We hired a moped in June. Only now we have been asked to pay €107 fine
I have received a letter from the police in Rome stating that we “circulated on a Public Transport Reserved Lane” in June 2012.
We were in Rome and we did hire a moped, but we do not remember breaking any traffic violations. My main frustration is that I am being asked to pay €107, a year after the incident occurred. The letter states the infringement was ascertained in August so it took them almost two months to say I had even committed an offence and almost eight months after that they are asking me to pay. RS, Harlow, Essex
The Italian traffic code allows police 360 days after the date of the violation, or identification of the vehicle owner, to issue fines to foreigners.
The latter can take some time, since many vehicle rental companies refuse to provide the personal details of their customers and so the authorities must enlist UK-based collection agency, EPC, to get the name and address from the DVLA. You then have 60 days to pay, appeal informally to the agency that issued the fine (although it can ignore you), or issue a formal appeal either to a prefect in Italy or a Justice of the Peace. The fine doubles if you are unsuccessful and there is a €38 charge plus any solicitors’ fees. Alternatively you could, if you have a steel nerve, sit tight because, according to Jeanette Miller, managing director of motor offence specialists Geoffrey Miller Associates, the European Convention on Human Rights may invalidate Italian rules. “It says you must be told promptly of an alleged offence and given a fair hearing within reasonable time,” she says. “The 360 days is, arguably, incompatible with the ECHR and therefore invalid and unenforceable.”
If you need help email Anna Tims at [email protected] or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number.
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