Here's an unexpected side effect of the pandemic: Some drivers in Virginia are getting notices that their E-ZPass accounts may be closed because they haven't been used in about a year.
On a Reddit community about Northern Virginia, a user posted an email from E-Z Pass that read, "Dear E-ZPass customer: Our records indicate that your E-ZPass account has been inactive for more than twelve months. Please let us know, as soon as possible, if you wish to keep your account open or if you wish to close it ....." The email then describes what the customer should do.
The Reddit user's post set off a wave of responses from people who complained that it's not their fault they aren't commuting like they used to. And that's exactly what News4 found with drivers Wednesday as well.
"That's outrageous," said one driver. "They will travel again, right? …. The state should do something; they shouldn't suspend it, right?"
Per the E-ZPass user agreement, accounts are closed after they aren't used for 12 months — which could soon affect a lot of people who stopped most travel when the pandemic hit last March.
After News4 reported on the confusion, the Virginia Department of the Treasury announced a six-month pause on suspending accounts, the Virginian Pilot reported on Feb. 2.
However, users who already got an email warning them of deactivation will need to take steps to keep their accounts open, the Pilot said.
If you do get an email from E-ZPass, there's a pretty simple fix. You just have to log into your online account and let the E-ZPass team know you want to keep your account open.
"You may get an auto-generated inactivity notice. On this notice, it'll describe what you need to do to keep your account open," said David Caudill of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
But many say that's an email that they could likely miss. So if you do have an E-ZPass and you haven't been out and about for a drive recently, you might want to take a spin — or go through your email.
E-ZPass leaders say they are also reaching out to the state treasurer to see if a change needs to be made.