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Italian traffic ticket- pay it or no?

I have learned my lesson the hard way about driving in Italy. Even though I knew beforehand that many others reported how difficult it is to avoid driving in restricted areas if you are unfamiliar with the area, I tried to be super careful. Unfortunately, I have received a ticket 7 months after I visited there. I paid it via wire transfer (as that was the only option available according to this particular police department). I considered it the cost of learning a lesson and went on.

Now several days later, I have received a 2nd ticket for a separate offense. This one stings a little bit more. It's not like I can easily pay these tickets without financial hardship, especially receiving them so close together. Others here in the USA have advised me to ignore it, but I am usually a very law-abiding citizen who wants to obey the law wherever I am. My question is...what happens if I don't pay it? Has anyone had experience with this situation?
Thanks very much!

Posted by
1700 posts

Not sure you will get many who advise not paying.
I am sure what some including myself may advise on an Internet forum may be different than what I might actually do in a similar situation.

Morally you agreed to their rules and choose to drive in their country, if you broke the rules you should pay the fine.

As to repercussions, I don't think anyone knows exactly as the sharing of information is changing and expanding so could be different tomorrow than today and today different than yesterday.
Most likely after an attempt to contact you is made, the location will sell the debt to a debt collector who will try and hassle you for the money with a bunch of extra fees added by this time.
Can they ever affect your credit or driving record in the USA, likely not.

Other than that if you don't pay I sure would be nervous if I found myself back in Italy driving a car and was pulled over by the police, involved in an accident or approaching any sort of checkpoint.

Posted by
16846 posts

I don't know whether you found an inexpensive way to wire money to cover the first ticket. If you did not, it may help to know that some folks on this forum have been pleased with the low-cost service offered by TransferWise.

Posted by
5019 posts

Yep, the two posts above sum it up IMHO.

If it were me, for future peace of mind, I'd just pay it (and I'd use TransferWise if I had to "wire" money as opposed to simply paying straight-up via credit card). Then the next time I was going to Italy, I wouldn't be sweating bullets.

Posted by
3315 posts

Fines of any kind cause everyone some degree of financial hardship.

I wouldn't be able to sleep at night the next time I was in Europe if I didn't pay it. I'm not confident enough that the authorities would ignore it.

Pay it.

Posted by
248 posts

I believe the long-standing policy of this Travel Forum, as desired by the Rick Steves Europe organization, is to avoid advising that local laws be flouted, for example by non-payment of traffic fines. Many travelers here have noticed the rigorousness with which some countries enforce traffic violations, Italy would be just one of these countries. One of the challenges of driving in some Italian cities, like Florence, is that they have ZTLs in which unauthorized cars, inlcuding tourist rental cars, must not drive; and, if they do, they will usually be detected by a computerized photo enforcement system.

Posted by
1741 posts

that have zones in which tourist rental cars must not drive

They have zones where only those living inside the ZTL can drive in. Florentines living in the outskirts can't drive inside central Florence, writing that it's aimed only to tourists is just a way to spread the word about a scam.

petanokona, more and more cities sell unpaid fines to international collection agencies. Not all of them, but many. Your choice.
Are you sure both fines are for a ZTL violation?

Posted by
248 posts

I'd like to clarify that I did not intend to suggest that the enforcement of ZTLs is a scam directed at tourists. It's the responsibility of tourists to comply with local laws and pay the fines if they don't.

Posted by
2235 posts

Are you sure you got two separate tickets? Usually, you first receive a charge from the rental car company, a fee for providing info to the police on who was renting/driving the car. That should be a hit on your credit card with which you rented the car. Then sometime later you get a notice of a larger fine for the ticket itself, sometimes with a need for a wire transfer to pay. Have you now gone through both steps twice? (This assumes you were in a rental car, not your own car.)

Posted by
995 posts

If they are two separate tickets for two different traffic offenses, then the law-abiding thing to do is pay the ticket.

Posted by
11970 posts

I will confess that, like many other Italians, I don’t like these ZTL fines and consider them a tax.
Yes, they are not aimed at tourists, but in reality, for all intended purposes, they are a visitor’s tax.
Nearly 50% of ZTL fines in Florence are issued to foreign visitors, almost 40% are issued to Italian visitors (not residing in Florence). Less than 15% are issued to Florence residents.
As we all know, politicians prefer to tax people who can’t vote them out. Non residents don’t vote,

In terms of consequences for not paying, as a resident of the US you would face no legal consequences other than the harassment by a collection agency, if the jurisdiction you were fined from is one of those that employs international collection agencies to try to collect their fine (not all Italian cities use those international collection agencies, Florence does).

If you don’t pay the collection agency, they won’t likely be able to have that debt enforced in a US court of law, but I don’t know if they will try to report you to a credit agency regardless.

The statute of limitations on traffic fines in Italy is 5 years from the day the violation was notified. If you go back to Italy during this 5 year period, the possibility they might catch up with you is very slim. Traffic fines are not communicated to immigration authorities, therefore it wouldn’t be a reason to deny you entry in the European Union or even Italy itself. The only risk is if you were involved in an accident in the same jurisdiction where you got the fine and your name came up, but even that is doubtful. In the unlikely event that happened, you could always claim you never received it, however they might still try to collect it then.

Posted by
1021 posts

I don't know the laws of Italy well enough to give firm advice, but in Denmark where I live, I can negotiate an agreement to pay in installments if I can persuade the police that I have troubles paying. I don't know if that expands to foreigners, but at least you can ask.

They may appreciate that you at least try to pay. Most debtors do.

Posted by
1948 posts

We go up and down on driving on our European trips. This is the downside for sure - European tickets. It seems like every trip, we get a ticket, and since we rented a car, there is no choice on payment - the rental agency simply notifies us that our card was docked, and they add on a fee. So, we drive less and less on trips.

We are also 67 and 70. At some point, it will not only be inconvenient to drive due to ticketing, but actual rental will not be an option due to age.

Posted by
2963 posts

I am sorry about the tickets! However, I have to believe that anyone that can afford a trip to Europe can probably find a way to pay their traffic tickets.

