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How California’s Outsourced Company for Ticket Revenue Is Scamming You
There are start ups all over California. I like them. Now, I would like to propose a start down. It’s time to go, Data Ticket, you are not good for California and you waste taxpayer money.
Let me introduce the Travis Kalanick of the ticket collection world. Meet Marjorie Fleming, CEO of Data Ticket and CitationProcessingCenter.com (and daughter Brook). Getting all the tax benefits of being a “woman centered” company, Mama and daughter cheat you one check at a time. When you get a ticket in Santa Clara County, including Stanford, or any number of cities and counties in California, Data Ticket collects the fine and as they say in their marketing: “We maximize revenue.” Very few ways to maximize revenue on a $45.00 ticket but they found it – they get an interest free loan by double dipping and maximize their profits.
Here’s the scam, the stealth fraud, easy to miss but in reality, not that clever. 1. Get a parking ticket. 2.Pay with check or credit card. I went with check. Bad choice. 3. About 2 weeks after sending the check get a notice you haven’t paid. An 800 number is given (“if you think you paid” – oh, they know exactly what they are doing!). 4. I call. 5.I am told to pay with cc. I say, “Then when you get my check you will not cash it?” Response: “Oh no, we will cash it. We have no way of knowing if you pay or not.” Holy algorithms! And cash it they do as soon as I pay with cc. They have held the check for a month, sent me a warning, and demanded payment or fine and reporting to DMV.
Jaw drop. A company with no bookkeeping system at all. (Marjorie, Brook, maybe you’ve heard of Silicon Valley and tech and algorithms and AI and the blockchain? OTOH, sounds like even basic accounting is unknown.) Actually what they are doing is holding on to the checks, cashing them eventually and then using both monies as an interest free loan.
UPDATE: From an RFP for City of Bell, Data Ticket explains EXACTLY what it does = (the big question is why does it lie to the public?) so we can see here they know exactly when a ticket is paid (we knew this, Marjorie, Brook!)
- Manual Payment Processing: Included
- Manually received payments (checks, cash, money orders and credit card payments sent via US Mail) are received at our PO Box in Newport Beach where a bonded and insured courier picks up the mail daily and delivers it to our Newport Beach office
- On-site Mail Department opens, sorts and batches the payments before providing them to our on- site Data Entry Department
- After double-blind entry of each payment, the citations are updated by our Quality Assurance team
- Payments are then provided to our Accounting Department where daily deposit slips are
completed and provided to a bonded, insured courier who takes them to the bank
As they say on their website: Data Ticket is a full-service parking and administrative citation-processing agency that focuses all our efforts and expertise on maximizing revenue for our clients (and apparently for themselves). Remember: these are YOUR parking tickets they are referring to.
I researched Data Ticket and their RFP’s and the many complaints online. The stories are the same. Here is one from another victim of their fraud. This is a perfect example of a usual method of defrauding: (from RIP OFF REPORT along with other victim stories):
“I appealed the ticket and the appeal was denied. I wrote the check and sent it to the citation processing center. After a few days I checked their website and it hadn’t been processed. I called them after 8 days and inquired. I was told that all payments are processed and posted within 24 hours. I asked if it could be sitting on someone’s desk waiting for processing and was told no that’s no possible. So I asked if I could pay with my credit card over the phone because the check must have been lost in the mail. The payment was made over the phone. The next day I checked back on-line and the check showed it was processed 8 days ago. Obviously it was back dated or just processed with the date it was received. It also showed my credit card payment. I called the Citation Center back and told them I’d like a credit card credit, as now I had paid twice. They told me NO we can’t credit your credit card so I said then I’ll dispute it to my credit card. I was put on hold and then was told that the supervisor said yes, I could dispute the charge.
