Man says ERC wrongly blocked him from renewing vehicle registration

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A Portsmouth man says Elizabeth River Crossings wrongly blocked his ability to renew his vehicle registration.

The tolling authority for the Downtown and Midtown tunnels claims Dean Blevins has a delinquent toll bill. Blevins, who owns a Ford pickup truck, claims ERC is absolutely wrong.

The truck owner says ERC and E-ZPass have erred, and he is stuck in the middle.

When your E-ZPass account goes negative and you owe money for tolls, ERC can go into the Department of Motor Vehicle’s records and put a hold on your account.

“This one here, this is the one that has expired tags, and has not been renewed since February,” Blevins said while walking to his white pickup truck.

Blevins has a second car. The tags for that vehicle are up in April. He insists his E-ZPass account is always current and is current now.

“Every 19th or 20th day, I send in a payment from my credit card, and it’s always $40, $40, $40.”

Blevins claims he was told by EZ-Pass he owed nearly $300 in penalties and fees.

“None of the [charges] are on my bill… I think I am being robbed.”

10 On Your Side looked at Blevins’ toll bill, and checked the days in question. We found there was always a positive balance and we found no penalties or service fees listed.

Blevins explained, “So if they are saying I went through on any of those dates… It is not showing up on the report. Even if I did, it would easily be taken from the balance that was there. I never got to a negative balance on any of those dates.”

Blevins got a letter from DMV about the truck registration on December 21, 2016.

“The vehicle… is due for renewal in February, 2017. However, according to our records, you have outstanding toll violations and fees that must be paid before you can renew.”

WAVY News connected Blevins by phone with ERC Information Manager Diana Baretto, who is looking into what happened. We also contacted DMV, who is also investigating. It takes a call from ERC to DMV to remove the hold.

“My problems are one, ERC is charging for something that never occurred and number two, the penalty and fees are exorbitant.”

Blevins is so upset about this, he is willing to drive in a truck that has expired tags until ERC gets this right.

DMV called Blevins late Monday afternoon and confirmed the penalties and fees, but said only ERC can lift the hold on the account.

One final note, ERC can only put holds on an account for the particular vehicle in question.  In Blevins’s case ERC claims he is delinquent on both cars, and that’s why the truck got a registration block from ERC.

Baretto said late Tuesday that ERC’s customer service center manager looked into Blevins’ account.

Our ERT Customer Service Center Manager has researched Mr. Blevins’ account and can assist him in resolving his account. Our CSC manager tried calling Mr. Blevins and was unable to speak to him but left him a voice mail. We will continue to follow-up with Mr. Blevins. When customers call our CSC and reach a member of our CSC team they can also ask to escalate their issues to our escalations team who hopefully will be able address their concerns. Finally if a customer feels they are not receiving satisfaction they can email the when they wish to escalate an issue to our CEO.

We always want to give our customers the best possible customer service and we are sure we can resolve Mr. Blevins’ concerns to his satisfaction.”