Posted by
326 posts

ZTL’s- a great reason NOT to rent a car and drive in Italy- and thank you Roberto da Firenze for your respectful, honest comments on ZTL’s- being a Italian citizen you know of what you speak.😀

Happy Travels💫✨

On a side note- a comment above comparing a ZTL tix to a speeding tix- two entirely different things, and I’m sure no one wants to “break the law” on purpose - ZTL’s can be confusing for tourists who may “accidently” drive thru one.

Posted by
7173 posts

People really like the idea of all the extra "freedom" rental vehicles provide. Although all they ever provided me in my European travels were headaches. Sorry you're dealing with traffic tickets. Obviously I learned my lesson the hard way and now I love taking the train every where I want to go.

Posted by
1655 posts

Regarding paying the ticket, I’ll quote Jiminy Cricket: “Let your conscience be your guide.”

For those who have not driven in Italy, could you share the circumstances of your tickets?

We have had wonderful experiences in Europe that would have been extremely difficult if not impossible to have without renting a car. I’ve never gotten a ticket, even in Italy. Some comments make it sound like you are bound to get one. That’s not necessarily true. It may be me, I have gotten two speeding tickets in 52 years of driving.

However, I don’t drive in large European cities. We stay on the outskirts and take public transportation into town.

Posted by
1741 posts

Nearly 50% of ZTL fines in Florence are issued to foreign visitors,

May I ask you where did you find these data? It's true that 15% of ZTL fines are given to those living in Florence, but outside the ZTL. On the other hand, I couldn't find a single source splitting the remaining 85% between Italians, EU citizens and foreigners.

Posted by
11970 posts

@Dario

Don’t remember exactly where I got that data from, but check the article below on Florence daily “La Nazione”, (starting on the 5th line). Pretty close to what I wrote.

**“....dal momento che le infrazioni degli stranieri si avvicinano alla metà del totale...”*

(..since the (ZTL) infractions by foreigners approach half of the total...)

https://www.lanazione.it/firenze/cronaca/ztl-furbetti-varchi-telematici-1.4082069

How much the City actually collects from foreigners is a totally different story.

Posted by
20 posts

@Roberto
When driving in Italy, I notice that many drivers seems to ignore the speeding enforcement cameras. I assume that most of those people are Italian citizens. Do Italians get citations for speeding very often? How do those people deal with the citations?

Posted by
23579 posts

They know where the cameras are.

And, yes, they get fines too.

Posted by
1741 posts

They also read local papers that are allowed to publish the position of not-fixed speed traps in the following 7 days.

Posted by
20 posts

Yes, but I've observed that a large number of Italian drivers seem to ignore the cameras and speed right by them. This makes me think that they have some way of getting out of traffic citations.

Posted by
2388 posts

I had to go to traffic school for speeding once-and it was my first ticket in many years. Many of the others in the class wasted our time telling us and the instructor that they really didn't deserve to get a ticket. Apparently a common reaction to getting a ticket!

Posted by
25 posts

As the OP, I can report that I did indeed pay the two tickets I received. Even though I tried my best to avoid breaking any Italian traffic laws, I did accidentally end up in restricted zones twice. It certainly was not intentional. I am actually feeling pretty fortunate that I didn't receive more tickets than I did, since this was my first time driving abroad.

Posted by
633 posts

Hi,

A few posts that collectively violated Guideline #8 (re breaking laws) were removed. Unfortunately that meant several other posts that replied became completely out of context. Those were also removed to prevent confusion for others reading along. Thanks for your understanding.

Posted by
3 posts

I am having this same problem. We rented a car
From Hertz. I’ve received many emails from Hertz that I’ve gotten traffic violations 4 so far and they keep charging me for every communication with the police. I’ve emailed them about how to make these changes stop and for me to pay the tickets and haven’t heard back. Maybe I have just not in English!! I felt that I had to drive super fast there just to keep up with traffic. How did you all take care of the tickets? Thank you so much!

Posted by
1741 posts

The Cops will send one registered letter per charge on your credit card.

They have 360 days from the day your credit card was charged to do it.

When you will receive the actual fine, you'll have 5 days to confess&pay with a 30% discount. From the 6th to the 60th day you can either appeal or pay the full fine. After the 61st day the cops will start the procedures to sell your debt to an international collection agency.

It seems these are ZTL fines, not speed traps. Did you drive into any city center without a permit?

Posted by
11970 posts

Not all Italian cities bother with sending fines to foreign residents, and even fewer bother to engage international collection agencies. So it’s possible that all you will receive is the charge from the rental company for communicating your name to the authorities (a nice little extra revenue for the rental company).

Posted by
25 posts

Melloscher, I received 2 separate certified letters informing me of the violations. Each letter was from the local police authority in the two different cities where the violations occurred. One of them I was able to pay via credit card but the other one only accepted a money order, which cost me an additional $45 to send.
It taught me that no matter how careful you try to be, you may still end up with traffic violations when driving in different counties. No more for me!

Posted by
688 posts

Is there a list of places with these zones so we can avoid them ? We will be in Italy for a month and I dont want to accidentally wander into these zones on the daily and end up bankrupt. LOL

Thanks for any advice on how to avoid them.

Posted by
1741 posts

There is a ZTL zone in every italian settlement. Usually, but not always, a ZTL keeps non residents' cars out of the historic center.
You need to memorize the "do not drive beyond this point" international sign: https://cdn-01.media-brady.com/store/stit/media/catalog/product/cache/8/image/85e4522595efc69f496374d01ef2bf13/1533602043/d/m/dmeu_tc40_03_1_std.lang.all.gif

It's used also for camera controlled bus lanes and other places where you are not supposed to drive a car without a permit. For instance metered cabs and limo drivers can use bus lanes, if you follow them without paying attention to signs you'll be fined

Posted by
1107 posts

One common reason local drivers don't slow for some cameras is that a good percentage of the devices are inactive and only folks who follow local news would know. In our town, there are four cameras: two active, one long dead, and one turned off recently by the new mayor.

I haven't used it, but the Waze smartphone app is popular in Italy and supposedly uses crowd-sourcing to mark the location of speed traps et al.

Posted by
1 posts

When do they start counting the days? From the day you committed the violation? The day the rental car company charges you the fee? The day you get the ticket in the mail?

