Traffic Ticker

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Dec 21, 2014
Over the years, my wife and I have taken a number of vacation trips to Europe, always renting a car when we got there. We pay for the car rental with a credit card. Several years ago, two weeks after returning from a trip to Germany, we received a letter from the rental car company saying that we had gotten a traffic ticket while on our trip, which the "competent authority" sent to the rental company. The rental company said that have billed our credit card for administrative expenses related to their dealings with the authorities regarding this traffic violation. They provided no specifics about our alleged traffic violation but said we should expect to be contacted by the competent authority in two to three months. Our initial thought was that perhaps we had made some traffic infraction which was recorded by a camera. But after we never received any traffic ticket from anyone, we began to wonder if this alleged ticket was a scam.
This October, the exact same scenario took place again. Two weeks after returning from our trip, we got notified by Avis/Budget about a traffic ticket that we allegedly received on the day that we returned the rental car, again in Germany. They billed us $37.68 for administrative expenses and said we'd be contacted by the "competent authority" in two to three months. This time I sent an e-mail to Avis/Budget requesting more information about the alleged ticket and threatening to dispute the charge with the credit card company if they did not respond. They did not respond, but I took no further action. To date, we have not received a traffic ticket from anyone.
My question is, is this sort of traffic ticket incident a common scam employed by rental car companies? Or do Germany police, and/or other European police, commonly issue traffic tickets from camera sources? Any thoughts you have on this subject would be appreciated.

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Oct 1, 2014
Dear Mr. Bartholomew,

Hi, I'm one of Chris assistants.

This sure sounds fishy to me. Most, if not all, car rental companies do levy a charge for administrative expenses if they have to deal with a ticket that comes in after you've returned your rental. That's fair. But administrative charges and then no ticket showing up? First time... maybe you got lucky. Second time... Hmmmm.

Anyway, if I were you, I'd start sending some emails to find out what's going on. Begin by completing and submitting the Customer Service form you'll find at this link:

Ask for documentation of this alleged ticket, and give them a week to get back to you. If they don't or if you don't like what they have to say, escalate your appeal to the executives you'll find listed here:

Send a short, polite email to the Primary Contact, followed by, if necessary, and with a week between each, emails to the two Secondary Contacts.

Save all of your correspondence, and if you don't receive satisfaction, feel free to forward your "paper trail" to Chris for review.

Good luck.