Problem Solvers help elderly woman reverse bridge tolls

SEATTLE -- A great grandmother got fed up getting toll bills in the mail for a floating bridge she doesn't even use, so she turned to the KOMO 4 Problem Solvers for help.

Carolyn Black says the first questionable bill came to her Queen Anne home in July, followed by more in subsequent months. Then she started racking up reprocessing fees.

"It's not a lot of money," Black said, "but it's a hassle and it bothers me at my age when these little problems come up. it's not necessary."

Tuesday is Black's 88th birthday, and the Problem Solvers thought the best gift would be to get this great-grandmother some peace of mind.

The research started by looking over the bills she received and double-checking if anyone else might have taken her car across the bridge. Black said not only was she not behind the wheel, she also got one bill on a day when her car wasn't even in the state.

"My mechanic is down in Oregon in Eugene, and he had it overnight," she said.

The Problem Solvers contacted the Department of Transportation and the Texas vendor that processes the 520 tolls, explaining how Black had called customer service, but is too frail to resolve it in person.

DOT reviewed the records and the photos snapped for each crossing and realized the car in the image is not Black's 1995 Buick LeSabre. Transportation officials quickly decided to reimburse the tolls she paid and dismiss the rest. Black hopes it sticks.

"What I want to see is for me not to get any more of these tickets like this," she said.

Even though it didn't initially work for Black, DOT officials say the best way to resolve billing issues is to call their toll free customer service line at 1-866-936-8246.