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.

Big letters:


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.

67 thoughts on “Anything Can Happen Friday: The Boot

  1. Ha! I would have told them to go ahead and tow it! I don’t know how things work in NYC, but I think they would have had a hard time finding a car that hasn’t been registered to you in eight years.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. After the birth of our firstborn and all the hospital, doctor & etc bills were paid in full…we kept receiving bills demanding payment for $0.00 from the hospital. It got to where we were threatened with our account going to a Debt Collection Agency…so after much calling, visiting, talking and getting the run around after a few laughs at the absurdity of the situation, I wrote a check for $0.00 and sent it. (Along with documentation of having payed in full the original balance months before). The receiving accounts dept were not amused…What to do? I don’t remember exactly the details of how we finally got redemption…this was in 1982!!! So even the paper trail was long, arduous and proof of our ‘innocence’ – but we were eventually able to clean up our credit record (it should never have been ruined, right?) and all got sorted through.
    So I say, drive your imaginary car on the autobann, cast your fate the wind and enjoy the ride!
    ps-your photo is up on my site!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If I was into conspiracies…I’d say that there really wasn’t any claims against him for sexual harassment, but they needed a way to get rid of him without people peaking behind the curtain

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Agree. People at that level do not get held accountable for sexual harassment unless it’s allowed/planed to happen. Sort of a controlled burn. He got thrown under the bus for a reason. I don’t want to derail your post, though. That’s a whole other issue.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. This should have been a Monday post. I love a good laugh. Similar situation happened with us. My son sold a car. A year latter we got a letter from some agency in DC stating the car was involved in an accident, abandonded and I am be charged for the damage to public property and towing. That was fun.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That’s so annoying! I can’t stand having to deal with issues like that. I’ve had a few lately including insurance, the state saying my car doesn’t have insurance (it does) and finding out there is a lien on our house that doesn’t exist.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. FYI, my daughter got a boot on her car in college. She was going to In-N-Out burgers and their parking lot was full. She parked in the adjacent empty parking lot. Came back and saw the boot. She sold plasma to pay the $100 ticket!!! Right before a swim meet. Not with my knowledge.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Your tax dollars at work!!! “Because the computer says so.” is an answer? Oh, I fear for our future full of people who are taught to not think. This glitch was such a waste of time and energy. What is surprising is that the city actually sent you a letter saying you didn’t owe the money; they must have been inundated with questioning calls.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Preaching to the choir LA, I am having much the same thing with the power company we were moved to at the end of last year. much more and I am taking and our case with the ombudsman. I was with our last suppler for nearly 30 years and never had a bit of trouble.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Bureaucracy at it’s finest. I find that so many people, particularly at different levels of government, will not give you any information or advice other than what’s on the screen in front of them because they are not allowed. They are not given the freedom to deviate from the texts they are provided or they would risk their jobs. Help lines will only help if you ask the correct prescribed questions.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. OH gosh! Frustrating for sure, but I did have to laugh as well. I love how you laughed when she said she would pay the bill and how she asked if you turned the letter over. Just shaking my head! LOL!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sort of thing is happening too much, I can see from the comments. No thinking going on, just let the computers do it all, bah. I would probably ignored this one simply for the fact you haven’t even owned said car for years. A threat to something you currently possess is a different story.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Yet another example of government bureaucracy at work! Reminds me of the letters we got from the gas company threatening to turn off our gas unless we scheduled the safety check we had already scheduled and passed. Eventually, they found the proof that we had done so, but what a pain!

    Liked by 1 person

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