I got a letter (ticket) from last years' trip to Italy from a small village, but I can't tell when the timer started. Hoping to get the 30% reduced rate, but I'm sure I've passed the deadline at this point.

Posted by
1741 posts

You have five days to plead guilty and pay with a 30% discount. Five days from the moment you sign the first registered letter from the cops or open their first e-mail. From the 6th to the 60th day you can either file an appeal via registered letter or pay the full fine.

Cops have 360 days to send the first registered letter to foreigners driving a rental car. The count of these days starts when they receive your name and address from the rental agency.

The date of the offense matters only to italian driving their own cars.

Posted by
4152 posts

Jonathon, the timer starts when you actually receive the ticket.

The authorities must notify the owners of the car within 90 days of the infraction. The owners of the car, the rental company, must then respond within 60 days with the information on who was driving the car at that time. From the moment the authorities get that information they have 360 days to notify the driver of the fines.

If the fines are not paid they are sending collection agencies to get these fees.

Donna

Posted by
1 posts

What if it has taken almost 5 years before they send the ticket. and I got 4 tickets each issues 8 minutes after the first. I don't even remember being in that area.

Posted by
1741 posts

As written above: Cops have 360 days to send the first registered letter to foreigners driving a rental car. The count of these days starts when they receive your name and address from the rental agency. Did you notice 5 charges from the rental company on your credit card? That was the fee for telling authorities your name and address.

I got 4 tickets each issues 8 minutes after the first. I don't even remember being in that area.

This is because you kept on driving under the same ZTL camera.

Posted by
1 posts

I received a ticket in the mail due to driving in a zone during a time that was for buses only, wth. I would have paid it immediately if there was an easy way to pay but there wasn't. I was there for work and I figured it wasn't bad getting only 1 ticket over 7 trips to Bologna. I didn't pay it since I couldn't do it without jumping through hoops. The date of the infraction was 8/04/2015. I finally received another notice on about 5/7/2019. It says they will send it to a collection agency if I don't pay within 20 days of receipt. I figure since it's close to the 5 year statute of limitations they're making 1 last attempt. Not sure if I'm going to pay it or not, I have to do wire transfer which will be a pain. I'm tempted to see how far they will go though, undecided at this point.

Posted by
1741 posts

zole, you can locally pay a fine from Bologna in tobacconists and post offices; on-line on the City official site and via a bank transfer from your Bank site.

You did not pay because you thought you could cheat the system, but don't use such excuses and don't call the methods of payments I mentioned "jumping through hoops".

I also wonder how using network like TransferWise to send money abroad could ever be "a pain".

Posted by
1 posts

I just received a speeding ticket in the mail today from Italy for my son from March 11th 2018. It says the police officer filed it May 11th 2018 and it was from a photograph. The issue is my son was not in Italy on those dates. He did a semester abroad starting in September of 2018. Any suggestions?

Posted by
23579 posts

kmillard7, You may be misreading the date. Does it specify the word "March"? Or are you reading 03-11 as March 11, when Europeans put day first and then month- November 3. Was he driving there at the beginning of November?

The May 11th you are reading is likely the 5th of November, two days later.

Posted by
1 posts

Has anyone wondered why it is that the rental car agencies, who know what the laws are and what the complications can be, NEVER tell you about the "no go zones" in Italy. I'm dealing with a debt collector out of California who is after me for a "traffic violation" in Italy in May of 2017 for which I received a notice from the Pisa Polizia roughly 18 months later but NEVER received any documentation as to what it was that I supposedly did to warrant a ticket. We used Google maps for all directions and to locate parking lots, hotels, etc. during the three (3) days we had the Hertz rental car. There wasn't any indication that we went somewhere we weren't supposed to. In addition, they have never provided me with a photo radar image nor was there written notice given at the time of the alleged infraction. Not even an address where the supposed infraction occurred. Nothing! I'm guilty and can't prove my innocence? Really? Until they can prove that I violated one of "their" traffic codes, I'm going to just dispute their claim and see where this goes (see: https://thecreditbureau.com/2016/07/credit-agencies-stop-reporting-unpaid-tickets/). Of course, the collection agency is inflating the financial charges, but like many who have posted on this and other forums, a traffic ticket is a far different offense than defaulting on a loan or other financial obligation which would affect your credit score. I'll update this once I find out what my options are and if this is likely to go away. One thing for sure is that I won't be renting a car in Italy again! A few years ago, I rented a car for two weeks and drove through Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Northern Italy and France and never had an issue. Now this. I guess times have changed. It doesn't leave a good impression to say the least!

Posted by
73 posts

dsw77, it's a foreigner's responsibility to know the driving laws in the country they're visiting. It's not the responsibility of the car rental agency to teach you. Most guide books and online forums warn travelers about ZTLs and other traffic quirks specific to Italy. There are some good suggestions for handling your fine in the comments here.

Posted by
6 posts

I have found driving in Italy to be frustrating as well. After one expensive 2015 summer Saturday I have paid my fines for the ZTL in Florence and the speed camera on the causeway to Venice and even the speed camera on the way out of Talamone going north that morning. Province of Grosseto didn't send the latter fine till February 2016 which I paid immediately by wire transfer the next day. In July 2016 they sent me another notice with fines added on for non payment at which point I faxed and mailed them the original paperwork a second time. Now in June 2019 I have been reported to said California Collection agency.

I have driven in Chile and was stopped at a checkpoint with no problems, I've driven by mistake into a market street in Torun, Poland with a friendly correction and directions by a Police Officer and survived the Wild Atlantic way in Ireland with right hand drive and one lane roads. I have enjoyed driving in several central European countries without incident. But I really don't want to drive in Italy again!

Posted by
1741 posts

Maybe you drove in Florence before they installed the bilingual traffic lights to mark the ZTL limits, so I can somehow understand those fines. But the causeway from Mestre to Venice is a 2 lanes straight road with "50 kms" speed limits clearly posted and "camera ahead" warning signs well before the speed traps. If you couldn't see those signs I'm quite grateful you won't drive in Italy again.

