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Speeding ticket in Germany: how do I handle this?

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Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:49 PM
  #1
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Speeding ticket in Germany: how do I handle this?

Landkreis Goslar, Germany, just sent me a letter telling me that I received a speeding ticket. Cost is 30 euros.

I was unaware that I'd been speeding, but they caught me dead to rights with pictures.

On the same day I received a letter from Avis/Budget notifying me of said ticket and telling me they were charging me 29.75 euros for "handling." I assume "handling" means receiving the ticket and sending me the notification.

It appears that I'll have to do 2 bank transfers for a total of $90!!!! That means the 30 euro ticket will end up costing me around $172.

Can anyone suggest a way to deal with this so that I pay Landkreis Goslar and Budget without having to do those expensive bank transfers?
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:53 PM
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Will they accept credit cards?
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 01:58 PM
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I was just caught in The Netherlands with the same problem. I was going 5 KPM (3 mph) over the limit and it must have been recorded by camera. I also received a 25 Euro handling fee from Hertz, which I understand is standard procedure.

I could not figure out a way to contest it or get around the the usurious transfer fee of my bank because the Dutch agency would not accept a credit card.

If you find a way please post it to help others who are getting caught in speed traps. Maybe AAA should start identifying places that are speed traps like they used to do in the US.

Between this and the parking ticket and the extra charges that Hertz added that were not stated in the contract, I think my days of renting cars in Europe are over after 40 years of doing so.

Too many legal thieves out there.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:12 PM
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Does Avis/Budget require a bank transfer? I thought when this happened the rental agency just charged your credit card that you used for the rental.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:26 PM
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I wish they would charge my credit card, but I haven't had much success calling them. There's a 9 hour time difference between here and there, so I got up at 6:00 and tried to call them. Found out I had to buy international minutes from Comcast.

I called and got the all agents are busy line, so I held on for a while, then gave up and called back again. The second time I reached a person, who transferred me to the service department, but once again I waited to no avail.

I've been to my bank, but nobody in this hick town knew anything about wire transfers to Europe. I called to see if I could get an international money order or something. I finally learned that I can get a foreign draft for $30 per each.

I've called EuropeCar and Avis, but got no satisfaction.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:37 PM
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Not this aria of self-pity again! You broke the law, but they're the thieves? Pshaw!
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:51 PM
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You do the crime, pay the fine. Really, this wouldn't have happened if you weren't speeding, so it's a risk you took that you would have to pay fines if you did that. I think people should be more careful in a foreign country if they are renting a car. I think "speed trap" is a term for electronic technology that can more easily tell who is speeding. There is no "trap" if you know the law and obey it.

IMO those costs are quite low for a speeding ticket, they are much higher where I live.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Peg, can you email the rental company?

This must be an issue they deal with quite frequently.

I take it from your post that there is not a credit card payment option on the fine and/ or the Avis/Europcar paperwork?

Do they not have a free international call number? Very frustrating for you.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:58 PM
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>>I assume "handling" means receiving the ticket and sending me the notification.<<

Probably not - the way it works in most places - rental company simply provides your name/address to the local authorities. That is what the 'handling' charge is for. AFAIK these charges are just put through on your credit card by the rental agency - you don't need to do anything or 'authorize it. It will likely show up on your next statement

The actual fine for the ticket is different - that you need to pay/not pay yourself.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 02:59 PM
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IMDonehere, fines are only given in the Netherlands if you are going more than 7km/h too fast, after a 10% correction. On roads where one can drive over 100km/h fines are given above 8km/h, so your fine must have been for going faster than 5km/h too fast.

The fact that the hire car company charges you an exorbitant fee is by the by. The fine itself could not have been much and you are under no legal obligation to pay it (moral obligation is another matter), but should you return to the Netherlands they could charge you on arrival, or if you get stopped they will check such things.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:00 PM
  #11
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I finally talked to someone in Avis who was able to put the 29.75 handling charge on my visa. At least I don't have to pay the $45 wire transfer fee.

Come on, NewbE. Breaking the speed limit by 3 mph is more like an oversight than breaking the law.

In my case apparently I deserved the ticket. It looks like I was careless enough to drive 100 km/h in an 80 km/h zone. My math is terrible, but I think I was going 11 mph over the speed limit. I guess it will teach me to be more careful.

