Have you ever heard about a business that can get you out of a traffic ticket? Read on.
It all started with one brother, Steve, who was working in the internet business and the other brother, Craig, who was out and about getting a traffic ticket. Well, Craig wasn’t very happy about his ticket so he flipped it over to take a detailed read of the next steps. That’s when he hit pay dirt and discovered the legal loophole. Wanting to test it out, Craig responded to the court and the ticket was dismissed.
Did he fight the ticket in court?
“That is a fallacy about going to court. Nine times out of ten, the officer does show up because they’re supposed to show up. Your chances of getting the ticket dismissed in court are very, very slim,” states Miller.
So the Miller brothers teamed up, with Steve at the helm, and in 2004 started their new business: www.ticketbust.com.
Talk about turning a lemon into lemonade.
With Craig’s help, Steve turned the idea into a full-fledged business: helping people get out of paying traffic tickets. At first, Ticketbust.com directed all of their marketing efforts toward reaching commercial drivers who had a much higher traffic ticket incidence. (Unlike the rest of us, commercial drivers aren’t offered the option to remove points by going to traffic school.) In short order, they attracted the consumer segment, as well, and in a eight short years, their business burgeoned.
modenook.com was able to catch up with CEO, Steve Miller, for an interview to get a better understanding of his business model and expansion efforts.
EXAMINER: So tell us, what’s the secret behind all of this?
MILLER: It really is all about “trial by written declaration”, which is perfectly legal. What happens is we are contesting the ticket for you with a written declaration. The judge reviews it, then they have to send it to the officer, who has to respond to it in writing. Officers do not like paperwork. If an officer does not respond to the declaration, it is automatically dismissed. The chance of this happening is far greater than going to court in the hopes the officer doesn’t show up.
EXAMINER: What is the percentage success rate?
MILLER: Every ticket is different, the situation is different, the courts are different. I can’t give an exact percentage, but we believe that doing a “trial by written declaration” gives you a 60-70 percent chance of having the ticket dismissed. We believe that anything over a 50 percent chance is worth it.
EXAMINER: Do you charge a percentage? Or a flat fee?
MILLER: We have a flat fee regardless of the kind of ticket. We charge $100 service fee and $149 document processing fee. We also have a money-back guarantee for the service fee, in case we’re not successful, they get $100 back. So you’re really risking $149.
EXAMINER: Did the recession effect the business negatively or positively?
MILLER: We’re actually recession-proof and in a recession we have more business because people don’t have the money to pay for tickets. So that’s even more of a reason to contest a ticket.
EXAMINER: Have you found ways to expand your business and do you plan to expand outside California?
MILLER: There’s enough business in California, so no plans for expanding outside the state at this point. We have expanded in two ways. We created a Hispanic version of our website and a cell phone ticket website. Both of our expansion efforts have helped our growth in the past couple of years. You have to remember, we invented the industry so at the beginning we were only seeing about 9-10 tickets per week for the first couple of years. Now we are doing over 200 tickets a week, which is double the amount in 2010. Part of that is attributable to the addition of the Spanish and cell phone websites.
According to several sources, a traffic ticket can cost well over $2,000 over the 3-year life of the ticket. In California, the tickets stays on a driving record for 3-years, which means increased insurance premiums during that period, in addition to paying the local and state fees.
Just goes to show how inventive some entrepreneurs can be. Take a costly nuisance and create a business that alleviates the headache, saves money and presto! A new industry is born.
For more information or to check out the websites of this growing business: www.Ticketbust.com, www.CombateSuTicket.com and www.fightcellphonetickets.com