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Parking ticket has a typo in license plate number; do you pay?

snowballsnowball Posts: 2,273Registered User Senior Member
edited February 2011 in Parent Cafe
My daughter lives in DC where she has zoned street parking. Seems her car was parked in a small stretch that is not zoned, and no signs; or this is the story I am getting. There was a ticket on her car from Friday a week ago; it is a $10 ticket and my understanding is people get tickets in this area all the time.

Turns out while the ticket has her correct car make, the plate number has a typo; one letter off from her tag. When she went online to pay the ticket, not realizing at the moment the tag was incorrect, she saw a slew of tickets other than parking for this license plate. I think she said there were over $2000 worth of red light violations, parking, running stop signs and maybe others.

Ethically we know the ticket is hers due to the location where she was parked, although I first thought someone had taken the ticket off of their own car and put it on hers. The dilemma is whether she should contact the police precinct and let them know they miss entered the ticket and pay it. That said, the person tag that got entered has so many unpaid tickets, I don't think this is a big problem for them as it seems they don't pay their fines any way. My daughter logged in under her tag number and there are no tickets listed for her, so this ticket obviously has been filed incorrectly. That said, could this come back to bite her years later if she doesn't correct it? I did tell her to file the ticket away just in case, so she has proof the tag number entered was not hers.

What do you think she should do? My gut is to ignore it, but for $10, it would be easy to pay and not worry about what could happen later. If she pays online, it would be credited to this other persons account, so I think if she were to pay it she needs to go in person and try to straight it out. That plan would take a good bit of her time and I bet it will not be easy. I can see the cashier now not being able to figure out what to do!
Post edited by snowball on
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Replies to: Parking ticket has a typo in license plate number; do you pay?

  • lololulololu Posts: 1,325Registered User Senior Member
    Ethically we know the ticket is hers

    Pay it. Ten dollars is cheap for doing the right thing.
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,939Registered User Senior Member
    I think if she were to pay it she needs to go in person and try to straight it out.

    That's what I would do.

    A number of years ago, we got a delinquent ticket notice from NYC...claiming we owed THOUSANDS of dollars in parking tickets. The plate NUMBER was correct but it was from another state (which was clearly shown on the one ticket they sent us). It was sent to our address. It took us MONTHS to straighten it out...but in the end it did get straightened out.

    Since your daughter really owes that $10, she should pay in person and have the plate number changed to the correct one. It will save her headaches in the long run. What if they decided SHE owed all those other fines because she paid this ONE? She needs to get it fixed...she can try on the phone first...worth trying.
  • sunnyfloridasunnyflorida Posts: 4,790Registered User Senior Member
    Have her call the ticket office and ask what to do if there was a ticket left on her car THAT IS NOT HER LICENSE NUMBER. She does not have to go into details about how close or not close it is. Just call and ask for starters.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    I think she should contact the issuing agency, tell them there was a ticket on the window of her car but the plate number on the ticket doesn't match hers, and see what they advise. They may well throw it out since they routinely throw things out that don't match up.

    I don't think she should ignore it and have it add to the other person's outstanding ticket stash whether they have unpaid ones or not. It's not ethical.
  • nngmmnngmm Posts: 5,708Registered User Senior Member
    Definitely don't think it's a good idea to pay it on line with her credit card... I think she should go in person and have the number fixed, or ignore it all together if she can't go.
  • snowballsnowball Posts: 2,273Registered User Senior Member
    I like the idea of calling and asking what to do about a ticket on her car with the wrong tag number. I will suggest that to my daughter. I am sure this is not the first ticket issued incorrectly, so hopefully the department has a plan in place.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    They s/b able to see how the written plate number matches up with the make/model car in their database and when they see that it doesn't match - hopefully toss it out. It seems that they s/b able to do this over the phone (but with lots of holding of course).
  • mominvamominva Posts: 2,276Registered User Senior Member
    All good advice above; summary here:
    do not pay online and associate her CC to that other account;
    do call (or email for paper trail) the agency for advice if ticket has incorrect tag information;
    if it is not dismissed, pay in person, with cash.
    do not offer correct number (agency may correct all previous infractions to DD tag #) (this is not a fine tuned organization).
  • thumper1thumper1 Posts: 36,939Registered User Senior Member
    It might be easy and it might not be. Like I said earlier...ours was NOT our ticket but somehow it and a BUNCH of other outstanding fines were sent to our house. The plate number on the ticket was the same number but was for a different state. We had NOT even been in NY when this ticket (or any of the others) were issued. Still...it took MONTHS to get it straightened out. Personally I thought is was ridiculous...but we were actually told by our lawyer (yes, we were ready to have him draft a letter to them) that some municipalities send these bills and HOPE to generate revenue because it's such a hassle to challenge city hall.

