Thursday, May 22, 2008

Guilty Until You Pay

The first of March I was in Austin for a few days. I took a class and ate too much, then I went home again. I thought that was the end of it until a week ago when I got a letter in the mail from a company call Violations Management Service. They informed me that my rent car got a parking ticket while in Austin, therefore they were charging me a $40 fee for their service which they had already added to my credit card and that I could expect to get a notice from the City of Austin parking control as well for another $30.00. Austin, of course, had no idea who rented the car, but Advantage Rent-a-Car was more than happy to give them my name as the guilty party.

All this was 2 months ago, so I worried about having a warrant out for my arrest. I went online to verify what I already knew. The parking ticket was written for an expired parking meter, except that my rent car was parked 4 miles away at the time. I have confidence that a meter maid can read a license plate, so I assume that Advantage Rent-a-Car can't read their own records. You'll notice I've used the name Advantage Rent-a-Car a few times. I just want to warn others away from them.

Nothing on my contract specifies the license number of my rent car except the original receipt, which I didn't think I'd ever need after they determined I brought the car back with no new dings. The VMS company wouldn't remove the $40 fee unless I proved to them first that the ticket has been dismissed against me. At least they wouldn't until Advantage Rent-a-Car advised them that they don't charge state employees that fee. The $40, supposedly has now been taken off my card, but I have to wait till I get a copy of the original ticket, a copy of the original signed receipt for the car and prove that they are two different cars. If Advantage Rent-a-Car, however, wrote the license number for the wrong car and I didn't catch their mistake, I then have to provide affadavits from my instructor and classmates to prove I was 4 miles away from the expired parking meter.

I'll let you know how it turns out, unless I get arrested for an outstanding parking ticket. I think I need to go take some alka-seltzer to settle my churning stomach.



Twist's Tales said...

I got a copy of the parking ticket in the mail today. The ticketed car was green. Mine was red as stated on my receipt, but I still don't have the original signed receipt/contract yet. I believe I could win that in court right now, though.

Delirious said...

what a pain in the neck

Nene said...

Sounds like they've got a nice racket going!

Inside Stories said...

Don't you just love red tape and bureacracy?

Twist's Tales said...

Latest update. The company also finally got a copy of the ticket and took my name off the issue. I've been cleared.