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ZTL Ticket Rome over 1 year later.

So, as the title says, I received a ticket forwarded to me from Avis-Budget France (where I rented the car) stating I drove in the ZTL in Rome. Which is true because we dropped off our luggage at the hotel then parked outside the ZTL. Now, here is where my anger stems from. I knew I would have to drive into the ZTL, I looked online at our options because we had a mobility issue in our family and lots of luggage, the parking lot was 3 miles away from our hotel. Anyway, I read from several sources that you inform the hotel immediately on arrival, and they contact the local police to inform them of your car info so you won't get a ticket. Well, I did that. I asked the front desk at our hotel to please call. She said that we weren't in the ZTL. I said yes we are and I showed her a map. She said the map was wrong and that if she called it wouldn't do anything. I figured a local, at a hotel, would know better than me. I asked a second hotel representative when the first lady left, and was also told they would not call. Okay then.

Here we are over 1 year later and I have a ticket. Only for 1 day, not the exit day, which we took the same route, and both were weekdays. I am furious at the hotel for lying and I took every precaution and still got a ticket. Which, using google translate to translate it from French, says my fine is already up to € 194,72 plus a € 35 processing fee from Avis-Budget France. The card that was used to pay for the rental has been cancelled for 6 months so Avis-Budget won't be able to charge it. I, at this point, refuse to pay. I am nervous, however, that they will send collections after me somehow. My credit is impeccable and I don't want that ruined, however, I refuse to pay for something that I took every precaution to avoid, except making a disabled person walk 3 miles with heavy luggage. (The taxi's refused to use a meter, and all wanted over € 100 to drive 3 miles for us and our luggage, I assume they saw someone with a disability and assumed they could gouge us) Needless to say I will NEVER return to Italy because of this.

Does anyone have any incite, or advice? Or does anyone speak fluent Italian so I can argue the ticket? Thank you.

Posted by
15577 posts

Is this just a rant by a first time poster, or are you actually looking for a path forward? It could be you that you have a case that they waited to long to notify you. If Roberto da Firenze, or darioalb see this, maybe they can speak to those issues.

Posted by
12 posts

It is semi a rant but I absolutely want advice. I am stuck because to argue I need to speak Italian (according to google translate of the French ticket Avis-Budget sent). I don't want my credit ruined. I don't want to ignore it, but I don't feel I should pay. I want it taken care of lawfully. I am at a dead end at this point and need advice going forward.

Posted by
30968 posts

I'm not sure that accusing the hotel of participating in a scam was a good idea, as that may not be the case. The employees may have genuinely thought that you were in the clear. Yours is not the first case documented on the forum for people who have received ZTL tickets after the hotel told them they would notify the authorities.

It would help to have more detailed information on the ticket you received. For example.....

  • Which agency was the ZTL ticket received from?
  • Was it forwarded from European Municipality Outsourcing?
  • What information did they specify for paying the ticket?

I think your chances to "argue the ticket" are virtually NIL! A year has passed so the time for appeal is also long past. As I understand the situation from previous posts from Roberto, if you lose the appeal the cost of the ticket will be far higher than just paying it.

It would help if you could also list at least some of the information on the ticket, so that Roberto or dario will have something to translate.

It's unfortunate that you've decided never to return to Italy because of this one incident, as it's a wonderful and unique country. It's worth noting that it's also possible to receive huge fines in other countries for traffic infractions. If you do decide to give Italy another try, I'm sure the group here will be able to help you plan a trouble free trip.

My advice would be to pay the ticket and just consider it a "cost of travel".

Posted by
12 posts

The ticket is in French. Avis-Budget must have translated the original ticket.

Which agency was the ZTL ticket received from?
It's attached to the Avis-Budget notice, and it says Organe d'enquete: Corpo di Polizia Locale di Roma Capitale.

Was it forwarded from European Municipality Outsourcing?
Not that I can tell.

What information did they specify for paying the ticket?
They said I had to pay by bank transfer. That is the only option provided. And it gives routing information.

I think it's crazy I'm past the appeal period, when I got the ticket over a year past the supposed infraction. I also don't know how the hotel could think they weren't in the ZTL, it was practically a stones throw away from the Pantheon. The other thing, again, using google translate as my only option, it says I have to be informed within 360 days of the violation. Which the letter was dated in that time, but I wasn't actually notified until Sept. 1, so I don't know if the translation is bad, or if they count when they wrote the letter as the notification date. It's frustrating.

Posted by
255 posts

Couldn't it be that you passed through a ZTL, but the hotel was not in one? So technically the hotel workers were right?

Accusing them of a scam it absurd, you think the comune pays the hotel a commission for tourists or what?

