City of Tempe: Pay your tickets now or we'll send you to collections

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TEMPE, Ariz. -- If you owe court-ordered fines or fees for speeding tickets or parking citations to the city of Tempe, you have one last chance to pay. The city is gearing up to send thousands of people to collections, and it's going to happen this week.

According to the Tempe Municipal Court, about 34,000 people have outstanding delinquent balances totaling about $10 million. Those accounts will be sent to collections agencies if they're not paid in full by Thursday, Dec. 9.

Some of the owed fines date back several years.

"We implemented a new system and it took some time between the changeover to get everything straight so that we could refer these debts to the collections agencies that are part of the city contract," explained Court Administrator Rick Rager.

The people who owe the fines either pleaded responsible or were found responsible for violations and given an opportunity to pay.

"For whatever reason, they didn't follow up on their obligations or their promises to the court," Rager said. "That is what is forcing us to have to refer these debts to the collections agencies."

Once the debts are handed over, the collections agencies will contact those who owe, first in writing and then by other means.

Referral to a debt collection agency not only negatively impacts a person's credit rating, there is also a 15 percent fee attached.

For more information on paying court-ordered fines, visit www.tempe.gov/court or call 480-350-8800.