Neil Skilbeck with some of the road toll bills he has acquired in the past three years.
Neil Skilbeck with some of the road toll bills he has acquired in the past three years.

Revealed: How Qld man avoided toll fines for three years

A Brisbane man, who has escaped paying fees on the state's toll roads for three years, has revealed his secret.

Aspley's Neil Skilbeck, who uses toll roads at least twice a week, has cited sections of the Australian Constitution to avoid court cases and paying fees of up to $5000.

The retired chiropractor told road toll users to ignore hefty fines for late payments and rip up skyrocketing bills from compounding interest on administrative charges.

He has about 100 toll invoices and demand notices for toll fees he owes and has never been to court over any of the unpaid fees.

He was speaking out after Hilton Bradley Lawyers launched a class action this week against Linkt, seeking compensation for those slugged additional administrative charges for not paying tolls on time.

Mr Skilbeck said the secret to avoiding paying road tolls was to stand up to the company and threaten legal action, citing sections s115 and s92 of the Australian Constitution.

An excerpt of one of Neil Skilbeck’s letters to Linkt explaining why he should not pay the tolls and additional fees.
An excerpt of one of Neil Skilbeck’s letters to Linkt explaining why he should not pay the tolls and additional fees.

 

He started waging his campaign against the private company which leases Brisbane's toll roads after an initial fee of $7.11 jackpotted to $31.48 in just 19 days in January 2018.

His bewilderment turned to rage after the company, Linkt, once known as GoVia, continued to send weekly bills, adding on compound interest before he had time to pay.

But he did not let the company's threatening persistence bother him and he fired off a letter of his own, citing relevant sections of the constitution which make it illegal to take away a person's right to pay a debt using legal tender and the right to free trade.

"I also said I was not obliged to pay the toll as I had not entered a legally binding contract with the company," he said.

"For the fee to be legal, the company's terms and conditions have to be clearly displayed for the driver to decide whether to accept them or not - and that does not happen on the motorway.

"I also started charging Linkt $300 every time I was forced to send a reply to their letters."

His last letter to the company, in May 2019, stated he would no longer enter into written correspondence and urged Linkt to set up a court hearing so both parties could thrash out their arguments before a tribunal.

That was the last time he received a debt notice from the company but not the last time he received a debt collection warning.

A month later, in June last year, he received a letter from the Transport Department which had been sent copies of his unpaid bills including one that jumped from $76 to $186 in a month.

Once again, he played the Devil's Advocate and told the department to start court proceedings.

Within weeks, TMR reviewed his matter and waived all fees. He has not heard from either Linkt or the department since.

The Logan Motorway is one of the roads that Mr Skilbeck and the Civil Liberties Motorists Party is targeting.
The Logan Motorway is one of the roads that Mr Skilbeck and the Civil Liberties Motorists Party is targeting.

Mr Skilbeck said he joined the Civil Liberties and Motorist Party after his experience and to lodge his protest against the tolls on a legal basis that Linkt's operations were unconstitutional.

Logan man Ben Musgrave also joined the party and the class action after because he said public assets should not be privatised.

"I want to use the Logan Motorway but I should not have to pay a toll as we are already paying taxes," he said.

"I live in Logan and work near the airport so two trips across the Gateway Bridge every day and that's not fair."

 

 

Originally published as Revealed: How Brisbane man avoided toll fines for three years



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