At the end of June we travelled home to the US for a few weeks. A few month later, in September, we received a letter from the Austrian government. The letter stated that we had been photographed, driving in Austria, without the proper toll sticker on our windshield, and that we needed to identify immediately whether we or someone else had been driving the car, if it was someone else, we needed to identify them. I complied right away, and indicated that it had been us personally driving the car on that date. I figured we in for a fine of 20, maybe 50 euros if they wanted to really stick it to us. Two weeks later we received a bill with a fine for…… 300 Euros (Approx. 420 USD)! Whaaaaat??? We thought their had to be some mistake. Seriously?! Who fines someone 300€ for driving in their country for only a few minutes?? Dylan took the bill to work and asked the advice of some colleagues. Not only were they not shocked, but they were sure there was nothing we could do or say to get out of this. They even called and spoke in German to them to confirm their suspicions. Apparently the normal fine is 120€ but since we had missed the letter billing us that amount while we were gone in the US, we were now responsible for the whole 300€. We attempted to petition them to allow us to pay the smaller amount, since we had never received the initial letter, but to no avail.
Maybe I've been gone too long, and am remembering thing through rose colored glasses, but I just can't see this happening in the US. I've gotten my share of parking tickets, and late fees, etc, but I've never encountered something so ridiculous. And the fact that they're completely unwilling to hear any sort of excuse or sad story, it really caught me a little off guard. I'm sure we'll laugh about it someday... for now we're writing it off as all part of the experience of living in a foreign country.
James and David enjoying the view from the Eagles Nest