Got lost in Pisa and pretty sure went down at least one 'do not enter' street. What can I expect in fines, timing? Had a rental car...will they just charge the fine to my credit card?
IF you got a ticket, the authorities will go to your rental car company & they WILL be given your contact information, and the rental company will charge YOUR credit card a hefty "administrative fee" for doing so. Then you will eventually receive - as much as a year later - your ticket in the mail. You'll have 60 days to pay, and they'll tell you how to pay online. If you don't pay, your rental car company may eventually have to pay, including late penalties, and they will charge it to your credit card.
ruth, If you're going to receive a ZTL fine, it will probably take several months. When were you in Pisa? The fine is typically about €100, but I don't know the exact amount (it could vary between cities?). Based on the experiences of others here, the rental agency often charges a fee to provide the renter's name and other information to the Italian authorities. I've never heard of them directly charging the fine to a credit card (of course, that doesn't mean it hasn't happened). Let us know if or when you receive a violation notice.
No, the experience of people posting here is that they won't just charge the fine to your credit card. What they will do is charge to your credit card an "administrative fee" for giving your address to the authorities. But hey, since it's Pisa instead of the dreaded Florence parking enforcement folks, maybe they won't even come after you at all. Most of our experience here is with Florence enforcement practices, since Florence hands out hundreds of ZTL violations a day. Yes, hundreds there's a site with the numbers. The first heads up you'll get will be an unexpected "admin fee" charge showing up on the credit card you used to rent the car. Again, this will be months after your return, after you thought you were safe. Unfortunately, that's not payment of the fine but merely the fee the credit card company charges to give your mail address to the Italian parking authorities. If you see the credit card charge, then expect the fine itself in the mail from Italy, but again it may take several months for them to get around to it. The fines in Florence have been running about 100 euros for each time you drove past a ZTL sign, so many reporting in here have received multiple ZTL fines. Some people here who drove cars into or through the historic core of Florence this summer, and have figured that by now they're safewell I hope they are but it's a little too early to breathe easy. Florence seems to take longer than 6 months to mail out the 100 euro ZTL fines. This is just one of several reasons to avoid driving a car into or near the historic core area of Florence. We don't have much experience with ZTL violations in Pisa. Maybe, when they see you're a N. American, they'll just leave you alone.
Kent, I'm not sure Florence's collection tactics can be described as "dreaded and aggressive" as compared to other Italian cities. Certainly pervasive though. Florence usually doesn't even bother to send out certified letters, they just use regular mail. Clearly without proof that their letters were received they are just hoping that people pay. US residents are conditioned to be respectful of authority though, so they get quite a few people to pony up using this low cost tactic. If you don't pay, they simply stop sending letters. And yes, the car rental agency will not pay the fines and is not compelled to do so.
ruth, You might find it interesting to read THIS website, on the subject of traffic tickets in Italy. Cheers!
I don't disagree, Neil. I just got carried away, by the thought of them handing out (what was it we figured out once), 1 per minute, 24/7.
it's my understanding that Pisa is just as vigilant as florence, it's just not as trafficked so it doesn't come up as often. however, there's a difference between a regular "do not enter" one-way street and entering an actual ZTL. It also depends on the time of day and day of the week, the ZTLs are not active 24/7. Good luck! I was worried about speeding tickets from the cameras along the roads in Tuscany and it's been a little over a year and knock on wood I haven't gotten anything yet. So you may get lucky.
We just got a ticket for Orvieto (we were there in April 2009) last month, apparently it was a time of day ZTL and we were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The fine was 103 euros, if we don't pay within 60 days of receiving the letter, it came registered mail, it would go up to 186 euros. We know we were there that day so we paid it, you can pay online with a Visa or MasterCard, by bank transfer or by mail.
I found an interesting article in the online London Telegraph on this often-discussed topic. Two interesting things it says: (1) the Italian authorities CAN request the car rental company to pay your unpaid fine - not just the processing fee; and (2) you may be blacklisted by Italian car rental companies for not paying fines. Here's the reference: www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/columnists/gillcharlton/5443294/Ask-Gill-pay-Italian-traffic-fines-or-face-courts.html
The website to which Ken refers contains some good information, but this quote cannot be characterized as such: "If you don't pay, the rental company will eventually pay the fine plus the late fees and pass that on to you via your credit card company." Nope. They don't.
One additional point to remember. Virtually ALL car rental agreements include a clause stating that "the renter agrees to pay all traffic or parking violations" (or something to that effect). By signing the agreement, the renter is legally required to pay. However, it appears this is not usually enforced in the case of European rentals (but that could change, given the amount of revenue they're losing).
Regarding the London Telegraph column: meh. The European countries have agreements with each other allowing the collection of fines. The US is not party to any such agreements. Tom, I know what you're trying to say, but still.
Juno, I have never seen anyone report that their car rental agency paid a fine and charged it to their credit card, but if you can provide a link to a report of a US resident charged by a car rental agency in Italy for ZTL fines that would be a good thing to read. The reason that agencies do not do this is that drivers have the right to contest such fines, and obviously this right would be taken away from them if the agencies simply paid the fines.
