Posted at: 06/03/2013 10:18 PM
Updated at: 06/03/2013 10:21 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission's Division of Insurance is taking action to shut down www.ticketsbite.com after a KOB Eyewitness News 4 investigation.
The PRC has been looking into the company for more than a month now and issued a cease and desist order last week, which said, Ticketsbite LLC has no business doing business here in New Mexico.
If you are a driver who has a hard time obeying the law, traffic ticket protection may look like the answer to your problems.
For anywhere from $50 to $200 a year, Ticketsbite LLC offers to cover fines for everything from speeding to running red lights, and just about anything in between.
But John Gaherty says that is where all the problems actually start.
"We are not going to tolerate this kind of business in New Mexico," Gaherty said.
Gaherty said Ticketsbite LLC is selling insurance, but without the right qualifications, the polices are fake.
"In order for them to operate here they have to have a certificate of authority, which they never applied for," Gaherty said.
The PRC sent a letter to the company's P.O. Box address in Las Vegas, Nev. about a month ago. Gaherty said the PRC received a roundabout response.
"It was vague, ambiguous, they indicate they're not selling insurance, they're selling vouchers, but yet their website has insurance plastered all over it," Gaherty said. "Our inquiry letter asked specific questions, for example, how many policy holders do you have in New Mexico, and they didn't answer all of that... they didn't answer any question."
Two weeks ago, KOB contacted the company's co-founder, Chris Thomas, over the phone.
Thomas explained, "We really operate like a voucher system." At the same time, he agreed, the word "voucher" is not used anywhere on the website.
"A lot of states, they don't view providing insurance for traffic tickets as a legal way of doing business," Thomas added.
The PRC is making that same point, that it is not legal.
"Given the product that they're selling and my conversations with the superintendent, if they did apply for a certificate of authority, we would not issue it, because you can't insure criminal activity," Gaherty said.
Nevada, where the company is based, has also issued a cease and desist order, and California has done the same.
Gaherty said this investigation has all stemmed from KOB bringing Ticketsbite to their attention.
Whether or not the violations were done intentionally as a scam Gaherty said is hard to speculate.
If the company ignores the cease and desist order, the PRC plans to set up a hearing to address all the violations they have identified.
Anyone who has purchased protection from Ticketsbite LLC is asked to contact the PRC's Division of Insurance at 505-827-4439.