Dear PoPville – DMV Says I Failed to Pay a Ticket that I Paid – Anyway to Fix Online?

Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

“Dear PoPville,

The DMV did a “relocation tow” on my car last month, and upon retrieving it (from literally around the corner) I immediately paid the $100 fine online and didn’t think anything of it until I got a Notice of Unsatisfied Parking Tickets in the mail last week. It claimed that I had failed to pay my ticket within 30 days and that I now owe the city $200. I went back to my credit card statement and found the proof that I did indeed pay the initial ticket the same day as the tow. My current problem is that I can’t reach a human being at the DMV or 311 or anywhere else to tell them they screwed up and I should not be penalized for their mistake. Will I have to drag myself to a DMV location in person to show this to someone, or is there any other option??”

16 Comment

  • Tickets are to be disputed in writing. It’s written on back of ticket. Mail your letter, with documentation, you will receive a post card that says received then you will hear back in about 3 months an answer. I’ve won my case more than once and got tickets dismissed. Just takes time….

  • call your CM. they are connected with ward specific folks at the dmv who can resolve.

  • Drag your ass into the DMV if you want real peace of mind. Don’t act hysterical or entitled. Be good humored about it. You can get in/out in under an hour, if you go at the right time.

    • What is the “right time?” Any trip to DMV also requires travel time – so even a (exceptionally dubious) one hour trip is really two hours or more. Completely unacceptable. You have your credit card record of payment. This should never be more than a 5 minute solution for any marginally functioning government department. Contact your councilmember.

  • I have had a couple of communications with DMV over the years. I had success by blasting the Director of the DMV and Jim Graham after a few unsuccesful attempts to resolve it by phone. The most recent contact I had is with this person:

    Rasheen L. Coleman
    Special Assistant
    Office of the Director
    DC Department of Motor Vehicles
    95 M Street, SW #300-1
    Washington, DC 20024
    202-729-7017 office
    202-727-1010 fax

  • The same thing happened to me for the same infraction–a relocation tow–and yes, my car was literally moved around the corner. I too paid my $100 fine, received a letter of an unpaid ticket which was now $200. I had proof of payment–and I called the Mayor’s Help Line–and the woman I talked to explained that the “towing ticket is hard to read” and that you are actually being fined twice–one for the infraction and the other for the relocation–and that they get a ton of complaints and that I should argue it. This is from the Mayor’s office!

    So I did. I wrote a compelling case of immediate payment–showing that I had good faith to settle my obligation–and had the ticket been clear enough–I would have paid the other fine on time as well.

    DC Traffic Adjudication told me to pay $200. End of story. Screwed again in the City. Thanks DC Government. You rock.

  • you can dispute a ticket on the website. I do it all the time just to buy some extra time to pay it but often times win! Just explain what happened and then attach the proof of payment (it offers you the option to attach) and you will win! Also, the ticket is basically frozen during the time it takes for them to make a decision so your tag won’t register as having any unpaid tickets while you await your answer

    • +1!

      Similar to the OP I recieved a notificaiton by mail that I owed a ticket and late fee. I didn’t contest the ticket, but I contested the late fee by writing a narrative on the web portal stating that I never recieved the original ticket nor any notice of just the fee (without a late fee). A month later I recieved a notice that the late fee was removed and I just paid the ticket. It was very easy to use – you should be able to explain that it was paid and provide documentation and they should expunge the fine.

      You can also sign up for e-mail alerts when you get a ticket. I luckily haven’t gotten an e-mail yet…

  • This seems increasingly to be DC’s SOP. A collection agent contracted by the city just sent me a massive bill for unpaid taxes. I had, in fact, made a mistake and underpaid last year, but I sent in the principal plus penalties several months ago, and that was a fraction of what the current bill said. (I have my cancelled check.) After looking into it, my tax guy said that I didn’t owe a penny and that this is the fourth or fifth instance of over- or duplicative billing from DC OTR that he’s seen just this year. I know I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere making inquiries on my own, so am incredibly grateful to have such an awesome guy handling my taxes, but I’m furious that they could be bilking so much money out of people who don’t have a tax professional advocating for them. So I guess the moral of the story is that if DC sends you a bill, look at it damn closely.

    • One good thing about living in VA is that I’m used to dealing with crap like that.

    • clevelanddave

      It is only a matter of time, IMHO before there is a big scandal in the DC tax office. They screwed up so many people refunds this year, do such a bad job tracking payments, do a horrible job notifying taxpayers… and I believe Gandhi, the head of the department left last year… and left it in a mess… someone in the press needs to look into this!

  • Did you pay by check? Get a copy to show the DMV you paid. When I pay tickets I generally write the ticket number in the check’s note line. Can’t think of better proof.

  • Oh, sorry, I see you paid by credit card…. there is a similar scam in Mount Rainier, Md. They make you pay tickets by postal money order only, then come 2 to 3 years later to tell say you did not pay. If you did not keep the receipt from that quirky money order, you are SOL. I hate that town because of that incident.

  • msmaryedith

    I’ve had good luck writing to my Councilmember’s office about a contested ticket doubling (they claimed not to have received my adjudication request online). Tommy Wells got back to me within about an hour of my emaling and copied someone in his office. She contacted someone at DMV for me, and I got word within a day that my ticket had been dismissed.

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