Posted by
23563 posts

It sounds like part of the difficulty with the length of time, if I read correctly, is that the car was rented in France and the offence was committed in Rome. So when the administrative department wanted to issue the fine generated by its cameras in Rome they needed to get information from the French government as to who owned the car from France. Then issue the ticket to the French owner who then had to figure out who had rented it, and then you eventually get the demand. So an already slow system gets made even slower.

I understand your upset when you feel that you did everything right yet were still stung.

Perhaps the hotel isn't actually in an active ZTL, but your route to it is was?

I haven't heard of many Rome taxis switching off the meter unless going to or from the airports which have a fixed fare. Are you sure that you got into a genuine taxi? If somebody walked up to you offering the "taxi" ride it probably wasn't.

I don't think that cancelling your credit card six months ago will get you out of a contractual agreement you signed. By the way, was it just a coincidence that you cancelled your card or did you wonder of you "needed to"?

Posted by
23563 posts

we were writing at the same time. The clock doesn't start until they have been informed by the owner (the rental company or the rental company's ultimate owner) of the user of the car, and stops when the first letter is sent. They're probably legal on that one.

Posted by
12 posts

No, we were absolutely in the ZTL, the hotel was in the ZTL. Almost all of main Rome is in the ZTL. We took the same route to and from the parking lot, so I don't know why there is no ticket on the day we left? They were both weekdays, and in the mid-afternoon. We stayed at the Cancelleria Comfort Inn. Look it up. It's in the ZTL, no way avoiding it that I can see.

Also, I cancelled the card not because of the ticket or potential ticket, but because I never use it. That was 6 months ago. I called my CC company and they said there was no way for Avis-Budget to charge me since that account is closed.

Yes, the car was rented in France, and Avis-Budget translated the Italian ticket into French and sent a copy to me. Why they translated it into French I have no idea, because their letter that's attached to the ticket (in English) says they charged me a € 35 fee for translation and administration. If they knew I spoke English, why not translate the ticket? Or leave it in Italian? But I digress. Our experience in Rome was not positive. I went years ago and loved it. They were actual Taxis, not people, and I asked "how much to Pantheon" in Italian, and I got crazy answers the first 2 times and pointed to the meter, and they shook their head and said no. The third person said another crazy amount (all over €100 at this point) and I thought I was hearing wrong, so I got out a pen and paper and he wrote € 130. I was furious at that point and wrote down his license plate. We started walking at that point and were called 2 more times, again crazy quoted amounts. We only made it maybe 100M from the car park before we went back because my mom could hardly make it 100M.

Posted by
1741 posts

Are you all serious? How can the appeal term be over before having received the actual fine? How could you appeal before knowing you were fined and being informed how to do it.? Avis can say whatever they want, It wouldn't be legal even in North Korea! It's a fundamental right, like bearing arms in US.

I guess that driving a French rental car abroad made things more complicated and the agency didn't reply to the cops within the terms, so they became responsible for that fine. Now they are looking for a scapegoat. Would you post the iban code and other informations they provided for the bank transfer? It would be the easier way to see if I'm right. Otherwise I wonder if there is something in the rental agreement you signed about driving and being fined out of France.

FROM THE DAY YOU RECEIVE THE REGISTERED LETTER SENT BY THE COPS: youhave 5 days to "confess and pay" with a 30% discount and then 55 days to appeal. During those 55 days the fine isn't increased.

You can appeal a fine either to the Prefect (the government local officer that monitors all cops and security agencies) or to a Judge. The former way is completely free, no lawyer, no Court fees etc. etc. but the fine doubles if you loose. It's a way to appeal meant for obvious mistakes made by cops like a wrong plate number, or the rental agencies providing a wrong name.

I'm on my mobile now and I didn't read all posts. I couldn't read the hotel address, would you post it (again)?

How do you know it's a ZTL fine and not a bus lane? Is it clearly written using the italian acronym?

At what time of the day did you drive to the hotel?

How do you know that in Rome the plate number can be forwarded to the cops after driving in and that it shouldn't be done before?

Posted by
11613 posts

There are some areas of Roma (and other cities) that have the ZTL turned off (varco non attivo) at specific times, so the hotel staff may have been correct at the time you arrived, but something was lost in translation.

Perhaps the fine was for something else, like driving in a restricted lane.

Some places have a placard to put on your windshield for unloading, or give a printout of the police notification they send.

Sorry you won't go back because of this. If I never returned to where I had an unpleasant experience, I wouldn't go to work.

Posted by
11613 posts

Not to make light of the OP's dilemma, Kim, but...

Posted by
7173 posts

this is why I don't do rental cars anymore. That "freedom" that rental people claim to gain is no freedom at all. So you have mobility issues...that's what taxis and ubers are for. Sorry for your frustration, but it is what it is. People on the forums warn on a regular basis about driving infractions showing up as tickets much later. Next time take the train and use taxis to/from the station to your hotel.

