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Hi, Just recieved a letter from the European Municipality Outsourcing Company. Some how I incured a 102.00 parking ticket in Arezzo. Does anyone know if this is a real company? I am really confused. I thought we would have recieved a ticket on the vehicle at that time an we could have paid in town. There is no contesting this ticket, little description, just out side parking hours. The internet address to pay the ticket is www.emo.nivi.it with infromation to log in and pay the ticket. Any advice would be much appreciate. Thank you.

Edited to include "traffic" tickets in the title.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Doru,
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 23 April 2007Report This Post
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I found a couple of threads that report the same agency (EMO) coming after them for parking tickets.

This thread from August talks about the same agency.
 
Posts: 454 | Location: San Diego | Registered: 26 November 2006Report This Post

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Below is a thread from last month; it does appear to be a legitimate company contracted to collect fines.
Toll fine payment thread
 
Posts: 16402 | Location: The Beautiful San Francisco Bay Area | Registered: 06 August 2001Report This Post

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Last month I received a bill for an unpaid toll on the autostrade in June 2004. After reading the post Colleen references and others, I went ahead and paid at their web site with my credit card. I've had no weird charges yet -- unless you count the ones made by my wife! Happy
 
Posts: 780 | Location: Fairfax, VA | Registered: 30 June 2005Report This Post

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My son-in-law got a ticket recently from a 2004 trip. We paid. In fact, after an email exchange with the company, they reduced the charges significantly.

No weird charges on his credit card.

Cheers
 
Posts: 649 | Location: Logan, Utah, USA | Registered: 02 June 2006Report This Post
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Thank you to everyone who has replied to my original posting. I have additional concerns to kick around.

My wife & I received a parking fine notification to the tune of 101.95 euro in the mail yesterday (!); nearly 7 months after the alleged infraction took place. It states that when parking in Arezzo "the vehicle crossed a limited hours area outside of authorized hours". We are interpreting this to mean that we didn't feed the meter the appropriate amount but we're guessing here. If it means something else, we're at a complete loss. What are your thoughts on interpretation?

As you already know, this notice came from European Municipality Outsourcing, web site www.emo.nivi.it.
We have many concerns with this infraction notice.
1. When we returned from our tour of Arezzo, we had time left on our meter
2. When we returned to our vehicle, we did not have a ticket on our windshield
3. This infraction has come to us 7 months after the alleged incident.
4. It's now their word vs ours & we feel we have no room to contest this unfounded charge
5. We visited 14 different hill towns. What's to stop every one of them from doing this same thing? We have no evidence that what we know to be true, is. In the US, when you go over at a meter, you receive a ticket right there. You can see that, yes, the meter went over or no, the ticket is unfounded.

Any help you can give us is greatly appreciated. We feel unrepresented, unfairly accused & so completely frustrated. My wife & I toured about 14 hill towns & I was anal about setting my watch alarm to coincide with our meter time. We are certain we did nothing wrong here. I am in law enforcement & would've paid a legitimate parking ticket left on my windshield before leaving Arezzo.
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 23 April 2007Report This Post

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It sounds to me like you DROVE into an area that was closed to motorized traffic during hours when it was illegal. They have cameras set up to take pictures of offenders, then they just send the ticket.

That's my guess.

Write to them and ask. They responded quickly to my emails.

Best of luck.
 
Posts: 649 | Location: Logan, Utah, USA | Registered: 02 June 2006Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by dj155:
My wife & I received a parking fine notification to the tune of 101.95 euro in the mail yesterday (!); nearly 7 months after the alleged infraction took place. It states that when parking in Arezzo "the vehicle crossed a limited hours area outside of authorized hours". We are interpreting this to mean that we didn't feed the meter the appropriate amount but we're guessing here. If it means something else, we're at a complete loss. What are your thoughts on interpretation?


It doesn't sound like a parking ticket to me - it sounds like you were driving in an area that was only legal to drive in during certain hours.
 
Posts: 454 | Location: San Diego | Registered: 26 November 2006Report This Post
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Yes, a lot of Arezzo has limited hours areas that are for residents only but if you aren't looking closely or are unfamiliar it is easy to not see the signs posted when entering this area and think everything is fine as additional signs are not posted all over, only upon entering the area which covers most of the "center" part of town. They still have metered parking within that area because Arezzo doesn't have much parking available throughout the town anyway. There are cameras set up in these areas to capture infractions. I would suggest trying to plead your case with the company, as someone else mentioned previously that after several emails they reduced the fines.
 
Posts: 64 | Location: Cortona, Toscana, Italia | Registered: 28 March 2005Report This Post
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I too just received two (2) notifications from this European Municipality Outsourcing group that sounded like one of those nigeria emails telling me i just inherited tons of money.