Posted by
6 posts

Dario, thank you. Your point is well made. Just like my college exchange student daughter who screamed at me from the back seat as we entered the causeway to Venice to watch the speed camera but too late. The same daughter who gave me bad advice that she thought we could get to her student apartment to pick her up after eight weeks and not cross the ZTR line in Florence. The one we left Talamone so early in the morning for to stay on schedule to be in Venice that afternoon.

Except for the severe heat that early June 2015 we had a beautiful week in Tuscany and then a beautiful week in Slovenia but that Saturday I am literally still paying for! I need to have a conversation with Avis as their paperwork at the time indicated they had taken care of the fines for Firenze and passed them on to me but now I am afraid that wasn't so.

DougMac I have to agree with. Better not to drive in unfamiliar urban territory.

Posted by
6234 posts

For dsw77

Has anyone wondered why it is that the rental car agencies, who know what the laws are and what the complications can be, NEVER tell you about the "no go zones" in Italy.

No

Nor have I wondered about why they never ask: "Have you driven this make/model of car?"
' No?'
"OK, we will walk out to the car with you and show you how to operate it.

I suspect they assume you have informed yourself about what you are undertaking to do, and do not want to insult you by telling you 'do not speed' and 'obey the signs'

Posted by
18 posts

We had a speeding ticket that was received 6 months later...so we had to pay the highest charge. Went to the local bank and transferred the funds. Worked out fine...just painful to the pocketbook. The directions were on the ticket.

Posted by
1741 posts

so we had to pay the highest charge

This is not true, you can get a 30% discount if you pay within 5 days from the moment you receive the registered letter.

Of course any fine received via snail mail involves mailing and amministrative fees, but you'd have paid those fees even if you had received the letter 1 month after your journey.

There wasn't any indication that we went somewhere we weren't supposed to.

Really? So all those fines are not legitimate, locals have stopped paying them and they freely enter that ZTL? Strange no newspaper has ever written a line about a noT signposted ZTL. Wouldn't it be more probable that you don't know international signs and that you ignored things you didn't know?

Were you responsible for that car when it was PhotograPhed? Yes, therefore pay. By law, you have the right to see that pic, again I really doubt Pisa's cops sent an unlawful notice only to you.

Has anyone wondered why it is that the rental car agencies, who know what the laws are and what the complications can be, NEVER tell you about the "no go zones" in Italy.

For the same reason they do not tell US tourists about one way signs. The "no cars beyond this point" sign is like all the other signs to them, a ZTL is nothing special. In other worlds, they can't imagine there is a country where you can get a driving license without learning international signs. Sorry, but there must be a downside in ignoring treaties, car rental agencies do not make training courses Called "Things US drivers are not used to". Nobody cares about it.

Posted by
1 posts

I received several tickets for restricted zones in Modena from our vacation in October......they have an immediate payment amount of 59.20 euro and 87.20 euro with higher payments after 5 days, and give info for wire transfer...It's now 30 days and go on the local Modena website and found where you can pay online....One ticket asks for 28.70 the other 56.70 euro, each exactly 30.50 euro below the 5 day payment amount....I'm assuming they maybe add 30.50 for wire transfer fees, I'm inclined to go ahead a pay with a credit card on the website and see what happens...

Has anyone experienced this before?

Posted by
16846 posts

I don't drive in Europe so have no experience with paying traffic fines there, but others on this forum have reported using transferwise.com to pay fines at a very reasonable cost.

Posted by
1 posts

We will never be renting a car in Italy again. It was all wonderful until 3 months after the trip - the first "ticket" notification arrived along with the Europcar $50 handling fee. That one was in error and our hotel paid it (but not the Europcar fee). Since then we have received 3 additional "tickets" with the accompanying $181 charged for handling from Europcar. The first paper ticket arrived in the mail 9 months after the fact - 57 EU to be paid online or it doubles in 60 days. We were EXTREMELY careful when driving having read various posts. You can be going 1km over the speed limit and an Italian fining authority will issue a ticket. You can always appeal by writing to the fining authority in Italian - haha - if your appeal is rejected, which it would be, the fine automatically doubles.

Ridiculous - don't rent a car - it just isn't worth the angst afterwards. They have 365 days to issue their tickets - you will have one year of total frustration after your fabulous Italian holiday.

Posted by
3 posts

In response to people who are unsure about when the 5 days starts or what they are being charged with—I’m pretty sure it starts from when you receive the letter. If it’s sent certified mail, the US post office at least has a record of when it was delivered. My boyfriend just got a violation notice in the mail on Saturday for driving 3.1 km/hr over the limit on the highway when we were in Italy at the beginning of May. There is a website for the small town’s police department where I was able to look up the violation and see the photo they took of our rental car. It also said this: “The service is not able to automatically determine the amount to be paid as the notification date of the fine has not yet been recorded.” The website is supposed to tell you what you currently owe, but they don’t know we’ve received the letter, and we’re just gonna pay the lower rate. (Also WHAT A SCAM. This one only will let us wire the money). We haven’t been charged by the rental agency and crossing our fingers that won’t happen, and that this is the only ticket. But I have a feeling we went in a ZTL zone at one point.

Posted by
1741 posts

Also WHAT A SCAM.

What scam? Wire transfers are free, credit cards not.

Posted by
3 posts

Wire transfers are free, credit cards not.

Maybe within Italy wire transfers are free?! In the US wire transfers most definitely are not. The sending and receiving bank both take fees out, and you never know how much the fee is going to be for the receiving bank. A few years ago my parents wired tuition fees to a school I was attending in Spain. Even though their bank took fees that they paid, the school's bank also took fees, that I had to then pay when I started my courses. The school claimed I hadn't paid in full.
It could cost me $40 to wire the fine to Italy. The fine we got was only 49,20 E. In the US you usually don't have to pay the fee for the credit card either.

Posted by
3 posts

Has anyone on here personally used TransferWise to wire money for a traffic violation? There's nowhere for me to note the violation number as a reference. The violation notice says this is required for them to process it. Makes me wonder if people who have posted about TransferWise are just trying to promote the service...

Posted by
306 posts

Transferwise is very trusted in the expat community when we want to transfer money between the home bank and the foreign bank. There is a section to make a note about the transaction after you have confirmed it. If it is your first transaction with Transferwise, it may take a few days to go through as the company needs to verify everything.