Now I think all I have to do is to get up at the break of day and call Landkreis Goslar to see if I can send them a foreign draft, which will cost $30, but that's better than $45.

I doubt that they'll let me pay by credit card, but I'll ask.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:06 PM
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Allright.. do not misinterpret this as "advice".. it is just a story of what locals in Germany might do.

Firstly, the amount of the fine identifies it as a "minor offense". Anything under €80 falls into this category.
Checking the list of fines, you seem to have been speeding within the city limits and have clocked in at 11-15kph above the speed limit.
Note: In Germany (and other countries), speed limit signs are not anally posted every hundred yards. Once you pass the yellow sign with the name of the town or village on it, the speed limit is 50kph by default - unless posted otherwise.

Secondly, if you contest a ticket, the city or county must take you to court. There is nothing else they can do. It is somewhat of a common procedure to contest such minor tickets for any random reason, e.g. say that you question that there had been a speed limit sign.
"Usually", the county will be reluctant to start legal proceedings for 30 euros.

If the county does not press charges, the ticket becomes void. So it cannot be held against you next time you visit the country.

Again, I do not suggest that you should do it this way. It's just what would not be totally foreign to locals to handle such minor fines.

But regardless whether you decide to pay or decide against it, it is most important to do within the given deadline.
If you can't do it in the given time frame (because you got the letter late), you should write a seperate letter to the county, asking for re-instating the deadline due to causes beyond your control. Otherwise the clock will tick, and you may accumulate interest or accumulate additional administrative fees.
If you decide to contest the ticket AND are beyond the deadline, you must also ask in the same letter to re-instate the deadline and then contest the ticket.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:08 PM
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Avis/Budget notification says that the handling fee is for "acquisition, storage, processing and transfer of your data to the competent authority and for transfer of the information about the driver/rental/traffic violation."

I could probably ignore the traffic ticket, but I assume I'll drive in Germany again, and besides, I don't like the idea of being a scofflaw.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:13 PM
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I doubt that you will find many Germans who consider it "speeding" to drive 100 where the limit is 80.
And it's a far cry from "breaking the law"... just bad luck that you got into a speed trap.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:20 PM
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Well Het, I got a ticket for less than that.
___

I love the sanctimonious folks who would never, never complain and contritely pay a fine for going a few miles over the limit. Yeah, right.

Well, I paid the fine. Ironically I had the car a week and just ventured over the Belgian for a day into The Netherlands to see the Delta Waterworks.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 03:26 PM
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Cowboy: Thanks for the information. I was in the countryside when the event occurred. The photo they took shows the side of a highway and a wooded area. I looked more carefully at the explanation above the photo and I see that I was going 104 in an 80 zone.

They headed the letter July 14, so I'm probably within the deadline. If I had seen a sign stating the speed limit, I would have been driving more slowly, so that seems like a logical reason to contest.

I'm kind of tempted to contest, but I think I'd rather just pay the fine and get it over with so that I don't have to think about it any longer.

I will call them tomorrow at the crack of dawn and see if there's a cheap way to pay this.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:04 PM
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Peg, I'd like to clarify that my snarky comment was directed not at you but at ImDoneHere, because he started a thread about his speeding ticket, and another about a parking ticket, I think, and is now trying to hijack your thread to rehash the whole sad thing.

I am always surprised that adults waste any time complaining about speeding tickets or whining about speed traps. They are a fact of life everywhere, getting caught is the price of speeding, yes we all speed sometimes, and when we get caught, we pay! End of thumpingly dull story.

Peg's question was not whiny or complaining and addressed practical specifics, so I apologize if my remark was misconstrued as referring to her.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:05 PM
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At least you got a nice souvenir photo of the countryside..
By the way, I doubt that the county will offer any convenient ways to pay.
If you want, you can e-mail me a snapshot of the bank transfer form you probably also received by mail and I can transfer it by online banking from my account.
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 04:24 PM
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I was just about to suggest looking into paying your bill using www.xe.com . I understand they do cheap money transfers. But looks like you might have a solution with Cowboy, if you take that up.

Lavandula
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Jul 22nd, 2014, 05:15 PM
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If you otherwise regularly transfer money to Europe (deposit for a rental perhaps?), consider xe.com. One needs to crete an account which is somewhat of a pain, but then the electronic transfer from bank to bank will cost 1% or 2% of the total. Xe.com also does wire transfers.
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