"should give one pause one trying to think they can get away with entering the ZTL without paying at some point." Yep. Florence has been handing out a ZTL violation every 2 minutes 24/7 (according to a website that supposedly documents the stats on this). What gets my attention is travelers who've driven into the Florence historic center but been back only a couple of months but report, "no problema navigating the Florence ZTL's." Hope so but the celebration may be premature, as Florence seems to take 6 mos to a year to mail fines to US addresses.
I've never gotten a ticket in Italy that I haven't run down to the PO to pay,. But I used to pitch parking tickets in France and England.....no more, those suckers are triple the original price when they show up on the credit card statement a couple of months later. My rights be damned. They've gotten me well, deservedly, and repeatedly. Payback for the freebies all those years really sucks.
For the record, because hearsay doesn't cut it, I have still NEVER seen a report by a person that THEIR car rental agency in ITALY paid a ZTL fine for them. This thread has nothing to do with the UK, France, and any type of fines other than ZTL violations. I only mention this because there is a logical disconnect between "Oh yeah, I got a ticket once in the UK and the car rental agency charged me for it" and leaping to the conclusion that this resolution is consistent with anything having to do with ZTLs.
I think Neil is correct (post immediately above), that we have not had a report from a person stating their credit card company paid an Italy ZTL fine ; the admin charge for reporting their address to the Italian authorities, yes, but not the fine itself.
The Ask Gill blog includes this: "About 600 ZTL fines are issued each day in Florence, raising a useful €25 million a year." I wonder if there's another city of comparable sizing (not talking London here) that hands out a ZTL violation every couple of minutes? Yet another good reason not to drive into the historic center of Florence.
Ahem. Juno, with all due respect, "Ask Gill" is a London columnist responding to a UK resident about Florence ZTL collection practices. I personally would encourage all EU residents to pay their ZTL fines because as this columnist pointed out, European Parking Collection (EPC) working on behalf of EMO will come looking for you with good reasons why you should pay. At the risk of sounding pedantic, I will state AGAIN what I've already stated in THIS thread: EU residents are subject to cooperative agreements between countries as it pertains to law enforcement and collection of traffic infraction fines. In the US.....not. If the Florence authorities were able to sic bill collectors on US residents, you'd think they would, dontcha? I know what many people are trying to say...pay your fines and you don't have to worry. That is subtly but significantly different than stating that you WILL have to worry if you don't pay ZTL fines. Moral arguments are NOT INFORMATION. I am simply providing solid information, and am predisposed to calling BS on wishful thinking or hearsay being promoted as information. To summarize: the US is not the UK. They both start with "U," but still.
Juno, the facts are clearly not on your side as it pertains to ZTL tickets. Neither Hertz nor any other rental company pays these fines on behalf of US residents who received ZTL tickets. People can always choose to pay these fines regardless of repercussions, and for peace of mind I assume the majority do. Perhaps that is the argument you're making...people should pay the fines for the peace of mind it brings. For those whom the peace of mind is not a factor, there has been no evidence by ANYONE there are repercussions.
So Neil, just to be sure I've got it right, what you're saying is that the fines collected in England are the same as the ZTL fines, right? Are you sure that they are collected by car rental companies in Italy? Just to be sure...
You've got it, Nigel. Neil has been very consistent here in arguing that you should always pay your Florence ZTL fines, and that if you don't, your credit card company will. (Just kidding, Neil) I should mention that on this site, Neil is affectionately known as Mr. Scofflaw
Mixing apples and oranges. Perhaps those receiving UK fines are charged by their credit card company. But this is not the case with ZTL fines, for US residents, which is the topic of this thread. I repeat, this has nothing to do with UK traffic fines. I repeat, this has nothing to do with UK traffic fines. I repeat, this has nothing to do with UK traffic fines. The point I'm trying to make is that this has nothing to do with UK traffic fines.
Hee. I'm tempted to blush, but as Golda Meir said, "Don't be humble...you're not that great." Nigel, to answer your question, I think it's the opposite. I can only speak of ZTL fines incurred in Italy by US drivers in rented cars. My own experience, consistent with the experience of others, is that the Italian local government authorities send one or two dunning letters to our US addresses and then drop the matter if the fines aren't paid. My understanding is that European countries have agreements with each other that allow such fines to follow you, for example, back to the UK, and there are UK bill collectors who attempt to collect these fines. It may be that vehicles rented by US residents IN the UK that incur fines will have those fines paid by the car rental agency and charged to the customers' credit cards. Juno says this happened to her, I have no reason to doubt her, and others may doubt her, but in any event it has nothing to do with ZTL tickets.
A boy named Juno grows up tuff. :/
At the risk of also being labeled a scofflaw, would the solution be to change your cc# when you return from driving in Italy? Hertz can't charge a admin fee if the card is now invalid. (See, Neil, I paid attention!)
Witness Protection Program?
Karen, I imagine canceling your credit card would not prevent collection. If it were the case, I suppose people all over the world would simply cancel their credit cards to avoid paying a large bill. Of course to me it's an academic question because I haven't seen a single report of a US resident who received a ZTL fine stating their credit card company paid the fine. There's a lot of fear and loathing out there, but nothing pragmatic.
I thought Juno had interneted some great place with the true gospel from officialdom. His linked source is some Italian real estate outfit. Giving such advice is Florida will get you a nasty fine for practicing law without a license.