Cobequid Pass holder receives $16 refund, then is charged $999,999

·2 min read
The tolls were lifted at the Cobequid Pass as of Dec. 16, 2021. (Michael Gorman/CBC - image credit)
The tolls were lifted at the Cobequid Pass as of Dec. 16, 2021. (Michael Gorman/CBC - image credit)

A Halifax resident who regularly uses the Cobequid Pass to visit family in New Brunswick was happy to receive a $16 refund from their e-pass account, now that tolls are gone for Nova Scotia-registered vehicles.

But that joy over a little bit of extra cash quickly turned to worry when Kat Felix then saw a charge for $999,999 in tolls.

Felix said it all started after they updated their credit card information to get the refund.

"Throughout the day, I kept getting these text messages, and at first I thought they were the spam messages from somebody purporting to be my credit card company," said Felix. "Someone was trying to charge me $999,999."

"So I thought, 'Oh, this must be fraudulent and kind of ignored the text messages.'"

Submitted by Kat Felix
Submitted by Kat Felix

Then the texts became phone calls from Felix's credit card company.

The agent informed Felix the Highway 104 Western Alignment Corporation was looking for a hefty toll payment.

"They are trying to charge you a million dollars, so we wanted to make sure," Felix recalled the agent saying.

Then the agent asked if Felix wanted their credit limit increased.

"Of course, I'm not going to request a credit limit increase for that.

"Thankfully it didn't go through," said Felix, laughing.


Not the only one

Turns out Felix wasn't the only one this has happened to.

According to Brett Loney, spokesperson for Nova Scotia's Department of Public Works, other Highway 104 toll users had similar million-dollar charges applied to their accounts.

"The situation has been resolved and and the individual has been refunded the remaining funds from [their] Cobequid Pass account," said Loney. "From what we can understand from having had our team investigate it, it was a unique glitch involving only this individual and just a handful of others."

"At no time [was] this individual or anyone else's account actually charged any additional money and all have been refunded."

This glitch may have affected fewer than 10 people but thousands are heeding Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston's call to get a free transponder in order to be able to breeze through tolls. The premier made the free transponder offer Thursday when he announced the tolls had ended.

According to Loney, the toll corporation has been flooded by requests since then.

"We've had 3,800 requests from Nova Scotians for free transponders so far." he said. "Obviously we want people to get their free transponders but, of course, in the meantime they can roll up to the tolls. We'll see their vehicle inspection [stickers] and we'll be off to the races."

Felix already has theirs and is looking forward to the free ride next drive from Halifax to New Brunswick to gather with family there. Felix and husband Abner Collette will be able to share their million-dollar toll story with family in Moncton, Miramichi and Campbellton.


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