Traffic Ticket in Germany

Old Jan 7th, 2011, 05:31 PM
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Traffic Ticket in Germany

dobes3kh on Jan 7, 11 at 9:28pm

Hi there,

Okay....we were in Germany in Oct 2010 and I received a 'fee' on my credit card for a rental from Avis. First of all, Avis wouldn't tell me what the fee was for....kept saying it was GPS which I had just paid with same credit card the statement before! Told them I wasn't paying twice for GPS. Finally after initiating a search from my credit card co. I find out that there is a traffic violation on the last day of the rental...convenient. This would have been enroute from Potsdam to Munich.

I have just spent 2 hrs going through the internet trying to find out what to do about this. If a photo of the 'offence' that I am unaware of as of yet, was sent to me, it went to the wrong address! The address on my driver's licence is not where i am currently living and so there is no way the information will be forwarded to me. There is also no way of looking at the website of the authority to find out any information. I have been provided with a reference number and the details of the authority:

Thuringer Polizeiverwallungsa
Zentrale Bussgeldstelle, D 06553 Artern

After spending a lot of time on this issuing authority's website, I am unable to find out any information.So I now have no way of obtaining the information on the traffic violation.

After reading the posts, I believe there is no point in paying the fine. However, I don't know the actual amount, the nature of the fine etc. Is there any way I can find this out? I don't want to provide the information to Avis as they will probably charge an additional 15 Euro to relay it. I would just ignore it as I am fairly sure there is no reciprical agreement between Germany and Canada but my husband will be heading to Germany for a conference next year and I don't want to be stopped at the airport and fined.

Help! What should I do at this point?

Thank you for reading this really long response
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:08 PM
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I'm a little confused. You said there was a fee from Avis on your card. Later you said you don't know the amount of the fine you received. Aren't these one in the same? Sorry if I'm not reading this right.

In any case I think you should pay the fine and get this settled in order to avoid problems in the future.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:17 PM
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Hi!

No the fee I received was the admin fee Avis charged me for submitting my information to the authorities. Avis said I would be receiving the formal documents from the issuing authority but as I changed addresses, I haven't received anything.

So I don't know how much this fine is. It could be 1000Euro!!!
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:20 PM
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OK gotcha.

When you rented the car with Avis I assume they asked for your current address, hence that was passed along to the authorities? Or did you give the address on your license?
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:22 PM
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I gave the address on my licence. It was too confusing for them to use the one where I am currently living. Easier to keep the address listed on the DL. However I did have an International Drivers Permit and it had the current address. Of course Avis did not look at that.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:28 PM
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In that case you are right, the papers will probably go to your old address. In doing your search did you find an email address for the ticketing authority? If nothing else you could contact them by snail mail.

I'm about to log off but I'll put on my thinking cap and if I come up with any ideas over the weekend I'll type back. In the meantime I hope someone else has a better answer for you.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:32 PM
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Thank you.

Have you had experience with any tickets in Germany?

There isn't even an email or mailing address that I can find for the issuing authority.

The thing that really bothers me about this is that when I asked Avis originally back in November for the reason for the charge, this said they could not tell me the information, that they didn't know. Then they told me repeatedly it was for the GPS. Now that I have a photocopy from my credit card company, Avis was actually in receipt of the information from the issuing authority back on November 8th!!! I think at the least a call into Avis is in order.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:36 PM
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Before you pay, do a search on here and you'll find many stories like this....ALL dealing with Avis. There is definitely something amiss if you ask me.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 06:48 PM
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I agree. I have done a search on here and it appears that most people are not paying the tickets. However, I have also found searching online stories of people being stopped at Customs and having to pay both the ticket and the fines associated. I am afraid the ticket is 1000 Euro!!!! I've sent an email off to Avis but based on what I've read, I don't expect to get an answer.

It does seem very strange that all these dealings tend to be with Avis; with the exception of a couple of other rental car companies.
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Old Jan 7th, 2011, 07:09 PM
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What was your offense that you think the ticket is 1000 euro?
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 01:06 AM
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I already posted this on the other thread:

1. I don't think there is a way around the fee that Avis charged you. (And with regards to the poster who implies a scam: this is perfectly legitimate - Avis charge a fee for providing authorities with the details of a driver of their vehicles who is accused of a violation that Avis itself cannot be held liable for (speeding)).

2. I would not contact the police in Thuringia and wait it out. Even if your husband will attend a conference in Germany next year (or whenever) it is highly unlikely that he will be held responsible at his point of entry.

If you committed a parking offence, Avis will be held responsible and they will pass it on to you. If it is a speeding violation, Avis would not be liable (just the driver) - and the driver would have to be served with a ticket and would have to be given the chance to defend him/herself.
Under certain circumstances you may be lucky anyway as the general period for an offence to fall under the statute of limitations is 3 months (which under certain circumstances can be prolonged several times to 6 months, but no more than 2 years).

