I was slapped with £100 fine for not paying a toll after I tried to read out my number plate ONE HUNDRED times
A MAN was left fuming after being slapped with a £100 fine for not paying a toll despite reading out his number plate one hundred times.
Ivor Rodgers, 81, claims he read out his vehicle registration number 103 times to the Tyne Tunnel’s Interactive Voice Response technology.
And the angry holidaymaker has now vowed to never use the tunnel again after struggling to pay the £1.90 toll charge over the phone, reports Chronicle Live.
The retired university lecturer said that the first two days of his five-day caravan holiday to Northumberland were ruined by fears he would be fined for being unable to pay the toll within 28 days.
Ivor travelled to Cresswell Towers Caravan Park on July 27 to begin his holiday with his wife, her daughter and two other children.
When he arrived he called Tyne Tunnel’s telephone toll payment system to pay for his journey because he was unable to access Wi-Fi to pay online.
But Ivor claims that each attempt was met by the automatic voice “frustratingly” responding with one or two errors.
Ivor, 81, said: “The first two days of my holiday were ruined by the thought of a £100 fine, as I tried 103 times to read out my registration plate. Needless to say, I will never use that route again.
“My first attempt to carefully and clearly read out the car’s registration was read back incorrectly by the automatic voice.
“So I tried again and again, actually another 49 times, but each time the automatic voice frustratingly responded with one or two errors.”
Ivor then says he gave up only to start again the following morning, because failure would have cost him a £100 fine.
He continued: “Incredibly, after 25 further attempts, the ‘system’ still persisted in not responding accurately to my verbal efforts to register the five letters and two numbers, no matter how clearly I spoke.
“After lunch, after continued dogged persistence, the 28th attempt actually worked, and I was able to successfully pay the £1.90.”
However, Ivor said he unknowingly paid for a completely different car after the technology picked up another registration plate belonging to a different motor.
It wasn’t until he received an unpaid fine notice that he realised something had gone horribly wrong.
He said: “I was so willing everything to be right that I thought it was. I thought the whole thing had gone through correctly until I got this unpaid fine through.
“I spoke to someone on the phone who asked me for the date and approximate time and they pulled up all the cars going through and they asked me for the first six digits of my debit card and then we both realised what had happened.”
Thankfully, Ivor had his fine cancelled after he notified TT2 of the mistake.
But Ivor said he avoided the tunnel on his journey home as he couldn’t face experiencing any further difficulties navigating the system.
He hopes his experience will help encourage TT2 to look at ways to make telephone payments simpler.
Ivor added: “I humbly suggest should have their ‘verbal’ system replaced by a no-nonsense foolproof system, for example by physically inserting letters and numbers into boxes.”
Customer service manager at TT2, Chris Ward, apologised but defended the technology.
He said: “We are very sorry for any inconvenience caused to Mr Rodgers. Our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology is generally very good at recognising a range of different accents but, on this occasion, it appears to have caused Mr Rodgers some frustration, which is regrettable.
“If a customer does not have Wi-Fi or is unable to use IVR to pay their toll, we would advise them to visit a PayPoint to pay by card or cash.
“There are over 28,000 locations across the UK, including outlets near to the tunnel exits.
“If you are unsure where the PayPoints are, please give our customer contact centre a call and they will happily advise you of your nearest PayPoint.
“If customers are planning a journey through the tunnels, we also offer the option to pay for the journey in advance, either via opening a Pre-Paid account or using the Pay for Passage feature.
“Journeys can be purchased up to 12 months in advance, online or via a PayPoint.”
It comes after a furious dad saw his wife slapped with a £100 parking fine when their daughter had a panic attack in the heatwave.
And a petty woman sparked anger after sitting on a teenager’s car to stop her getting the last parking space.