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  1. #1
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    Default Traffic Citation While in Italy

    I received a letter in the mail today from Cedars Business Services based in Calabasas, CA (I live in NYC) indicating they intend to collect a debt of $450 on behalf of Comune Di Pisa, Italy. I drove a rental vehicle in Pisa, Italy last year and allegedly committed a ZTL traffic violation (i.e., driving in restricted zone). The infraction was allegedly captured via camera.

    I received a bill from rental company last year seeking payment for processing the traffic citation, which I paid. However, I never received a bill from Comune Di Pisa for the alleged infraction so I didn't think much about it.

    What are my options? I recall reading somewhere that U.S. debt collectors don't have legal authority to collect debts incurred in foreign countries or on behalf of foreign companies, but not sure if that's really the case. My concern, of course, is that this will impact my credit.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    I received a bill from rental company last year seeking payment for processing the traffic citation, which I paid. However, I never received a bill from Comune Di Pisa for the alleged infraction so I didn't think much about it.
    Can you please clarify what you mean by "a bill . . . for processing the traffic citation"? How is this different from the actual citation itself? How much was the payment you made to the rental car company?


    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    What are my options?
    1. Pay.
    2. Ignore the thing and don't pay.
    3. Make an inquiry of the entity seeking payment to confirm, e.g., that it has authority to collect on behalf of the Italian municipality.


    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    I recall reading somewhere that U.S. debt collectors don't have legal authority to collect debts incurred in foreign countries or on behalf of foreign companies, but not sure if that's really the case.
    It's not, so you either misread something, don't recall it correctly, or the thing you read was wrong.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Can you please clarify what you mean by "a bill . . . for processing the traffic citation"? How is this different from the actual citation itself? How much was the payment you made to the rental car company?

    1. Pay.
    2. Ignore the thing and don't pay.
    3. Make an inquiry of the entity seeking payment to confirm, e.g., that it has authority to collect on behalf of the Italian municipality.




    It's not, so you either misread something, don't recall it correctly, or the thing you read was wrong.
    The bill for processing the traffic citation is from the rental company and it's not a bill for the infraction. It's merely the fee the rental company charges to forward my contact information/personal details to the Pisa municipality and sending me a letter informing me of the traffic citation. The fee was 50 euros. The rental company acts as an intermediary but does not collect on behalf of the Pisa municipality.

    This is what the rental company sent me:
    "With reference to the fine and according to the law, we supplied the authorities with your personal data. Please be informed that the local authorities will send you a request to pay the violation to the address reported in the rental agreement you signed and will provide you all the information you may need (fine information, how to pay or claim it). Europcar cannot pay a fine for the customer.

    We inform also that the Italian Police Authority can handle and send violations after months (it's foreseen by law). We have no access to their system, we do not have a copy of the fine and we don't know when the fine will be send to you.

    You have to wait to receive the official notification from the authority to pay it (nothing to do now – please be so kind to wait the Police letter and instructions).

    We thank you for your kind cooperation and remain at your disposal for any further need."

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    It's worth noting that there is a more extensive discussion about this issue at another site. I won't post a link because that site won't allow links to other sites.


    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    The bill for processing the traffic citation is from the rental company and it's not a bill for the infraction. It's merely the fee the rental company charges to forward my contact information/personal details to the Pisa municipality and sending me a letter informing me of the traffic citation. The fee was 50 euros. The rental company acts as an intermediary but does not collect on behalf of the Pisa municipality.
    I assume what happened was that the camera that captured the infraction identified the vehicle by its license plate, which led the municipality to the rental car company. I guess what you're saying is that your contract with the rental car company obligates you to pay for the company to narc you out to the local authorities. That's kind of amusing (although probably not to you).

    I also assume that this (and other European municipalities), rather than trying to collect on these sorts of things on its own, has hired an American company to act as its agent for purposes of collecting, and that's what is now happening. Makes sense, and there's nothing wrong with it.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    But can the debt collecting agency take me to court and/or report to credit bureaus if the debt was incurred outside the country?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    But can the debt collecting agency take me to court and/or report to credit bureaus if the debt was incurred outside the country?
    Unfortunately I am not sure that there is a clear answer to that at this point. They cannot do it if they cannot validate the debt. I know for certain that it is notoriously difficult to validate a debt in Italy. I have driven in many personal vehicles in Italy and every single one of them contained glove compartments full of unpaid parking/traffic tickets. My brother in law (Italian, living in Rome) even told me, with a perfectly straight face, that that traffic lights in Italy were only a suggestion.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Unfortunately I am not sure that there is a clear answer to that at this point. They cannot do it if they cannot validate the debt. I know for certain that it is notoriously difficult to validate a debt in Italy. I have driven in many personal vehicles in Italy and every single one of them contained glove compartments full of unpaid parking/traffic tickets. My brother in law (Italian, living in Rome) even told me, with a perfectly straight face, that that traffic lights in Italy were only a suggestion.
    Interesting, thank you!

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting mister1982
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    But can the debt collecting agency take me to court
    Yes. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. If the collection agency sues you, it will have to prove an entitlement to collect the debt. We can't know if it can do so successfully. I'm guessing you're looking for a way to blow this off with impunity. If I were you, I would respond with a request not only to prove the violation but also to prove the agency's entitlement to collect on the municipality's behalf.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Traffic Citation While in Italy

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    Yes. Anyone can sue anyone for anything. If the collection agency sues you, it will have to prove an entitlement to collect the debt. We can't know if it can do so successfully. I'm guessing you're looking for a way to blow this off with impunity. If I were you, I would respond with a request not only to prove the violation but also to prove the agency's entitlement to collect on the municipality's behalf.
    That's a good idea. Thanks for the suggestion. I think I'll do that.

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