Thursday, June 1, 2023

In Search of a Toll Pass, I Thought It Would Be Easy

You haven’t lived until you’ve done Christmas in Prague, or so I have been told. The statement was randomly blurted out during a conversation with several friends. I thought “what an odd thing to say,” but tucked that tidbit of information into the deep recesses of my brain.

We came to Germany to visit the Christmas Markets, so I thought why not make the drive and take an overnight trip to Prague. At least I will be able tell my friend that “I lived.”

Now, my ability to over plan is well known. Most trips are well researched, even if the planning started a bit late, as is the case in this voyage.

I spent hours in front of my computer, watching video after video about what to do, where to go, how to avoid scammers, where to get cash, pretty much anything you would ever want to know about visiting (btw, thanks “Honest Guides” for all the good advice on YouTube - Honest Guide)

Since we were driving, after getting great advice from the Honest Guides, I knew that we needed to get a Czechia toll pass. After watching this video - 

I knew that there would be a building at the border that looked like the place to pay the highway tolls, but that it wasn’t the official government facility and that I needed to find the government pay station.

(The video I linked is an update to the one I watched. Since our trip, the government has added a sign directing you to the kiosk, but it’s still not real clear where they are).

I also learned that you should be able to go online to the official Czechia government Web site and pay the toll online. Should.

So, from the comfort of our Berlin hotel, I managed to find the right Web site to pay the toll.

I attempted to pay with the credit card I use most when traveling, it wouldn’t go through.

So I pulled out my back-up credit card, but it didn’t work either.

At this point a lot of things are going through my mind. Did I just get scammed? Have both these cards been hacked? How can neither work. Did they shut down my cards for suspicious activity? Is the site down?

I pulled out my emergency card and gave that a try. Nothing.

At this point I put in a panicked call to my credit card company.

The nice lady on the other end of the call was having a bit of trouble understanding the situation. I explained that we were in Berlin, and I was attempting to charge about $9 to an on-line site to pay the highway tolls in Czechia.

As it turned out, the Web site never attempted to charge either card. So we have no idea what went wrong.

So, we headed to the border to take our chances.

To be continued….