I used to own a car.
I sold the car at least eight years ago.
So, a few weeks ago I get a letter in the mail: In short, it states that I owe money regarding car, but the letter gives no hint as to how much I owe, nor why I owe this money. It just says I owe money and if I don’t pay, my car is at risk of being booted or towed. This letter contains so few details, I think it’s a scam, and I am wary of doing anything with it.
Bottom line: my non existent car is at risk for being booted.
The number to call if there are any questions is 311, which is the NYC standard information line. Basically, it’s customer service. We all know how I feel about customer service…
So I call 311. I supply the license plate info. The representative that I’ve reached says that when she searches the license plate number, there is nothing there, ie- the system says that I don’t owe anything.
She asks me five times what infractions the letter states that I have committed. I repeat, six times for good measure, that the letter gives no details. She asks if I turned the letter over.
She asked if I turned the letter over…
She then passes me off to a “parking specialist”. The parking specialist takes my info and clicks away, and says that I owe 437.30. I ask her from what days. She says she doesn’t have that information- she just knows that I owe that amount.
But how do you know that I owe something if you don’t have the specific incidents? I ask
Because the computer told me you owe the money. She replied.
What happens if I don’t pay the money that you can’t actually prove that I owe? I ask
Your car will get booted or towed. she says.
I say that’s some magic trick that I would love to see.
She was not amused.
She says that I need to pay the money. I ask her if she would pay a bill that really isn’t a bill. She said she would totally pay a bill even if there was no back up information…I burst out laughing. She then said, huffily, that I could go to X office on Y street and they could give me info- blah blah blah.
I ask my husband what I should do- he says go to office and find out what’s going on. I really don’t want to go to a city agency and end up getting arrested because I called someone a petty functionary with a clipboard. So I pass on this for now.
I call my daughter who is slightly better versed in things legal, and has worked for NYC government, and she tells me to blow it off until I get another letter. She says there isn’t a judge who will look at this case if the agency has failed to provide me with details, and there is no case number or frankly anything that identifies it other than the license plate number. She said it’s not a case: it’s a computer glitch.
So I listen to my daughter, because the lazy way is far more appealing.
Yesterday, I get a letter in the mail:
When I see the envelope my initial worry is that they are now providing me with proof. But my ten seconds of worry was for naught.
YOUR VEHICLE IS NOT AT RISK OF BEING TOWED OR BOOTED
The letter dated March 31, 2022 was sent to you in error.
So there you go. Another day in the big city. I only wonder how many calls were put in to 311 from other irate people who received the same letter as I.