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5 traffic fines in 5 days in Italy (around 800 euro). What are the consequences of not paying?

I visited Italy recently for a road trip, I rented a car from locauto and everything was great. 2 months after coming back to Dubai, I receive 5 emails from locauto saying that I got 5 traffic tickets. They charged my card 48 euros for each traffic fine (240 euro total) as administrative fee!!
They sent me the tickets as pdf by email (of course they are in Italian and I couldn't understand a thing). When I checked the tickets 3 of them were in the same day in Venice area in places that I did not even go to (I visited venice for one day, parked my car for the whole day, slept there and went straight to the airport next day).

The rental company is asking for my detailed address so the authorities can send me the tickets. What happens if I don't reply? Will I have trouble when going back to italy? Will I have trouble with my bank or authorities in Dubai? Can the rental company withdraw the amount from my credit card?

PS: I am not looking to break the law. I just think I am innocent of these fines. (someone might have rented the car the same day I returned it and got the tickets)

Posted by
6544 posts

I had the same thing happen once by 1.8 mph what was to be approximately a 35 mph speed limit. The causeway going over to Venice has radar cameras, and they are time and date stamped.
The city was demanding that funds be wire transferred to the city's checking account in Euros. I found a company online that pays bills for a reasonable amount and charges credit cards.
I honestly don't know what happens if they're not paid.

Posted by
1581 posts

I just think I am innocent of these fines.

You should be able to verify that. I have "collected" several fines over the past decade (very fussy ones: 2km over the linit = €60), and every time the ticket had a time stamped photo of my car annexed to it.

As for possible consequences, it depends on whether Italy or the EU have an agreement with Dubai or not. For me as an EU citizen things would go nasty if I didn't pay. Your minimal risk is that your data could be fed into the EU immigration computer network and upon re-entering the EU, you not would have to pay those fines and would get a hefty fine in addition for not paying the earlier ones. Personally, I'd would demand a solid proof that I committed the traffic violation. And if I did, I'd pay.

Posted by
1700 posts

I have heard of people getting multiple speeding fines on the bridge over to Venice.
That bridge is lined with multiple speed cameras making it possible by going over the limit on that bridge to rack up more than 1 ticket at almost the same time.

Knowing of that in advance I went at crawl speed the couple of times I have used that bridge.

The rental car company has your credit card and you probably signed something in fine print authorizing them to charge it so I would comply with them. Once they hand your information to the authorities you should receive tickets from them directly not through the rental car company.
If you choose to not pay the authorities I am not sure what would happen.
Would be 1 of 3 possibilities: A.) nothing B.) if you get pulled over in Italy you are in big trouble but otherwise nothing C.) Italy communicates the issue to where you have an active license and you get in trouble in your local country.
Not sure worth the risk.

Posted by
1775 posts

None of you was only "X" kmh over the limit. You were going at 5 kmh + "X" over the limit. If the limit was over 100 kmh you were going at 5% kmh + " X".

rafic_esber, if you are innocent you can easily prove it: pics are timed and you'll receive a link to watch them together with the fine. At the same time You should be able to get a receipt from Locauto showing the time you dropped the car off.

Did you drive in mainland Venice (aka Mestre) and then on the above mentioned causeway?

More and more cities sell fines to international collection agencies, these days.

Posted by
11707 posts

There are three speed cameras on the causeway over the water to Venice, and you will get a ticket from each of them if you are over the speed limit when you pass. One must be very careful to observe the speed limit the whole way across.

Posted by
15640 posts

I would think that if you gave your driver's license to Locauto when you rented the car, they would already have your mailing address.

Posted by
8889 posts

The rental company does have your address, but the police don't. The rental company charge is for looking up your address in the system and informing the police, so they can send the correct driver the ticket.

And licences don't always have an address on them, mine doesn't.

Posted by
23983 posts

rafic_esber

this appears to be your first visit to the Forums here unless you used a different login for previous ones.

It is too bad you didn't check here about fines in Italy before your journey. If you had you could have checked the literally hundreds of threads about them, and forewarned is forearmed.

Now however, if those fines are yours it is time to pay them. If they aren't - have a look at the photos, is it you? - then first stop would likely be the rental company to get them to sort it out with the police and give the police the correct details.

On a completely different angle, if it wasn't you and they claim not to know your address, if you did give them the full address when you rented, have the rental folks been hacked? It might be worth checking carefully.

But if it is you, and you didn't give complete details, here is your opportunity to be honest or dishonest.

Posted by
23983 posts

When you parked your car, did you park the car yourself and keep the keys, or did you give the car and keys to an attendant? Either way it won't get you off the hook as you were responsible, but it might provide an answer.

Posted by
1115 posts

We have a colleague that had a Venice violation a good 4 years ago. She didn't pay after the 1st letter, nor after the 2nd a couple of months later. After more than a year she got a 3rd letter, a bit different so it may have been a collection agency. There has been nothing since. She travels to Italy and drives there twice a year and there have been no repercussions.

Posted by
11983 posts

I don’t think you can get away from the LOCAUTO charges. They have your credit card number and in the small print of the rental agreement there is a clause that holds you responsible for paying the administrative fee you were charged. That admin fee is to provide the authorities with the name of the renter at the time of the violation. I know 48€ is stiff, especially times 5, but rental companies will find any excuse to make money.

Once the authorities receive your info from LOCAUTO, they may or may not send you the actual fine. Some jurisdictions choose not to bother with foreign residents, because the collection rate is very low. Some cities even use the services of international collection agencies for further collection efforts, but even with collection agencies, the City of Florence for example collects only 1/3 of fines sent overseas.

