Kirkland man shocked at $14,000 bill for crossing SR 520 toll bridge, plans to fight it

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SEATTLE -- Rik Deskin showed up to court on Thursday to fight a hefty toll bill.

In 2012, Deskin says he and his wife crossed the 520 bridge 179 times.

“I don’t deny I owe $895 that I am willing to pay,” Deskin said.

But he owes way more than that because a $895 toll fee ballooned to more than $14,000 through late fees and interest.

“That's ridiculous, I think it's predatory,” Deskin said.

Deskin thought all the crossings were automatically being paid through his Good To Go! account.

“I didn’t know they weren’t drawing it out of my bank till way after the fact,” Deskin said.

By then, he owed the Washington State Department of Transportation thousands of dollars. A collection agency then took over for WSDOT, adding thousands more in collection and interest fees.

“It was unbelievable that that was happening,” Deskin said.

Q13 FOX News went to WSDOT to find out what went wrong.

“They need to have that Good To Go! account in positive standing,” WSDOT Director of Toll Operations Patty Rubstello said.

WSDOT says they sent the couple 33 toll bills, including late notices.

Deskin admits he received the late notices but he says it didn’t explain that his bank account was in the negative. At first, he said, he assumed the notices were a mistake.

But every time Deskin didn’t have enough money in his account, the state didn’t get paid.

“If they don’t pay after 80 days, it results in a notice of civil penalty,” Rubstello said.

The penalty is $40 for each late toll.

Q13 FOX News asked why the penalty is so high.

“They key is to get attention -- what we want is people to pay their tolls. We are not interested in the $40."

Deskin came to Q13 FOX News, hoping WSDOT and the collection agency taking him to court will give him a second chance.

“I want to pay the tolls. I don’t want to pay the additional $13,000 because I don’t have it,” Deskin said.

Whatever happens, he’s now changed his habits.

“I’ve gotten into the habit of knowing what’s in my bank account daily,” Deskin said.

WSDOT promised to look into Deskin’s case further and Q13 FOX News will follow up on their decision.

If there is something wrong with your Good To Go! account, WSDOT says they always send notices alerting the account holder that something is wrong and to call customer service.

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26 comments

  • Watcher

    He should have to pay the full amount. IF I am allowed to charge 1500% interest on money I loan people.
    “Fees” are just a cute way around interest laws.

  • Rick

    I am in same boat!!! they told me I owe 2700 and its from 4 years ago!!! Fine is worth more than my car. Crazy part is I dont ever remember crossing the bridge, I live right on LakeCity Way, I have no need to drive that way!

  • Chal

    How hard is it to know how much money is in you bank account? Seriously. You NOW plan to know what is in there every day? What part of growing up to be an adult told you that you didn’t need to know it before?

    • Chal

      To add to that, I have to agree the penalties and fees are kind of ridiculous. But if they aren’t interested in the $40 penalty fees then seems to me this is a pretty damned easy fix to this $14,000 vs $895. Maybe just a single fee tossed in for good measure. People, keep track of your bank account! How hard is that? Oh yeah, it’s not. It’s easier today than ever.

        • DUH

          It is coming out of your bank account or credit card because it is a auto charge payment system and you have to enter a replenishment amount for your account. Hence when it gets down to a certain amount, it automatically loads up your account/pass.

      • David Kaye

        Seriously !!! You didn’t notice you had 900$ more in your bank account than you should ??!! Bet Deskin is one of those idiots who NEVER check his bank statements, credit card or cell phone bills and then calls customer service when something like this pops up, saying there is something wrong with the company’s systems !!

  • shawna

    i personally think this toll bridge is f-ing redic… the Tacoma Narrow was only suppose to be tooled till the bridge was paid off well its been paid off and not only are the still charging but the price keeps rising… and the fourty dollars added to the amount is just crazy wth and the hold you registration and title as well.. i couldn’t get tabs for one of my cars becuz they said that it had 1,400 dollars in toll bridge tickets i was like wtf and thats only going over it 10 time i believe what a crock of shit if you ask me!!!!

  • B Espey

    It’s easy to be mad at WSDOT because they are part of the big bad government machine after all, but this guy sounds like a knucklehead. How do you not know you have money in your account or not? How is it WSDOT’s fault that you didn’t have enough money to pay your bills? I’m not saying he should pay $14K, but he admitted he received the late notices. So this dude is saying is that he received 33 notices he thought were “mistakes”? If I received the 2nd late notice about it, I’d be handling it right away. Come on dude. Just pay your damn bills on time and take responsibility for the fact that you didn’t pay like you were supposed to. I really don’t have too much sympathy for the guy.

  • Elle

    “They key is to get attention — what we want is people to pay their tolls. We are not interested in the $40.”

    I am sure this sentence should be The key….not They key.

  • Mostoc

    WSDOT applied someone else’s charge to my account and lost the check I had sent to them through online bill pay. The other person must have complained and they fixed his account and slapped me with hundreds of dollars of penalties. Customer service was awful and even going in person to a Good To Go location in Bellevue didn’t help. Finally, I had to take them to court and not only did I not have to pay the penalties, the judge found them in complete breach of contract and made them pay me back my original tolls.

      • Joey H

        You are only half correct. It is an electronic debit from the payer’s account. When you go to your online bill pay, the bank sends an actual physical check through the mail. Which can be lost.

    • RBent

      All states come down to money not just Washington. In fact NY and CA are worse. Our country is capitalist. We like to think it’s a democracy, but when most if not all votes are bought it always comes back to cold hard cash.

  • MamaJay

    I got a ticket in the mail from WSDOT for crossing Tacoma Narrows on my motorcycle. I called them to find out when and other info. My motorcycle had been behind locked doors for well over a year and a half when I got the ticket. Had to argue with them about it, finally got someone to look at the digitial images and guess what……….It wasn’t even a motorcycle and it wasn’t me or my vehicle. They DO make mistakes!

  • RBent

    That is just criminal. Other than mail WSDoT did not try to contact. I don’t check my mail that often. Snail mail is just junk anymore. Just proof our government does not give a damn about it’s citizens.

  • Joey H

    NOW he knows he should be watching his account daily?? I call bullshit. When your account is that low, you most likely live paycheck to paycheck. He knew he didn’t have the money.

  • Doug

    They really are idiots. They claim to send the bill to an address where the vehicles are registered; however, if you change your mailing address and notify the Department of Licensing of the change, Good-To-Go continues to send a bill to the previous WRONG address. They NEVER update their data base to reflect a new vehicle registration address. I ride a motorcycle and I’ve now found out that they’ve been billing me for use of the express lane on the I-405… for which a motorcycle should be FREE. What a waste of DOT time and money. The definition of insanity is doing the same activity over and over again and expecting a different outcome.