Botheration

On Thursday night I came home to find two letters from the Ministry of Justice stating that they thought I was the person they were looking for in regards to some unpaid fines.  Now I didn’t recall ever being in a situation where I would be fined by anyone over anything more than late DVD returns or library books, and neither of those things I could remember either.  So the next day I called up to find out what the story was, and it turned out that I had three fines totalling $690 for not having a Warrant of Fitness for my car (which I no longer have—it was a pile of junk, hence the no WOF) from two days in 2009.  Surprise!

The fines were issued by Auckland City Council parking wardens, and the fact that I didn’t receive any of these three notices on my car has me on the side of severely annoyed.  The fact that two of them are from the same day makes me angry.  And the reason I never received any follow up notices on the fines?  Apparently they were sent to my previous address.  Ridiculous!  For two reasons.  One, directly below the WOF sticker on my windscreen was a large blue resident’s parking permit, meaning as a resident of the street I had the right to park there without paying.  And how did I come by this permit?  By application to the same Auckland City Council with proof that I was a resident of the street, and that I had no access to off-street parking for my car.  So they had my address on file.  Secondly, I did receive notice of another two fines for the same thing, the first of which I queried with the council for this very reason.  I had nowhere else to park my car, I couldn’t at the time get a WOF, I was stuck.  And they agreed to waive the fine.  So I had already explained this situation to them.  And yet they still managed to charge me three more lots of fines and send them to an old address.  I actually can’t believe it.

The problem for me with this whole thing is that now, two and a half years later, I can’t go back to the council to tell them how stupid they are because the fines have been referred to the courts.  So I have to start again, this time explaining the situation to the courts, filling out documents in triplicate, and having them signed by a Justice of the Peace.  Bam!  And all that just so the fines will be returned to the council and the court costs (the $90 part of the $690) be removed.  And the whole thing taking four to six weeks, in which time if I’m not vigilant I could have over another $100 worth of court costs added to each fine.

So by the time I had gone down to the court, gone to two different counters, completed one of the three identical forms, I had had enough.  Because after all this I would still have to go and search down a JP to witness the declarations before I could submit them.  I was over it.

So I just paid the $690 and left.  But I am not happy.

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