I disputed the charge and the charge was removed. Almost 3 months later I received an Official Notice of Delinquent Parking Citation. The amount due was now $114.00. I called and told them the story and was told they’d have to find the call I made to verify that I wasn’t told that there is a charge of $30 to cancel a credit card payment. They told me to call back the next day. I checked on-line again and found that the charge was changed to $30 from the $114.00 the day before. This Citation Processing Center changes the information on-line. It still shows my check payment and my credit card payment but doesn’t mention the credit card payment cancellation charge. The website also removed the Appeal feature and there is no complaint feature. I filed my original Appeal on their website, but it still gives directions on their website on how to file an appeal on-line.
This has been a disgusting experience from start to current.”
Good summation. “Disgusting experience.” Being defrauded is always disgusting.
Uber gave good rides even if Travis was a jerk to some employees. Data Ticket just takes you for a ride and when you expose it they create stories out of thin air. I’m especially fond of being accused of instigating “an email attack” against the company. That would be 2 unanswered emails! (Thanks for making my day with that one.) Ladies, I gotta ask: define attack. And let me know why you didn’t respond to 2 emails and why your phones don’t get answered – ringing for 10 minutes in the middle of the day. How does one communicate with you people? (That’s the 800 customer service number that went unanswered.)
Again, here’s what they do – and its all recorded. Send in check. They hold on to it. Send you notice your payment is not received although you sent it in 2 weeks prior in envelope they provided. Call. They tell you to pay via cc. You say, “and when you get check you will not cash it?” They reply: We will cash it. We have no way of knowing you paid.”
However they brag in their RFP to the cities and counties and universities that they want to hire that they provide:
complete, real-time audit trail for every citation in the Solution, including data entry, adjudication, payments, customer service notes, notices, DMV interaction, user notes and more
They have that for their paying customers but not the people calling about their ticket payment? C’mon ladies, we aren’t stupid. Just victims.
And about those recorded calls? I asked one employee about it and she hung up on me. I have asked for the recordings in my 2 emails (the email attack!) and no one has responded.
See Kight v. CashCALL, Inc., 133 Cal. Rptr. 3d 450 (Cal. Ct. App. 2011) (holding that §632 prohibits a business from monitoring its own customer service and other telephone calls conducted in the ordinary course of its own business unless consent is obtained from each person on the call, stating “we conclude the statute applies even if the unannounced listener is employed by the same corporate entity as the known participant in the conversation”); Montemayor v. GC Servs. LP, 302 F.R.D. 581, 584 (S.D. Cal. 2014).
If I hadn’t gotten caught up in this scam and uncovered it and had it recorded, I would never have known how our cities throughout California are wasting money with a company that is making money by defrauding people. To the victims of Data Ticket, send this to your city, schools, county and ask them to hire another outfit. Don’t we reward thieves enough?
Like Uber, let’s go to the employees and see what they say. Quotes are from Glassdoor.com
Administration is cheap and stingy.
No leadership. The mother and daughters who run the business treat people horribly; destroy morale. I am surprised they have not gone out of business. There is a revolving door for employees. People are expendable. They fire good people/employees without cause instead of laying them off.
Nothing given to employees even though owners take huge bonuses for themselves. When something bothers the management they do not discuss with you or ask you to correct it, they just get rid of you. NO discussions.
Incredibly poor management. Worst software I’ve ever come across (and I’ve seen some nasty stuff). Ancient, outdated architecture which is slowly being replaced by mildly old, outdated architecture littered with anti-patterns. It really is a miracle that they are able to function at all.
Advice to Management: At this point, you either commit to a complete rewrite, or sell your business to someone who can give your customers the product they really need.
The CEO is so old and out of touch with technology she should retire, or she may drag the company down with lack of innovation. They are cheap. They will not invest in new new equipment to offer to our customers, or proper development equipment to improve what we have. They make employees clean the kitchen/break room area.
Take technical advice and do not debate against it especially when the one giving the advice is your only subject matter expert at the company. Either hire a real development manager or learn something about development
If Data Ticket is in your county, do what you can to get them out. Show the evidence to the city councils, to the police departments, to the federal government agencies on fraud and email Marjorie and Brook. Just be prepared for them to be slightly confused at what is legal and what is not.