Friday, 7 September 2007

Adventures in Parking Tickets

ok, get this.
I bought our car on 18th May this year.

I got in the mail a parking ticket incurred on my car on 13 march this year, in Sydney. Clearly 2 months before I bought the car. I wasn't even in the country then.

So, the fine comes with a form you can fill out to say that you weren't responsible for the car at that time. I filled in the form (and its not just any old form, its a statutory decleration that has to be witnessed by some kind of professional) and send it back to them.

Should be the end of the story, right? Then they sent me a repeat notice, saying that the woman I nominated as the previous owner was never the owner of the car. WTF!??
I have right in front of me the transfer form proving that I bought the car from her on 18th May. So I call the debt Recovery office.

At first (after 15 minutes on hold) the woman said that I am not registered as the car's owner at all. I hassled the woman on the phone some more... eventually, after lots of screwing around, she tells me she found my record in the system, and I have been the registered owner of the car since October 1994. (I was 15 years old then!)

I hassled her some more and she says she'll get someone to call me back. Great.
So, some girl (Krystal with a K) calls me back. Krystal confirmed that I have been the owner of the car since 1994. The only thing I can do is contact the state auto registry (VIC Roads) and get them to fax through some proof that I was not the owner of the car. Apparently, the "vehicle transfer form" that I have showing that I bought the car on 18th May, and the transfer form showing the date the woman I bought the car from bought the car, and the name of the guy she bought it from last year, don't count.

So I called the Victorian auto registry office. Listening to their hold muzak, and a little recorded voice that tells me I'll be on hold for at least 20 minutes, I mused on the deeper meanings of life, and the fact that the call was costing me on a per/minute basis: I see their scam; it's gonna end up being easier to have just paid the fine in the first place

Alright. I finally got through to the registry office...only 18 mins on hold (yay?). The woman there was very helpful, and assured me that I did indeed buy the car on 18th May (thank goodness for that!). The only thing I can do is go into their office, and request a form, which would essentially be the same as the form I already have, and will cost me $7.50. then I'd have to fax it to the debt office.

The big problem is that I am in another state right now and the nearest office is a good 12 hour drive away. Not to mention the fact that I already have this form, and the debt office said its no good. My other option it seems, is to send a fax with all the relevant papers to some other office, and ask them to fax me back the paper showing the date I bought the car, which I can then fax to the debt office, and hope it works. Okay, but I dont have a fax machine, faxing from the post office is horribly expensive and I still cant recieve a fax.

Meanwhile, I've been informed that the fine is still standing, and still in my name, and if not payed by 18th Septemer, court action will be taken. Did I mention that we are going away to the Rainbow Gathering on Tuesday and wont be back for 5 weeks!? Somebody kill me now.

In desperation, I called the Debt Recovery Office again, just to see if speaking to someone different would help.

Only 9 minutes on hold this time, and the woman was most helpful. She seemed to be understanding of my predicament (though no doubt she works full time at listening to people trying to explain their way out of parking tickets). She looked through everything, confirmed that I did indeed buy the car in 1994. I explained my situation again, stressing that I had all the documentation showing when I'd bought the car, and it wasn't my fault the diferent state departments cant get their computer system sorted.

She said, what I will need to do is a long and involved process of getting all the paperwork to prove that I wasn't the owner of the car. Then she heard Littletree singing "Twinkle Twinkle" in the background, and commented on the beautiful singing. :D

Suddenly, a new option presented itself! See, the Debt Recovery office, in their infinite wisdom, sent me back a copy of the original Statutory Decleration form I'd sent to them, stating that I was not the owner of the car at the time. This woman kindly informed me that if I just cross out where I'd written "At the time of the offence I was not the vehicle owner" and change it to "At the time of the offence, another person was responsible" and inital the correction, I can send it back to them and all will be sorted out.

Well, here goes nothing!


  1. Argh! So much red tape and so little gets done. Amazing isn't it?! I had something like that with the birth certificate of one of our homeborn children. Total runaround for a year! And the thing I don't understand is why these people get hostile...just don't get it.

    You seem to have good spirits about it. And you could have just paid it to be done with it, avoid the hassle, BUT there is something about principal isn't there?

  2. I know, such a pain! and the original fine was just $77. I'm probably gonna end up spending almost that much on phone calls and faxing. not to mention the hours of my time GRRR!
    But, hey, I've got time. and I'm not going to pay a parking ticket that's not mine.
    I also got a speeding ticket last week that I knew I'd done, and I payed it straight up.

  3. OY vay! Principles and perseverance! Go you! Sorry you had to go through all that though. Ths Americans are equally as inept at administration and red-tape snafus. Gratefully I haven't had to deal with much of it as of late. I wonder how people can hold jobs in these departments and not pull their hair out. Maybe they are hardened to it?

    Oh and have a lovely time at the gathering. Loved the pics. I can't wait til Teagan and I can make it to another one. :)


Thanks for your lovely words, witty banter and entertaining discussion :)