Posted by
12 posts

It says: Acces en zone pour pietons ou en zone a circulation limitee sans avoir l'autorisation necessaire.

Which translated to(via google): access to pedestrian zone or restricted traffic area without the necessary authorization.

It was 14:00 when we checked in and when we left it was around 9:00 (4 days later) so it was not the "free" pass time.

Cancelleria Comfort Inn
Via della Cancelleria, 35 - Roma

As for not going back, I'd rather spend my hard earned money in a place that won't screw it's tourists. I've been to Italy 4 times, I have no need/desire to ever go back after this.

To re-iterate/clarify. I was in Rome 29/8/2016 thru 1/9/2016. The supposed infraction occurred on 29/8/2016. The copy says that the ticket was prepared by a mechanical system on 15/7/2017. The letter Avis-Budget wrote is dated 18/8/2017. I received the letter 1/9/2017.

@Tim In no world would I pay a taxi driver over €100 to go 3 miles. They were trying to take advantage of the situation seeing all the luggage and my mom's handicap. Also, I doubt a bus would have allowed all our luggage (we were canyoning in northern Italy and in Switzerland so we had a lot of heavy technical gear). I ran into that situation in Aruba, anything larger than a backpack they didn't allow on the bus. A bus/train would not go where we needed to go when outside the city. As for being price gouged by taxis, I had that same issue in Thailand. I had surgery on my leg there and I was trying to get to the hospital for a follow up and taxis in Bangkok also refused to use the meter and quoted equivalent of $20USD to go 1 mile, tuk tuks quoted similar amounts. So I just crutched it all the way there. I was very late, but I refused to be scammed. I knew it should have been roughly $4 because before the surgery I took a cab there, it was metered. So while it's well and good to tell someone to just take public transport, it's not always possible, unless you have deep deep pockets, which I don't.

Posted by
4822 posts

The card that was used to pay for the rental has been cancelled for 6 months so Avis-Budget won't be able to charge it. I, at this point, refuse to pay.

This will not help you for any charges Avis puts through, they can still charge against the card since it was valid at the time of the transaction. However, typically rental car companies have no liability for the ticket, only to provide information, so they will not pay the fine and charge you (at least that is the most common practice, not an absolute)

As for comments about the length of time and due process, this is a civil matter not criminal, the poster acknowledges the ticket is valid. The processing and notification time is excessive, and if you lived in an EU state, the ticket would become invalid if not notified in a year (Can't recall the exact time limits), but if left unpaid would directly impact your driving record. Living in the US unfortunately you have none of the protections, but fewer liabilities. Bottom line, you could try the hotel again to try and have them intervene, without them, some type of appeal is unlikely. That leaves paying and moving on. There are reports of some locales contracting with collection agencies in the US. I have not heard of any first hand accounts of people with "outstanding fines" returning to the country of issue (or the EU in general) and encountering problems, but that is not a great comfort.

Posted by
6174 posts

Can someone clarify ZLTs.....aren't infractions obtained via automated enforcement (use of a camera)? If so, then how can hotel staff intervene and call the police to "retract" a violation? Doing that seems like a recipe for all sorts of unethical behaviors (the cameras are not supposed to be subject to human intervention..that's why they're used...for the sake of consistency). I would think the hotel would have to give you something like a vignette that the camera can read, but not to bargain on your behalf after you went through the zone. I don't know how it works that's why I'm asking.

Posted by
11562 posts

all wanted over € 100 to drive 3 miles for us and our luggage. so I
got out a pen and paper and he wrote € 130.

If trying to get from Termini to near the Pantheon, I'm guessing you misunderstood the figure written down. A brief search turns up a figure of € 10,30 or so. I guess it could have been a bit more depending on number of people and amount of luggage but again, I think it was a miscommunication.

Posted by
255 posts

The hotel does not intervene the cameras, they just notify that a license plate entered and had the right to do so, and then I guess the system confronts the fines-to be with the admitted license plates and cars. People that live inside the ztl do the same, only permanently.

Posted by
2428 posts

I'd just chalk it up to the cost of travel and pay it. Otherwise, your stubbornness will just eat away at you. That's not healthy. If you traveled to Switzerland and Italy, I'm sure you can come up with the dollars to pay this. And lesson learned. But I would have willingly paid the 20.00 euro for a taxi to take me a mile to the hospital if I were on crutches...so we have different priorities. However, don't let this eat away at you. And by saying you'll never return to Italy, the only person you are hurting is yourself. Italy won't notice. Some of travel is about convenience over cost...IMO.

Posted by
261 posts

I didn't read the replies. Most tourists don't know how these situations are handled.

