What happens if my EZ Pass doesn’t work in New York?

Registering for an EZ Pass account is meant to provide respite from frequent EZ Pass violations as motorists – but this is not always the case. Sometimes we break traffic rules unknowingly after driving through EZ Pass Only lanes. This simply happens for one of several reasons. Some of which are:

  • Insufficient balance in your EZ Pass account
  • Improperly fixed transponder
  • Inactive EZ Pass

There are so many reasons why your EZ Pass tag NY may not function at toll plazas, but what happens to you if this is the case? Before we continue, you also need to bear in mind that sometimes, toll violations may not be your fault or a faulty transponder. Read on to know more about the other reasons why your EZ Pass may not work and what you can do about it.

Transponder Malfunctions to keep in mind

When driving through a New York toll, you see a red light beeping at the toll booth, or maybe you get a message such as a “Low Balance,” “Toll Not Paid,” or a “Call EZ Pass” message, then it means that something is wrong. You may receive any of these messages for one or more reasons, such as:

  • You did not mount the transponder correctly: If the transponder is not mounted in an upright position, the electronic trigger at the toll plaza will not be able to read it. This is why before you mount the transponder, you should endeavor to read the Complete Pass, Sticker tag, and Horizon instructions. These instructions provide users with a clear guide on how to install transponders on their vehicles.
  • Speed limit violations: There is an approved limit you are supposed to drive under when passing through a toll booth. If you exceed the limit, the system may not read your transponder since your vehicle is moving too fast.
  • Weather challenges: The weather can also play a part, especially if snowflakes cover your transponder. Signal interruptions are common with snow-covered transponders.
  • Faulty toll reader: If the particular toll you drove through has a faulty reader, it will not be able to read your transponder. Some readers at toll plazas are old and worn out.
  • Age of your transponder: Normally, transponders have a shelf life of between 3-5 years for internal ones and a shelf life of 2-3 years for external ones. If yours has exceeded its shelf life, it will not function as well as it used to. Hence, the need to seek a replacement.
  • Signal obstruction: If there is a metal element, GPS, or a tinted window covering the transponder (Also read: E-ZPass Read Prevention Bag), this alone can obstruct signal waves.

Consequences of a nonfunctional EZ Pass

If the transponder on your vehicle isn’t working, EZ Pass NY will assume that you have committed EZ Pass violations. So they will send you a sanction charge. While it may not have been your intention to violate traffic rules, it would be assumed by the authorities that such was your motive. Often, when the violation occurs you may not even know that your EZ Pass is faulty, and the next thing you get is the toll amount mailed to your registered address.

What action do you take?

It depends on the details of the sanction. If such a violation has never happened before, EZ Pass will send you a bill for the unpaid toll. But if you are a second or third-time offender, a penalty fee will be included to the unpaid toll. If this is the case, you may need to contact EZ Pass NY to register a complaint.

Simply contact EZ Pass NY and notify them of what exactly happened. If you have a positive balance in your account, they will know that you were not trying to evade toll payment. They will also be able to check their system to see if you had always been upfront with your payments.If you are an upstanding customer, you will only be charged for the toll cost and nothing else.

How to check if your transponder is working

To check if your transponder is working, here are a few steps to take.

  • Drive through a toll lane that uses an automatic coin machine for payments. If a green light is displayed, it signifies that the transponder is actually working. If you see a red light instead, it means that there is a problem with it.
  • Drive through an EZ Pass lane on a ramp. If a blue or yellow light flashes, then all is well.
  • Drive through a booth with a cash collector who lifts booth gates manually if it is working. If not, the collector will notify you.
  • Another option is to visit any customer care center to have your transponder tested by any EZ Pass representative. If it is working, you will be notified. Otherwise, you should order a new one.

What if my transponder is no longer working?

The main reason why your transponder may stop functioning is that it is not properly installed or because you’ve not been using it properly. To function properly, you need to install it rightly and also ensure that you use it correctly. Transponders come with non-removable batteries that are supposed to last for five years, at least. If yours is no longer working as it should, contact EZ Pass customer service or take the transponder to any of their service centers near you.

If their agents conclude after close examination that the transponder has malfunctioned due to battery discharge, you will be asked to swap the old transponder for a new one. To make the exchange, you can send it by mail to EZ Pass NY.

Also Read: What is 511 NYC?

When sending a faulty EZ Pass transponder for exchange, endeavor to wrap it in an enclosed foil or metallic bag. Also, include a letter stating your request to their customer service center, and a new unit will arrive at your registered address in a matter of weeks.