July 15, 2022

From Gerald R. Lucas

Uni from EPass: A Shit Show

I’m currently on hold with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority trying to take care of unpaid tolls that I received during my motorcycle journey to the NMS Conference last month. The Uni seemed like a really cool idea: a portable device that I can use in my car and on the motorcycle that will work “in 19 states.” The PeachPass was a pain to maintain, so I thought this could be a great option for my car and Autumn’s. The device has little suction cups on it, so it appears to be made to go from car to car with no problem. Cool.

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Well, no. Apparently, I have to register each license plate that I use with the transponder. At least that’s what the patronizing phone support told me when I called about the stack of unpaid tolls awaiting my return. Well, this excuse seems like bullshit to me, as I used the transponder in Kip’s Benz in March with no problem, and it worked just fine on three of the tolls in June: in Virginia, Delaware, and New Jersey. If the license plate is required for the transponder to work, then logically it would not have worked at all. “It’s in the user agreement you agreed to, sir,” explained two Uni phone support people. That was the excuse they chose to hide behind, so essentially I’m responsible for over $150 worth of tolls and “administrative fees.” Lovely.

They just kept saying the same thing over and over until I completely lost my patience. I requested that my balance be refunded and my account closed. Now what do I do with the $30 worth of useless transponders I have. I’m still seeing red, and I haven’t even talked to an NJ Turnpike rep yet. I know I’m wasting my time, but I figured I would try. Each of the missed tolls in NJ came with a $50 administrative fee and one in Delaware cost $25. I agree that missed tolls should cost more, but that just seems absurd, no?

Also, while I have been on hold, I wrote a one-star review for the Uni on Amazon:

I need to find other places to post it. Today is the first day that I have really wanted a drink in over six months.

Still on hold...

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Well, I was not optimistic, but the operator was able to dismiss one of the administrative fees, so my total for NJ Turnpike was $92.16 (that’s $75 for fees and $17.16 in actual tolls—what a racket!). Adding the $8.19 (two tolls) for Maryland and the $3.28 for Virginia (no administrative fees for these), I paid $103.63, spent 90+ minutes on the phone, and raised my blood pressure to dangerous levels. Lesson learned.