Bogus invoice from KSMO

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Dav8or, Feb 19, 2020.

  1. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Anybody else ever get an invoice for a landing at Santa Monica that they never made? I just received an invoice from Vector Airport Systems claiming that my airplane made a landing at KSMO on 1/7/20 and the reality is, my airplane has never been to that airport in the last 10 1/2 years I've owned it. It's never been to any airport in the LA area since I've owned it.

    Obviously it's an error, but my question is, has anyone here successfully disputed this crap and how did you go about proving their error? How do they collect the N numbers for invoicing? Visually with binoculars? ATC records? I'm wondering how my tail number got in their system. The bill is only $10.96, but I really, really don't want to pay it.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    So don't pay it. Send them a letter telling them you've never been to that airport, and neither has your airplane, and if they feel otherwise they'll have to come with proof -- which they obviously cannot, since you've never been there and neither has your airplane. Tell them to either produce actual proof, like your signature or a time-stamped photo of your airplane sitting on the ramp, or stop bothering you.
     
  3. Ryanb

    Ryanb Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Don’t pay it, you’re not obligated too if you or the airplane didn’t go there.
     
  4. dreyna14

    dreyna14 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This is common for toll road enforcement where automated systems read license plates and send you a bill. Many people have gotten major run-arounds trying to dismiss the fine only to get multiple additional notices. Give them a call and tell them to provide proof showing both the tail number and make/model.
     
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  5. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

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    Revenue enhancement.
     
  6. Ventucky Red

    Ventucky Red Cleared for Takeoff

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    Do this now... don't wait. Otherwise you're going to open up a can of aggravation...
     
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  7. Hawker800

    Hawker800 Line Up and Wait

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    Since they've pretty much cut off funding, it's a desperate move to stay afloat.
     
  8. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    Probably someone with ADSB used your tail number, I would sign up with FlightAware. You can create an alert every time your plane or someone pretending to be you goes flying. With a little sleuthing, you can figure out the culprit.
     
  9. Kristin

    Kristin Cleared for Takeoff

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    I got a bill from KSEA for a landing fee once, based on getting a pick up clearance south of Olympia to shoot an approach into KPAE. I called and they reversed it, but it was a bit annoying as I have never landed at KSEA and can't imagine why I would.
     
  10. Crestline

    Crestline Filing Flight Plan

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    KISP (Mac Arthur Islip on Long Island) uses Vector to collect landing fees. Vector is error prone but will remove a questionable charge if you call them up...at least that has been my experience. Their phone number is on the invoice.

    Dave
     
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  11. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    This topic was actually discussed in a column in the latest Plane&Pilot and KSMO was one of the airports they discussed. Vector more or less admitted their system isn't perfect.
     
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  12. gacoon

    gacoon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Wouldnt ADSB be your friend on this?
     
  13. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Pattern Altitude

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    Make check payable to Meigs Field Jr.
     
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  14. NoHeat

    NoHeat En-Route

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    Take satisfaction that preparing the invoice and mailing it probably cost them more than the ten bucks they sought. They were going to lose money whether you pay or not.
     
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  15. JonH

    JonH Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I thought they used ground photos and machine vision?
     
  16. Cogito

    Cogito Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I received two erroneous SMO bills from Vector, one time I was charged for two landings when I'd made only one, (also, the weight listed was nearly double the AUW of my plane.) The other was for a day I was nowhere near SMO. Both times I gave them a call and the issue was resolved within a minute. Both people were very pleasant and apologized for the error.
     
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  17. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Thanks all for the replies. I tried to call them today but didn't realize they were on the east coast, so missed their hours by an hour. I will call tomorrow and see how it goes...
     
  18. MountainDude

    MountainDude Pre-takeoff checklist

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    This error seems to happen regularly. It would be nice if AOPA made it mandatory for Vector to show proof before they bill someone.
     
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  19. MooneyDriver78

    MooneyDriver78 En-Route

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    They might, I figure ADSB would be cheaper and easier.
    With license plates, they are standardized, but tail numbers can be different colors, not to mention older planes with 2” numbers vs 12”.
     
  20. Cogito

    Cogito Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My plane has 2” N-numbers and Vector bills me everywhere from SMO to HTO, I’m thinking they use ADS-B by now.
     
