Reader Orwell writes us with a complaint about the “driving school” program. In Illinois, if you get a ticket you can choose to pay extra to attend “driving school.” This will prevent the state from ratting you out to your insurance company. A nice little racket, but not uncommon. The cute part is that in Illinois they charge an extra $25 for the online version of the course. Why? When Orwell asked, the CSR told him it was because of “Scammers.” She also told him to “Watch his mouth.”
Hey Consumerist folks,
I’m an Illinois (the sucker state) resident and I just had a lot of fun with the Traffic Safety School program.
A couple months back I got a ticket. I totally deserved it and opted for Traffic Safety School to keep it off my insurance.
You send in the ticket cost plus an additional 25 dollar fee to sign up for the class. If you want to take the course online it’s an additional 10 dollar fee. Already this feels like a racket, but like I said I did the crime so I’ll do the time.
Problem was, I never got my registration letter. After a month I was starting to get nervous, since if you don’t complete the course it goes on your driving record. I called the Traffic Safety School (URL below)
and was placed on hold for 30 minutes. Then disconnected. I called back and was on hold for 20 minutes, then an automated message told me they were closed (this was during their business hours). So that’s 50 minutes in the middle of the day, my lunch hour at work essentially.
I called back the next day they were open and was on hold for 25 minutes before getting an operator who told me I’d have to speak to a customer service person and…yes…put me on hold. This time for only 10 more minutes.
Finally, I got to an actual person who was supposed to help. She explained to me that they mailed out the letter with the registration info and never received it back. I told her I’ve never had a problem with my mail so this was kind of surprising. She said I was “placed in a class” and that if I wanted the online course it would be another 25 dollars.
That’s -The cost of the ticket -25 dollars for traffic school -Another 25 dollars for the online version (which you’d assume costs LESS to run)
I asked why this fee was in place, she explained that “scammers” were the problem. I said I was not scamming and that I was curious why I had to pay a fine in addition to the fine. She said “Maybe you should drive more safely and avoid all this hassle.”
About ten seconds later she had put me in the online class. Not a lot of paperwork/legwork. She then told me to “Watch my mouth” and hung up.
Illinois is the sucker state.
Yes, Orwell it is. Believe us, we know.
(For those of you just joining us, Illinois’ original state nickname was “The Sucker State.” Of course that was too accurate and funny so it was replaced with “The Prairie State.” The “Sucker State” nickname has stuck around, however, because of Illinois notorious reputation for corruption and general clusterf*ckness. End history lesson.)
Does your state pull this kind of crap? Is your state a “Sucker State?” Email: tips [at] consumerist [dot] com.