Tongan man overturns debt collector, Auckland Transport’s fine demand

Vakai ki lalo he ngata'anga 'o e ongoongo 'i he lea 'Ingilisi' 'oku 'i ai ha fakamatala faka-Tonga ki he ongoongo' ni. Me'a mahu'inga ke fakatokanga'i 'oku 'ikai ke tohi mo'ua pe kita 'e he Auckland Council pe ha kautaha pe tohi mai e Baycorp pe ha kautaha tānaki mo'ua pea pehē 'oku nau tonu ma'u pe.

A young man whom Auckland Transport and Baycorp debt collector repeatedly scared with a payment demand has persuaded them to back off.

Petelō Lātū, 22, was fined $200 dollars and told to pay it within 28 days or face further action.

After disputing the fine, seeking advice from police and checking the law, Lātū has received a letter saying he does not have to pay anything.

The fine came after Lātū received an infringement notice on January 27 this year after he parked his Mitsubishi Galant car on Walters Rd, Kingsland.

The notice claimed Lātū, as the owner of the car, contravened the Land Transport Act 1998 by using a vehicle on a road when there was not affixed to it and displayed in the manner prescribed the registration plates issued to the vehicle.

After checking the Land Transport Act section 242 (1) Lātū believed the Auckland Transport wronged him.

Dispute

He and his sister Malia contacted Auckland Transport and disputed the notice. They argued that there was nothing wrong with the registration plates as they were affixed to the front and behind bumpers when the Auckland Transport staff ticketed  the car.

A woman who answered the phone insisted Lātū breached the law because the front registration plate was placed at the left side of the bumper and not at the centre.

The woman was told there was no section in the registration plate Acts that obliged the owner of the vehicles to put the registration plates in the centre of the front and behind of the vehicle.

The woman disagreed and told Lātū to pay the fine or face the consequences.

On May 7 Lātū received a “final demand” letter for his fine but this time, it came from Baycorp debt collection agency.

“Important Message Regarding Vehicle Registration JAB715. Auckland Transport has engaged Baycorp to collect payment for your overdue infringement fee on its behalf. You have ignored our previous request for payment.

“Payment of the debt is required in full immediately to avoid any further action being taken.

“If you do not pay the full amount within 10 days from the date of this letter. Baycorp will attempt to contact you at this address and any other known address or phone number.

“We strongly advise you to act promptly and settle this matter to avoid the need for further action,” the letter read.

“Do not ignore this notice

“Your payment is overdue and Auckland Transport intends to take further action without notice.”

Further action 

The Baycorp letter also said: “If unpaid, this account will be referred to the Ministry of Justice by Auckland Transport – for legal action up to and including enforcement proceedings. Further enforcement proceedings can include:

“Additional costs being added to the original fine, ordering your employer to deduct payments from your wages and seizing your property and selling it to pay your outstanding fines.

“Clamping your car until you resolve this debt, issuing a community service, imposing restrictions on overseas travel and releasing your fines information to credit reporting agencies.”

Second dispute

At this stage Lātū recalled he had been driving through a number of Police checkpoints with his  front registration plate being affixed on the left hand side, the same position it had when the Auckland Transport staff issued the controversial fine.

Police officers who inspected the car in those checkpoints did not warn him about the position of his registration plates.

Lātū then sought advice from other Police officers and he was told placing the registration plate on the sides of the bumpers did not contravene the Transport registration plate Acts.

Lātū again contacted the Auckland Transport, but he was told the opportunity for him to launch a second dispute against his infringement notice had expired.

After going through the Auckland Transport website Lātū noticed he could still lodge a second dispute.

This time he told the Auckland Transport about the advice he got from Police officers, the number of checkpoints he had gone through and said Police did not fine or warn him regarding the position of the registration plate.

He also wrote that there was no section in the Land Transport Act section 242 (1) which obliged the owner of the vehicle to place the registration plate in the middle of the bumpers.

