Computer glitch sends driver to collections



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Posted on July 9, 2014 at 11:22 PM

Dominic McGrosso and Monique Courtier are a young couple busy trying to buy a new house.  Their plans took a detour when Courtier found an unexpected hit on her credit report.  It was collections account with Alliance One.

“They said it was a traffic infraction in SeaTac,” explained Courtier.

The couple didn't know about the violation, so Alliance One sent them a copy.  It was a red light ticket from 2009 and they never received it because the address was wrong.

“If you look here, the address, it's partially correct.  I did live in Kent, but I never received this because it didn't put the apartment that I lived in it,” said Courtier.

McGrosso called SeaTac police and they sent him to Alliance One.  But the collection agency told him it couldn’t help either.  So while the couple figured out next steps, the collection agency garnished Courtier’s wages $450 - the ticket plus interest, penalties and attorney's fees.  That's when the couple contacted me.

“It's not right to let the system get away with charging people for something they didn't know about,” said Courtier.

I got in touch with Chief Lisa Mulligan of the SeaTac Police Department.  She figured out the address issue was with Redflex, the company that runs the red light camera.  The company pulls violators’ addresses from the Washington Department of Licensing, but at the time of Cortier’s ticket Redflex had a glitch in its system so apartment numbers weren’t appearing on tickets.  It corrected the issue several years ago.

Since Coriter wasn’t at fault, they stepped in to make sure she would be made whole again.

“They've worked with the collection agency to release all of the fees associated with that as well.  We just learned last night that her credit report is going to be adjusted so it doesn't show on her credit report as well,” said Mulligan.

The city was concerned Monique might not be alone in this issue so it's asked Redflex to take the investigation one step further and requested an audit.

Redflex tells me the 2009 glitch impacted clients across Washington state, so if you've ever been sent to collections for a Redflex ticket you never received, contact the company.   And check your credit report yearly so you aren't catching these issues when you're trying to make important life decisions.