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Thursday, 06 July 2017 00:00

Slashing the E-Z Pass rental fees

Written by Jonathan Druckman

How a NJ Assembly member is hitting back against hidden fees from rental car agencies.

Paul Moriarty is a New Jersey Assembly member who has built a reputation for himself by advocating on behalf of consumers. Moriarty was elected to the Assembly over a decade ago in 2005 after working as an investigative journalist for 17 years. During his tenure as a journalist, he focused on exposing consumer fraud and has continued to do so in his public position. As a journalist, he did his best to draw attention to these issues so that legislators could fix them. Now he can do that himself.

In 2015, the General Assembly passed a bill sponsored by Moriarty that would require car dealerships to inform buyers before a sale is made about recalls on used vehicles. Another bill that he sponsored would prevent auto rental companies from renting out vehicles that had outstanding defects. While, many of these issues seem like common sense, the problem is that there are not many consumer lobbyists out there.

Appropriately, it was Moriarty who began drafting a bill after being hit with a $15 rental fee for using the small E-Z Pass device in his rental car to pay a 75-cent toll. “I can’t stand these kinds of rip offs” he said. The bill extends to rental agencies that do not allow the consumer an option to opt out from using the rental company’s E-Z Pass responder. Drivers would also be exempt from daily fees if they drive through a toll that does not accept a cash payment. It would set a cap of $2 per day for using the responder. It seems like it would be in public’s interest to alleviate traffic problems by having more people using cash-free toll lanes. Having a more reasonable rental price should encourage that behavior.
Changes in technology and a decision to make an exit on the Garden State Parkway an E-Z Pass only exit also contributed to the motivation for this bill. Hopefully, Moriarty’s Bill will pass and help protect consumers from hidden and often ridiculous fees.

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