In Union and Gaston counties (unfortunately), the N.C. Turnpike Authority. Let’s say that so far they won’t be winning awards as a consumer-friendly organization. Of course, “consumer friendly” and government-run rarely go together, so that hardly comes as a surprise. Some “highlights”:

Triangle commuters who are learning to live with a new-technology toll road have been hit this spring by waves of perplexing messages from the N.C. Turnpike Authority.

First, the agency sent baffling bills to hundreds of its non-customers, telling them they owe nothing for driving on part of the 540 Outer Loop that is not under toll – yet.

Next, the Turnpike Authority tacked late fees and $25 civil penalties onto bills sent to other drivers using the Triangle Expressway, telling them they’d better pay promptly – even for toll bills of less than $1.

These mailings were marketing messages. Their intent was to sell transponders to drivers who had been identified by photos of their license plates. The agency basically told them: If you open an account and stick one of our N.C. Quick Pass transponders on your windshield, these hassles will go away.