Assuming its legit based on the others that received similar notices (although this doesn't confirm accuracy obviously), where was I notified that I couldn't enter this 'unauthorized space'; where is the proof that I did so; what happens if I ignore the notice; and if i contact this EMO and negotiate as others have done what might i achieve?

Thanks everyone for your advice
Larry
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 02 November 2007Report This Post
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We, too, received a notice and ignored it - just received the 2nd one. It is from the same establishment and only for 15.67 euros for nonpayment of a toll - Sept 2004??? Guess we'll just pay it after reading all these posts. Wonder how much money this outfit takes in from Americans???

Esther
 
Posts: 152 | Location: Chicago | Registered: 17 March 2004Report This Post

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quote:
Assuming its legit based on the others that received similar notices (although this doesn't confirm accuracy obviously), where was I notified that I couldn't enter this 'unauthorized space'


Assuming it was really a case of entering a ZTL (zona traffico limitato) out of allowed times, you are not notified anything, it is up to you to read and respect the road signs that mark the zone. I do not understand why you should be entitled to a personal notification. Does in your home country a policement stop you at every road sign and tells you: look, you are notified this is a speed limit?


Luca Logi aka itarchivarius
 
Posts: 2096 | Location: Firenze, Italy | Registered: 09 June 2005Report This Post
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quote:
Wonder how much money this outfit takes in from Americans???


Are you suggesting that the automatic cameras are able to look at the license plate of a rented car and tell whether it has been rented by an American?

Italy must be even more technologically advanced than I thought...
 
Posts: 322 | Registered: 08 July 2007Report This Post

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quote:
I too just received two (2) notifications from this European Municipality Outsourcing group that sounded like one of those nigeria emails telling me i just inherited tons of money.


quote:
Wonder how much money this outfit takes in from Americans???


I must say I am saddened by the tone of some of the comments here. You commited a traffic violation in another country, yes, the violations may be different than what you are used to, but it is your responsibility to know and abide by the laws! That is the responsibility you assume when you enjoy the priviledge of driving in another country. We have made parking mistakes and we have paid the fines, it happens!

In terms of outsourcing collections of traffic violations, that is also done here in the States. The attitude that if it is foreign it must be a scam is offensive.

quote:
Does in your home country a policement stop you at every road sign and tells you: look, you are notified this is a speed limit?

Exactly. Do you think the majority of Americans would support the effort it would take to somehow identify and warn every foreign driver here of the rules of the road?
 
Posts: 609 | Location: Rehoboth, MA USA | Registered: 30 August 2003Report This Post
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I believe that Florence has this same type of camera system in the central historic area. They can see your license plate and they trace the car. You do need a permit to be in certain areas at certain times. This seems most strange to Americans. This is the second city where I have seen this occur.
 
Posts: 52 | Registered: 10 April 2007Report This Post
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"Does in your home country a policement stop you at every road sign and tells you: look, you are notified this is a speed limit?"

No, but I do typically receive a picture of my infraction if it's taken by a camera with a slight description. If an officer captures it, in the case of a parking ticket, a paper ticket with a description of the offense is usually presented.

As to outsourcing tickets, New York City can be accused of this, but as to the above statement, when I made a right on red (I’m from new jersey, it's legal here) in New York City and got a ticket, a picture and description was sent along with the ticket. I don't think it's right not to pay the fine if it's a legit ticket, but to not assume it's a scam with the amount of scams out there seems like it could be slightly foolish if not costly.

edit: The European Municipality Outsourcing Company's web page isn't even working at the moment. As a company this doesn't reflect well to there "legitimacy". I trust the opinions of those on this forum, but if I had not read about it here and received one of these tickets to find the web page down, I would assume it to be a scam.
 
Posts: 110 | Location: NJ | Registered: 28 January 2006Report This Post
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This is a great thread, given the fact that I too, unfortunately, received a letter today from the "European Municipality Outsourcing" for "Circulated on roads reserved to other vehicles and indicated by traffic signs". The fine is $92.45 Euros.

I looked up the "locality of verification" using mapquest (googlemaps couldn't find it) and it's a street right near the hotel that we stayed at in Florence during early May 2007. I was aware that there is restricted areas near our hotel because our hotel's website (http://www.hotelcasci.com/howtoreachus.htm) warned that if you get stopped by a "traffic warden" to tell them that you're going to your hotel and they'll let you by.

We also used the hotel's valet parking while at our hotel so I don't even know if I was driving our rental car when the camera snapped our rental car's plate number.

