TNDR--rental car parking ticket glitch--6+ months later.........
Last week we received a letter (in Portuguese) from a law office in Lisbon, Portugal regarding an unpaid parking ticket. According to the letter, we are requested to remit, within 8 days, 21.60 Euros to a bank account noted in the letter. The parking violation was dated September 20, 2012 at 2:23 in the afternoon. The car description and licence # noted in the letter was, we believe, a match for a rental vehicle we had used.
We had returned that rental vehicle to the airport in Sao Miguel, Azores (as per instructions of Hertz car rental) on September 20, 2012 shortly after 12 noon to allow sufficient time for us to take our 1:50 p.m. domestic flight for the 2nd leg of our trip. At the time of the parking violation, we were in mid-flight!
We suspect that a Hertz employee may have used the car for shopping/errands, got nailed for a parking ticket and blew it off.
My spouse does not want me to respond to the letter; he thinks once they have our email address, they will continue to bug us, though they already have our snail-mail address! I emailed the car rental office requesting that they (Hertz) take ownership of the problem, contact the law office and settle the issue.
We used AMEX to pay for the car rental, so the rental agency has our card info on file. We are hopeful that we will not see any more charges to our AMEX from Hertz, though I believe a business has 1 year to submit charges.
For dive trips, I often keep all my travel documents on file for future reference. But after returning to Canada, I shredded most of the documents related to this particular trip. I regret doing that now, as it would have been a source of back-up info detailing rental vehicle pick-up/drop-off information, as well as other particulars.
Lesson learned: keep travel stuff on hand for at least 1 year in the event of unforeseen disputes!
......end of rant!
It could also be just a scam trying to get money out of you. I wouldn't respond. Sue
My inclination would be to ignore it completely. However, Portugal is part of the EU, and those guys have enough government bureaucrats to make life difficult if you ever went to another EU country.
Since it appears you were in the car on or around the date in question, get a copy of the receipt from Hertz and/or a copy of your boarding pass from the airline. If you associated a frequent flyer number with your flight it will be extremely easy to show you were in the air or use the Hertz receipt to show you had already turned the car in. Send them a PDF with all irrelevant information redacted with a high-tech Sharpie, tell the matter is closed, and inform them there will be no further need for you to respond.
I live in Europe and I've just ignored a couple speeding tickets from elsewhere in Europe. Hasn't bit me yet (big criminal here => 2 tickets in 20 years). I would think a parking ticket is way down the scale on importance compared to speeding. The goverment sent me a camera image a few times, then one more notice by registered mail. I'm not quite stupid enough to go pick up mail like that and after that they just gave up.
Since you can prove your innocence if necessary, I wouldn't invest any time and worry unless it does become necessary. It could indeed be a scam and ignoring them works well in that case too.
Last edited by FinnLady; 04-03-2013 at 12:30 PM.
Thank you folks, I appreciate your input.
I will keep you posted on future developments, especially if the EU parking police come to 'cuff me!