13 Investigates: Rockford couple fights for refund from Illinois Tollway after fraudulent charges

When hundreds of dollars in I-PASS charges showed up on a Rockford couple’s account, they knew something was wrong. The transponder they’d reported stolen months before was still in use. But not by them. And they say what followed was a frustrating battle with the Illinois Tollway to get a refund. Sara and Rick Frint don’t give up without a fight. That was evident back in March 2017. "They told me that if he survived that he would be a vegetable," said Sara. Rick was in a devastating motorcycle wreck in Rockford and in a coma for weeks. It was a terrifying time for Sara. And while Rick was in the hospital, she got more bad news. After his bike was impounded the I-PASS on it was stolen.  "I called the tollway and at that time he was in his coma still so we were unable to cancel it and they wouldn’t speak to me," said Sara. Rick made a miraculous recovery and in August, five months after his accident,  they canceled his I-PASS.  Sara says they thought his wreck and the stolen I-PASS were behind them. Until May of 2018. "We got $200 in auto replenish charges in a two day period. So that was kinda my red flag. I went back in the history and noticed over $700 charges since November," said Sara. The total was $783.60 in I-PASS charges the Frint’s didn’t make. So Sara called the tollway. "I honestly thought I would call them, they would say "Oops" and they would fix it," she said. But that didn’t happen. "We reached out to I-PASS  who basically told us it was our problem despite the fact that I reported it stolen in August, and the charges started in November," she said."I feel like for them, maybe $700 isn’t a lot of money. But for somebody like me that’s out on disability and stuff, that’s a good amount of money to us," said Rick Frint.After weeks of fighting for their money back they gave up and asked 13 Investigates for help. 13 Investigates contacted the tollway asking why this family wasn’t entitled to a refund and what the tollway’s policy is for stolen transponders. Three days later, we got this response from Dan Rozek, Sr. Manager of Communications:"After reviewing our records, the Illinois Tollway verified that Ms. Frint did report that her I-PASS transponder had been stolen and she is being refunded the $783.60 she was charged for tolls." The statement went on to say:  "The Tollway strives to provide the best possible service to its customers and regrets any inconvenience this issue may have caused Ms. Frint."We brought the good news to the Frint’s who say they’re thrilled to get their money back, they just wish they never went through this in the first place. "I just can’t believe that they would treat people like this. Especially people that’s going through (what we did). There’s been no empathy on their end," said Rick Frint. "We appreciate everything you’ve done. You gave us a voice when we felt like we didn’t have one. And we’re just grateful that there’s somebody fighting for people," said Sara Frint. Sara and Rick Frint don’t give up without a fight. And this is one fight they can now put behind them.The Illinois Tollway reached out to 13 WREX a day before our story aired to further explain their side of the story. They say the Frint’s case was not resolved sooner because their called never reached an executive level. The tollway provided this additional statement:  "The Tollway continues to work with The Chicago Lighthouse, which operates the Tollway’s Customer Service Call Center, to further refine its procedures for customer service representatives. This was unique situation that was resolved within three business days, resulting in a full refund."If you have a story you want 13 Investigates to look into, you can call our 13 Investigates Tipline at 815-335-7890.

Kristin Crowley

Kristin Crowley

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