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traffic ticket scams

Long Island, NewYork
8 posts
1 review
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traffic ticket scams

Last year I rented a car thru Auto Europe for Florence, Italy. A full year after this rental I was charged $166 on my Am Ex credit card for an alleged traffic violation. At no time did I receive a ticket while in Italy. When I contacted Auto Europe they simply threw up their hands and provided no assistance in contesting this charge. They confirmed that a ticket could be issued without being affixed to your car and could take a year to process. In other words a ticket could be issued - not provided to the driver -- and when you are back in the US and unable to challenge the violation they can charge the fine against your credit card which incidentally included late penalties and a 20% VAT. I contested the charge with Am Ex but their investigation simply produced a copy of the car rental agreement and a copy of my so called ticket which stated that I was driving in the limited zone of Florence (which was where my hotel was and as such would have been a defense). I frankly think we tourists are easy targets for scams of this type so beware! Maybe you should find a different way to rent so they can't pull this stuff!!!

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21,533 posts
39 reviews
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111. Re: traffic ticket scams

Hopegreaux- renting a car to drive from Rome to Florence is very unpractical. Take a Eurostar train - it will take less time, cost less, will be much more comfortable and you won't have the huge hassle of exiting Rome and entering Florence.

Hamburg, Germany
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42 posts
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112. Re: traffic ticket scams

When you receive a traffic violation ticket in Florence, normally first you get a letter from the car rental company saying that they have charged an administrative fee from your credit card. Some people mistakingly think this is the actual ticket but it is not.

After some months, even almost a year, you receive the actual ticket(s) from Polizia Municipale. If you have entered a limited traffic zone, each ticket is EUR 92,25.

European Municipal Outsourcing is in charge of the foreigners' traffic tickets.

http://www.emo.nivi.it

Tel. 00 39 055 3440344

Email: infoemo@nivi.it

When you contact them, you need to give them the protocol number from your ticket so that they can find your information. They speak excellent English.

If you have stayed in a hotel in the centre of Florence, you should be fine. Your hotel will need to send a fax about your stay to the local police (the fax number you will get from the EMO office). Sometimes they cancel all the tickets, sometimes you just need to pay one of them.

Florida
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113. Re: traffic ticket scams

(Hoping I won't be called ignorant) I have received 3 ticket violation notices (Rome, Pisa, and Bologna) and am holding my breath until another 3 months passes hoping I won't get one from Florence also. I do a lot of research before travelling and never encountered information about the restricted zones. A lot more should be done by the rental agency to inform tourists (which does not negate our responsibility in being informed). The ticket in Rome gives a time of occurence hours after we had already departed the city. I contacted Auto Europa and never received a response. The second ticket for Pisa coincides with the time of the Rome ticket. It seems to me there should be a way of recourse. (Dare I say it?), I do feel it a scam on the part of the Italian government to fleece tourists. Didn't mind paying one as they were in the midst of the Naples garbage crisis. But by the third, I'm getting a little steamed.

San Diego...
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3,240 posts
5 reviews
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114. Re: traffic ticket scams

Florida Susan...Your are the first person to post a trifecta, I hope you don't get the grand slam.

The incoming from your post should start any time.

lincolnshire...
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21 posts
31 reviews
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115. Re: traffic ticket scams

Last Monday we received 2 fines from a trip to Florence last September (2007) a few weeks before that we received notification of a fine from our visit to Pisa (same trip). When we go away we like to see as much as we can, support the local economy by eating in the restaurants and buying souvenirs etc. To receive fines for doing what holiday makers do seven months after you've returned home is upsetting and quite devastating to us finacially. It would be helpful if the car hire companies warned us unsuspecting tourists of these fines, as I'm sure none of us would bother hiring cars if we knew the risks involved.

The word 'scam' obviously upsets a few on here, but I can honestly say I feel like I've been scammed and dread the post arriving each morning. Better signs or a word of advice from the hire company would cost the Italian police 1000's of euro's, that's probably why they don't bother!

Castellina in...
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3,318 posts
17 reviews
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116. Re: traffic ticket scams

FloridaSusan - if the tickets are time-stamped as you report then you do have recourse - even the Italian bureaucracy will have to accept that you can't be in two places at the same time. Where did the tickets originate? From www.emo.nivi.it or the corresponding municipalities? I would think sending copies of the two conflicting tickets back to both sources would have a positive effect.

Los Angeles
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1,529 posts
30 reviews
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117. Re: traffic ticket scams

I just want to share a very small thing that I saw recently - these traffic restrictions are hardly hidden. And they are so "out in the open" that the darn little TV screen in my office building elevator had a little thing about "be careful about restricted driving areas when you go to Italy" blurb along with the stock market news and weather LOL

also I am pretty sure Rick Steves mentions it in his book at least for Florence.

PA
2 posts
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118. Re: traffic ticket scams

I too have been a victim of the Florence restricted traffic zone fine. I also rented from AutoEurpoa in Florence. It seem most of the posts are from individuals who also received cars from Auto Europa.

It is possible that the other agencies' cars have the proper documentation?

Boston, MA
1 post
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119. Re: traffic ticket scams

I'll join the club. We enjoyed a great vacation in Italy last Summer. I just received our third letter. This one is for crossing into a limited traffic zone in Arezzo -103.95 Euro. Scam? Beware of pickpockets-even when you get home!

Lisbon
11 posts
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120. Re: traffic ticket scams

Unfortunately this is the sad truth. I don’t know what is the plan of Italian authorities but honestly this is a total disrespect for tourists. It is very unpleasant for someone to take advantage in a situations where people feel lost and confused and instead of help they get a sequence of tickets. With all the due respect for the previous posts submitted to this forum saying how someone should be informed in advance before going to Italy, the fact is that it takes just one error to get into trouble and be a victim of this scam (I really can’t find a better word to describe it), it’s a total lack of ethical behavior.

1) In the car rental company that I used the staff haves a very basic level of English, a lot of questions are not answered or correctly understood. For instance, I used cash to pay for my car rental and I thought that my credit card was being asked has a formality in case that I had an accident with the car and it was necessary to cover the insurance costs. No one ever mentioned that the purpose of the credit card was to cover this type of expenses. Useless to say that you always believe that the company that you are making business with is in a good will and this type of situations are highlighted. Apparently this is not the case.

2) Signs are too small, and many times followed by a huge amount of text that it is almost unreadable when you are driving and paying attention to multiple things ( a very common situation when you are a tourist) . Additionally many road signs are local and are not internationally know added the fact that they are complemented with additional information in Italian that makes your job even harder and obviously you don’t have the option to stop your car in the middle of the street.

3) Speed limits vary inside the highways with little or no information to the driver, they go from 130 km/h to 80 and I didn’t even notice it

4) In the highways the automatic paying machine took my 20 € bill and didn’t credit it, I end up with a ticket to pay the toll again in the next 15 days.

I’m sure that Italian municipals are very happy with the amounts that they receive with this scam but what they are actually doing is to decrease their income in the long term. People make a lot of financial efforts to travel and the authorities just turn that into a trap with the cooperation of car rental companies and hotels that fail to advise tourists and take action to defend their customers. A perfect scam!

I will take this issue to a specialist in international law since I believe that this is too outrageous just to remain has it is.