Because Of A Typo And A Parking Scofflaw, I Can’t Go To Washington D.C. Anymore

Reader Cliff doesn’t have $17,000 worth of erroneous toll violations like the motorist whose story we shared yesterday, but he does have a lot of parking tickets, and they aren’t his.

It all began, like many problems in modern life, with a typographical error. Someone made an error when entering the license plate number when he registered his new car. Unfortunately, the person with the slightly-different plate number enjoys parking illegally in Washington, D.C. They must be delighted at their luck for never getting enforcement notices on their tickets. Cliff is less delighted.

He writes:

I bought a car back in 2005 and didn’t notice at the time someone had goofed and input the wrong license plate number on the registration. It was only a single digit off so I’m guessing someone fat fingered it while entering the information and didn’t double check their work. I failed to make sure it was accurate further compounding the error.

I didn’t notice it for the better part of a year until I got a late notice for a parking ticket…the first of many. I was completely bewildered as to why I was receiving these notices for parking tickets in Washington D.C. (for a pickup truck no less, I own a car) since I didn’t work in the city or even drive there. I quickly discovered the error however. My registration was up for renewal soon so I just ignored it figuring the matter would resolve itself once I updated my registration. It didn’t. I kept getting notices for late parking tickets as well as collection notices for non-payment.

I spoke with DMV a number of times trying to resolve the matter. D.C.’s Dept. of Motor Vehicles informed me I had to speak to the office in Virginia where I live. The office here assures me there’s nothing wrong on their end but I kept getting late notices. They even issued me new plates but it hasn’t helped. The frequency of the notices has dropped off considerably. I haven’t received any in the past year or so but I doubt the problem is resolved. The last time I thought maybe it was over I got a couple more notices.

It’s had a negative impact on my credit score and I’m afraid to drive in D.C. at this point for fear of being arrested for tickets that don’t even belong to me but have become associated with me.

I find it exceedingly odd(and frustrating) that the DMV doesn’t seem to have a good way of dealing with this sort of thing. I would think it would be a simple matter to crosscheck against the other license plate and see what information is there but apparently not. Unfortunately for me my matter remains unresolved and I’m not sure what to do about it at this point.

Apparently, at this point the best option is to wrangle a local TV station into making some calls on his behalf: mere mortals and mere online news organizations can’t help him now.

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