Does the Mass Pike owe you money?
Investigative reporter Hank Phillippi Ryan uncovered close to two million dollars that should have been returned to you! But Hank started asking tough questions — and now tens of thousands of drivers will get some good news!
In 2004 Doug left Watertown and drove west to Chicago — paying his very last toll on the Mass Pike with his EZ pass transponder.
Once in the Midwest: Doug got a new job, got married and got a new home. He forgot the 20 bucks he left sitting in his EZ pass account. It’s the monthly deposit he’d paid in advance but never used.
Doug: "I just didn’t give the EZ pass another thought."
How many other people have forgotten or inactive EZ Pass accounts? We asked MassDOT, the agency that runs the system, and listen to this:
Hank: "You didn’t know these numbers until we asked for this list?"
Stephen Collins, MassDOT: "No, I didn’t know what the numbers were."
The numbers are shocking, they uncovered more than 81,000 accounts belonging to former EZ pass users. And they’re owed almost 2 million dollars!
Hank: "So if they want this money back, they can have it?"
Stephen Collins, MassDoOT: "Yes."
Hank: "Why didn’t you tell them it was here?"
Stephen Collins, MassDOT: "With our antiquated system it wasn’t something we tracked."
Mass law says forgotten deposits like that must be handed over to the State Treasurer’s Unclaimed Property Division so it can be publicly listed and returned to the rightful owners, but MassDOT’s "antiquated system" was just holding on to it all.
Stephen Collins, MassDOT: "Inactive accounts were not something that was on our radar screen."
Much to the surprise of the Treasurer’s office.
Hank: "What did you think when you heard this?"
Mark Bracken, Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office : "I thought wow that’s a lot of money."
A lot of money the DOT should be giving back.
Mark Bracken, Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office: "I immediately thought it would be an opportunity to afford us to return money to tens of thousands of people."
What’s more we found — the state’s made money from keeping yours!
Hank: "Does this money earn interest?"
Stephen Collins, MassDot: "Yes."
Hank: "Who gets that?"
Stephen Collins, MassDot: "It’s the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
But if you’d get all that interest if your money had been transferred to the Treasurer’s Office.
Mark Bracken, Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office: "I would say an overwhelming majority have no idea they have this money waiting for them."
After our inquiries MassDOT now is shifting gears, and you’re going to get it.
Hank: "Will you turn over that money now?"
Stephen Collins, MassDOT: "Yes."
First, the state is mailing letters to drivers with inactive accounts.
Stephen Collins, MassDOT: "I think it’s what we should do."
Then, unclaimed cash will be turned over to the Treasurer’s Office.
Mark Bracken, Massachusetts Treasurer’s Office: "It’s win win for everyone."
And finally, drivers will get their money.
Doug: "I look forward to getting it back!"
MassDOT officials promise their new software will now keep track of inactive accounts and track down drivers who are due money.
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