He also told Auckland Transport he was planning to take legal action if it insisted that he has to pay the fine.

Apology

On May 24 Lātū received a letter from the Auckland Transport saying that the authority had reviewed its decision on his infringement notice and decided to cancel the notice.

“No payment is required,” the letter read.

“Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

1 COMMENT

  1. Fai pe ‘ene fetakai mo e Auckland Transport pehē ki he kautaha tānaki mo’ua ko e Baycorp ‘i hono mo’ua ne tautea’i ai ia’ ‘o ne ikuna. Na’e tohi mo’ua ‘e he Auckland Transport ‘a Petelō Lātū ke ne mo’ua $200 pea ke totongi ia ‘i loto ‘i he ‘aho ‘e 28 ka ‘ikai ‘e fakamālohi’i ia ‘i ha toe founga ange ke ne totongi.

    Hili ‘ene fakafekiki’i e mo’ua’, kumi fale’i ki he kau polisi’ mo toe siofi e kupu’i lao ne tu’unga ai hono tautea’ na’a’ ne ma’u ha tohi ‘o fakahā mai kuo toe kaniseli ‘a e mo’ua. Na’e tupu ‘eni mei hono tukuaki’i ‘e he Auckland Transport na’e maumau lao ‘a Petelō Lātū he’ene fokotu’u e peleti fika lēsisita ‘ene kaa’ ‘i he tafa’aki to’ohema’ kae ‘ikai ko loto mālie ‘o e pamupā mu’a’.

    Neongo e taukapo ‘a Petelō ki he Auckland Transport ‘oku ‘ikai ha tu’utu’uni pau ia ‘a e lao’ ke fokotu’u e peleti fika’ ‘i loto mālie’, ne ‘ave ‘e he Auckland Transport ia hono mo’ua’ ki he kautaha tānaki mo’ua Baycorp ‘o nau tohi mai ke totongi e mo’ua ‘i loto he ‘aho pe ‘e 10 ka ‘ikai ‘e fakamālohi’i ia kau ai hono puke ‘ene koloa, loka’i e va’e ‘ene me’alele’, ta’ofi ha’ane toe folau ki muli pea lipooti hono hingoa’ ki he credit reporting agency.

    Ka ne manatu’i hake ‘e Petelō ne ‘osi fa’a toutou fou atu ‘ene kaa’ ‘i he ngaahi sekipoini ‘a e kau polisi’ pea na’e hao pe ia ‘ikai ke fakatokanga ange kau polisi’ ia ke pehē ne ta’efakalao e fokotu’u ki to’ohema ‘ene peleti fika’. Na’a’ ne toe kumi fale’i ai ki ha kau polisi kehe pe ‘o ‘eke ke nau sio ki he tu’u’anga ‘ene peleti fika’ pe ‘oku fakalao pe.

    Ko e fale’i ‘a e kau polisi ko ‘eni na’a nau tala ange ‘io ‘oku fakalao pe ia. Na’e toe tohi leva ‘a Petelō ki he Auckland Transport ‘o fakamatala kotoa ki ai ‘a e ngaahi sekipoini mo e fale’i ‘a e kau polisi pea mo ne fakahā atu ‘oku ‘ikai ha konga ia ‘o e kupu ‘o e Land Transport Act section 242 (1) ‘oku ne tuhu’i mai kuopau ke fokotu’u ‘a e peleti fika’ ‘i lotomālie.

    Pea ‘i he ‘aho 24 ‘o Mē 2018 ne tohi mai ai ‘a e Auckland Transport ‘o kole fakamolemole na’e hala ‘enau tohi mo’ua na’e fai’. Na’e fakahā mai he tohi ko ‘eni hili ‘enau ma’u e lāunga hono ua ‘a Peteloo’ kuo liliu ai ‘enau tu’utu’uni’ ke kaniseli ‘a e mo’ua.

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