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Ask Phoebe: Mystery of the extra 40c

By Phoebe Falconer

The toll road from Orewa to Puhoi on Sunday. Photo / Greg Bowker
The toll road from Orewa to Puhoi on Sunday. Photo / Greg Bowker

Returning to Auckland from Whangarei I decided to take the toll road through the tunnels and stopped at the toll booth on the banks of the Puhoi River. One of the two machines was out of action. Large signs had said the toll for a car would be $2, but the machine demanded $2.40 (some sort of administration fee). My questions are:

* Is it legal to require payment above the advertised amount?

* Could a shopkeeper get away with a similar practice?

* When are the signs going to be amended to show the true charge?

* The notice on the non-operative machine stating that a technician was investigating the problem appeared a bit worn, so when was that machine fixed? Henry Perkins, Auckland.

The two kiosks at Puhoi were damaged by vandals but only temporary repairs were possible before the Labour Day weekend. One of the repaired machines failed again on the eve of the holiday but it was back in action on October 30.

The Transport Agency says it is entitled to charge a fee to reflect the cost of a transaction. No charge applies for tolls bought online at, but a $3.70 per transaction charge applies if paying by phone, and there is a 40c per transaction charge at the kiosks.

The NZTA is reviewing the wording of its big blue and yellow toll road signs. It is required by law to alert drivers to the toll tariffs, but the agency says the payment charge is not part of the toll.

Proposed sign changes are likely to tell drivers that payment charges apply, without being precise about each charge.

To help drivers at the kiosks, the Transport Agency is installing signs advising them they have to pay the 40c charge for each transaction, regardless of the number of toll trips they buy.

I'm not au fait with consumer law so I can't say if a shopkeeper or retailer could follow similar practices.

Can you please tell me if and when the RWC opening ceremony will be replayed on TV? How long before those of us who were stuck on the waterfront in front of one of the three broken screens can watch what was reported to be an amazing ceremony? Raelene Farrell, Auckland.

I Googled this, and could not find a replay date on TVNZ. However, the opening ceremony can be viewed on YouTube. I searched "RWC 2011 opening ceremony tvnz replay" and found it there.

- NZ Herald

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