eFlow is e-fail
I think it’s fairly well established that I am a fan of technology. It makes my life infinitely easier. But when it goes wrong, it leaves me wanting to kick holes in the offending item.
The latest culprit is the fairly innocuous eFlow tag that is currently stuck to my windscreen. In a way, I sort of deserve it.
You see, when all those people were complaining about their tag not working properly when barrier free tolling was introduced on the M50, I was slightly smug that mine was in perfect working order. It did what it was supposed to. I didn’t get a single demanding letter from eFlow telling me I had failed to pay tolls and could I please deposit the pricely sum of 12 quid in their account forthwith. It even worked on the M1. Sorted.
But then I decided that it was time to change the car. (Yes, yes, I know, we’re in a recession, blah blah. I’ve heard it all before). And there’s where the problems started.
I rang to change the tag over. No problem, they said, we’ll send you out a new one. I gave them the registration number so they could update my account, in the foolish belief that this would mean my account would get charged even if the tag wasn’t working properly.
Oh, how wrong was I. The first letter came a few days after changing over my account, looking for €12. This was followed by letters three, four and five – I’d done multiple trips back and forth to the airport that day. All the letter were posted separately, incidentally. The fines were steep, the shock was, well, shocking.
I dutifully rang and informed them of the mistake. Oh don’t worry, the polite girl assured me, we’ve transferred all the charges over and you’ll be billed as normal. Great, sorted.
More letters arrived for trips taken a few days later. I rang again. Explained again. Was assured it would be fixed again. No problem.
Then another batch of toll charges. Topped off with the M1 tag lane telling me my tag was invalid. Luckily it was early in the morning, because having to cross three lanes to get to the open toll booth in rush hour traffic would have given me a nervous breakdown.
Another phone call. The polite man checked my tag was activated. It was. He double checked. All above board. Ignore the last letter, he said, it was sent before the problem on my account had been fixed.
Except it wasn’t. Three weeks later, another M50 journey, another eflow letter, another “invalid” M1 trip.
Another phone call. Polite man #2 tells me the tag is faulty (technology fail number one). and agrees the system should read my plate and identify it as a tag account (fail number two) and not try to charge me obscenely expensive penalties for failing to pay a toll it should have taken from my account.
A new tag is apparently on its way to me. It’s only taken two months. Here’s hoping it works better than the last.
I can’t be the only one this is continuing to happen to. Why is it so hard for a supposedly system, to work?