Q&A - Collection Agency Calling Over Unpaid Seatbelt Ticket

Q&A ImageQUESTION: A collection agency is calling my wife about a seatbelt ticket from 7 years ago. She has called ICBC and received a reference number regarding a ticket that was supposed to have been issued to her back in September of 2009.

I recall the incident where an officer stepped out at a 4 way stop, stopping our car and noticed my wife did not have her seatbelt on. A verbal warning was given only and no ticket issued.

Can an officer decide to issue a ticket in a case like this after stopping us, confronting us about the infraction and giving her a verbal warning?

No ticket was ever received by mail, in person, or otherwise but somehow it is on her ICBC record even though she does not drive or have a driver's license.

What should we do?

ANSWER: The police only keep their copy of your ticket for two years. After that it's off to the shredder.

I don't know how long ICBC keeps the original copy but that is what I would want to see if it were me. It would have the identity of the officer that issued it and perhaps your signature (or not) at the bottom.

You might still be able to request a copy of the original through the Violation Ticket Center.

If you recognize your signature on it, then your only option at this point would be to deal with the collection agency.

If you didn't sign it and are definite that you never received a copy, then you can try to have the deemed conviction set aside. Here is a similar thread about a deemed conviction with information on how to do that.

An officer is required to serve you a copy of the violation ticket personally or in compliance with the manner of serving a summons according to the Offence Act.

Violation ticket

14 (7) If service is required by this section, an enforcement officer may serve, or cause to be served, a copy of the violation ticket on the person alleged to have contravened the enactment

(a) immediately after the alleged contravention,

(b) in the same manner as a summons is required to be served under this Act, or

(c) outside the province in accordance with section 14.1.

Service on individual

28 (1) Subject to subsection (3), a summons must be served by a peace officer or enforcement officer, who must deliver it personally to the person to whom it is directed, or, if that person cannot conveniently be found, must leave it for the person at the person's last or usual residence with an occupant of it who appears to be at least 16 years of age.

If appropriate, you might focus on the no service angle in your application.

You may also wish to take advantage of the Lawyer Referral Service.

It would seem strange that there has been no contact from ICBC's Collections Dept. and out of the blue you are contacted by a collection agency.

Generally ICBC is second to none in collecting overdue money.

But, as you say, you wife does not have a DL or vehicles and that is the key to ICBC collecting.  A debtor will normally want to renew their license or insurance.  Not the case with your wife.

If you have received no contact from ICBC in the past over this, it would be important to find out why.

Are you sure this ticket stems from the incident when your wife received the verbal warning ?

In other words they may have the wrong person and this ticket is for a different incident and a different person.  You are making the link to the verbal warning incident.

ICBC will have the ticket microfilmed, that should clear it up if there a mixup.