Decatur city manager criticizes marketing of app intended to reduce cost of tickets
A new app is promising to disrupt the way we traditionally pay for traffic tickets, but Decatur’s city manager criticized the way the company is marketing its product.
TIKD promises to reduce the cost of traffic tickets. The company said the fee it charges will always be cheaper than the actual fine and a spokesperson for the company says it will pay the ticket completely if the ticket is not dismissed.
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In its marketing materials, Company CEO Chris Riley says, ““We only accept minor traffic tickets, like those issued for basic moving violations and parking tickets. We are here to help the person who couldn’t find a nearby parking spot and blocked an intersection to quickly drop something off as well as the individual who hit the snooze button too many times, was running late for an important meeting and cruised through a stop sign. We all make these types of mistakes and now TIKD makes paying for them cheaper, faster and much more convenient.”
Decatur City Manager Peggy Merriss took issue with that statement when asked to comment on the app.
“I do find their marketing strategy that it is OK to run a stop sign because you are late for a meeting or to block a road because it is convenient for you pretty bad reasons for violating traffic laws,” she said. “I would think the app would encourage bad drivers to be even worse drivers, therefore expanding the possibility that good drivers, pedestrians and cyclists would be subject to injury or property damage.”
When asked to respond to Merriss’ criticism, the company spokesperson said, “TIKD doesn’t take moral hazard tickets. They are for the Everyman when life gets in the way.”
So how does TIKD reduce the cost of traffic tickets?
According to CNN, the company hires lawyers to fight the tickets in court. The company makes money from the difference between the customer’s fee and what the company pays lawyers and courts, CNN reported.
The company spokesperson said via email, “Due to customer volume, we can take the risks off people’s traffic tickets. Let’s say through TIKD, nine out of 10 cases are dismissed completely. We promise that no matter what your traffic ticket cost is, going through TIKD is always going to be cheaper than your fine. And, for if some reason the ticket isn’t dismissed, we still pay for it in full and take that loss in money.”
The company also promises a refund to drivers who get points on their license.
“Most drivers don’t realize that when they challenge a traffic ticket, their fine is likely to be reduced and their points are typically removed,” Riley said in the press release. “People think it’s faster and cheaper to simply pay the fine so they can avoid hiring an attorney or taking a day off of work to appear in court. We’re transforming how consumers can take action on their traffic tickets by offering a more cost effective, convenient solution that they can use straight from their mobile phones.”
Users can upload a picture of their ticket, enter details including the type and date of the offense and offer to pay with a credit card or in multiple transactions. Customers are promised regular updates about their case until it is settled, which usually takes six to eight weeks.
The company also offers a service to allow customers to pay off tickets in installments.
“BetterPay by TIKD is the first web-based traffic ticket payment plan of its kind,” the company said via press release. “For a small service charge, BetterPay enables customers to use their credit card to pay 50 percent of their TIKD fine amount upfront, with the reminder paid in two additional installments.”
The company says it has served more than 5,000 customers so far and has a 95 percent success rate in getting cases dismissed. TIKD says it has saved users more than $100,000 in fines and $4 million in higher insurance costs.
The service is currently available in Florida, Georgia, Washington D.C. and Maryland.