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Italy ZTL - Am I in for a gigantic hassle?

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I did everything right - at least I think so. Prior to our October visit to Italy, which included a three-day stay in the city of Mantova, we made very specific arrangements with the proprieters of the Palazzo we were staying in to make sure we weren't victimized by the high fines associated with driving in the limited zones. The owners, who were lovely hosts, told us we needed to pay a 3 Euro per day charge, and they would obtain the permit enabling us to drive within the city limits. We happily paid the 9 Euros, which is reflected on the receipt they gave us at checkout - I did not, however, get a copy of the permit itself.

Last week, I received a notice from my bank that there was potential fraudulent activity on my credit card. It turned out to be a $142 charge from Auto Europe. I suspected it would be connected with the Mantova visit, and contacted the agency that we regularly rent through, I also placed the charge into dispute with my my bank.

Earlier today, I received word from Auto Europe that the charges are indeed related to 3 separate violations of the ZTL in Mantova. Also, these charges represent only Auto Europe's "Administrative Fee", and that the violations themselves will be mailed to me at a later date. I e-mailed our host in Mantova, who responded immediately that he would check into it and get right back to me, and I am certain that he will.

I next called Auto Europe and advised them of what was going on, and they informed me that even if it turns out that I am correct, I will still be responsible for the Adminsitrative Fee - the agent told me I should get the owner of the establishment where I stayed to reimburse me, since he was probably remiss in registering my permit with the local police. I argued the point - as I believe that what will probably happen will be that the hotel owner and the police will point fingers at each other, and I will be stuck with the charge. The best she could do was consider some "arrangement" if I am able to produce a copy of the actual permit, and send it to them.

So now, even if I am able to avoid the actual violations, which is not a sure thing, I'm still going to have to wrangle with somebody over this $143 fee. Can anyone advise me on what else I should do to extricate myself from the situation?

I hate credit card hassles!


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