Dartford crossing: Highways England explain payment system
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By last November there were almost 78,000 accounts closed because they had been inactive and not used the crossing for 15 months. However, many of these road users would have had money stuck in their accounts in preparation for the next time they use the crossing.
Steve Nowottny, news and investigations editor at Money Saving Expert, has urged drivers with an account to “check if it’s closed” and whether they are due money back.
He warned drivers were “even more likely” to see their accounts expire under lockdown as many are no longer driving to their place of work.
He said: “Motorists who use the Dartford Crossing may be surprised to learn that cash can be stuck in closed Dart Charge accounts.”
He added: “If accounts are automatically closed due to inactivity, they won’t be automatically reopened when you next cross, even if there’s still money in there.
“Of course, right now, with many driving less and cancelling travel due to the pandemic, occasional drivers could be even more likely than normal to see accounts lapse.
“Ideally, those with money stuck in closed accounts would be automatically refunded.
“But with that not happening, the message to motorists is clear – if you’ve a pre-pay Dart Charge account you’ve not used in a while, check if it’s closed and if so, whether you’re due money back.”
Money Super Market has said the information on account closures was received under the Freedom of Information Act.
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Drivers must pay the Dartford crossing charge by midnight the day after they use the toll road.
Road users can select two options for payment with a pre-pay system and a pay as you go online service.
Motorists must pay a minimum initial payment of £10 to open a pre-pay account but money will automatically be taken when using the road.
GOV.UK said road users can save on every crossing with the service said to be suitable for frequent users.
However, they confirmed drivers must use the crossing at least once a year or they will have their account closed.
Highways England told MoneySaving Expert they were unable to reopen automatically closed accounts.
They are also unable to automatically refund account holders because it has to delete personal information for data protection rules.
They said drivers would be notified by email when their account is due to be closed.
Drivers can also request to keep their account open for another 12 months if they contact Highways England within 90 days of receiving their account closure warning email.
Drivers in private cars, motorhomes and minibuses with less than nine seats mist pay £2.50 to use the road.
This is cut to just £2 for those who have a Dartford Crossing account.
Express.co.uk have contacted Highways England for further comment.
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