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Texas: Toll Roads Create Rental Car Trap
Travelers who rent cars in Texas are being surprised by large bills when they find no way to pay for a toll road in cash.

Dallas North Tollway
Motorists traveling within Texas in rental cars are being caught in toll road traps that can cost hundreds of dollars in paperwork fees. KXAS-TV interviewed motorists caught by surprise after they traveled on toll roads that offered no cash payment options. Three trips on the Dallas North Tollway in a rented car, worth a total of $2.25 in tolls, turned into a bill for $197.25 for Adriana Martinez-Holtz.

"It was more than the cost of the rental at this point," Martinez-Holtz told KXAS.

After the North Texas Tollway Authority sent Advantage Rent-A-Car a $77.25 bill for the $2.25 in unpaid tolls, the rental car agency added its own fee of $120 to "process" the collection notice. The latter fee was disclosed in the fine print of the contract that Martinez-Holtz signed.

Like Martinez-Holtz, Jerry Martin drove on Highway 121 and found no way to pay the toll on this road that only accepted payment from an electronic transponder. Martin's single trip, worth $1.60, turned into a bill for $41.60.

"You're on the road," Martin told KXAS. "You have no option whatsoever once you've done it."

The Dollar/Thrifty rental car group condemned the lack of toll road payment options for its customers. Dollar charges a slightly smaller $25 fee for processing unpaid tolls.

"It is unfortunate that the highway authorities have taken away the cash option on these toll ways," the agency said in a statement. "It also puts car rental companies in the position of becoming the state's toll collectors."

Source: Rental-Car Customers Criticize Extra Fees For Changeless Tolls (KXAS-TV (TX), 12/6/2007)

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