Posted by
1741 posts

Maybe within Italy wire transfers are free

Well, when in Rome... Wire transfers are usually free for both sides all over Europe, sometimes they are free only for the receiver. Thanks to the Iban system and EU regulations a wire transfer takes one full working day to be processed and can be monitored from the 1st tp the last second.
There are always fees to be paid for the merchant that takes money via credit card. You can't really Expect a small town to waste money with credit card fees to get paid when there is a free alternative that the 99% of their "customers" can use at no cost . Frankly it would be more logical to expect big US banks that make billions to enter the 21 st century.

Stop calling anything different (and better) a scam would also be appreciated.

I have recently used wire transfer to a bank account in Hong Kong and I could write some notes somewhere, but I don't remember how I did it. It wasn't immediate.

Posted by
1 posts

Honestly, I don’t have a driving experience in Italy or in Europe countries but rules are very strict there as compare to Asian countries. TransferWise to pay fines for a Traffic violation is easy and quick.

Posted by
1 posts

I lived in Italy for 2 years and get the exclusion zones. Even so, we found we were entering one during a trip to Firenze. Didn’t even cross the street but figured we were getting a ticket. Sure enough, 5 months later there it was in the mail. I’m a rules guy so got on line following the instructions on the ticket to pay my 86 euros. 3 years later I received a letter from a California collection agency demanding over $400 for failure to pay. For some reason I had a screen shot on my computer that I took when I paid it. They say it isn’t good enough, they need a receipt that should have been mailed to me. I don’t have a problem paying once but I am not going to pay it twice. I would give serious consideration to a third party to pay a ticket in the future.

Posted by
1 posts

Hello all,

I rented Hertz car in late March 2016 in Florence, Italy for 3 days. Two months later Hertz charged my credit card for 43 euros for fine handeling fee. but after that I didn't receive any fine/paper from Italy police. When I check post/mails in my post box recently(August 2019), I noticed on January 2019 I received a paper from some Florence fine collection law firm? said I need to pay a total of 295 euros within 15 days..

The fine is that looks like I have entered ZTL in Florence...

my question is, someone said police has 360 days to issue the fine. but the letter I received is almost 3 years after the violation.

  1. should I pay this 295 eur or not?
  2. where can I get the evidence of the original invoice from italian police?
  3. should italian police take responsibility of sending late invoice?

This is just reeeeeaaaaallllly ridiculous. Will never use Hertz and drive in Italy again.

Posted by
1741 posts

Did you enter a ZTL or not? They have 360 days from the moment they know your name, ask Hertz when they Forwared the cops your address.

I find ridiculous an adult checking his/her po box once every 6 months, to the point that I assume this adult could have Haaaaaaaaaapily ignored many more letters. Mostly because cops send registered letters to foreign offenders.

Posted by
23579 posts

why do you blame Hertz, hilary.liang? Surely it wasn't them who drove your car into the ZTL was it?

Posted by
1 posts

Can anyone provide the website that shows the actual Italian laws for amount of time to notify you and pay etc.? I'm a little worried about all of this. I did rent from Europcar and opted to get the telepass rental thing. I was charged for additional tolls a few months after... hope that included driving in the ZTL, as I know I made a few wrong turns in Florence! ugh... I'm so over Italy ... as we also had our rental car broken into and everything was stolen.

Posted by
1741 posts

You can't pay to enter a ZTL, you are heavily fined if you do it.
There is no connection between motorway tolls that can be paid by Telepass and an historic district where Only residents are allowed to drive into. You must have used an awfully inadequate travel guide if you believed it.

Cops have 360 days to send a registered letter from the day the rental agency charged your credit card and gave them your name and address. The administrative fee per fine is around 45 €.

Each fee will be followed by a fine between 80 and 330 € depending on the city. Plus mailing and administrative costs. There is a 30% discount if you confess and pay within 5 days from the day you sign the letter receipt.

I doubt anyone in Italy cares much about what you are over, mostly because thieves breaking into cars are not Italian and flee out of Italy After a couple of successful thefts.

Posted by
1655 posts

This is just reeeeeaaaaallllly ridiculous. Will never use Hertz and drive in Italy again.

Both Italy and Hertz are thankful.

Posted by
2 posts

I got Milan ZTL fine today in the mail. The rental agency charged my credit card on Aug 24, 2018. and The fine was Issued Aug 27, 2019. It was over 360 days limit. Can I simply ignore the ticket or I need to contract Nivi Credit about this?

Posted by
23579 posts

It sounds like it went out on time and took a bit of time to get through the postal services.

What does the ticket say for dates?

How do you know that the police were notified of your name and address on the day you were charged?

Did you break the law? No? Contest it. Yes? Pay it. Don't ignore it.

Posted by
2 posts

I entered the Limited Traffic area without paying the fee. Base on the other's posts, I assume the police were notified on the date of my credit card was charged on Aug 24th, 2018. The ticket date is Aug 27th, 2019.

Posted by
11970 posts

SuFeng45
Do you live in the United States?
If you do live in America and choose not to pay, the credit collection agency will simply contact you and possibly make empty threats until you pay. Although by law they cannot do so beyond the statute of limitations (which varies from State to State).
Debt arising from traffic fines are no longer reportable to the US Credit Bureaus, even if arisen in the U.S., let alone from foreign jurisdictions.
So if you don’t pay the only consequence is having to deal with pesky credit collectors bugging you trying to collect a debt that they have no chance to get enforced in a court of law.
Some people give up to the pressure and the empty threats, others don’t.
Your choice.

Regarding the practices of cities enforcing these ZTL laws or car rentals charging exorbitant fees for communicating your name to authorities, Italian traffic laws and the rental agreement you sign allow them to do so. Are they taking advantage of drivers (Italians and foreigners alike) to improve their city budgets or make a quick buck for the rental company? Hell yes!

Posted by
1 posts

Not one other post mentions that it may be impossible to avoid the zones when driving to and from rental car offices. I received two fines: one in Venice right after picking up the car and the second in Florence when we returned it straight to the rental company. One of the bridges was closed for construction so the navigation took us on a slight detour. Everyone in this forum seems to be blaming the drivers for all these infractions. We are not dopes. I believe both my tickets were unjustified.