    I really suggest that the OPs daughter get this straightened out...you never know where these errors will go.
  • garlandgarland Posts: 12,671Registered User Senior Member
    Ethically we know the ticket is hers due to the location where she was parked, although I first thought someone had taken the ticket off of their own car and put it on hers. The dilemma is whether she should contact the police precinct and let them know they miss entered the ticket and pay it. That said, the person tag that got entered has so many unpaid tickets, I don't think this is a big problem for them as it seems they don't pay their fines any way.

    Perhaps you didn't mean it this way, but a passage that starts with the word "ethically" and then goes on to insinuate that it's okay to dump one's own ticket on someone else, because they've got a bunch anyway, seems dubious at best.

    Ethically, I think she has some obligation to make sure her parking issue doesn't harm someone else, even though that someone may have their own issues. (I'd love to read the answer the New York Times Ethicist would give to this.)
  • NewHope33NewHope33 Posts: 6,208Registered User Senior Member
    OP - Your D "earned" the ticket honestly ... ethically she's obligated to pay. And the amount is small. But I'm in agreement with mominva ... your D wants to resolve her responsibility in manner that doesn't lead to significant problems. Will it be a significant problem if the traffic agency charges her credit card for the $2,000 of outstanding tickets accumulated on the plate? If the traffic agency has her car towed because "now we know where that delinquent keeps her car?" For $10 I can't see making a big effort to get the ticket dismissed. Like mominva suggests, have your D go the the traffic office and pay the ticket in cash. And while she's there, she might ask "Do I have any other tickets outstanding?" If the answer is "Yes, you do" then she should make every effort to get the problem resolved ... right then and there. JMHO of course.
  • mominvamominva Posts: 2,276Registered User Senior Member
    NewHope,
    I agree that the D has 'earned' her ticket and is ethically obligated to pay.
    She should take the ticket to the agency and pay, as stated earlier, in cash.

    There will be no other outstanding tickets for this D. They do not know who the D is.
    The agency does not have her correct tag #. It is unlikely that the same make and model vehicle matches the tag # on their ticket.

    If she asks your question, she will be told of the infractions that match the incorrect tag #.
  • ucsd_ucla_daducsd_ucla_dad Posts: 8,573Registered User Senior Member
    From an ethical perspective I think she's only obliged to contact the issuing agency, state she had this ticket on her car but the plate number is incorrect for her car, and ask what she should do about it. She isn't ethically obliged to pay unless they tell her she must but again, once they see that the numbers don't match they may just throw it out in which case her ethical obligation has been satisfied. Whether she pays or it's tossed (issuing agency's decision on that) the innocent bystander with the other plate number is off the hook on this which is as it s/b.

    I'd like to hear 'the rest of the story' once your D gets this sorted out with them.
  • Puzzled88Puzzled88 Posts: 1,099Registered User Senior Member
    I had something kind of similar happen a few years ago when I got a parking ticket for a time and place when I knew it couldn't possibly have been my car. I called the appropriate department and they checked it out and ultimately agreed that it wasn't me. Then, incredibly, I received a refund for the ticket I had never paid.
  • sk8rmomsk8rmom Posts: 5,746Registered User Senior Member
    Is there a mail-in option? If so, I'd stick $10 in the envelope and send it on it's way...
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