Class action claims drivers unfairly paid $300m in fees
A class action has been launched against toll operator Transurban, which is accused of gouging Queensland motorists by charging thousands of dollars in excessive administration fees.
Law firm Hilton Bradley this week filed a class action in the Supreme Court of Queensland against Transurban's Queensland arm - marketed as Linkt.
Hilton Bradley argues Linkt is charging Queensland toll users "excessive and unreasonable" toll administration fees.
The class action relates to more than 40 million journeys taken on Queensland tollways where drivers are likely to have attracted toll notices charging between $8.50 and $23.81 in administrative charges.
It is understood Hilton Bradley will argue drivers were unfairly charged about $300m in administration fees.
In response, Transurban Queensland group executive Sue Johnson said the company did not profit from fees.
"All fees and charges are regulated by government and they cover the large costs involved with collecting unpaid tolls," she said.
"We have a first time forgiveness program, payment plans and hardship initiatives in place for people who need them.
"We also have a toll credit program for those people impacted by COVID-19 and to date thousands of customers have received millions of dollars in free travel under this program."
Hilton Bradley director Luke Whiffen said there was several stories of drivers who were charged administrative fees way above the actual toll charges.
"We have several class members who were charged in excess of $20,000, for just $1000 in tolls," he said.
Hilton Bradley will argue Transurban's Queensland arm breached the Transport Infrastructure Act 1994, which states an administration charge must not be more than the reasonable cost of issuing a notice and collecting the unpaid toll.
"In some instances, Transurban's ratio of fees to tolls is 24:1," Mr Whiffen said.
He said issuing unpaid toll notices was entirely automated, making $8.50 administrative charge for the first notice and $23.80 for the second notice "unreasonable and exceptionally excessive".
Originally published as Class action claims Qld drivers unfairly paid $300m in fees