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Canada Ticket fighting company Rooco shuts down, leaving customers angry, wanting refunds

00:30  31 january  2020
00:30  31 january  2020 Source:   cbc.ca

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An Alberta company that aimed to help people fight traffic tickets has shut down , leaving many customers without any options except to pay their …

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Rooco says as of October Crown prosecutors began forgoing first appearances and reduction on photo-radar tickets. © CBC Rooco says as of October Crown prosecutors began forgoing first appearances and reduction on photo-radar tickets.

Alberta customers are anxiously demanding refunds from a traffic service company that says it is shutting down operations.

Rooco allows people to pay traffic tickets online and get a 10- to 15-per-cent discount up front. The company charges the client the agreed upon amount, then represents them in traffic court and asks for a reduced fine. Rooco pockets the difference.

Several customers who paid their tickets through Rooco last year say they received an email from the company Tuesday that said Rooco will no longer represent them in traffic court. The customers were told they must pay the voluntary payment on their ticket; for those who have already paid the company online, that means they will have to pay twice.

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On the company website, CEO Andrew Ashton said Rooco is closing operations because of "recent changes to accepted rules and practices made by Alberta provincial courts and Crown prosecutors in Edmonton."

As of October, Ashton said, Crown prosecutors began forgoing first appearances and reductions on photo-radar tickets.

"The traffic courts have refused to allow Rooco to appear as agent for individuals, despite the provisions of the Provincial Court Act that permit Rooco to do so," Ashton's statement said.

Rooco did not respond to CBC's request for an interview or comment.

'They're impossible to get a hold of'

Kimberly Fostey from Calgary said she paid her ticket in November through Rooco. Her ticket was $110, but through Rooco it was reduced to $99.90.

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On Friday, she received an email from the company saying she must now appear in traffic court or pay the voluntary amount for the same speeding ticket she paid last year.

Fostey said she has been trying to reach the company for a refund.

"They're impossible to get a hold of," she said. "I've been trying every day. I've tried their online submission. I've tried phoning that number, and it's not an operation anymore. I feel ripped off."

Joan Couling from Edmonton said she had a similar experience. She paid her $98 ticket through Rooco in November and received the same email from the company Tuesday morning.

Before that email, Couling said, Rooco was handling all of her traffic court appearances and she assumed it was taken care of.

"The thing is, I don't have my court date because it didn't come to me, it went to Rooco. So [now] I don't even know what day I'm supposed to show up.

"I'm angry because, you know, you pay in good faith and now the company is gone," said Couling, who also hasn't been able to reach the company.

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Same great ticket fighting service California loves with new lower price. Although many of TicketBust.com's customers are able to obtain a dismissal of their ticket after utilizing I understand that my telephone company may impose charges on me for these contacts, and I am not required to

"You're going to be out even more money because you've got to now either pay the voluntary amount or you miss a day of work and try and go and fight it. So either way, you're still paying twice."

Couling said she has spoken to several people who are having the same experience.

CBC also spoke with two other customers who had similar experiences with Rooco but didn't want to go on the record.

On its website, Rooco said it has 5,000 customers.

Complaints with the Better Business Bureau

The Better Business Bureau in Calgary said it has received 12 complaints about Rooco during the last two days.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there had also been 33 inquiries about the company. Last year, the bureau received no complaints and 11 inquiries about the company.

"We are trying to reach out to the company, as part of our normal complaints process, and the response will determine whether or not we open an investigation," said Shawna-Kay Thomas, communications lead for the BBB in Calgary.

"We first reach out via email. And after a couple weeks, if we don't hear back, we reach out again and after seven days we place a call. So it may be another month or so before we would start an investigation if this becomes necessary."

CBC also reached out to Alberta Justice for comment, but the department did not respond to the request.

In a former story published in October, Alberta Justice denies that automatically giving drivers a break on photo radar tickets was an accepted practice.

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