Help - Autostrade bill from NiviCredit

Hello helpful folks - Just got a bill for Euros 64,85 for not paying a toll in the fall of 2011. We remember the occasion well - our first trip on the Autostrade, groggy from lack of sleep, couldn't find the ticket, and couldn't understand the voice yelling at us in Italian. So we ended up paying the toll for the entire length - in other words, we paid way more than we owed, just didn't surrender the ticket. Lesson learned. So we're not sure what best to do about this. The letter did not come registered mail. The checklist on the back allows the possibility that we might have paid the toll, but wants a copy of the receipt. If we ever got one, we did not save it. Perhaps some of you have ignored such letters? What happens next? If I respond with my explanation, will that just escalate things? We loved Italy, but not enough to send them more money.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2405 posts

I think that unless you can prove that you paid the toll you're gonna have to pay the fine. If you choose not to pay they can, and have, sent collection agencies after people to collect. Donna

Posted by LIz
Portland
31 posts

Thanks, Donna - What really concerns me is whether or not nivi credit is a legitimate agency. I don't want to get into a long-distance long-time correspondence with them, pay the bill as presented and then receive future bills for interest, fees and the like.

Posted by donna
cranberry twp, PA, United States
2405 posts

How would this company know you didn't pay the toll unless they had been contacted by the authorities? You said you couldn't find the ticket but paid more than you should have. How would they know this about not having a ticket unless someone officially contacted them? I would would explain what happened and ask for documentation on their part. If they can provide it I would pay. Donna

Posted by Linda
Bromley, Kent,, UK
1632 posts

Interesting. A first hand example of a debt agency being used to pursue fines levied on overseas visitors. Shame it's such a long time ago otherwise the CCTV cameras at the Toll Booth would have shown you paying.

Posted by LIz
Portland
31 posts

I've checked into it a little bit. On this site's archives there is an illuminating discussion from 2007. And online there are many discussions among people who have received letters like this too, many of them living in Italy. The Autostrade folks have five years to collect violations, so that part seems legitimate. The prevailing wisdom seems to be - What can you do? Pay it. I willl pay it, but am still worried about future communications from them. Here's a paste from one of the forums: Can I appeal that the ticket and fine be cancelled? Yes. Are you fluent in Italian, have lots of free time, and have a low-cost or free communication channel to Italy? Or, do you already have an Italian lawyer who can handle the case for you? Keep in mind that appeals for fines based on camera images are almost never successful, and you have to start the appeal by paying a fee that works out to something like 30-40% of the fine. Remember that you are not dealing directly with the governmental agency, you are dealing with a company that makes its money by successfully collecting fines.

Posted by Nigel
East Midlands, England
8760 posts

Tom, your link is very interesting. It shows that they own EMO, a name we have seen here frequently. We also know from previous posts in the last year or so that EMO has used US debt collectors. What is also interesting is that NiviCredit now has a US branch. Liz, you are taking the right course. But we have lots of readers who don't post and it can be a lesson to them - - For the sake of our other readers it is worth raising what Liz has said about her state of mind when she was driving on the Italian superhighway. She said, our first trip on the Autostrade, groggy from lack of sleep, couldn't find the ticket, and couldn't understand the voice yelling at us in Italian. I think that that statement goes some way to giving credence to the regular warnings we give people here on the Helpline about not driving after you land - or as in another post from another person yesterday, take an overnight train - because you won't have all your wits about you. If people are too tired to negotiate a toll booth should they really be driving at all? Lucky there was no accident. I worry about the people flying from Hawaii who want to immediately drive a long distance. On a related matter - I see that all foreign visitors to Florida (Canadians, British and Aussies included) now have to carry an International Drivers Permit to translate their licence into Floridaese. The news channels here are going nuts about it.

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Nigel, I saw a post yesterday on another forum which linked to a Florida Dept of Motor Vehicle site saying they are not going to enforce this IDP rule as they have discovered it may violate the Geneva Convention on Road Traffic (who knew??).

Posted by Ed
Pensacola
7978 posts

In semi-defense of Florida, We have a little trouble with our elected officals: 1. A guy across the bay was the senate president for seven evers, he got a bridge built from the barrier island to the mainland, there was already a bridge at each end, the tolls keep going up on account it's going deeper into the red, it seems that he secretly owned the land at the northern terminus, he and his wife spent three years in the jug, he's out of work. 2. A guy from the northern end of the county was the house president for seven evers, he went to the jug for I forget what, but we still have a major something named after him, he's dead. 3. A guy who was a county commisioner craweld under a vacant house, drank anti-freeze and croaked, he had been indicted for bribery, larceny, etc, they found him on account of the stink, the money involved in one of the charges was given by Guy 2 in a collard green pot. We fire the city manager, county manager, and chamber director every time you turn around. The guy who ran the port (a really dumb idea geographically) was fired for extorting money from employees. We've got a civic center that's been in the hole since it was built thirty years ago. Not learning from the above, we built a ball stadium / maritime park last year which is sinking into the same hole. All of that's just out here at the western end of the stick. No telling what happens in the rest of the state. We do have good courts, cops, and beaches. Have faith, Y'all come.