Posted by
4500 posts

^^ Oren - Did you discuss with the rental agent at all about the appropriate routes in and out of the rental facility? In a perfect world, the agents would make clear up front what those are to avoid any ZTLs, but the renter/driver is ultimately responsible for navigation and avoiding ZTLs. And if you had to deviate from the appropriate route, you have to let the rental agency know so they can enter the plate number with the authorities and get a ZTL waiver. It is a pain, but that is part of the downside to renting cars in Italy.

Posted by
1 posts

We somehow received 6 fines in 2 days driving in Italy last summer. One of them was one minute apart from another. We received the notices slowly over a year period and spent over $1400 USD between the rental company and the authorities. We were so busy trying to follow the gps that we did not pay much attention to the signs. Our fault. The actual rental car experience was not good for us either. Took three hours to get a car from AvisBudget with a reservation. We will definitely think twice before renting a car in Italy. No problem in other European countries. I think we will stick to the trains!

Posted by
5316 posts

And here I was thinking we were safe since two years had passed since we drove in Italy. But we would do it again.

Posted by
834 posts

For non-Italian citizens, paying traffic fines incurred by offences in Italy is entirely optional.
Likewise, for non-US citizens in the USA, tipping is entirely optional, and is not required.

Posted by
5728 posts

We always have paid our traffic tickets from other countries. I dread the day when we aren’t able to rent a car abroad, giving up all the freedom cars give us.

Posted by
1 posts

Perhaps the ZTL is not directed toward tourist, but we take the blunt of the tickets & fines! I received several driving to my hotel and was completely unaware of the limitations. We go to Italy every 4 to 5 years, so it isn't that we have not driven there before. Note that none of the rental car offices mentioned the ZTL zones or did they offer maps of the locations! We stayed at an upscale hotel in the historic area of one city and they were very aware of us driving a rental car, as they parked the car, but never mentioned the zones all around us. I tried getting a map, after getting home and discovering the problem, but map was entirely in Italian and difficult to read!!!

Posted by
19 posts

just received a ticket in the mail from last April, we are leaving for Italy again next weekend and have a car reserved. I don't trust that even if we were to wire the money today, that the ticket would be cleared by next Saturday. My question is will we be able to rent our car as planned or will there be a problem getting it?

Posted by
1741 posts

If you have just received them, the next week-end will be well within the 55 days you have to either pay (with no 30% discount) or appeal.
A fine that can be appealed is "frozen" for 60 days and it can't have Practical effects on the offender.

Posted by
142 posts

Better later than never, here. We got a parking violation (ticket on the window) in Alberobello on a Sunday. Couldn't pay it at the police station that day, so we followed the dispatcher's instructions and paid it in our next stop, Lecce, the next day. We were accompanied by our Airbnb host, just to make sure we knew what was happening. We paid with a credit card and got a receipt both from the post office where we paid (host said it was official, not to worry), and the receipt from the credit card. Three months later, we got the same kind of dunning letter, along with a threat from Europcar that if we didn't pay it, they'd bill our credit card. And, of course Europcar was charging a handling fee. Few days later, we got a follow-up letter from the police saying our time to pay without a fine was coming to an end. We had proof we had paid it, but three emails to Europcar, 2 phone calls (1 to the police by a native speaker, one to Europcar), and a letter later (to the police), complete with the evidence, and they still were hounding us. I finally wrote a letter in Italian (I speak enough to be understood, but am by no means fluent) to back off and insisting they get in touch with the authorities in Lecce. Weeks later I got a letter from the police chief in Alberobello apologizing and enclosing a document saying the case was closed! Lessons: (a) rental car companies are not customer-service oriented and looking to make a buck, and (b) Italian administration leaves a little to be desired. Try the rental car company for help, but don't hold your breath, and get receipts and take notes for EVERYTHING. I also kept the letter from the police chief. Someday this will probably rise from the dead and start again. Good luck.

Posted by
2 posts

@Darius, man, you have the art of sarcasm and belittlement down to a tee. Superiority is a gift, I suppose.

I got a ticket in Modena for driving in a "Bus Only" lane, even though the other lanes were closed for construction and signage directed me to merge into the bus lane. And before Darius piles the "you should have reported your merge to Hertz so they could alert the authorities", why would I do that when the Comune di Modena was the entity that placed merge signs for regular motorists?

Posted by
1741 posts

So all Italians fined on the same day at the same place in Modena appealed and won? Unbelievable ! Post where it happened, I bet google news is full of links about it, with the Mayor apologies and so on.

PS Darius may be your favorite monkey character in Planet of The Apes

Posted by
2 posts

Yeah, not so much on the google bit (5 December, 2018). Maybe in your never-ending need to correct the rest of us, you can find an article.

And my apologies for spelling your name wrong, Dario. I'm not perfect.

So I have a question for some of the responders on this post. If the authorities have 90 days to notify the rental agency of the violation, the rental agency has 60 days to provide contact information to the authorities and the authorities have 365 days after to send you a bill, this means that all bills must be sent within 515 days of the infraction correct? If you are receiving a bill later than this, what is the appropriate action? Is the fine still your responsibility if the rental agency takes longer than 60 days to respond? How would I know which part of the process was delayed beyond its limit, whether it is the authorities who are at fault or someone else?

Posted by
11970 posts

All this discussions for nothing.

If you live in the US nothing happens if you don’t pay. At most you will be harassed a bit by the collection agencies if the local authorities use international collection agencies to try to get paid. But debts arising from fines (even those issued by US jurisdictions) are not reported to the credit bureaus and US Courts do not enforce foreign judgements relating to fines, penalties, tax judgements, child support, spousal alimony, therefore the collection agency cannot take you to court.

If you go back to Italy within 5 years, there is the possibility they might ask you to pay, but there isn’t a national database of pending fine judgement in Italy, so you would need to be pulled over in the same jurisdiction where you got the fine and they happen to have your name on file and they check the file. That is an unlikely circumstance even for Italian residents. But even in the unlikely event that happened (and you would definitely make the 8 o’clock news in Italy), they don’t put you in prison, they’ll just send you another fine at home.