So, here's my problems with all this. 1) They haven't provided any proof that I was even driving the car. 2) Offer no means to appeal this violation. 3) Take ~ 6 months to track me down and give me 20 days to make a payment. 4) Only offer payment options through the internet via a credit card or via bank transfer (which is sketchy when you hear of scams and identity theft all the time in the news). 5) Their website (www.emo.nivi.it) is down which makes it impossible to make a payment, or find out more about this company that is asking for almost $150 dollars via a letter in the mail. 6) The European Municipality Outsourcing is a company that is a 3rd party that the Italian or Florence government has contracted with to collect the money. I'm not even dealing with the official entity, yet I'm really expected to pay?

So... I've gone ahead and emailed them at infoemo@nivi.it today and explained that I was staying in a hotel in this restricted area and wish for this matter to be dropped. I will try and post up any response I get. Even if this is all supposedly legit and the way Florence / Italy handles traffic violations, it's a crappy way to waste my time when I have no way to defend my actions. - Chris
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post
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Hi Chris87114,

This is my exact story and concern. In fact my 'violation' also occured in may in Florence. By chance were you staying at the Grand Hotel (or the Westin across the square?)?

Please let me know how your investigation proceeds.
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 02 November 2007Report This Post
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I too just had a letter for a 160 Euros plus postage as a fine for "Circulated on roads reserved to other vehicles." I know where this is coming from - we stayed in February in Florence at the Santa Maria Novella Hotel downtown Florence. I valet my Hertz car with the hotel and paid for the valet with AMEX. I understand that ignorance of the law does not release you from its obligation, but shouldn't the hotel have at least informed me?

I feel very unsafe paying thos through the Internet.

I will be interested what others come up with.

Many thanks!
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: 08 November 2007Report This Post
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As I mentioned above, I emailed the EMO folks on Sunday (today is Thursday), and the hotel (Hotel Casci) that we stayed in Florence on Monday, and I've not heard from either yet. I'm kinda surprised that I haven't not heard back from the hotel, as they were most helpful before and during our stay. I wonder if it could put them in some sort of legal situation so my email is just better to ignore? Perhaps they just haven't gotten a chance to reply...?

I'm also not trying to dodge the law and I understand that you should be aware and obey the law when you travel to foreign places, but this just seems like a money making scam on tourists especially if the hotel tells you to drive to it on their website!

I'm just going to ignore the letter until I get some response or someone comes up with a better reason why I should pay....
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post
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Hello Chris,
I did also send them an email telling them that I am requesting to drop the case because I did not violate any traffic laws. I was a paying guest at teh hotel and have paid the hotel to park my car for the entire stay. Under Italian law visitor are allowed.

I will post their reply here so we can all share that experience.
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: 08 November 2007Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by katecoleman:
Exactly. Do you think the majority of Americans would support the effort it would take to somehow identify and warn every foreign driver here of the rules of the road?


Not really a relevant point. Many countries have cameras to detect infracting motorists (including some places in the US). I don't know of any country where photographic evidence of the purported offence is not provided along with the fine, nor do I know of anywhere where the ticket can't be formally appealed. It's those aspects that I find troublesome about these ZTL fines.
 
Posts: 61 | Registered: 16 July 2007Report This Post
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So the question is do we log in to some obscure site in Italy and provide (they only accept Visa and MC) credit card numbers or do we wire the money overseas to some obscure account number to settle this? Both choices seem bad to me. My choice is to ignore it. They should have charged Hertz and I can settle with Hertz. That would have been the proper way.
 
Posts: 3 | Registered: 08 November 2007Report This Post
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I too, have just received a notice from the European Municipality Outsourcing for a traffic violation on the Via Romana in Florence in June. A fine of e92.25. It is worded in such a way to make out that if I don't pay the fine then proceeding will be taken.
I was there. The letterhead had the Polizia Municipale on the top - it looks suspect - has anyone found out if this is a real company?
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Scotland | Registered: 19 December 2007Report This Post

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Rosso66, Welcome to Slow Travel.

We had previous discussions on the subject. More information here and here.

I wonder whether anybody who received these notices has contacted an Italian Consulate or Embassy to verify veracity.

Frankly, personally, if I would have received such notices (and there is still time; I just drove in September all over South Tuscany Big Grin), I would have deleted them as "phishing... But read the highlighted topics above first.
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post
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I spoke to the British Consulate in Florence today and they said it was a genuine company collecting fines for the local authority.
Thanks for the response and I hope it clears things up for others in this position.
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Scotland | Registered: 19 December 2007Report This Post

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Nice idea, Doru - and thanks, Rosso, for following it up and letting us know the result.

