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Motorway Fraud

MOTORWAY FRAUDThe Algarve's motorway, A22, was partially built with EU-money; so accordingly should always be free for use by all. This road is key for tourism, as thousands of cars enter Portugal that way.

But the government, some ten years ago signed a PPP with a foreign company to get paid by users in order to guarantee its maintenance costs. At that time, they had a good friend 'high up' in the EU and the contract was accepted.

As a motorway user, if not using it for your enterprise, you pay a fee for using the A22 within a few days. To do this you have to go to the post-office, stay in queue for a long time and also pay an administrative cost, on top of the transit fee. Or you are in the hands of a monopoly which dictates the rules for a signal to debit onto your bank-account, with no control by yourself.

After many years complaining, the period during which you must pay your fee has been extended by a few more days. If you don’t pay in time, you do not get a warning by email by the foreign company to pay. That bill goes to the Finanças, as it is a debt to the government, not to a private company.  If you don´t check your Finanças account weekly it starts adding fees. A toll fee of €1,50 could easily become €65.

One friend of mine found a note in Finanças, after a couple of months. He wrote to Finanças telling he always pays the tolls a few days after driving on the motorway, which happens very seldom. He asked for a photo or evidence he used the A22. After 6 months he found a link to a document sent by the toll company to Finanças, not to him, telling that car passed Olhão 3.5years ago. No photo was added. A foreign gentleman signed the paper confirming he'd checked the data, only that, nothing further.

ONLY AFTER 3.5 years? WHY NOT A PHOTO? WHY NOT SEND A LETTER OR EMAIL TO THE CAR-OWNER? WHY NOT, AS ALL OTHER ENTERPRISES, ASSOCIATIONS, SEND AN ACCOUNT NUMBER BY MAIL TO BE PAID BY THE CAR-OWNER? Does this foreign enterprise have a sescret account? How come government accepts this absolutely unique procedure? Who wins €, who pays for this trouble? W-H-Y?

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