Frequently, consumers coming to the TCO seem confused about why they owe the amounts they do. Here is a summary of how non-payment of a toll might escalate. The details of the process are slightly different from state to state though.
If you drive on a toll road and did not arrange payment before travel, or did not pay your toll within the required time, the vehicle’s registered owner will receive an unpaid toll notice from that toll road’s payment provider. The notice may also include additional administration fees. It is important to note that the debt is initially lodged against the registered owner, not the driver.
If you do not pay the unpaid toll notice, then you may receive a Demand Notice from the toll road’s payment provider. This will add more penalties to the debt, increasing the amount owing.
If you fail to comply with a Demand Notice, you have committed an offence. State agencies may get involved if the matter escalates.
Alternately, some toll road payment providers could refer the debt to a debt collection agency or take other steps to have you pay the debt.
If a situation reaches this stage, the TCO can no longer assist as the matter is now with state agencies which are not part of the scheme. As these state agencies are part of the relevant state government however, the relevant state Ombudsman may be able to assist with any complaints.
If the Demand Notice is not responded to properly, the matter is referred to a state agency:
- The Department of Roads and Maritime Services in New South Wales,
- the Department of Transport and Main Roads / Brisbane City Council in Queensland, or
- VicRoads in Victoria.
The state agency will then issue an infringement notice. This will add more penalties to the debt.
The infringement notice is issued for failing to comply with the Demand Notice, not for non-payment of the toll to the toll road operator. It will provide information about the options available to you at this stage.
If you do not respond to an infringement notice properly, then the matter will be escalated to the state government’s enforcement agency:
- Revenue NSW in New South Wales,
- State Penalties Enforcement Registry (SPER) in Queensland, or
- Fines Victoria in Victoria.
The enforcement agency may issue you with an enforcement notice. This will add more penalties to the debt.
If the enforcement notice is not complied with, then there are a range of outcomes that might be imposed, including imposing licence restrictions or suspensions, seizing your property, deducting money from your wage or bank account or taking you to court. In extreme cases, you may be jailed.