That ZTL (limited traffic zone) in Florence is a nuisance for people driving to their hotels - but I do get the impression that it's improved the city from a pedestrian's point of view (and most of us visitors are pedestrians for the main part of our stay...). We were in Florence last month: our last proper visit to the city was some 5 years earlier, and I'm sure that the city centre traffic was far worse then.

Jonathan
 
Posts: 4527 | Location: Stroud, UK | Registered: 18 November 2001Report This Post
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Several weeks ago I asked the U.S. State Dept. for advice about how to pay a $240 ticket I received in Sicily last Spring -- which had been forwarded to me by Europcar after about a six month delay. The State Dept. official in Washington D.C. emailed his counterpart in Naples, who then contacted the comune in Sicily. He told me to email the police in Sicily (he provided the email address) because they needed "more information" from me. I emailed the police asking what it is they want to know, and have not heard back.

It would have been much simpler if I had received my ticket through an authorized outsourcing office that was set up to take credit cards or otherwise simplify and secure payment. I don't want my check to go missing and still be left with a problem. Call me cynical if you want.

With the increased use of surveillance traffic cameras and the growing number of tickets to foreigners, Italian police (and tourists) need a better system that helps visitors "do the right thing." It sounds to me like this outsourcing office is a step in the right direction.
 
Posts: 439 | Location: Connecticut, USA | Registered: 02 March 2003Report This Post

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quote:
Originally posted by Rosso63:
I spoke to the British Consulate in Florence today and they said it was a genuine company collecting fines for the local authority.
Thanks for the response and I hope it clears things up for others in this position.

Thanks, Rosso; indeed, great information for future (and past) reference.
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post
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I to received a letter, Christmas Eve stating that our vehicle traveled in a public transportation only lane in June 2007. My husband was very disturbed but I remember the exact situation. Glad to read the topic as I too was concerned about the request to give bank information. Oh well, I feel fortunate that we only experienced two tickets for our first driving trip in Tuscany. Happy Holidays to all!
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: 25 December 2007Report This Post
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Hi,

My parents just got four fines from Florence, where they were on vacation nine months ago. Unfortunately they were not aware of this "limited traffic areas", and they never noticed anything indicating they were not allowed to use these streets.

I understand we are responsible to know and follow the local laws, but still I have two questions. How are tourists informed about these areas? And is it really reasonable to give out four separate fines, each of roughly 90 euros within 45 minutes? They were looking for this specific museum and a parking lot, and totally unaware of any regulated zones they must have passed some camera four times without ever getting out of the car. It is a severe blow against their economy. If you get a fine for parking at the wrong place, at least you know after the first fine it was a restricted area. But this system seems very treacherous. Has this happened to any of you, and do you know if there is someone to reason with?
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 21 January 2008Report This Post

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Kal, welcome to Slow Travel!

Can you provide some more details on how were your parents informed of these fines?

I have just gone through a similar situation (just one fine, though; at least so far) and I have some information on instances to be contacted in Italy, at least in my case.

This being said, I did not follow up, simply because the instance to which I was directed is (I suspect) the collection agency, which means the time to go back and argue with the municipality where the infraction occured (in my case, Pienza) is well past.

The system as it is built, with the offended municipality passing on the information to collection and washing their hands of it, give us no real recourse. They may also know well that it is tough to fight charges from another country and that, in the end, against the total cost of the trip, these charges will appear sufficiently palatable to just pay them and be done with them.
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post
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Hi - we just got notice that we had incurred a 30E parking fine in Bologna in late August. (Notice was from rental car company.) The charge showed up on the card we used to rent the car (with a 6E fee).
Was very impressed with efficiency, and now know that not seeing a ticket on car does not mean much. Also learned that one should not assume that US customs, such as parking rules not enforced on Sunday, are not worldwide. And that hopefully my wife learned that even her paranoid husband could sometimes be right when he tells her that we should not park somewhere. Alternatively, as my friends who actually drive in Manhattan know, parking tickets are one of the lesser costs of trying to drive in a big city. Finally, another Italian stereotype bites the does. 36E well spent!
Neal
 
Posts: 67 | Registered: 20 January 2006Report This Post
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Doru,

My parents did visit Florence in April 2007. They got some mail from the car rental sometime in May, saying they had broken some law, but not really what or where. I think the purpose was to let them know something was going on, and that their names had been given to the police.

They became scared as they didn't understand what they were accused of, and my father tried to send an email back asking what they had done wrong, but didn't get any reply.

Now last week they got these four fines from European Muncipality Outsourcing. On each fine there is a timestamp from the "crime", all of which within a 45-minute time frame. They were merely circulating an area looking for the museum and a parking lot unaware of any "limited zones".

