SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Imagine getting a nine-year-old parking ticket in the mail that was handed out in a city that you have never been to. Sounds crazy, but that is exactly what happened to two ConsumerWatch viewers.

Rodger and Gloria Young received an expired registration ticket that was almost a decade old. The ticket was issued in Marysville which baffled the couple, as they both have no memory of ever visiting the city.

The Yuba County Collections Division said it did not matter that the Youngs had not gone to Marysville or that they got the ticket so late; the Division threatened restricted licenses and property lines.

For Rodger, he was confused as to why he was receiving a ticket from 2002 and whether or not there is a statute of limitations on that type of violation.

After contacting ConsumerWatch, our investigation revealed that there is in fact a statute of limitations. According to the Department of Motor Vehicles, the limitation is five years if the car has been sold—in this case, the Youngs had sold their car.

However, this becomes a moot point for the couple for under state law, debt older than four-years-old can’t be collected.

Yuba County Superior Court seemed to be unaware of this law, but a representative says that all tickets given out before 2009 are now being dismissed because of a departmental change.

Still, Yuba County officials cannot say for sure why after nine years the Youngs finally received their ticket.

The Youngs, though, have their own theory: that they mixed up some numbers.

The Superior Court said the collections notice has been removed from the Youngs account and are expected to be one of about 80 more that will have their tickets dismissed.

Remember, if you get a ticket or collection notice older than four-years-old, chances are you probably will not have to pay it. But also keep in mind that with the financial landscape the way it is, local governments are struggling. Although that may not be the reason why the Youngs received such an old ticket, it can very well contribute to a higher number of old debt collections popping up in mailboxes.

(Copyright 2011 by CBSSan Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

  1. Art says:

    I had a similar thing happen to me back around 1988 but the ticket wasn’t nine years old. It was recent and there were several. All parking violations in the same vicinity of West Hollywood. I lived in S.F. and had never been to West Hollywood. That fell on deaf ears down there. My tag number was 708ZNH and with the help of a local friend/cop he ran several iterations through DMV’s computer and came up with a car registered in West Hollywood with a tag number of 703ZNH. After pointing that out to the W. Hollywood folks, they dismissed the tickets. I think it was a clever paint job to avoid paying for tickets.

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