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Flooded with SunPass charges, Floridians on the hook for verifying their accuracy

Not sure if that charge from two months ago was accurate? It's your responsibility to figure it out.

TAMPA BAY, Fla. - Despite promises not to post more than eight million backlogged SunPass transactions per day, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has increased its pace of processing up to 15 million transactions a day in an effort to clear its backlog as soon as possible.

But Floridians should be reviewing their accounts regularly; the massive number of backlogged transactions could contain errors and, according to the SunPass user agreement, customers are responsible for identifying the errors themselves.

TIMELINE: How 10Investigates uncovered the SunPass mess

While the expedited pace of processing will please frustrated customers who have been waiting for July tolls to post to their accounts, it is causing sticker shock and budgetary issues for other Floridians who don't have the money to pay unexpected totals. The delays have also made it difficult for all customers to verify the legitimacy of the toll charges.

Dozens of drivers have complained to 10Investigates about huge SunPass bills after FDOT's backlog reached nearly 200 million transactions when its contractor, Conduent, was unable to successfully complete what was supposed to be a six-day system upgrade.

Several drivers have complained about toll charges from transponder use while they were allegedly at work and/or on different toll roads at the time.

SunPass' customer agreement says, "FDOT makes every effort to assure charges are accurate. User accepts that errors in charges may occur occasionally. User is responsible for verifying all charges appearing on their account to confirm accuracy. User will notify FDOT of any charges believed to be in error within 90 days of the transaction posted date as discussed in Section 16."

Earlier Wednesday, the state's electronic tolling contractor, Conduent, reported $1.4 billion in Q2 revenues, telling investors it doesn't think the massive SunPass problems will impact its bottom line. "We have the capability to resolve these issues," CEO Ashok Vemuri said, as the disruptions hit the 69th day with no subsiding in customer complaints.

FDOT leaders and Gov. Scott's office maintain they're still exploring penalties for the company's failures, but have yet to announce any and have yet to launch an investigation into what went wrong.

An FDOT representative on Wednesday told 10Investigates "Conduent is working on increasing the number of call center representatives and implementing additional system improvements to provide customers with more options to reduce wait times. A service, known as Virtual Hold, will provide greater flexibility to customers and not require that they wait on the phone for extended periods of time."

Send your stories and complaints confidentially to 10Investigates' Noah Pransky on Facebook or email him at npransky@wtsp.com.

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