I'm sorry to read of your situation, bumann84. Your hotel is at fault here, but I doubt that will help your case. I don't blame you at all for being angry. When a hotel employee is unwilling to help guests with their car in a ZTL zone, it's time to speak to the manager/owner. If the manager refuses to offer help, it's time to leave and find other lodging. But if you're ticketed in the meantime, leaving will not help your case.

It is imperative to contact your hotel in advance and confirm the details of ZTL entry. This is the only way to avoid a scenario like this. If the hotel is unwilling to respond, or says it can't help you, then you have time to find other lodging.

I'm not sure what the legal requirements are in your case, because you picked up your car in France and received the infraction in Rome. This sounds like a French contract, French jurisdiction, but I'm not sure. In Italy, there is a time limit built into the law. If you don't receive the bill for the infraction within a year of the ticket date, you don't have to pay it.

I'm sure there is a way to contest the Italian infraction, but the process is complicated and not enjoyable. Drivers with U.S. handicap permits are permitted to drive and park within a ZTL zone, but local authorities require authorization/notification first. If you or your hotel did not do the paperwork to acquire local authorization, then the onus is on you to prove to a Prefect that you had the right to be in a ZTL when you were ticketed.

To make your case with an Italian Prefect, you have to write the details in the local language. They don't make it easy for English-only visitors. In this case, it's not clear if you would have to make your case in both French and Italian. It sounds like a mess.

If you possess a handicap permit and had it displayed in your car at the time you were ticketed, then you might have a case worth pursuing. If not, I sincerely doubt that blaming the hotel for not helping you is going to help you eliminate responsibility.

You may be able to send a copy of your handicap permit to the Prefect in Italy, and make your case, even if you didn't have the permit with you. Just don't tell them that. If I were you, I would contact the appropriate person at comune.roma.it. You will probably have to dig and research to find the correct contacts.

Good luck!

Posted by
1741 posts

First, that hotel doesn't purchases ZTL permits for its customers (I have checked), so they could do nothing for you.
You should have asked about it before booking, now you should just edit the first post as they did not scam you.

You chose to drive inside central Rome because of something you read, but your sources were wrong and the system doesn't work that way: not all hotels pay for the privilege of putting their customers' cars on the white list. It not a lot of money, 300 € per year every 10 rooms, but it a free choice of each hotel. First strike?

I asked the IBAN code written on the letter you received because cops DO NOT SEND fines to rental agencies. They ask rental agencies who was driving that car on that day and then they write to that person. For sure they do it either in Italian or in English, never in french! So, who is the recipient written on the fine? Did you receive a copy of the original? Is it you or is it Avis? If it's Avis and it's AVIS' Iban code, I wrote above what has probably happened. You did not receive any fine from Italian police, you were screwed by a French agency. Second strike?

I don't know how to explain it better: there can be no legal fine without a way to appeal.
You received no legal fine, you have nothing to pay.

I'm sure there is a way to contest the Italian infraction, but the process is complicated and not enjoyable

The process isn't complicated at all. You must write a letter. In Italian. Not to the Prefect, but to a Judge as this isn't a clear mistake but a question to debate in front of a judge. He did not ask his hotel how the ZTL system works in Rome, he made wrong assumptions based on some wrong things he read. You'd need a judge to sort it out, handicap or not.

The one year limit starts from the moment cops know the name and address of the person responsible for that car. But rental agencies have a couple of months to reply to the police, not one year!

Posted by
597 posts

Wife and I were in Italy for three weeks in May and June this year, and rented a car for three days in Tuscany. I won't feel like the trip is truly over for another year or two, when ticket issues, if any, are resolved. I was super-careful, but who knows. We went into this just assuming that the trip might well cost a few hundred extra dollars.

I don't mean to minimize the OP's situation, though, which does seem outrageous.

Posted by
11970 posts

I'm not super familiar with the ZTL in Rome, but from the map I see in the city of Rome website the vicolo della cancelleria is inside the ZTL, at least currently, I don't know last year.
When a hotel inside the ZTL is notified by the guest the entered with the car to check in, they are supposed to enter the license plate number in a special City website called LISTA BIANCA (white list) which prevents the car from being fine. They have 24 hour to enter that number with the details (date, time). You have a certain amount of time, in Florence is 3 hours, to check in and then remove the car.
Regarding the taxis, if you went to an official taxi, and you were in Rome, there is no way a charge would be 130€. That is the average taxi charge from the port of Civitavecchia to Rome. From the Fiumicino airport it is 48€. Are you sure they didn't tell you 13€? That is a more typical charge if you went from the Termini station to the historical center.

Posted by
1741 posts

Roberto, as I tried to explain above in Rome it's different. Hotels must pay an annual fee and register to the system. Only after their customers can drive inside the ZTL. Hotels can buy only 1 permit every 10 rooms.

