Former SCUT. Ombudsman warns carrier about the need to verify address before sending toll charges

Operators should consult the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN) database for the details of the vehicle identification holder when sending the very first notification to collect tolls.

This is the wording of the recommendation sent by the Ombudsman, Maria Lúcia Amaral, to Portvias, following a complaint lodged by a citizen who received the notification procedure for payment of tolls, together with administrative costs, fines and costs, already in the context of tax foreclosure proceedings and administrative offenses brought against it by the Tax and Customs Authority.

The notices for the payment of the tolls were actually sent by Portvias, but were directed to an address that did not correspond to the complainant’s updated residence, thus hindering the knowledge of its content and the timely payment of the debt in order to avoid respective enforcement charge.

In her recommendation, the Ombudsman recalls that the general regime of breaches, approved by Decree-Law 433/82 of 27.10, and subsequent amendments, establishes, as a principle, in Article 50, entitled hearing and defense of the defendant ”, which is not permitted to impose a fine or an ancillary sanction without first assuring the defendant the possibility of ruling, within a reasonable time, on the offense attributed to him and on the sanction or penalties it incurs, thereby giving effect to the guarantees provided for in Article 32 (10) of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic.

In other words, a final decision under a sanctioning procedure is only valid when preceded by an act which has given interested parties the effective opportunity to comment on the proposed decision concerning them.

The Ombudsman is an independent state body that defends people who see their fundamental rights violated or feel harmed by unfair or illegal acts of the administration, other public authorities or private entities exploiting public concessions.

The Ombudsman’s recommendations shall be addressed to the body competent to correct the unlawful or unfair act or the irregular situation of its services, and the body receiving the recommendation, within 60 days of its receipt, shall inform it of its position. as for her. Failure to comply with the recommendation must always be substantiated. If the recommendations are not complied with, and whenever the Provider does not obtain the proper collaboration, he may contact the competent hierarchical superior or, where appropriate, the respective minister in charge.