AMITYVILLE, Long Island (WABC) -- A Long Island woman racked up nearly $11,000 in parking tickets -- but she no longer owned the car in question.
When she tried to dispute the hefty fines, she got stuck in neutral -- that is until she shifted gears and 7 On Your Side took the wheel.
"You could've knocked me over with a feather," Doreen Montagna said, describing how she felt finding out she owed nearly $11,000 in outstanding parking violations on a car she no longer owns. "I panicked, totally panicked!"
Including late fees, the eight violations ranged from $500 all the way to $3,000, fining her for abandoning the Honda in a Patchogue parking lot -- unregistered with no plates.
But Montagna had already sold the Accord in August of last year to a company called Cash for Cars in Lindenhurst. All the violations were written last September and October.
So she quickly wrote to Suffolk County Traffic Court, including proof she had surrendered the plates to the DMV and canceled the insurance. She also included the Bill of Sale, but since it was only signed by her and not the other party, Suffolk ordered her to pay up.
"I said 'Are you crazy, you're not listening to me, I didn't own the car," she said.
So 7 On Your Side went looking for her car. The broker who bought it said he sold it to another broker at the end of August, five days later it started getting all those tickets.
The owner of Cash for Cars provided his Bill of Sale proving he sold the car to an auto auction in August of 2018.
So 7 On Your Side went to work, gathering all of Montagna's documents and asking Suffolk County to take another look a week later.
"I am free and clear of any ticket," Montagna said, sharing the email stating all of her tickets are dismissed, null and void and she doesn't owe a dime in fines.
The fines were re-issued to the dealer, who plans to dispute the charges but it's no longer her problem.
"I'm so relieved, it's such a weight off I can't even tell you, carrying this for the last few months it's been a nightmare and it's behind me now, I never would've made it without you, 7 On Your Side."
THE BIG TAKEAWAY
1. When you sell or donate your car, make sure you terminate your insurance.
2. Turn in your plates to DMV immediately and get a receipt and scrape your registration sticker off the front window.
3. Make sure you get a Bill of Sale in writing that's signed and notarized by both parties. Montagna never got her Bill of Sale signed -- that's why Suffolk wouldn't accept it.
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