Vittatoe, Votato["e" for all who remember the Quyalesian spelling method],
they called the whole thing off.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Rohit Khare [SMTP:firstname.lastname@example.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 5:17 PM
> To: FoRK@xent.ICS.uci.edu
> Cc: email@example.com
> Subject: Fwd: RE: Unethical City of West Hollywood Collection
> I got a paper-mail response from the city acknowleding my mail, a phone
> call from the meta-supervisor at the parking company, and this letter from
> the director of parking at the City. I'm fairly satisfied.
> >From: Vvittato@mailsrvr.ci.west-hollywood.ca.us
> >To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> >Cc: Cmakinne@mailsrvr.ci.west-hollywood.ca.us,
> > Jenglish@mailsrvr.ci.west-hollywood.ca.us,
> > Vvittato@mailsrvr.ci.west-hollywood.ca.us
> >Subject: RE: Unethical City of West Hollywood Collection Practices
> >Date: Wed, 13 Jan 1999 11:42:29 -0800
> >MIME-Version: 1.0
> >Mr. Khare:
> >As Parking Manager for the City of West Hollywood, I ask that you accept
> >apology, that of our City, and our contractor in the terrible way your
> >was handled. I assure you that I have already had your citation records
> >corrected to accept the original check as payment in full, reversed the
> >charges due to "stop payment" on the 2nd check, and waived any related
> >delinquent fees. The matter is resolved.
> >As a result, I have also instituted changes in the system to ensure that
> >similar problems do not occur in the future. I agree with you that our
> >contractor and our City should never have left the impression that we
> >unable to resolve this situation in your favor upon knowing all the
> >I have also asked the contractor to contact you relative to actions taken
> >resolving the case.
> >I appreciate your bringing these concerns to our attention. We will work
> >hard to review all our procedures to make them more responsive and
> >Vit Vittatoe
> >Parking Manager
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Rohit Khare [SMTP:email@example.com]
> >> Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 1999 6:11 PM
> >> To: FoRK@xent.ics.uci.edu; firstname.lastname@example.org;
> >> email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org;
> >> email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
> >> Cc: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
> >> Subject: Unethical City of West Hollywood Collection Practices
> >> To: "Rose" (Supervisor #85)
> >> Unknown, Inc.
> >> Box 2030
> >> Tustin, CA 92781
> >> Cc: Charlie Makinney - City Manager, West Hollywood
> >> Joan English - Director, Department of Transportation, West
> >> Hollywood
> >> Penrose Vittatoe - Parking Manager, West Hollywood
> >> Los Angeles Times
> >> Los Angeles Weekly
> >> Orange County Weekly
> >> Re: Citation 19123974
> >> The City of West Hollywood's secretive Tustin-based parking fine
> >> contractor is engaged in an (at best) unethical collection practice:
> >> it will cash any check sent in by any citizen for any reason -- and
> >> even if a citation is already paid, apply service charges and
> >> penalties for the duplicate payment to the original citation.
> >> Driving a Maryland-registered vehicle, I was cited on 10/2/98 for $39.
> >> I paid this promptly on 10/8, and the full amount was deposited into
> >> the City of West Hollywood's Parking Fine Account on 10/14, closing
> >> the matter.
> >> The city's private contractor *then* mailed a notice that the citation
> >> had not been paid to the vehicle owner in Maryland, who then promptly
> >> wrote a check for the full amount again. A stop payment order from the
> >> Maryland bank was applied -- at a cost of $20 -- because of this
> >> erroneous notice.
> >> By their own admission, they do not check the citation number written
> >> on the check before blindly depositing it -- whether closed or open,
> >> valid or canceled, paid by a legitimate vehicle owner or not. Since it
> >> was returned because of a stop-payment order, they then blindly
> >> applied a $25 fee to my original payment, then called it overdue and
> >> doubled the amount, and then sent a notice demanding an additonal $66
> >> for their unethical double-deposit.
> >> Rather than admit any wrongdoing, the contractor cited their right
> >> under the language printed on the original citation by "the City of
> >> West Hollywood's lawyers" that they could apply a service charge to a
> >> check returned for "any reason."
> >> To the degree they can hide behind the language hidden on the citation
> >> -- which they would not furnish a copy of -- it is City of West
> >> Hollywood's lawyers who are ultimately responsible.
> >> The contractor insisted this clause is standard practice with the many
> >> cities it processes parking violations for.
> >> Note that this process has no safeguards. If I see a neighbor's car
> >> ticketed, I can keep sending in fraudulent checks, and the penalties
> >> will pile up on the named citation. I can make up citation numbers and
> >> mail in a hundred checks ruining others' reputations. The process
> >> presumes guilt over innocence!
> >> Furthermore, the unnamed contractor insisted that though it worked on
> >> behalf of a public agency, they would not say who they were, nor who
> >> their contact in the City of West Hollywood was, nor any public
> >> official with oversight on the process. To quote:"Sorry, I can't tell
> >> you that information because of a confidentiality agreement with the
> >> City of West Hollywood." I find it hard to believe a public agency can
> >> hide such information from its citizens.
> >> For brevity's sake, I've elided the garden-variety customer abuse:
> >> touch-tone gell from a company serving several California cities'
> >> fines; insistence that I had bounced a check rather than stopping
> >> payment; and clerk's inability to accept that the *first* check had
> >> cashed and the *second* was returned. Nor an apology, much less a
> >> prompt rectification of the matter. Instead, I am stuck sending in a
> >> letter to beg for "Rose"'s mercy while responsiblity ping-pongs back
> >> and forth between them and the City.
> >> I am appalled to see civic government, hiding behind secretive
> >> corporations and the state's power to ruin a driving/title record,
> >> using the kind of Orwellian business practices that would leave a
> >> citizen behind bars.
> >> A private corporation, on the other hand, could be trusted to refund a
> >> second payment, obviating the need for a stop payment in the first
> >> place. Damages, including lost time and aggravation, only *begin* with
> >> the out-of-pocket losses dealing with this bureaucracy.
> >> Yours,
> >> Rohit Khare
> >> 3207 Palo Verde
> >> Irvine, CA 92612
> >> 626 806 7574