Replies: 9 - Last Post: Dec 7, 2012 6:39 AM Last Post By: markfawkner
Dec 4, 2012 5:49 AM
I'm looking for some advice.
At the beginning of last year I was travelling up the East coast of Australia in a car I had bought.
A couple of days after going through a toll in Queensland my car broke down and was scrapped. I totally forgot that I hadn't paid the toll with the drama of losing my car.
The address the car was registered to was my aunt and uncles. They were renting the property at the time but went on the buy somewhere during my travels. After the car was scrapped I didnt update the address as the registration was cancelled by the company that scrapped the car.
The fine letter that was issued was sent to my aunt and uncles old address after I had left Australia.
Eventually, the new renters of the property sent on the letters to their landlord, that forward them to my uncle who in turn forward them to me. This process took over 18months.
The most recent letter I have is saying I owe over $200 and says that they are issuing a warrant for my arrest as it has been sent to court.
I had no idea this was going on over in Australia whilst I was happily back in the UK. I have never not paid a fine and would have paid it had I been aware of it.
I can not afford this fine and I have no intention of going back to Australia in the forseeable future, however I hate having this outstanding on my name. I have contacted Queensland Authority that issued the fine but haven't heard back from them yet.
Does anyone have any advice on how to move forward? I can prove by my passport that I wasn't in the country when they issued the fine and the date that the car was scrapped- so its not that I ignored it purposefully...
Dec 4, 2012 6:38 AM
1What was your contact with the Qsld guys? Email? Post? Phone? Registered Post?
If not the latter I would try again with that and if you are dealing with them by phone make clear and diaried records of your conversations with them and names.
The other point of contact might be come kind of citizen's advice bureau in Qsld. A signed stat dec from aunt/uncle and another from yourself would also help IMO.
Unfortunately the 'I forgot' aspect means nothing. I am not up to scratch with tolls in Qsld but almost all others I have encountered talk about a requirement to pay with 24 or 48 hours and if that is the case here it comes right back into your lap. Along with the fact that it would seem your car was improperly/illegally registered at a property your aunt and uncle were no longer at..
Dec 4, 2012 8:57 AM
2Process must be obeyed- unfortunately there is unlikely to be any person with the power to say "hey you know what, in your circumstances lets just write this off". Instead process insists that you pay or potentially face the consequences. Ignorance is no defense. You are not going back so what the Hell?....you'll probably find that the Oz department of transport doesn't entirely crumble under the weight of your unpaid fine. There has to be a statute of limitations somewhere, so someday in the distant future you will be able to return with a wiped record and hold your head up high (although you will of course still be guilty)....
Dec 5, 2012 2:36 PM
3Keep trying to contact them and keep a record of that. The reason is if you have a record of trying to sort this out and clearly and concisely can state why it took so long, it could get waived eventually. Then again, they may say, thanks, now pay the fine. Its hard to know, but I'd want to resolve this. You never know when you may want to come back and what the status of the arrest warrant is.
Dec 5, 2012 4:22 PM
4These tolls are issued by private companies, who appear to regualrly change the rules, and make a lot of money out of visitors. Your car was legally registered at a legal address while it was in working condition. Write to the issuer of the fine, and explain that the house was sold, and you were not aware of the fine until now. Often the legal threats are more scare-mongering than anything else.
If you can, send a money order or international cheque for the original toll plus costs in the first letter, as a token of good faith.
Dec 6, 2012 6:29 AM
5Thanks for the advice everyone.
I registered the car whilst living with my aunt and uncle and when I scrapped the car (after I had started travelling) I had to sign over ownership of the car to the scrap yard where I gave them my UK address.
I will contact the Queensland authorities again.
Queensland must make a bomb out of tourists!
Dec 6, 2012 6:34 AM
6#5, I don't think they make a bomb.
The majority of tourists would use rentals to drive around in and the majority of those driving cars they have bought would pay the tolls and the majority of those who buy and don't pay the tolls would (I suspect) register the car at an address they will never hear from again.
And the circumstances you describe would (I reckon) apply to any (most) countries with electronic tolls so it is not like the banana benders are sticking it to you more than anyone else.
Dec 6, 2012 12:24 PM
7Every toll I have ever gone through until Queensland has had the option to pay there and then. I registered my car at my aunt and uncles under the assumption t hat I would receive any post related to the car. This is not some big con on my part. Breaking down around a day after unexpectedly passing through a toll which didn't give me the option to pay there and then was massively bad luck. Not receiving the post was also bad luck. I came on here to get some good advice as I have never had a speeding ticket, never had a fine in my life and don't have the money at this time to pay such a large fine. I didn't expect to get abuse from someone that obviously likes to go web sites and offer unhelpful and antagonising messages,
Dec 7, 2012 3:40 AM
8Kylie, I agree with you.I live in regional Australia, and hate the fact that I can't pay as I go, but get asked to go online and pay within 2 days, often when I am away from home and without a computer.
These days, most Australian toll roads don't give the toll-booth, pay on the spot option.
I would use them one or two times a year, so buying pass is not economical.
Dec 7, 2012 6:39 AM
9I didn't expect to get abuse from someone that obviously likes to go web sites and offer unhelpful and antagonising messages
Point to the abuse. Heck, point to antagonising. Unhelpful, well, that's okay, that's your opinion but I reckon I've been feckin' brilliant!. And no one has accused you of a big con.
My opinion? Irrelevant of the car breaking down, irrelevant of your aunt moving, unexpectedly is irrelevant, you knew you owed a toll. You didn't pay it. The bench warrant and add on fees are a bit rich for an honest mistake, you're right, but such is life as Ned Kelly allegedly said.
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