do you remember the rental car ad a few years back that proclaimed proudly, “we’re #2, so we try harder!”?

well the car rental place we used when we went to michigan and got our recent parking ticket might consider using the above slogan from now on. i don’t know if they are #3 or not, but they have sure managed to help us in all the wrong ways.

before i vent and rant, i should point out that this is completely not their fault. i 100% understand why they did what they did. but i’m still itching with frustration, and like the good blogger i am, i thought i’d share my frustration with all of you😉

yesterday we (i) got a letter in the mail from the rental company letting me know that they very helpfully went ahead and paid the parking ticket we received in michigan. for the convenience of this service they have provided to us (me), they will be billing our credit card an $18 service fee, in addition to the $115 charge for the full price of the original parking ticket.

i promptly called them, .05 nanoseconds after opening the letter, to let them know that a) this ticket is being disputed with the city that issued it; b) the city has already agreed to accept $50, so at the VERY least, EVEN IF they don’t dismiss the ticket, which is clearly what i am hoping for, we will only owe them $50 and not $115; c) the city was supposed to be sending us out a response to my second letter on 9/28/2012, so we should be hearing from them literally any day; and d) i am happy to provide the rental company with documentation for all of this.

alas, although the rental company customer service representative was so sorry to hear all of this, and he could really sympathize with my plight, they had already paid this ticket, so there really wasn’t anything they could do. however, they will not be billing my credit card for 15 days, so in theory, if i can get the city to issue a refund of the money within that time, my credit card will not be billed.

so- i can:

a) call my credit card company and tell them i do not authorize the car rental company to put through additional charges, thus perhaps creating yet another miserable storm of letter-writing and threats aimed my way…

b) call the city every single day and beg and plead with them and say the exact same thing to them, realizing that now that they have been paid in full, they have absolutely NO incentive whatsoever so do the right thing. as in, none at all. i explained this to the car rental company, and the guy was like, oh well…

c) call the car rental place and bump my way up the food chain until i find someone who might be willing to see if they can get a refund from the city, which will probably never happen. in the meantime, i need to find a friend back home to go and take photos of the place we parked to show there are no signs so we can start sending off pictures to everyone because even though the clerk at the court knows there are no signs, obviously the car rental place doesn’t know that and neither does my credit card company…

so, what’s the question here? is my time worth more than $115? obviously not, because i hate letting stuff like this go. i hate seeing people get walked over just because they don’t know how to write a well-worded letter or make an articulate phone call. i can’t stand when people feel so beaten down by The System that they say, “it’s only money…” when they don’t really mean it and they can’t really afford it and it’s not really only money.

because it’s feeling like a chump. it’s feeling taken advantage of. it’s feeling screwed.

some people can just let stuff slide off their backs and they pay the ticket and they say, “ok, that was part of the cost of our vacation.” and they really mean it and they never think about it again and it’s done.

but i know i’d feel victimized again and again. every time my credit card statement would come, and i’d know part of the balance was from this ticket, i would just get steamed up.

yes, i know cities are strapped for cash, but so are most families.

$115 can buy a lot of groceries.

personally, i’d rather have some breathing room in our monthly budget than know that i’m paying for extra patrols to write more stupid tickets to generate more revenue for a city that wastes dollars in such a dumb way.

i’d rather write more checks to more charities than write a check to a credit card company because this rental car company was “helping us out” by paying the ticket.

(yes, i know that they weren’t really helping me. i know they were really helping themselves. i know that they need to avoid the cars in their fleets getting booted or impounded or whatever by having unpaid tickets on their vehicles. and i get that people who rent cars can be irresponsible about how they treat the rentals. points taken. but as i said, this is my rant, so let’s set that all aside for a few minutes…)

anyhow, this is the latest chapter in the apparently ongoing ticket saga. who knew that this would be a multi-chapter affair?

meanwhile, i’m #4, so i’m gonna try harder to remain patient and calm in spite of the irrationality flying around me😉

wish me luck…

and feel free to offer advice!