Another person stung by a court ‘processing fee’
I was telling a friend here at work her car’s inspection sticker was ready to expire this month (Aug 2012); I wanted to warn her she needed to get it inspected. Being overheard, another employee told me about your column and she emailed it to me … now that I’ve read it, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to tell my story.
July 2007 my youngest son finished his studies in Orlando Florida after 21 months being away from home. He had his car with him and for the sake of clarity, let me add during those 21 months, the times he came home for a visit were by plane. When he arrived home the first week of July, after the dust settled from his return, I made an appointment to have his car inspected the following week. Well, naturally within three days, Roanoke County had sited him with an expired inspection sticker. He shouldn’t have been driving it but that’s what happened. No problem, I thought, I’ll call and explain.
I called the phone number on the citation to try and talk to someone about what had already been arranged and on my third attempt to get a real person I was successful. The clerk on the other end of the line totally agreed with me and said they were more than willing to take the offense off his record if I produced a receipt showing the inspection was done…and then [quote]: “you’ll still have to pay the processing fee of $60.00” ! —that’s what it was in 2007. Dumbfounded, I asked the clerk if he was kidding and I was advised in a polite way no he wasn’t.
Well, right then and there I began my quest: to warn everyone when I observe their car’s inspection or tags approaching expiration date. Whether here at work, grocery stores, gas stations, post office, downtown, church, or wherever (and most times to the embarrassment of my wife), I will tell friends, foes, perfect strangers, and anyone else who unknowingly are treading close to the dreaded ‘processing fee’; I advise them to be sure and have their car looked at before it’s too late. I even keep sticky notes in the car so I can put it on windshields at Wal Mart if I have to.
So far I’ve yet to offend anyone or be fussed at so I think it’s a good quest. My quess is I’ve saved a couple of hundred dollars for folks like myself with the hopes of more in the future. I have been fussed at work a few times when I fail to notice other cars in the parking lot with expirations coming; one girl even told me she was not happy I didn’t tell her that her driver’s license had expired. I mentioned didn’t she keep that in her purse; how could I have known? She told me that was no excuse in her book.
Thanks for the info on the ‘Hidden Costs of Traffic Tickets’ … in this day and time it doesn’t shock me this takes place. It only confirms what I’ve been thinking all along … I just didn’t want to ‘process’ the info. [pun intended].