I have checked: that hotel isn't registered and it doesn't provide that kind of service to its customers. They probably think it's a waste of money as almost nobody visits Rome by car these days and those few would never drive to the hotel without asking in advance how it works. It's 200 meters far from the Pantheon!

Posted by
261 posts

Dear bumann84, check out this official site for traffic infractions in Italy:

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

Select English language. Click on the FAQs link. On Page 2, item #6, there are instructions for how to deal with Rome's ZTL infractions issued to those with Disability Permits.

Everything is complicated to an English-only tourist when they are required to communicate in Italian, especially when it comes to anything legal.

I do agree there was no real "scam" here, but I imagine the term was used in anger and frustration. The hotel did not offer appropriate help or customer service. That's worth noting.

Posted by
11970 posts

Based on what Dario writes, then you are out of luck with that hotel.
Regarding the notification of the traffic violation, the Italian law says that the authorities have 90 days to notify the owner, if resident in Italy, and 360 days if resident outside of Italy. In your case the owner is the French rental agency.

CONSEQUENCES:
If you have not received notification from Italian authorities, don't worry about it. Refpgarding the 35€ charge from the rental company, if it doesn't hit your credit card, forget about it. If it does, try to contest it with your credit card. Your credit card might let it go, since it's small.

The Italian authorities have a hard time collecting from people in Italy, let alone in North America. Some jurisdictions have sold that credit to international collection agencies. There is no chance they can get that enforced in a US court.

Posted by
11613 posts

NYCTS, if you edit your post to delete the # symbol, it should look normal.

Posted by
261 posts

Thank you, Zoe. I tried to fix it, but the entire post got deleted. There is something happening with the code. I'll try to re-post it later.

Posted by
30968 posts

bumann84,

You're dealing with enforcement agencies and bureaucracy in two different countries, regarding an infraction that's over a year old. For the sake of your stress levels, I'd suggest just paying the ticket and move on.

With the Avis 35€ charge, don't worry about it unless the credit card company sends you a bill.

Posted by
12 posts

@Kathy and Wray I thought it might be a misunderstanding too. But I clearly heard the Italian word for 100 and I said "no, 10" and they laughed and repeated 100 (or whatever crazy amount), and I was so shocked that's why I got out paper. But I guess there is still a small chance I misunderstood. I didn't want to risk it though. We could have handled € 20 but that isn't what was quoted. It's worth mentioning we had a fluent Spanish speaker with us who also tried to help and also heard crazy high numbers. But none of that matters now. In hindsight we should have gone around a corner away from my mom and luggage to get a cab and maybe would have gotten a reasonable quote, or at least someone honest enough to use the meter.

@NYCTravelSnob and @ darioalbI actually did contact the hotel prior to arrival. I let them know we had a car, and that my mom had mobility issues. I said I did not know the car make or license at that time. I didn't mention the ZTL specifically, but I did ask where we could temporarily park in order to unload the car. I also asked the best place to park. I also told them when we would be arriving. They responded, there was no mention of the ZTL.

I did see on the ticket you have to be notified within 360 days, but that's why it's tricky. I was notified 368 days after, but they told Avis-Budget within the 360(15/7/2017), Avis-Budget wrote the notice within the time (18/8/2017), I don't know when they sent it, but I didn't physically receive notice until 1/9/2017.

We did not bring the handicap permit with us to Europe. I may have to explore that avenue in order to have it fully clear.

@darioalb the attached page with the Avis-Budget letter looks like a bad scan or a couple different scans mashed together, but it is in French. It even says on the back the person who translated it and prepared it in French (that's where I got the the 15/7/2017 date) It says on the back, Bank: UNICRADIT SPA - Via Monte Tarpeo 42- 00186 Roma IBAN: IT 02W02008 05117 000103950059 So an Italian IBAN.

The ticket looks like it's written to AB FLEETCO. They did not send an original, they sent a poor scan.

Thank you everyone for all the reply's. It's a lot to take in. I will edit out scam as some have suggested. It was out of anger. Now I see it isn't a scam but laziness and poor service on the part of the hotel.

EDIT: fixed spelling

Posted by
30968 posts

I doubt that a handicap permit issued in the US would be valid in Europe.

Posted by
12 posts

@Ken That's why we didn't bring it in the first place. We thought it probably wouldn't work, and it could cause trouble.

Posted by
261 posts

I am a sometimes consultant to the EU. I know what I'm talking about (most times).

"Thanks to the reciprocity among European Union and European Economic Area (EU /EEA) with United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, the European hosting country grants to the disabled visitor from another state equal rights as in his/her own country concerning parking and mobility."

