To the Editor:
Oops — a parking ticket. At the end of January, I received rather an unpleasant letter — a parking ticket dated Dec. 30, 2011, from a city some 700 kilometres away, a city I never visited. To add salt to the injury, the notice contained an additional “late” payment fee, threats to send a collection agency after me and report me to a credit bureau.
Well, that got me going. I phoned the number on the notice and the very first lady found out in less than two minutes that the licence plate number matches mine, but the make/model/color are completely different. An apparent goof-up.
I also explained that on Boxing Day I jumped on a rusty nail at home and that alone guaranteed that I would definitely not drive 700 km even if I wanted to, as I could hardly walk or drive for two weeks. End of story? Not at all. She said she could not help me and transferred me to the second lady. I explained again. She wondered who gave me the info about make/model/color of vehicle in question and I asked how come her parking dudes came up with my name and the address. Guess what? ICBC, behind my back, provided all info needed to start a witch-hunt of completely unaware, innocent individual.
We ended on a hostile note that she would further investigate and me asking where I could get a useless parasitic $50,000 job to make other people’s lives miserable.
The local ICBC office gave me the number of whom to contact at ICBC’s head office (of course, that got me nowhere). The RCMP explained to me there is nothing they could help with. They advised me to write a letter (the same advice and actual help I got from my insurance company). The next day I got phone call from that city saying that they were “very, very sorry.”
My fury? How about actually checking the facts before mailing the letter? What if the victim was an elderly widow without stamina to fight? What if the victim was somebody spending winter in Mexico or an aid worker in Haiti? Would their credit be ruined and collection agency breathing on their back by the time they would get home?
For my next step, I will write to the attorney general. I am sure they squander plenty of tax dollars on non-issues. Let them figure out how to protect innocent victims from harassment, blackmail and extortion. If the municipality can claim the privilege of “authority”, I, as a citizen, request the same. I would welcome it if city in question mailed me a cheque equal to amount they wanted to extort from me. Maybe a Creston solution (free parking) would be good way to go. That might persuade me to visit Burnaby (yes, Burnaby) in the future, for the first time in my life.