Help Me Hank: Ticket Trouble
Phil Ostrander logs a lot of miles...
"I use my vehicle everyday."
From his job in the burbs back to his quiet cabin in the woods.
He's traded big city pressure for small town serenity but he's still gotta keep that car.
"There isn't mass transit in our town. It's a small town."
It was all sunshine and golden retrievers- and howdy neighbor until Phil got a big-city surprise in his mailbox.
"A parking ticket from the city of Springfield for $55."
A ticket from Springfield?
"I thought it was a mistake."
But wait he did take his daughter to Springfield last March and he did park on the street there...
So OK - it could have happened. But this was the first he'd heard of it.
"I never received a parking ticket on my vehicle or in the mail."
And now some $15 ticket included $40 in penalties and late fees. Phil called the parking clerk and the answer seemed easy enough.
"I could appeal it."
And appeal it he did but weeks later...
"I was denied."
Forty dollars in late fees on a ticket he never received. How did it happen? Help Me Hank has the answer.
There was no ticket on his car, or a notice in the mail. Should he have to pay the late fees? Help Me Hank steers him in the right direction.
Can your town charge you late fees on a ticket you don't know about? Help Me Hank fights city hall. What’s more City Hall insisted: pay up or lose your license. Phil knew that just could not happen.
So he gritted his teeth and wrote a check.
"I was angry, because it wasn't fair."
And $40 in late fees and penalties continued to bug him.
Why was he punished for a parking violation he didn't know about?
"I contacted Channel 7, Help Me Hank."
We called City Hall. OK, Phil got the ticket, and he'll pay that we said but hey.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
"How can you issue a late fee if he didn't know he had a ticket?"
Turns out, because of some sort of black hole in parking ticket recordkeeping.
Hank Phillippi Ryan
"So other people have had the same thing happen?"
They couldn't actually prove they sent Phil's first notice on time. And since the records were unclear, officials agreed to compromise. And soon after our call Phil got another letter in the mail with a word you just don't see everyday. Refund $40 dollars in late fees and penalties.
"It's a good feeling"
You can't fight city hall? Just ask Phil about that one.
"The little guy won for once."
When it comes to fighting a ticket--it's all local--and communities may have different requirements. Check with local officials to make sure you know the rules.