Nobody will take you to court in Dubai, not even the collection agencies. Too expensive to even try given the small amount. At most they keep bothering you with empty threats until you give up.

In terms of consequences if you return to Italy within 5 years after receiving the fine from the actual authorities (not from the rental company), that information is not shared with immigration authorities. At most they might find out if you get involved in an accident, and ask you to pay then, but even that I doubt.

The statute of limitation (“prescrizione” in Italian) for traffic violations is 5 years. After that period is passed, you are off the hook and you can do this to the Italian authorities

Posted by
2 posts

@roberto da firenze
Thanks a lot for your input!

I read on some blog that Locauto, the rental agency will have to pay the fines in case I default. Will they be able to take the amount from my credit card (since they already have authorization). If yes do you have any idea how to avoid this??

Thanks again!!

Posted by
1115 posts

No, they won't pay the tickets. The law provides that Locauto is only obligated to pass the renter's info to the ticketing entity.

Posted by
23983 posts

Original post:

PS: I am not looking to break the law.

This morning:

do you have any idea how to avoid this??

How do those two phrases fit together?

You didn't answer the question from last night about the keys and about what the photos show....

Posted by
1775 posts

It's quite obvious that the moment you receive a registered letter from the cops, the 5 years deadline is postponed and you are back to square one.

Posted by
11983 posts

Rental car companies are no longer held responsible for traffic fines incurred by their customers. Their only obligation is to communicate the name and info of the customer.

Great lobby work paid off in the new Vehicle Code.

Posted by
6 posts

I received 4 fines during my 3-week honeymoon. One in Florence, one in Rome and two in Parma. I paid the first one thinking it was the only one, then 3 more came. I have no idea if it was me or what I actually did to supposedly break the law so I didn't pay them and cancelled my credit card. It has now been 17 months since our trip and I haven't received any additional charges on my credit card and also haven't received any collection calls. A caller on Dave Ramsey received a collection call 5 years after the fact, so they might still be in the process. But I'm not too concerned about my credit score as I don't need to borrow money anytime soon. If the Italian cities really were concerned about collecting these fines they would have Police officers issue them in person and demand payment in person. To me this is a lazy and corrupt way to collect revenue from unsuspecting tourists.

Posted by
8889 posts

If the Italian cities really were concerned about collecting these fines they would have Police officers issue them in person and demand payment in person. To me this is a lazy and corrupt way to collect revenue from unsuspecting tourists.

No, Jim, you're not getting away with that comment. The fines are there to deter people from breaking the law. They seriously do not want people speeding or driving in the restricted traffic zones (ZTL), and the easiest and fairest way to enforce this is with cameras. No arbitrary decision by a policeman, no risk of a "cash payment" to the cop. To check as often and systematically as the cameras do would require thousands of extra police and extra cost.
And tourists get away a lot easier than the locals. If a local breaks the law, (s)he does not only get fined, they get points on their licence which can result in the licence being taken away for repeat offences.

Next time, read the road signs and obey the law.

Posted by
11983 posts

Collecting fines is a money making practice for all jurisdictions, not just Italian cities. It is true also in American cities.

Also the targets are not just tourists, but locals as well. Cameras are just a more efficient way to collect without paying the salaries of officers hiding behind the bushes.

The practice is catching up in America as well. Northern California is full of cameras enforcing red light violations. My one way commute to work is only 14 miles, more than half of which on the freeway. Yet on the 5 or 6 miles of my commute itinerary I’m not on a freeway they managed to install 5 red light cameras, two of them just within one block in front of the Facebook headquarters, and I know it’s not to post my smiling face online.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi.

I don't want to Bogart this thread but I'm struggling to find information regarding a speeding fine I've had from Pisa and wondered if anyone could help?

or should I start a new thread?

TIA, Phil.

Posted by
1667 posts

Collecting fines is a money making practice for all jurisdictions, not just Italian cities. It is true also in American cities.

Very true. I was traveling back from a business trip through south Georgia (US). Between Albany and Cordele there's a four lane highway, sometimes divided, with a 65mph speed limit on some stretches. Unfortunately, the speed limit drops suddenly from 65mph to 45mph in a little town named Warwick that straddles the highway. I stopped there in a thrift market to look for old records (I ended up buying 20!). In the 45 minutes I was in the store, I watched 4 speeders get pulled over by the local police.

Posted by
179 posts

BlockquoteIt is too bad you didn't check here about fines in Italy before your journey. If you had you could have checked the literally hundreds of threads about them, and forewarned is forearmed.
Blockquote

Can you point me to this please?

We seem to come back from Europe and eventually get a ticket in the mail for some violation. In the past we've just paid them. But this past week my husband got one from Italy (he was there for 3 days, 11.5 months ago) that came registered mail, which is new. And he was struggling with their website to pay it (I think it was just under 300 Euros), he noticed the infraction date was a month before he was even in Europe. He's in the process of emailing (he speaks fluent Italian but his reading-writing isn't great), but we'd appreciate any guidance with this.

Posted by
17165 posts

Nickelini, that sounds like an error by the car-rental company (perhaps it was off by one year in its research), so I'd push back on them as well as awaiting advice on how to deal with the authorities.

Posted by
23983 posts

or it could be a transposition of month and day.

In North America it is month first then day, so 8/7 is August seventh.

In the rest of the world it is day first then month, so 8/7 is the eighth of July.

Posted by
23983 posts

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