Some information in an online Florence newspaper had an article indicating that you need to get the fine within five months from the incident. Is that true?

Thanks for listening,
 
Posts: 2 | Location: Sweden | Registered: 21 January 2008Report This Post

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Kal, in my case I received so far a notification from the car rental company to which is attached what we call here, in Canada, the ticket. The ticket states that the fine must be paid within 60 days from the date of the notice and it includes details of how to pay, etc., but the document itself is not even dated. The "infraction" took place on September 6, 2007 and the car rental company Europcar advised me on December 21st, a long story, which will be published on the www.slowtrav.com in its entirety.

I have decided to wait for the request for payment from the agency that advised your parents. At the time of receipt, I will pay.

Here is the pertinent information I have received in this respect from the ever helpful Auto Europe:

"Here is a web site for helpful English speaking lines that can be called for the "Rome Council" :

http://www2.comune.roma.it/sovraintendenza/english/albe...3/132/857/scheda.asp

*You may pay your Traffic Violation online via the following web site:

http://www.emo.nivi.it/

*[You will be provided a username & password when you receiving the actual fine from the Italian authorities. You will be able to not only pay your ticket online, but you can click the download photo link that will be on the page once you log in, and you can see
yourself committing the violation. The license plate, car, date, and time will all be on the photograph].*

Also, if you would like to speak to a representative of the Italian Nivi Srl you may do so; his name is Filippo and his contact information including phone, fax, email, and physical address is below:

Here is the Florence address: NIVI CREDIT S.r.l.
Via O. da Pordenone, 20 50127 FIRENZE FI
Tel. 0039 055.34.40.323 - Fax. 055.34.40.335
e-mail:filippo@nivi.it

One last web site that will be of most help to you is the (DVLA) or Driver and Vehicle License Agency, this provided information regarding driving in Italy, and the regulations surrounding traffic fines. They also have a tab for "contact us" which may help you
get any of your questions answered, and a tab "forms" where you can download any forms that you may need for sending requests for refunds or information:

http://www.dvla.gov.uk/foi/relinfo.aspx?keywords=Traffic+Violations"
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post

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quote:
Originally posted by Neal:
Hi - we just got notice that we had incurred a 30E parking fine in Bologna in late August. (Notice was from rental car company.) The charge showed up on the card we used to rent the car (with a 6E fee).

Neal, are you sure the 36 Euro are not the car rental's company admin fee of Euro 30 + Euro 6 VAT (value added tax), for processing the advice, with the fine still to come?

Because this is what I received from Europcar: a debit to my Visa for the equivalent of 36 Euro, with the reason for the debit clarified with the assistance of Auto Europe, since the mail from Europecar did not arrive yet...
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post
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I hope not, but my ability to read legalese in Italian is highly limited. But it looked like the parking fine! At least I got notified by Europcar before I saw my visa statement. Neal
 
Posts: 67 | Registered: 20 January 2006Report This Post
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Hello fellow receivers of Firenze justice.

I just received two (2) tickets for (unawaredly) "circulating in a limited traffic area without authorization" in Firenze on April 2 2007. I found this site looking up emo.nivi.it, trying to work out the meaning of these charges.. Yes, THESE charges, for I received one for 11:38:00 and one for 11:39:00 on that very same day, nine months and 19 days ago.

It would be really interesting to find out more about this routine, to determine more specifically whether our respective crimes have indeed been dealt with in just cause, or at least find out who this practice serves. The serial numbers of our two "infractions" indicate there were three more "infractions" between ours. (We took turns driving.. our rental car).

The fines, both arriving today, are for €95.70 each.

Any journalist on this? Anyone wanna go first? It seems reasonable thes things be included in a travel report, as it certainly helps when determining whether Firenze is for you. Incidentally, we had a very expensive flat tyre (caused by a piece of scrap metal on the road) on our return to the airport rental service, for which Hertz charged us blackmail style, "You think it's expensive, You buy a new tyre..!", the extra insurance doesn't kick in at "such low costs".

Some of my bitterness has been soothed by this therapeutic site and the fact that I can refer fellow Italophiles to some of the less pleasant realisms of a holiday in Italy.

At the very least, tourists might want to think twice before renting a car in Italy. Or at least driving it through Firenze.
 
Posts: 1 | Location: Uppsala, Sweden | Registered: 21 January 2008Report This Post

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Johan, welcome to Slow Travel, although I would have preferred, for your sake, that you make your entrance with a happier story!

Whenever I had an opportunity, I tried to dissuade people from driving in Firenze. But what I had in mind was the traffic, the busy streets, the one way streets, the streets full of pedestrians, not these punishing fines, which seem to be something relatively new, circa 2007.

