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9/8/2006
New Jersey Limits Ticket Appeals by Not Answering Phone
Bergen County, New Jersey keeps $4 million a year from parking tickets by making it difficult to appeal unjust fines.

Bergen County courthouse
Bergen County, New Jersey has come up with a new way to win parking ticket appeals -- the courthouse just doesn't answer the phone. Callers to the Central Municipal Court, which rakes in $4 million a year in parking fines, are greeted with an automated menu. Those who press "1" to speak to someone about fighting a ticket hear a recording telling them the website where the ticket can be paid. Then, after the phone rings a few times, another automated message says:

"Due to the high volume of calls, all our lines are presently busy. Please call back."

The system, which only has five phone lines, then hangs up. For many, the only way to schedule a hearing is to come and wait for hours in a long line at the courthouse.

"We need more resources," Adria Dobbins explained to Bergen Record columnist John Cichowski. "Don't put my name in the paper."

A more effective means of contesting a fine is to fax a letter to Dobbins at 201-336-6212.

Source: The wheels of justice barely move in this court (Bergen Record (NJ), 9/3/2006)



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