Posted by
30968 posts

NYC,

Thanks for clarifying that. Hopefully the local police who are writing the tickets, are fully aware of that reciprocity.

Posted by
1609 posts

A US handicap placard definitely works in Italy, but they want you the place it on the dashboard, not hang it. Also, you do need to call the phone number on the ZTL signs to register your car license number. We learned this the hard way. We took an Italian car trip several years ago and didn't register our license for the many ZTLs we drove into. We got 14 tickets several months later! There is nothing you can do about the car rental fees. We paid one ticket, the one we got an official ticket for. But, we happened to be back in Italy about 6 months after our first trip. We ended up going back to the towns where we got the tickets (my husband was very upset and obsessed). We met many very nice police officials in several citiess, who dropped the tickets, once we explained the situation. It made us enjoy Italy even more. Since you only got 1 ticket, I recommend just paying it and chalking up to a very unfortunate experience.

Posted by
261 posts

"you do need to call the phone number on the ZTL signs to register your car license number"

If you don't follow the local rules of registration, you could find yourself in a heap of trouble, as Becky described.

Every Comune may handle these issues differently. It's best to contact each Comune and find out what they require to register your vehicle. Simply placing a U.S. permit on your dashboard is not enough. You or your hotel needs to call the information in, reporting it to the municipal police. In Siena, for instance, you must call the information in every day of your visit. Other Comunes are not that strict.

Rome may be a unique city. Most hotels will provide wonderful customer service and call in the information for you. If a hotel resists or says it isn't necessary, DON'T BELIEVE THEM. You will immediately know you picked the wrong hotel.

The OP was smart enough to contact the hotel in advance but didn't realize the hotel was ignoring her/him. The OP neglected to contact the Comune of Rome ahead of time and neglected to bring the U.S. permit to Italy. Both are serious errors that a Prefect is not likely to ignore or overlook.

Posted by
1878 posts

I would go ahead and pay it. I can understand why you are upset because you feel that you took reasonable care to avoid a violation, and what else could you have done. The idea that it would work for the hotel to call the police to let them know seems tenuous at best. Maybe that's the system, but the hotel desk has no incentive to follow through. This is yet again still more evidence that if one drives in Italy, they have to accept that even with reasonable level of care, good faith, and common sense, it's easy to get caught. Life is full of situations where you get an expected windfall, and suffer unexpected expenses. Another case where travel is a microcosm of life. I suggest that you get out some of your aggression by Yelping the hotel if you really feel they were at fault. Also TripAdvisor. Hotels are really afraid of these sites and you might even get a response out of them.

Posted by
929 posts

Just to back up the OP on the taxi issue, in 2007 I was quoted 50 euros by the taxi drivers outside of Termini Station for a ride to Hotel Giuliana. It was a ten minute walk, if that.

Posted by
261 posts

Here is the post that got accidentally deleted earlier.

The emo.nivi.it website is offered in the letter the car rental agency sends you when they inform you that a request for your information has been made by the police and that your credit card will get charged that nasty $50 fee.

Page 4, number sixteen in FAQs: How should I lodge an appeal?

Only in the case of the payment not having been made, the user may
submit an appeal to the Prefect or a justice of the peace by and no
later than 60 days after receipt of the Notification. (Warning: by
Notification, they mean the actual violation ticket with payment
details. They are not talking about the first letter you get from the
car rental agency. The violation ticket may not show up for
weeks/months later.)

The appeal to the Prefect consists of an administrative appeal that
must be submitted in Italian by registered mail with proof of receipt.
In order to forward this appeal it is necessary to fill out a specific
form and enclose all documentation which is useful and valid for
assessment of the appeal by the competent Prefect. The form and the
address can both be downloaded from our website. Please note that the
reasons for the appeal must be well founded. If the appeal is not
accepted, the Prefect will then issue an injunction requesting payment
from you of a sum which is at least double the original amount.

The appeal to the justice of the peace is a judicial appeal as an
alternative to the appeal to the Prefect. It must also be submitted in
Italian and sent by registered mail with proof of receipt. In order to
present this appeal it is necessary to fill out a specific form and
enclose all documentation which is useful and valid for assessment of
the appeal by the competent justice of the peace. The form and the
address can both be downloaded from our website. Please note that the
reasons for the appeal must be well founded. Once the justice of the
peace receives the appeal he/she fixes a hearing at which the claimant
or his/her legal representative must be present.

Posted by
30968 posts

I'm not sure you have grounds for appeal. You did drive through the ZTL and failed to ensure your vehicle was registered on the white list. As I mentioned earlier, an unsuccessful appeal may in fact cost you more than the original ticket, but Roberto or one of the others will have to confirm that.

