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You could still be on the hook for 520 toll bills for a car you’ve sold

KIRO Radio's Luke Burbank learned the hard way he's on the hook for 520 tolls racked up by his former car because two state agencies don't seem to be communicating. ( file)

KIRO Radio’s Luke Burbank is in trouble with the state for unpaid tolls on 520. But unlike many of his other unpaid bills, for once it’s not his fault (well, not entirely.)

Luke got a letter in the mail this week saying he owed $71 in unpaid tolls. But when he took a look at the picture of his license plate attached to the bill, he noticed it was actually from his old car he’d traded in months ago at a local dealership. And the charges happened after he got rid of it.

“I called up WSDOT yesterday and talked to somebody there and they said, ‘It’s not just this $71 that you owe there’s another charge that’s about to go to collections,'” Luke told co-host Dave Ross.

Luke quickly contacted the dealership, who told him it’s a regular problem – so much so they have a dedicated person who meets with WSDOT weekly to resolve license issues.

“It was out of control, for months it was a battle,” said a representative of the dealership in an email to Luke. “Since then, [we] have worked out a process with WSDOT,” she said.

The problem seems to be a disconnect between DOL and WSDOT. Lucky for Luke, the dealership has stepped in to resolve it.

“I can’t help but imagine that this is some problem at the state level.”

But WSDOT spokesperson Patty Michaud said ultimately it’s up to a car seller to notify the Department of Licensing when a car is sold, and it’s a good idea to confirm that yourself rather than relying on the dealership (despite their good intentions.)

It’s a good lesson for everyone. As for Luke, he’ll need to dispute the charges and file a formal notice of sale with DOL and WSDOT to get the charges reversed. But Michaud says it shouldn’t be a problem, as long he acts quickly before it goes to collections.

Still, Luke isn’t totally satisfied. He trusts the dealerships’ word that it filed the notice of change of ownership. And beyond that, he thinks the system should be more intuitive.

“They should have known it wasn’t me because one of them was 5:30 in the morning on like a Wednesday crossing 520,” he joked.

“You’re not even conscious then,” replied Dave.

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