  21. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    If it isn't sent certified I didn't get it.
     
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  22. DaleB

    DaleB En-Route

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    That excuse may not fly for much longer. I suspect the USPS is imaging every piece of mail delivered now. I know I get a daily email (just got it this morning, in fact) with an image of everything that's getting delivered that day. You have to sign up for the emails, but I suspect they're imaging all of it.
     
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  23. steingar

    steingar Taxi to Parking

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    Got stolen off my front porch. Big problem in my neighborhood.
     
  24. Jim K

    Jim K Pre-takeoff checklist

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    What recourse would they have if you didn't pay? Even if you did owe it? They're not going to sue you or send you to collections over $10.
     
  25. Grum.Man

    Grum.Man En-Route

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    On the extreme end they could put a lien on your airplane. Would they go to that trouble, doubt it.
     
  26. bradg33

    bradg33 Pattern Altitude

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    I'm not totally upon my California rules, but I don't think there's any conceivable way to put a lien on the plane without first obtaining a judgment. So they have to sue you, win and record the judgment with the FAA. I doubt it can qualify as any sort of mechanic's/artisans/materialman's lien.
     
  27. wsuffa

    wsuffa Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Depends on the state law and the contract with the city/airport.

    The toll roads on the DC Beltway are run by a private company. Originally, under state law, non-payment would result in an invoice, a charge, and a service charge, with penalties if not paid by a certain time. Some of the penalties reached into the thousands of dollars - for a $2-$3 toll that was missed. They got sued and the state finally changed the law to reduce the allowable penalty.

    So, yeah, they might well send it to collections.

    https://www.courthousenews.com/dc-toll-operators-are-scamming-drivers-say/
     
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  28. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    If an invoice for a few dollars generated in error gets you this jack up you are in for a real treat when you have a health issue an deal with hospitals and insurance companies. Stop your whining.
     
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  29. Dav8or

    Dav8or Final Approach

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    Am I whining? Is that what I'm doing? Would you just pay them their $10? Is that what you would do?
     
  30. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    Explanation here:

    https://www.planeandpilotmag.com/article/pilots-report-bogus-landing-fee-charges-based-on-ads-b-data

     
  31. schmookeeg

    schmookeeg Pattern Altitude

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    The principle is the same. I get incensed at being billed incorrectly, whether it's a dime or a few grand.
     
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  32. NordicDave

    NordicDave Cleared for Takeoff

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    Don't be too hard on them, they need some way to finish paying for ripping up runways! :7)
     
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  33. Stan Cooper

    Stan Cooper Cleared for Takeoff

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    Call them. Vantage Airport Systems "billing questions": 888-588-0028, or e-mail: billing@vector-us.com
     
  34. Clip4

    Clip4 Final Approach

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    I’d just write them al letter with the invoice. Ranting about the injustice on the internet is whining.
     
  35. Salty

    Salty Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s doing this sort of thing himself. It would fit with his other actions.

    just randomly send bills to aircraft owners. They’re all rich, they’ll just pay it. Getting upset makes you a silly whiner. Even if you were never there. Expecting people to be honest is silly.
     
  36. kkoran

    kkoran Cleared for Takeoff

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    Send Vantage an invoice for the value of the time it took for you to deal with their invoice.
     
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  37. Weekend Warrior

    Weekend Warrior Pre-takeoff checklist

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    @Clip4 i can’t help but notice you criticize anytime someone mentions fees. Were your parents killed by fees when you were a child?
     
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  38. JP11283

    JP11283 Filing Flight Plan

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    What do you use the internet for?
     
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  39. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller Final Approach

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    It may not work the first time, but stick to your guns. I received a $25.25 demand letter for a $0.25 toll on the New Jersey Turnpike. Trouble was, the photo they took clearly showed my license plate number (the state was not legible) on a BMW. My plate was registered to a Ford Taurus. It took close to a year to get a Supervisor to look at the copy of the registration I sent them,and at their photo to agree to release the charges. Bastiges!

    -Skip
     
  40. Tarheelpilot

    Tarheelpilot En-Route

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    I wish that worked but it doesn’t.