Posted by
1153 posts

Just for your info, the appeal to the Prefect is easier to file, but the Prefect as an administrative authority always presumes other administrative authorities are right, so it is mainly a fancy way to lose time and money.
An appeal to the justice of peace has more possibilities as city councils do not want to spend much money sending lawyers to court hearings to fight traffic tickets; almost always the plaintiff finds him/herself alone in court to explain his/her reasons and if the case is well founded it is not uncommon that the ticket is voided.

Posted by
2546 posts

"Anyway, I read from several sources that you inform the hotel immediately on arrival, and they contact the local police to inform them of your car info so you won't get a ticket. Well, I did that." I hope that those sources did not guarantee that this would work. I have read similar articles and they all said "may" prevent getting the ticket and not will, which is a crucial difference. In any event the hotel staff told you that they would not call and you knew that you were in a ZTL, so you should have known that you would get a ticket. At this point, pay the ticket and move on because you were driving in a ZTL and consider yourself lucky that you only got fined for the inbound trip. Your beef is really with the hotel but that hotel does not help with the ZTL so I am not sure what recourse you have with them.

Posted by
12 posts

@JHK Everyone has been super helpful with this issue, except you. They said they would not call because we were not in the ZTL. Which is a lie. Everyone else is giving me options and advice and I feel you are attacking me. I absolutely did not expect a ticket if two people at the hotel are insisting we are not in the ZTL and refusing to call, or even warn me than I may get a ticket because they lied. I notified the hotel in advance when we would be arriving, BY CAR, and I checked my e-mails, I even e-mailed the hotel before our arrival with the make/model and plates of the car in order to call it in, AND I confirmed our arrival time. In all of this, not once did they say "No No you will get a ticket we are in the ZTL" so while at this point I know I will probably have to pay, your comments are hurtful, and not helpful. Also, € 194 is disgustingly excessive.

Posted by
11970 posts

The hotel is currently inside the ZTL. If they told you they are not, they either lied or you misunderstood.
Dario informed us that the City of Capital Rome has a funky ZTL rule whereby the hotels actually have to buy the right to insert a guest's car in the white list. It's a ridiculous requirement but the city has been mismanaged since Caligula, so no surprises there.
The only option for you would have been to request a temporary permit for disabled people. That would have been possible but I think it must be done before entering. Real life policemen generally honor placards issued overseas, unless they are jerks, but when you enter ZTLs you are dealing with machines (photo camera) not people. Therefore in your case, Having a placard would not help, even if it were issued in Italy. My cousin who had a disability in Florence, still had to ask for a permit. The reason is that the photo Camera overhead takes a picture of the license plates but there is no way it can see a placard hanging in the inside mirror.
The other alternative would have been to park in a public garage outside the ZTL and transfer to a taxi. There might also be garages inside the ZTL. Those also can place a customer's car in the city website white list.
Regarding the taxi. If they told you 100+€ they were either joking with you and pulling your leg, or you asked one of those people who pretend to be taxi drivers but are actually dishonest impostors intent on gauging out of towners (not only foreigners, but out of town Italians too). I've never spent more than 15€ traveling within the city center.

Posted by
11970 posts

REGARDING YOUR TICKET.
I still haven't figured out whether you received this ticket from an Italian authority or from Avis.
From what I read, it looks like you received from Avis France.
If you canceled your credit card a long time ago, they may not be able to charge your credit card.
I would ignore what you received until you receive the charge in your credit card (assuming they can).
If it hits your credit card, then you can try to dispute with the credit card later and explain your reasons then, and see how it goes. I wouldn't worry about your credit scoring until you receive the charge from your credit card. Your credit card issued in America has the ability to report you to the credit bureaus, but not Avis France.

Posted by
15577 posts

194 EUR does seem excessive. I would think it would be 2 violations, once when you entered and once when you left, but that info is buried in the Italian text. Or the fine could have already doubled. If it is any consolation, I was at one of the Roma Mobilita sites and there were lots of posts, all in Italian, complaining about tickets, the impossibility of turning around once you see one of the signs coming up, dealing with bureaucracy, etc.

Posted by
12 posts

@Roberto da Firenze As far as I can tell Avis France translated the Italian ticket into French and sent me a copy. It has payment info on the ticket copy to Rome, if that answers that. After reading all the posts and the google translation, I should be receiving a real ticket?

@Sam On the letter Avis sent it says "Number of fines: [ 1 ] and then the info on the attached ticket copy only has one date and time for violation. It's all very frustrating. I appreciate the feedback immensely.