My fine originated in Pienza. I am afraid we will hear more and more of these stories, from more and more municipalities.

I imagine Italian municipalities first got fed up with fines being ignored by a large number of visitors, then they passed this task on to a collection agency, then they saw that the collection agency is more effective it being better motivated, centralised and having dedicated resources. In extremis, this can also be all rationalised into a profitable business, maybe by an increased number of restrictions, of cameras, etc.

We should expect that with the concerns over pollution, more and more limits will be placed on the motor vehicle traffic in these ancient cities.

We also have to agree that these restrictions are not in place because of us, the visitors; our fines are just collateral damage. Municipalities are trying to limit the damage by pollution. Other countries have started this movement a long time ago.

And we have the responsibility of being aware of the laws and regulations of the countries in which we travel. Not knowing the rules or the language doesn't cut it.

I don't know what can be done when all this results in perceived or real abuse. I can surely understand the outrage. You could try the contact (Mr Filippo) from the information I gave three posts higher.

Maybe a letter to an Italian newspaper.
 
Posts: 11312 | Location: Toronto | Registered: 26 May 2002Report This Post
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To comment on a few things that I've seen posted recently (this coming from someone who got a ticket in the mail from a violation back in May).

First- if they don't want you driving in a certain area, why don't they physically block access to regular cars? This whole thing is a scam in my opinion. Now, I do believe that the parties are who they claim (European Municipality Outsourcing is a collection agency associated to a bank, and the ticket is issued through the city of Florence- so I'm not suggesting that this is the same kind of thing as those emails you might get about winning the British lottery or a great business deal out of Africa), but the manor in which tourists are finding themselves wrapped up in this bigbrother means of taxing people is something that we should not simply give in to. If everone just writes a check or gives over their creditcard info and pays these fines where does it stop? The day is coming all too quick when our governments will simply use the GPS navigation systems to continuously mail us fines everytime you violate the speedlimit where you happen to be driving. Enough is enough. Now I'll get off the my soapbox and give some more details that will hopefully help others make the right decisions for your own selves.....

My hotel which was about a block from the Duomo in Florence told me to drive to their address. They never even mentioned before hand, during our stay, or in the reply that I didn't get from them in regards to this matter- that I shouldn't drive on certain streets.

Second- to the arguement of when you travel you need to respect the laws of the place you are. Fine- then they should respect laws that I am granted in my country and offer a way for me to defend myself and/or provide definitive evidence that I was in fact driving the car. I've been told by the company trying to collect the fine that it's against Italian law for them to photograph the driver (they provided a supposed shot of the license plate on the rental car). And in regards to my arguement that I may not have even been driving the car at the time of the violation (we had the car valet parked everyday we were in Florence), I was told that I am responsible for any violations during my rental regardless of who was driving. So, if the car was stolen while I rented it, and used in a crime, I would be responsible? Maybe, who knows... but it doesn't seem just to me.

So far, the rental car company (Europcar) has only charged my credit card for providing my information to the company trying to collect the fine. I believe it was ~ $30 Euro plus an international finance charge. I, so far, have successfully disputed this charge with my credit card company and have been refunded the amount. I will keep an eye out for the full fine to be charged to my creditcard and will attempt to dispute that as well. But as you can guess, I have no plans to pay these unjust taxes unless I learn there's a really good reason too.
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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quote:
Originally posted by Chris87114:


First- if they don't want you driving in a certain area, why don't they physically block access to regular cars?


What like a moat? Happy

Reality is you accepted the responsibilty of driving a big hunk of metal. A dangerous hunk of metal. I guess they should have required you to pass an Italian driving test first but short of that it's on you.

You're supposed to know the speed limits. You're supposed to know the signs. You're supposed to know which side of the road to drive on. Etc.
 
Posts: 3034 | Location: Medio Vastese | Registered: 07 March 2006Report This Post
New Member
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This was one of the most well thought out posts to this frustrating situation. Since when is there no proof and no recourse?

Anyway, good luck to us all on the fees being disputed on the credit cards. I disputed mine and amex temporaily took it off only to put it back on when Europcar provided proof that in the contract we all signed they are permitted to charge us any fees and we must pay.

Now I just hope the same does not apply for the tickets themselves, if and when the 'notification' actually turns itself into a penalty
 
Posts: 4 | Registered: 02 November 2007Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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This is a pressing topic that needs a solution, it would be helpful if a seperate thread could be set up to handle all the emails--moderators?

