Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Bensons v. Plano PD

You can file this story away in the "That Bi*ch is Pissed" folder.

OK, it's not as bad as it sounds. Really! But here's the lowdown. In mid-December, I received a letter in the mail stating that I owed $100 for running a red light. Boo.

So I looked for the when and where.

April 2011. No, that's not a typo. The City of Plano was sending me a notification for a red light ticket from more than 2.5 years ago. This was the first we were hearing of it. There was no picture included to prove I did it and no intersection - nothing - just a letter saying you need to pay this or we're putting a registration hold so you can't renew your vehicle registration. Bitches.

So over Christmas break, I had the hubby call. They essentially said that they sent the ticket and a follow-up to us (turns out it was our old address that we hadn't lived at for over 9 months!) He explained this and the lady was basically like, that's too bad, you can't argue it because it was from too long ago so you owe the $75 and a $25 late fee. After a little bit of smooth-talking that my hubby is so good at, she said she'd follow up with someone and call us back and then hung up on him. (No, she never called back.)

Cue me:

I'm talking snap-your-fingers-in-a-Z-formation mad.

As Greg puts it, "Oh, they messed with the wrong lady. Plus, you're a stay at home mom so you have all the time in the world to fight this."

My response:

Mmmm, not quite. (He was kidding.)

But over the past week, I've dealt with this during morning nap time. Connor's, not mine, unfortunately. Mostly because I get so fired up... and I just can't have sweet Connor around his crazy Momma when I'm dealing with things that really fire me up.

So my latest convo with Red Light Camera Phone Operator #3 was like this:
Me: But I never received the ticket to begin with. You've sent no proof via a photo and, um, this was nearly 3 years ago.
Lady: You're not the first person to have this situation. It doesn't matter if you knew about it or not, you still have to pay it.
Me: Our address had been updated with all state agencies and mail was forwarding, so it's not our fault that you were working off a database that wasn't updated. Can I at least have the late fee removed since this is the first I'm hearing of it?
Lady: No.
Me: Can I have a court date so I can present my case and argue it? (Can't you just see me entering the courtroom with Connor on my hip?! They clearly don't know they are messing with a former high school Mock Trial Lawyer. And I have the golden gavel to prove it.)
Lady: No, too much time has passed.

I got pretty mad, so I honestly don't remember all the details - I may or may not have threatened to call the local news station's consumer action line because "I think the public would be interested to know how the local government is trying to screw taxpayers and collect on something that allegedly happened almost 3 years ago. I say 'allegedly' because you show no proof!" Dramatic much? 

But eventually, I was able to talk to someone in the Plano PD and explain the situation. He was really super-nice and reminded me of a Grandpa. He got the late fee removed and even said something to the effect of "Shame on the State of Texas for not having their information updated." Yeah, take that, Texas!

So, long story short long: We got the late fee removed and we'll be paying our ticket.

Turns out I guess I ran the red light.


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