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Italian traffic fine
the_devil
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 19:01
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I'm hoping that the good forum members can advise me with their thoughts, and hopefully experience.



I went on holiday to Italy last summer, and hired a car. In about December, £33 was charged to my credit card in the name of the car hire company. I queried this amount, having already paid for the car hire, and having received nothing else from the company.



My card company has now sent me a variety of documents, some in Italian and some in English, stating that I committed a "traffic offence" some 45 minutes after I had hired the car. There was no documentation to show what this traffic offence was, and whilst the official looking pieces of paper showed my name and address, there was also an invoice with my name and address, dated November, from the car hire company, which was never received by me. I might add that I live in London, and the name of my street is relatively common, but the address shown on the documentation doesn't show my correct postcode nor the area that I live in.



The amount charged to my credit card is in respect of the hire company's Administration fees for the traffic fine.



It appears that the request for my details came from Nivicredit s.r.l., and was handled by Safosistemi on behalf of the car hire company. A quick search of websites shows that Nivicredit is a debt collector on behalf of “public service companies, middle/big trading companies and finance companies.” Safosistemi handles "an exclusive service created and developed ... for the integrated outsourcing management of fines and penalties on behalf of car rental and leasing companies.”



My inclination is to go back to the credit card company to say that I have not received any notification of a fine for any traffic offence during my time in Italy, and they are therefore not entitled to charge me any administration fees for something that doesn't exist. However, I don't want to poke my stick into the hornet's nest by doing this and am quite happy to pay their fees if it means that any fine has been quietly forgotten. But to quietly ignore the fine, I don't want to possibly hire a car or drive in Italy at some point in the future and discover I have to go up before the beak for non-payment of traffic violations.



On the other hand, the somewhat basic website for Nivicredit does make me wonder whether it's in the "Graham White solicitors" mould, and this whole thing is just to part me from £33.



Any comments, O wise ones?




Many thanks




Dev


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post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 19:01
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Glacier2
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 20:05
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I would treat it as a PPC invoice and ignore it.
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jaykay
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 20:44
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You should have charged back the credit card as an unauthorised transaction at the time, - I would suggest you try and do it now. If there is some story about being too late, keep on at them saying you queried it at the time and as you have received nothing to suggest what it is for the money should be refunded whilst it is sorted out.



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jeffreyarcher
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 21:37
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There'll probably have been something in your contract with the hire company to authorise them to charge you such fees, however, ISTR that there's something in the recently (last few months) introduced payment services regulations to help with such fees that have been charged which are materially higher than you expected (or something like that).
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london_loulou
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 22:12
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QUOTE (the_devil @ Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 19:01) *
My card company has now sent me a variety of documents, some in Italian and some in English, stating that I committed a "traffic offence" some 45 minutes after I had hired the car.

The amount charged to my credit card is in respect of the hire company's Administration fees for the traffic fine.


Glacier2Posted Today, 20:05 I would treat it as a PPC invoice and ignore it.

Its not a PPC invoice that can be ignored- the charge has been put through
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Glacier2
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 22:26
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You have been charged an admin fee by the hire company. You will not get that back.

You can ignore what the Italian debt collector has sent.
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london_loulou
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 22:32
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AHHHH.... oopsie wink.gif
sorry - my mistake
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jeffreyarcher
post Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 23:27
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QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 22:26) *
You have been charged an admin fee by the hire company. You will not get that back.

QUOTE (jeffreyarcher @ Sat, 27 Feb 2010 - 21:37) *
ISTR that there's something in the recently (last few months) introduced payment services regulations to help with such fees that have been charged which are materially higher than you expected (or something like that).

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jaykay
post Sun, 28 Feb 2010 - 02:33
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QUOTE (Glacier2 @ Sun, 28 Feb 2010 - 11:26) *
You have been charged an admin fee by the hire company. You will not get that back.

You can ignore what the Italian debt collector has sent.


To the best of my knowledge you can get it back. Report it as an unauthorised transaction and the credit card company have to refund it, and then require the car hire company to "prove" it. A task which will take them time and effort.

However there are time limits for a reclaim - but as the alleged offence appears never to have taken place then what is this administration charge actually for? I view it as a scam.


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the_devil
post Sun, 28 Feb 2010 - 23:06
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Thanks for all the responses.

The charge originally came through on my credit card, and I objected to it at that time. The hire company has now sent through the bunch of paperwork to justify it as their admin fee, for supplying my details to someone in respect of the traffic fine.

The credit card company has sent me these details, and is now giving me 10 days to agree the charge or further reject it.

I managed to speak to somebody at the credit card company today, who has said that someone more in the know will call me back tomorrow and let me know what my options are.

If it is a real fine, I quite understand that the card company would charge some form of admin fee for passing on my details. However, as I haven't received any official fine as yet, this is what makes me suspicious that it's a scam.

I'll keep you posted as to the further developments.
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Diogenes
post Mon, 1 Mar 2010 - 07:30
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For Info only Daily Telegraph

As I recall, the admin fees are usually covered by contract but there is a debt collection agency (DCA) called Euro something that will hound you. No record of any court action by this DCA though.

Search www.tripadvisor.com for "italian traffic fines",


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the_devil
post Mon, 1 Mar 2010 - 14:57
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Many thanks to all those who have responded.



I've just had a chat with the credit card company, who have taken the view that since I signed a car hire agreement, they are perfectly at liberty to charge me whatever I want subsequently, and that providing they send a bit of paper saying that's what they charged me, the credit card company are going to do nothing about it. I did use the analogy of a private parking company with them, but according to the credit card company, so long as the car hire company decides to charge me, it's a legitimate transaction.



So it looks like I'm going to have to swallow this cost, unless somebody can come up with some better reasons than me!

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Lew
post Mon, 1 Mar 2010 - 15:13
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Just a though
could you read the hire agreement you signed? ALL of it including the small print?
Surely if your Italian isnt good enough then it cant be said you agreed to conditions you couldnt read?
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jaykay
post Mon, 1 Mar 2010 - 18:03
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QUOTE (the_devil @ Mon, 1 Mar 2010 - 12:06) *
Thanks for all the responses.

The charge originally came through on my credit card, and I objected to it at that time. The hire company has now sent through the bunch of paperwork to justify it as their admin fee, for supplying my details to someone in respect of the traffic fine.

The credit card company has sent me these details, and is now giving me 10 days to agree the charge or further reject it.

I managed to speak to somebody at the credit card company today, who has said that someone more in the know will call me back tomorrow and let me know what my options are.

If it is a real fine, I quite understand that the card company would charge some form of admin fee for passing on my details. However, as I haven't received any official fine as yet, this is what makes me suspicious that it's a scam.

I'll keep you posted as to the further developments.


The hire car company and the credit card people have to prove it's a legitimate transaction, under no circumstances agree that it is. Simply reject everything they try and charge you for. You don't have to show that the charge is incorrect, they have to show it is correct - they can't.

More than likely the card company will swallow the charge if you keep up the good work.


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2020Hindsight
post Tue, 2 Mar 2010 - 18:30
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The debit isn't a new charge - it's an additional amount to the hire agreement you originally signed when you took out the car.

The credit card company is right from that point of view - the hire company have a bit of paper with your signature on it saying you'll pay any charges resulting the hire, so the credit card company can just say you did authorise it and they have your signature to prove it.

You do give hire companies a very open-ended right to charge you for things like this when you sign a rental agreement.
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