home from a spectacular weekend in Connecticut. I will write about the adventure later tonight, as I am currently sitting at the Sloatsburg Service Area on the New York State Thruway. I am having a quick lunch and taking a moment to chill before continuing the 200 or so remaining miles to home.
It was a year or so ago that the expiration date on our credit/debit cards from HSBC expired and the bank dutifully sent us new cards that were good until 2012 (impending date of doom notwithstanding). Good enough. However, a couple of weeks ago HSBC sent us an additional set of credit/debit cards with a completely different set of numbers on it. Since we pay many of our bills through online services using this account, this has turned out to be a pain in the ass.
One such service is E-Z Pass. Normally I would provide a link to this service but quite frankly I think they are a bureaucratic ball of red tape and quite frankly they can go suck it as far as I’m concerned.
Here’s the deal. We have been changing credit card numbers on the aforementioned accounts as we received notices from the organisations because Earl and I like to act like big-wigs and have multiple accounts with different banks and sometimes we like to spread the financial love around to the bank we deem most worthy. Apparently HSBC is the card on the E-Z Pass account.
Driving to Connecticut in Friday I received NO alerts that something was amiss on our account. I breezed through the tolls with nary a message aside from “E-Z Pass Paid”. On his way back home, Earl encountered an “account low” message and promptly notified me of this. This has happened in the past; we make a call to the E-Z Pass center and then all is well.
This morning, as I was driving Dave to LaGuardia so he could do the flying thing I decided to try calling E-Z Pass to fix the issue over the phone. Admittedly, I shouldn’t have waited until I was on the road but I had more important things on my mind this morning. After fumbling through an endless menu of options I reached a woman that couldn’t help me, who then transferred me to a man that said I was at the wrong department who then transferred me to someone else. The third person was encountered as I was approaching one of the bridges; I figured I’d get an “account low” message and go on my merry way.
The gate stayed down. Traffic began to pile up behind me. A gruff looking woman came from a nearby booth and asked for my tag. As the THIRD person at E-Z Pass asked me for my account number (quick aside: we can use the account all over the Northeast but the call-in center can’t send my tag number with my call when they transfer me?) I said I’d give it to her as soon as I got my tag back from the gruff woman.
“Oh, you’re not getting the tag back”, she shouted over the sound of backed up traffic behind me.
“Never mind, she won’t give me the tag so I don’t need you”, I yelled into the speakerphone and then hung up the phone.
$5.00 later and without my E-Z Pass tag, along with a notification of account suspension, I was back on my way to LaGuardia.
After dropping Dave off at Terminal B, I decided to get E-Z Pass back on the phone to fix the issue. I might not have a tag, but at least I’ll get the account fixed and they’ll send me a new tag.
You can’t fix this sort of thing over the phone. No tag number, no can do. They can look up the account by my address but they can’t tell me that I’m me, even though I confirmed the last four digits of my phone number, the make of my car, the license plate number and the fact that I had just had my tag taken away from me.
I have to go to an E-Z Pass center in person to pick up a new tag. The closest center to our house is 60 miles away and quite frankly I don’t have the interest nor the time.
So all in all, I snapped. I told the unfriendly phone person that she sucked, the service sucks and then I rambled on about something like Big Brother and I’m not going to be chipped by the likes of her.
Tonight I will log on and make sure they have the correct information for our account so that we make up a negative balance. Earl will still be able to use the account for work. But I am NOT going to drive 120 miles (and pay their high toll!) to get another tag. I refuse to do it and I’ll make sure hundreds of toll collectors choke on my exhaust before I set foot into an E-Z Pass Center to get a tag all in the name of convenience.
By the way, take a look at some Thruway overpasses sometime. You’ll notice there are E-Z Pass readers NOWHERE near an interchange. Someone is watching you. The conspiracy theorist in me knows they are going to start issuing speeding tickets via the E-Z Pass service someday. I just know they are.
But not me. I will NOT be using an E-Z Pass tag in my vehicle for as long as I live.
E-Z Pass can go suck it.