Posted by
11970 posts

Ignore it and wait.
I doubt the city of Rome will send you anything this late.
If you incur a violation with a car rented in Italy, the authorities have 90 days to notify the owner. When the owner is a rental company, they have 60 days to communicate back to the authorities the name of the renter. If the renter is domiciled abroad, then the authorities will notify you directly, but must do so within 360 days from the date they were given the name by the rental company.
In this case it is a foreign rental, which the authorities notified within a year, therefore on time. It doesn't look Avis France communicated your name back to Rome. They have time until 15 Sept (60 days after they receive the notification). I doubt Avis France knows the Italian rules, so they are simply trying to get you to pay the ticket. In fact so far, it appears they simply sent you a copy of the ticket and they are probably currently unable to charge your canceled card (otherwise they would have done so already, believe me).
I wouldn't pay anything now. I'd just wait for a possible charge from your old credit card and go from there.
The only risk is now, if you try to rent from Avis in France again, they might try to charge you then. If you go back to France, use Europcar or Hertz, and nobody will bother you.

Posted by
261 posts

I have to say Roberto da Firenze has provided well-reasoned responses. I think I support everything he has written in his last three posts.

I also agree that the hotel lied, and if it were me, I would never take kindly to that.

If you have proof of a lie in an email, plus an email of your car license plate numbers, it will help your case along with a copy of your Disability Permit (if you actually have to file an appeal, which I don't think you will.)

I can't specifically speak to Rome authorities, because I haven't yet driven my car in the ZTL there. It may be a toss-up, but from my experience, most Prefects in Italy are not hell-bent on punishing any member of the disabled community, no matter what the truth really is.

Even though I have an Italian permit for driving in the ZTL, the cameras don't see it, and mistakes happen in the bureaucracy. Typically, I phone or email my information in advance to the proper authority. It's the only way to be sure that the t is crossed and the i is dotted.

Posted by
15577 posts

I didn't know autoeurope was ticket-proof. Do they have stealth license plates?

Posted by
12 posts

Thank you everyone, again, for the incite and advice.

@Roberto da Firenze and NYCTravelSnob Yes, you are right, the copy of the ticket does not have my name on it. It is the rental company. So, after weighing all the options and advice I will wait for the actual ticket from the Italian authorities. I have e-mailed the hotel, I did that within an hour of getting the letter in the mail, and I have not gotten a response. I also, found my note pad with the I have printed out all the e-mail correspondence, and I have my mom getting a copy of the handicap parking permit, AND a doctors letter in-case I need to appeal. When/if I get the actual ticket from Italy, I plan on paying it, and then filing an appeal. Hopefully that eliminates the fine doubling it, and maybe they would refund me? Anyway, I would hate for € 194 to double.

Again, I can't thank everyone enough for the well thought out responses (mostly) and taking the time out of your holiday weekends to help me. It is greatly appreciated, by not only me, but my mom, and the rest of my family.

Posted by
782 posts

I'm with Roberto on just waiting to see what happens. I once received a large ticket in 2008 for a supposed violation that occurred in 2003 - a full 5 years later. Most people advised me to pay it but I refused because I wasn't even in Genoa on the date it said the infraction occurred, I decided to wait and see if they would really come after me. Never heard another word about it and here it is 2017. Granted, your case is only 1 year but...I'd wait it out.

Posted by
11613 posts

One thought about paying and then appealing: might your payment be considered an admission of guilt and your appeal be refused? Not sure how the process works, but perhaps someone else can clarify this point.

Posted by
261 posts

I would be very surprised if this hotel had any interest in helping you.

All written correspondence sent to an appeal must be translated in Italian.

If you plan to appeal, you CAN'T pay the fine when the ticket arrives. Once you pay the fine, the appeal process is no longer an option. That's the way it works for an appeal. If you lose the appeal, the amount you will owe will be far more serious. They don't want to horse around with sketchy appeals. Therefore, if you intend to appeal, you must be convinced that you have or can make a strong case to support your truth. In this instance, I question whether you can accomplish that.

If you receive an actual ticket, you may want to consider paying it and cutting your losses there. My advice would be, don't file an appeal unless you are convinced you can win. Without someone in Italy helping you, like the hotel manager pleading your case to the authorities, I'm not convinced you will come out ahead.

Posted by
2731 posts

Follow Roberto's advice, it sounds exactly correct to me. The closed credit card should shelter you, a closed account is very hard to charge months later, especially when no goods or services were obtained. People on this forum recommend rolling over and giving in way too early.

Kind of related: we were notified of an unspecified infraction at an unspecified location by Budget France in 2014 and paid the 35 euro fee, but never received the fine so never paid it. Rented again from Budget France in 2017 no issues.

We took the same route to and from the parking lot, so I don't know why there is no ticket on the day we left?

That's coming around Christmas.

Posted by
315 posts

I was scanning the posts when "Christmas" popped up. What a chuckle! No ZTL tickets for us at this point but have had a CC charge show up one year later from an unknown business. Had it taken off and I think I recall a number change for the CC.