QLD SPER Bill of Over 18k - What to Do?

Australia's #1 for Law
Join 150,000 Australians every month. Ask a question, respond to a question and better understand the law today!
FREE - Join Now


29 April 2016
Hello, I need serious help.

I have a rather large bill owed to tolls / sper of over 18k. This has come about because I have ordered a pay tag multiple times, however, none has ever been received and every time I call up I get the same run about as I am a 9-5 worker. I don't have time to wait on the phone 45 minutes while they "sort out my issue" as it ends in no result they are demanding $200 a week from me which is a lot with other commitments.

I found out each toll has over $200 of admin fees, that's why the amount total is so large. I read a post that one guy in the same predicament said "I just sent a letter outlining that their so-called "admin" fees were outrageous & not commercially enforceable as they were illegal & that I would welcome an opportunity to state my case in court.

I also pointed out that the operating company was in liquidation & that the court appointed receivers would be very interested to know how the business was being mismanaged when they treat their customers in such a shoddy manner. You would need to check on the receivership thing as my letter was sent 15 months ago. Hope that helps :)"

It helps but I'm not sure on how to write my letter or how to do my own research about the receivership. I honestly need help. It's made me depressed and stressed out.

I'm only 24 and at the moment, my world is grim I can't get ahead. It's driving me almost suicidal.

Victoria S

Well-Known Member
9 April 2014
Sorry can you clarify how the fines arose? You ordered a pay tag but it didn't turn up? So how did that result in unpaid tolls - can't you can pay them over the phone still? Just trying to determine if you are claiming the fines that you have incurred are legitimate or not. I get that you are saying the admin fees are astronomical and $200 per fine.

Regarding the $200 admin fees - the law states that parties to a contract must ensure that contractual clauses do not impose a penalty on a party for non-performance under the contract. Such clauses are contrary to public policy and unenforceable. This is the basis upon which the other guy wrote a letter to say that he is not paying the $200 admin fees because they are unenforceable at law as they amount to a penalty.

You may have some luck doing this if they conceded that it is. Recent cases have not been favourable to arguing that a clause amounts to a penalty - as the case of Paciocco v ANZ held that the late payment fee charged by ANZ was not designed to punish customers but to protect ANZ’s legitimate interests in light of the conceivable losses which may have resulted from non-payment when the credit card facilities were established. The court held the fee did not amount to a penalty, notwithstanding that it did not represent a genuine pre-estimate of the loss that might be caused by a late payment.

The doctrine of penalties as restated in Andrews v ANZ (2012) is essentially that it prevents a party charging a fee for non performance of a contract that is extravagant, exorbitant or unconscionable. You can try to argue that the $200 admin fee is just this.

It doesn't really help you if the company is in receivership or liquidation as it will just be the liquidator that sues you on the company's behalf.