And yes. Italian authorities use traffic fines primarily to balance their budgets, just like US cities and counties do in the US. Traffic fines are just a regressive tax measure everywhere, that in some highly visited Italian cities hit tourists more than residents, mostly because tourists are more likely to get lost, but Italians get hit a lot too, especially by the ubiquitous Autovelox machines (speed cameras).

Using fines as an ATM machines to collect money from people is not a problem only in Italian cities and towns, as you can read below:

https://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/391449-american-courts-should-not-be-turned-into-revenue-machines

https://www.caranddriver.com/features/a15104884/traffic-tickets-have-become-a-tax-hack-pile-on-column/

Posted by
1 posts

I have a question for some of responders too. My partner and I went to Italy in June. I booked a car online with Eurocar. When we checked in, I was told that I would have to registered as main driver because I booked it; otherwise we could not use the reservation. So my partner was registered as alternate driver. He used his credit card for the rental car and he drove the entire trip. About 4 weeks ago, I received a traffic ticket for passing thru restricted area from Florence police in mail. He found out his credit card was charged from Eurocar for providing information to police. The worse is that the computerized photography only showed licenses plate. I should not be penalized for the offense that I didn’t do. Much appreciated for any advises.

Posted by
834 posts

You are listed as driver. Ergo it is your problem. Chase your friend for the costs.

Posted by
1741 posts

You are penalised for the offences by those who drove a car under your responsibility. What do you think you are actually signing when you sign a contract? You and the rental company are agreeing on who is liable for what.

Posted by
20632 posts

You both did the crime, so split the fine. Why is this so difficult to understand ????

Posted by
1 posts

All this discussions for nothing.

If you live in the US nothing happens if you don’t pay. At most you will be harassed a bit by the collection agencies if the local authorities use international collection agencies to try to get paid.
Thank you @Roberto da Firenze

My husband and I have traveled and driven all over the world without an issue; in countries with very strict rules and sketch situations with military and checkpoints. Even as recently as 3 weeks ago. We are very careful to follow all the laws no matter what.

While in Italy in 2016 we did incur a toll violation as we lost our ticket on exit... paid as soon as we got it. Then almost a year later (nearly at the 360 day limit) we (me) received another notice for a parking violation for not paying a parking meter. What I find interesting is that we DID pay that meter and put more money in it over the hr that we were there. According to all the blogs and posts from other travelers and Italian law I found, parking violations are usually issued immediately (vs later) because the police are and were there to witness that you didn't pay the meter, mine wasn't.

@petanokona - we are in that situation now. The 'lovely' California collection agency is on my -you know what- because I am contesting it and have not paid it. They have gone so far as to be rude and condescending about my choosing to travel abroad. I am a law-abiding person and my husband and I will pay our dues if they are legit, but I have no way to prove my innocence years after the fact, so my word against theirs. :(

Posted by
2 posts

OK, I've read all of the above posts. Here's a little different take on a similar situation. In Aug., I guess I accidentally drove in a ZTL in Pisa. (I suspected something amiss at the time as there was little traffic and mostly only pedestrians on the streets I was driving on.) I got the credit card bill from Hertz and confirmed that this was their administrative fee to give drivers information. Then yesterday, I got the traffic ticket in the mail.
BUT...........the registered mail receipt to be returned was still on the envelope; nobody completed it. The sending agency was from The Netherlands. So, I guess the Pisa authority will not know that I received the ticket - or when. Of course, I'd like to save the $130.60 for the fine. So, under the circumstances as described, any thoughts from anybody as to whether I'd be safe in not paying it?

Posted by
20632 posts

First, this is called hijacking a posting. That is not good practice either. You should be posting your own question because OP will be notified every time someone responds to your question. The short answer is you have been notified. Most likely the delivery was transmitted electronically when the postman used his handheld device to shoot the bar code. However, Pisa doesn't need to know that you were notified. You are still liable. There is no loop hole to jump through. You probably received the notification from an international collection agency. There is pretty good evidence that the collection agency will not be able to get a judgement against you for the fine in a US court BUT that does not keep the collection agency from notifying the credit reporting agencies that they think you are a deadbeat. So, if you don't mind your credit score taking a hit for a couple years, or spend a lot of time correcting the credit report, ignore it.

Posted by
11970 posts

In reference to the last comment, debts arising from traffic fines are no longer reportable to US based credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion) even if incurred in the USA (let alone those incurred in third world countries where scamming is rampant). That is due to a change in regulations following a 2015 settlement between the credit bureaus and attorneys generals from over 30 states.

I know most of you don’t work with debt collection agencies (I do), so may not be aware of all regulations in the field, but I thought that should be common knowledge by now.
https://accountcontrol.com/NewsResources/UnpaidTicketsTrafficViolationsAreNoLongerReportable.aspx
https://thecreditbureau.com/2016/07/credit-agencies-stop-reporting-unpaid-tickets/

Posted by
2 posts

Frank, ah, I see what you mean by "hyjacking". Thanks. However, there are a multitude of similar 'comment and question' posts on here. So, I thought it was all part of the overall discussion. I'll keep that in mind in the future.

Anyway, thanks for the insight on bar code and tracking information that I was unaware of. That puts a little different light on the situation. So, mostly because I did the deed, and in spite of all the little technicalities that could/might be put into play, I'll pay the fine.

Thanks for the Forum.

Ciao, Chris

Posted by
20632 posts

Learn something new everyday.

Posted by
5 posts

I just received two tickets from Pisa and just paid them - I was just BARELY under the 60 days. I figure this money comes out of my vacation fund, because it was a vacation expense! Paying them was a lot more confusing than I expected (on their website), but it's done and feels good being done and legal and honest.

Posted by
1 posts

It seems being ticketed in Italy is a right of passage.
I was charged by my rental company a fine for receiving a driving violation in Florence 2 days before they were no longer legally allowed to do so. They have 365 days after your rental return to change you any additional fees according to my Credit card company.
The problem is I only just received the ticket from Europcar, 16 months after the violation(driving in a lane desiginated for other vehicles) we were never stopped by police and no photo of the violation and the ticket is all written in german. Europcar advised me to use the web link http://info.myfines.it to pay the fine and indicated on the ticket. Problem is, the login in page will not let me get past the Captcha Validation page to make a payment.
I had a heck of a time just translating what the violation was never mind trying to find another way to make the payment from the information on the ticket.
Any thoughts or advice would be appreciated!
Thanks.

