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Suffolk family gets nearly $9,000 toll bill

SUFFOLK, Va. - A couple is in shock from a nearly $9,000 bill they are told they have from Elizabeth River Tunnels. Denicia and Cedric Richardson told News 3 they are frustrated with the back and forth between EZ Pass and ERT and no hard proof of the bill.

"It's almost $9,000. These people are crazy because there's no way a bill should be getting that high from just using tolls. Even if we didn't have EZ passes. It was a complete shock," said Denicia.

The Richardsons said they don't understand how they could have a bill for that astronomical amount. Denicia said, "When my account got below a certain amount, they would notify me via text and I would go in and manually replenish."

Denicia pulled up her EZ Pass account and showed News 3 her transactions and how she's been filling up her card. She said she knows they are completely not in fault and there could be a small balance, but not $9,000.

A spokeswoman with ERT said that's where the hefty fines could come in.

EZ Pass acts like a re-loadable debit card.

If the balance runs below zero and the card isn't refilled, drivers will have to pay the regular price and will get an invoice sent to their home.

Now the cost is $3.75. If the invoice isn't paid on time, a violation notice will be sent. The balance is now $8.75. If payment isn't received, bills will continue to be sent. Eventually, a court appearance will be necessary, adding another $100 on a ride originally costing less than $4.

But the Richardsons said they have yet to see proof of what they say they owe and can't get a straight answer.

"EZ Pass, they told me sir, we didn't block your account you need to go to Elizabeth tunnels. So I go to Elizabeth tunnels and they told me we didn't block your account." said Cedric.

A spokeswoman with ERT tells News 3 they did not place a DMV hold on the Richardson's account and the amount owed is not $9,000. The spokeswoman believes believe the Richardsons may be combining the amounts they owe both ERT and the SNJB for tolls they incurred while driving without funds on their EZ Pass.

Now, the family is left wondering how they can get this taken care of.