We should be able to bring pressure to have these zones clearly marked, which, apparantly they are not. If the zones are not marked, it is entrapment which is unethical and illegal even in Italy. People do break laws willfully, eg. speeding and they know it because the speed limits are posted. No one should have a complaint there except that the rental car company fees seem exhorbitant.

Secondly, getting screwed over by the hotel, as was described here, needs to be addressed. The name of the hotel should be published and noted that they are misleading guests by telling them it is ok to drive to the hotel and then incurring a fine by breaking the law and passing it on to the guest.

This past June we were in Sicily with italian relatives and travelled in a 3 or 4 car caravan, that included cars rented by the italian relatives. If there were any infractions by driving in forbidden zones, the tickets should be coming through soon if there are any.
 
Posts: 1144 | Registered: 22 September 2005Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick z:
quote:
Originally posted by Chris87114:


First- if they don't want you driving in a certain area, why don't they physically block access to regular cars?


What like a moat? Happy

Reality is you accepted the responsibilty of driving a big hunk of metal. A dangerous hunk of metal. I guess they should have required you to pass an Italian driving test first but short of that it's on you.

You're supposed to know the speed limits. You're supposed to know the signs. You're supposed to know which side of the road to drive on. Etc.

I agree with the general concept of your statements in that I am responsible for my actions, however, I am in disagreement with the manor in which the government and corporations feel like they are justified to stick it to ordinarily law-abiding citizens that have no recourse.

And yes, you're supposed to know the speed limits, but I can bet that you occasionally go 1 or 2 mph / kph over the speed limit? How would you feel if every time that happened you got a ticket in the mail? More likely in that situation, if there was a police officer present who pulled you over, he/she would likely give you some leniency in your violation of the law, and at least there would be a person to actual talk to about such a violation. In the case of electric law enforcers (traffic cameras) there no leniency or human compassion. Is this the world you want to live in? How about the time you cross the street in between blocks. In most places, that's technically against the law. Do you want a ticket every time you do that safely? In taking responsibility, none of us are trying to get out of situation such as a traffic accident where there was actual damage to someone or something. This is simply an unjust tax on drivers.

And to your sarcastic "moat" comment, a simple gate that opens for buses or special cars with a pass, or obviously visible sign would be great. A small sign hanging somewhere out of the direct vision of an out of town guest, in my opinion, amounts to entrapment. None of us drove through a historic area at 90mph here. We simply turned down some street that someone recently deemed prohibited.

Like another poster, I'm waiting for my credit card company to reject the credit they've given me. I, ironically, got a reply (only took a month) from Europcar today where they've reiterated that I should have read all of the fine print because it stated they can charge admin fees and that I'm responsible for everything. I will definitely never rent from them again as they were nothing but trouble from the start after they downgraded me and argued that they didn't. Oh well, water under the bridge.

And to clarify, I think perhaps my hotel was on a street that was ok to drive to and from, but apparently there's a street within a block that's not and apparently, that's where the camera was. Like I stated, my hotel never warned me about any prohibited streets before, during or after my stay. The hotel was Hotel Casci. Overall, I highly recommend this place as they were very responsive to emails before our stay and provided excellent service during our stay as well. I do find it a little disturbing that they never responded to my email about this issue after our stay though. At the very least, they could have replied so that I know they'll warn future visitors. I still don't even know where I supposedly broke the law. Google maps couldn't even find the street on the violation and it wasn't clear on mapquest either.
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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I wonder if you entered the Florence center to Hotel Casci from the railway station to via Panzani. In one direction (from station to Duomo) it is reserved to public transportation and once you have passed the control camera no hotel can do anything to stop the fine. This is a fairly common occurence, however the forbidden direction is clearly marked.

There are several such traps around Florence, another infamous one being via de' Benci. However, they are all marked with signs.


Luca Logi aka itarchivarius
 
Posts: 2096 | Location: Firenze, Italy | Registered: 09 June 2005Report This Post

Gathering Hero

Slow Traveler
Picture of Jane
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There is information about these zones and more here Driving in Tuscany but the problem is that is not easily accessed and it is info needed prior to traveling rather than after. As has been said, this is a fairly common topic as many, many people have found themselves with these tickets--even Italians. The idea of having a sticky thread devoted to this might have some value. But if there are too many of these kinds of threads the top of the board gets very crowded.
 
Posts: 8154 | Location: San Diego, CA | Registered: 26 June 2001Report This Post
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I wouldn't doubt that there were signs, but either we didn't see them or at the time were just trying to navigate our way to/from the hotel, which we found tricky to do.