Posted by
1741 posts

You do not receive tickets from Europcar, cops send a registered letter. The story makes no sense, is the fine you received in your name? I mean the letter written in German.

Cops do not stop cars anymore, it's all made by cameras.

Posted by
1948 posts

I have posted on many occasions that renting a car is not a good idea. The many many posts in this stream are a clear demonstration of the general bad idea of car rental. But Americans regard use of the car as the national Badge of Adulthood.

We take trains. We relax. We drink wine. We talk to the other persons there in the compartment. We've had several good conversations with locals.

Don't rent a car. Take trains.

Posted by
11970 posts

Paul from Frozen Iowa
Trains don’t go everywhere and neither do buses.
There are times and places where renting a car makes sense.

t.verge
Rental companies do not send fines. They might notify you that they received notice of a violation while you were renting and charge your credit card for providing your name to the authorities, but they don’t send tickets. The city of Florence must send you one.

Posted by
691 posts

I know this won't soften the blow of the traffic fines, but the delayed billing is how the Italians do many billings. My step-son is stationed in Italy with the military, living off-base. It takes months for the utility companies to send their bills, then he receives a HUGE bill. The last time he moved back to the USA, he dealt with a crazy bureaucracy, as he tried to close out his utility accounts: he finally received his balance, paid, and closed the account. Months later, back in the USA, didn't the utility company sent him the same final bill, repeatedly, trying to collect on the balance he had paid before he left.
Currently, he's returned to Italy, with the attitude that some things are great in Italy, and some things remain chaotic. He takes a monthly photos of his utility meters, and whenever the HUGE utility bills do come, he's prepared. And when he leaves again next year, he knows the hassles ahead to settle all his accounts.
I know I did digress here, just saying that the Italian mode of operations is at polar opposites of what we are accustomed to here in the USA. We can't change the Italian system, obviously, but we can be educated and try to be prepared, and hope to be a little lucky.
Safe travels!

Posted by
1741 posts

I'm happy for your step-son, but sadly the rest of Italy receives utility bills every 2 months. Rest assured that any company will be happy to bill him any given month, provided he is willing to pay 12 tax stamps instead of 6.

Since I have a couple of Italian friends and one ex-wife who were almost driven mad by the American Way, believe me: chaos is in the eye of the beholder. For instance, The need to save money "for huge utility fees" derives from the US habit of living as jugglers on credit cards debts .

Posted by
11970 posts

Yes, a two month billing cycle is the norm for Italian utilities, from electricity to gas to land line telephone. Whether it’s a huge bill or not, depends on how much you use, and a two month bill is obviously higher than one month. Energy costs are generally a bit higher than the US, while internet and telephony and satellite/cable TV are cheaper. The silver lining is that you have to pay only 6 months a year, instead of 12. It is true that there are times when Italian bureaucracy is frustrating, but so is the American one. It just applies to different things. The inheritance transfer process is pretty cheap and seamless in Italy. In the US it often requires expensive lawyers.

Posted by
1 posts

Just noticed my email today, an email you can easily ignore (with unknown language title and content), I knew about ZTL and I was all the time trying to avoid it, I don't even know where is the location I got this ticket, only know it happened in Bologna, while in other city(Milan) I google every step and pay for so call area C ticket, and all the 20 days I travel in Italy trying to do everything right and follow the rules, the parking, the highway, the speed, still I manage to get this. And all others bad experience that italian gave me, at the first day I got there the car rental not allow me to collect the car which makes me pay a much higher rental price to make my 20 days holiday back on, and many italian trying to cheat during the vacation, and the bad thing still follow even few months after the trip. I understand it was my fault that I drives into wrong zone and I had pay for the fine, but definitely the worst experience to holiday oversea, beautiful country but the italian really not friendly and welcome to tourist, would definitely not going back anymore

Posted by
2 posts

Hello. I have read the threads but wasn't sure where to post.

Basically have received a ZTL Notice of payment (in UK) letter from Olbia, Sardinia police after more than one year from the time the car hire company let the police know of identity of renter.

The inadvertent ZTL entry for less than 15 seconds happened at the end of August 2018 and car hire company wrote to renter at end of September 2018 (basically 30 days later) that they had informed the police of the car renters name. The driver inadvertently drove into a road to get off the main highway going back to the airport to flyout and there was no alternative to continue onwards which then became a ZTLzone. There was no alternative to reverse back.
At airport renter asked car rental company that there seemed to be possible infraction and where could fine be paid. Car rental company said if there was a infraction the renter would hear within a few weeks and details of payment would be given then.

Car rental company a month later emailed to say they had provided information to police for infraction of ZTL and that a payment of circa 60 odd Euros had been charged to renters card for the provision of information to the police. Renter contacted Car Hire company with details on how to pay fine immediately and kept on following up for a few months and was always told by car rental company to wait for a couple of months and wait for a registered letter from the police. Waited for all of 2019 and nothing was received.

The notice of payment was received in UK yesterday which is dated end of February 2020. It has not been sent registered post and there was no marking on the envelope to suggest it is sent registered post and no one has signed for it.

My understanding is that the police have 360 days to send by registered post from the date they are informed of the identity of car renter. From the end of September 2018 when the car rental company had informed the police it can be safely said that 360 day time limit has passed. Also the letter received has not been sent registered post. The only post mark is that it has been sent by Swiss Post.

if the 360 day limit is valid and the police have not followed the rules to send by 360 days is there any action to payment. If the police have not followed their own rules can this be challenged? Should it be challenged.?

Wanted to understand where the renter stands as the notice of payment from the police has been sent well in excess of 360 days after police were informed of identity of car renter.

Would appreciate feedback and guidance on what to do or not do.

Thanks very much.
kvebay

Posted by
1741 posts

You don't know when the police received the offender's name and address, so you don't know if they mailed the fine within the terms or not. What the rental company says about it means zero.

As a side note, If there were no way to avoid that ZTL all locals would challenge the fines and they would end up ignoring that ZTL. If it's true, you can easily file an appeal by registered mail an win. I'd check on Google's street view the lack of ZTL warning signs...