3. EUR 1,000? Highly unlikely in Germany. Exceeding the speed limit by more than 70 km/h (roughly 45 mph) in a town will result in a fine of EUR 680. Outside a town it would be EUR 600. It is hard to fathom that you were traveling that quickly (you would have had to drive at 90km/h - 120 km/h through a town).
Under normal circumstances you probably would not have exceeded the speed limit by more than 30 km/h which would result in a maximum fine of EUR 100.00 if the violation was in a town or max. EUR 80.00 if outside a town. Depending on how much less than 30 km/h over the limit you were going the fines could even be less.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 05:58 AM
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The usual new poster, trying to generate answers. Instead of calling or faxing those people that know the answer to his/her question.

Thüringer Polizeiverwaltungsamt
Zentrale Bußgeldstelle Artern
Bergstr. 4
06553 Artern
Tel. +493466/742-222 Fax 742-309

Does it make sense to post the same question in two threads, instead of sending a fax and waiting for the answer?
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 07:04 AM
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dobes3kh,

I would recommend <b>not</b> to follow logos' advice to contact police if you want to save some money. I outlined the reasons here and on the other thread.

In fact I would expect people at the police would be slightly bemused if you indeed would contact them to ask them to please issue you with a proper ticket...
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 07:11 AM
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Police won't be able to do anything if you're abroad and you don't need to confess anything. Know your rights.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 07:34 AM
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Thanks for all the responses.

I guess I just don't like the fact that I have this unknown amount owing for a ticket that I'm not even sure of!

We will definitely be returning to Germany within the next year or two....and it is me who was doing the driving and who will be issued the ticket!!! Now perhaps the amount won't be 1000 Euro (maybe closer to $1000 CAN) but I was just keeping up with traffic!!! And sometimes that meant doing 160, 170, or 180 km/hr. It's actually ironic as a part of the trip I was looking most forward to was the driving!!! German drivers know HOW TO DRIVE!!!! (generally speaking of course!!!)

Question: If this traffic offence was sent to Avis back in the middle of November, wouldn't they have already passed the amount on to me? Hmm....maybe I should cancel that credit card just in case.....

hsv---you're probably right about the bemusement of the police if I were to contact them. And logos999---you have a good point about contacting the police directly; however, I think the general consensus here is Why go looking for trouble?

My main concern is that when I try to re-enter Germany, I am asked to pay the initial ticket (whatever that amount) plus incur any fines applicable. And to a lesser extent, I am unsure as to whether or not the ticket will show up on my driving record in Canada; which will increase my premiums incredibly!!!
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 08:01 AM
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No need to cancel the credit card.
The German traffic code doesn't constitute an automatic liability of a vehicle's owner for all offences committed with said vehicle. Only for parking violations and severe offences involving injuries, death etc. the owner of the vehicle will be automatically liable.
If you committed a speeding offence, the authorities will contact Avis as owner of the vehicle and ask for payment. Avis then tells the authorities Avis did not drive the car and is therefore not liable. The authorities then demand to know who drove the car at the time of the offence and Avis consults with its register (for this process they understandably charge a fee to the offending driver). It is then up to the authorities to issue a ticket to the driver and have him served.
There is a high likelihood they let it drop once they hear that you reside outside the EU.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 08:13 AM
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Logos is spot on with his advice to know your rights:

The authorities have to prove to your liability, you don't have to prove your innocence. To hold you liable and to enforce the ticket they have to observe German procedures with regards to the proper issuing and serving of the ticket. It is up to them to figure it out how to get hold of you and you don't have to help them serve you.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 08:25 AM
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Thanks hsv.

The offence definitely wasn't a parking offence as we had parked in an off-site parking place for the hotel we stayed at in Potsdam. And of course there was no injury etc. as it was not a collision of any sort.

Regarding these 'photo cameras'? Does anyone know the proper issuance of these tickets? We had something similar to this here in Canada and the owner of the vehicle was the person who received the ticket. We also have cameras at traffic intersections now in effect--same thing...ticket sent to the registered owner of the vehicle.

Is there a possibility the ticket could be turned over to a collection agency in the future? Just trying to figure out all the possibilities.

Thanks for everyone's help in this matter. I know it's been covered on another thread or two, but I had some more 'personalized' questions and so far everyone has been quite helpful and informative!
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 08:40 AM
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I presume the Canadian legal system is different from the German one with regards to automatic owner's liability.

I am not sure whether German authorities would get a Canadian collection agency involved.
From experience I know that UK authorities in the past used collection agencies in an effort to collect UK fines in other European countries.
At least in Germany this ultimately a hollow threat: If the offender would not pay the collection agency, the collection agency would have to sue him in Germany. But German courts may not rule on claims based on foreign (U.K.) law, so they would have to dismiss the lawsuit as unallowable. The collection agency definitely knew this, the offender probably did not and it may have been worth the effort to scare enough people into paying.

However, I cannot advise on how the Canadian authorities would view such a case.
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Old Jan 8th, 2011, 08:49 AM
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An "Inforad K1" (google it) is only 25€ and has a list of ALL fixed speedcams. Put it on the dashboaed and it'll make an infernal noise whenever you appoach a fixed speedcam, is completely legal and as big as a USB stick for your computer. Levels the playing field since the locals know where to go slow.

After 2 years the ticket will be dropped anyway. If the Schengen info system should ever contain your traffic offences, then there would be a chance they catch you. It doesn't.
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