Imagine selling or trading in your car and years later you get parking tickets that the car's new owner racked up. That happened to a Metairie woman, who couldn't get answers for four years until the FOX 8 Defenders and National Council of Jewish Women got on the case.
"I got the runaround. I called the DMV. They told me to call New Orleans. New Orleans told me to call the DMV. It was just constant aggravation," said Ellen Moss. That's been her experience since she traded in her daughter's Mazda Protege to a Baton Rouge car dealership seven years ago.
In November 2007, the car's new owner got slapped with a ticket for parking in a no stopping zone on St. Peter Street in the French Quarter. About a month later, there was another ticket for a meter violation and another one for a violation in a freight zone. They were citations you think would have nothing to do with Moss. "It had been two and a half years since she had owned the car," said Moss talking about her daughter.
But in 2008, those tickets quickly became her business. She received a notice from the City of New Orleans for outstanding parking citations on that old Mazda she and her daughter traded in, in 2005.
"She traded the car in '05, the tickets were issued in '07, and they started sending me notices in '08.. so it's been four years," explained Moss. "They didn't transfer the title, and somebody bought the car and went to New Orleans and got tickets...got three parking tickets and didn't pay them of course," said Moss.
Despite letters from the dealership's title clerk to the city that explained Moss no longer owned that vehicle and Moss' own efforts to get the problem settled, she says the delinquent notices kept coming and the amount owed shot up to $260.
"I thought about a year and a half ago it was finally finished because a lady I actually spoke with... told me that it was, but then in January of this year I got another notice saying you now they were gonna put me in a collection agency," said Moss.
Seven years after she traded in her daughter's car, Moss had become the victim of another driver's parking offenses and she wasn't getting any answers or results so she turned to the FOX 8 Defenders for help. After several calls to the city from our volunteers with the National Council of Jewish Women, Moss received a letter from the parking violations bureau, stating her "citation is now closed," which was a huge relief for Moss.
In response, a city spokesperson issued this statement: "to avoid inconveniences like this, when a vehicle is sold by an owner, he or she should always make sure that the new owner registers the vehicle in their name to prevent the previous owner from being held responsible for citations received on the vehicle after it has been sold." The city also suggests that new owners register the vehicle and get a new license plate because the vehicle could have outstanding citations on it when it's sold.