RAC Cars News


Double Charging Scandal At Dartford Crossing

By raccars Published

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Drivers are reporting that they have been double charged when using the Dartford Crossing over the River Thames between Kent and Essex. Payments are currently taken online after toll booths were removed from the site in November last year but it seems technical glitches are causing problems.

Motoring groups warned Highways England, previously known as the Highways Agency, that the new system, called Dart Charge, was likely to endure some teething problems. However, those were not expected to last this long into 2015, while customers who have made complaints about problems with the online payment system have said that Dart Change has been slow to resolve them. Complaints have also been made about the poor attitude of customer service staff at Dart Change.

One customer, who was charged twice for a single crossing on 2 February this year, spoke to Dart Change's telephone customer services department and was told the problem had occurred a number of times. The driver apparently found the complaints process too frustrating to follow and gave up the quest for a refund.

The problems occurred when drivers logged on to the system to pay their charge, but were met with problems with the system. They were instructed to try again but later found a double charge on their accounts for the same crossing. When the system was first introduced last November, technical issues were common and a customer support process was initiated to resolve problems.

Some very public complaints have appeared on social media site, Twitter, but Dart Change has been quick to state that the majority of drivers crossing have done so without problems. On average, 100,000 drivers use the crossing every day, and complaints have been proportionally small.

Motoring groups have compared the situation to the abolishment of the paper tax disc in favour of an online system, which has seen those transferring ownership of cars paying tax twice in the same month. However, the Dart Change system is particularly controversial because tolls were originally installed in the crossing to pay for its construction. Tolls were then supposed to be removed, once the cost of construction had been met in 2003.

There were also concerns that drivers would be penalised for unknowingly failing to pay the toll, but Dart Change was praised for introducing a warning system rather than issuing penalties immediately.

The introduction of the Dart Change online payments system was supposed to ease traffic congestion on the crossing, which it has successfully done.

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