And I don't mean to come across as though I'm suggesting that it's the hotel's fault or that they should somehow intervene for me, but a warning would have been nice when at least one of the emails to them prior to our visit was to inquire about how to drive to their location. A simple "hey, make sure you stay on street X because there are cameras on prohibited street Y" would have been great and could have avoided all of this. I would like to hope that the point of the cameras is to deter traffic from these streets (rather than just make a ton of money on tourists) so it would go a long way for visitors to be warned to not drive on them before they're face to face with a foreign set of conditions which they must navigate real time and any error (of driving down a wrong street) amounts to a ~$175 dollar fine (fine + rental car company admin fees).

And while this might be a long shot in placing blame on someone other than me, our hotel offered valet parking. There's a chance that I wasn't even driving down one of these streets since we had the car parked/retrieved each of the 3 days we stayed at the hotel. Without a picture of me at the wheel, I guess I'll never know. And I'll even admit, it's more probable that I did in fact drive down a street for a block or so that I shouldn't have (according to a sign), but should that really equal the fine that I am supposed to pay?
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Jane:
There is information about these zones and more here Driving in Tuscany but the problem is that is not easily accessed and it is info needed prior to traveling rather than after.


Even from the link above it says "It is permissible to drive to a hotel within the restricted areas or to a parking garage, but, it is imperative that the hotel or garage call your license plate number into the police. This will give you safe passage. Do not assume that this call will be made, ask them to make the call and then check later that it was made. To be safe, keep your hotel or garage receipt in the event that you do get a ticket, then you can challenge it."

I would be happy to challenge it, can anyone tell me how? Unfortunately, the city of Florence (Firenze) has decided to immediately turn these matters over to a collection ageny (EMO) who has no interesting helping people, only to collect fines and turn a profit as a business. And just in case anyone's reading this before they get a ticket, you are not given an option to pay the city of Florence. Upon first notification that you committed a violation, you are already left to deal with a collection agency (the EMO).

Here's the reply I got back from the European Municipality Outsourcing customer service on 11/28/07- "Dear Mr Xxxxxx,

The notice of payment that you have received is for driving along a lane reserved for special kinds of vehicles, as indicated by the traffic signs (public transport, cabs, ambulances, police cars, etc.), in Via XXVII Aprile. This lane is indicated by international no-entry signs and it is also controlled by an automatic video control device that takes pictures to unauthorized vehicles.
In fact the hotel's instructions didn't tell you to drive along Via XXVII Aprile, but along Via Cavour coming from Piazza della Libertà.
We enclose the photo taken to your car at the moment of the infraction, putting in evidence that it only shows the back side of your car because in Italy there is a strict Law of Privacy Protection - D.Lgs. 196/2003 - which does not allow Police to take pictures to people but only to vehicles.

The Italian Highway Code states that the renter, who signed the rental agreement, is liable for any traffic offence committed during the rental period (art. 84 and 196). So at that time you were responsible for your rental car.

If you need more information, please feel free to contact us again.

Best Regards

Alessandra Calabrese"

So.... now what options do I have to challenge this? None, other than to not pay it.
 
Posts: 8 | Location: USA | Registered: 04 November 2007Report This Post

Moderator

Slow Traveler
Picture of Jonathan
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quote:
Google maps couldn't even find the street on the violation


If you mean "Via XXVII Aprile", then it's clearly marked on Google maps, but as "Via 27 Aprile". On the other hand, if the hotel had suggested that you drove south down via Cavour, and instead you were driving east along via 27 Aprile, I'm not sure that you've got grounds for an appeal.

Jonathan
 
Posts: 4527 | Location: Stroud, UK | Registered: 18 November 2001Report This Post

Slow Traveler
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As I walked past it this morning, I checked the traffic camera in via 27 aprile. It works if your coming from Piazza Indipendenza and you are going to Piazza S. Marco. That lane is reserved to buses and taxis, and is clearly marked with a no-access sign (as well as the icons of allowed vehicles). As the lane is reserved, the camera works all 24 hours long, as anybody driving it is not only accessing the ZTL zone, but also dodging a reserved lane.

Hotel customers are authorized to enter ZTL for loading and unloading. It works so: as you enter ZTL the traffic camera shoots a photo of your licence plate and puts you in a database for issuing tickets. Your hotel has 24 hours for removing your plate number from the database. But if you enter from a bus lane, the number cannot be removed as there is a second violation of rules.

Probably you were coming from Fortezza da Basso, and you turned right into via 27 aprile. The first segment is free access, but the second segment, after Piazza Indipendenza, is not. And they cannot phisically block the access as is must be used by buses. After that, you likely turned right into via Cavour and then you got to your hotel.


Luca Logi aka itarchivarius
 
Posts: 2096 | Location: Firenze, Italy | Registered: 09 June 2005Report This Post
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