A new app is promising to disrupt the way we traditionally pay for traffic tickets, but the city of Atlanta is warning people to be careful when using it.
The app has also received criticism from Decatur’s city manager about its marketing campaign.
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.
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.
But the city of Atlanta is urging caution when using the app.
“The Municipal Court has been made aware of a user complaint where the TIKD-assigned attorney did not appear, and the citation holder was required to pay for their citation, in addition to the fee paid to TIKD,” a press release from the city says. “Neither TIKD nor any similar entity can guarantee ‘a reduced’ fee for any traffic ticket. The Atlanta Municipal Court is not bound by any agreement a defendant may have with TIKD, or any similar entity.”
If the attorney doesn’t show up to court, the person receiving the citation could face consequences, the city says.
“The Municipal Court strongly recommends any individual considering TIKD or similar services to be in constant contact with the attorney assigned to their citation or citations,” the press release from the city says. “The Court recommends users ensure that either they or their attorney are present at court on the assigned date. Failure to do so can result in additional penalties to the citation holder, a suspended driver’s license and the issuance of a bench warrant for arrest for failing to appear in court.”
A spokesperson for TIKD said the city’s press release contains inaccurate information.
“TIKD does not guarantee that a customer’s fine will be reduced,” the spokesperson said. “What TIKD does guarantee is that drivers who use its services will always pay TIKD less than the face value of their fine. All drivers that use TIKD’s service are represented by an independent lawyer who is responsible for handling the legal proceedings for resolving the driver’s ticket. TIKD encourages its customers to communicate with their lawyer if they have any questions about their individual ticket, including appearances in court.”
“Since TIKD launched in Georgia at the beginning of July, the company has provided its services to more than 500 traffic ticket holders in the region and continues to see demand grow,” the spokesperson added.
In its marketing materials, TIKD 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 said that statement promotes irresponsible driving.
“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.”