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Revenue Inspector got me....

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by visual800, Oct 20, 2018.

  1. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    A few weeks ago I was in a neighboring town Putting up a large banner for a realty company BUT I had to remove existing grocery store letters first, 7' tall letters at that (I would like to say it would have been a great day at recycling center BUT unfortunately not). I had a business license and permit for the work.

    Im up in the lift and remove 1 letter at a time and drop down to ground to place on trailer. This woman walks towards me with a clipboard against her chest and business card in her hand, smiling. When she gets to me the smile leaves her face, she flips the card around and drops clipboard down revealing the embroidered patch on shirt....I swear its like she was wanting to see a startled reaction from me, obviously she gets off on that.

    She asked about my business and was the van sitting there mine. before I could speak she quickly said "I can run the plates and find out for myself!"....I just looked at her and said "There is really no need in that, its my van." She asked why there is no lettering on it, I told her I dont run lettering on my van and haven't for several years now. I am then informed it s a $500 fine for no vehicle identification...I responded, mouth opened with "You have got to be freaking kidding me!!" I told her I had no idea of this and first Ive heard of it. She said Its on the back of your license when you renew (if any of you have seen the back of biz license there is 400 paragraphs of crap 99.9% of people dont read.) She then proceeded to write the ticket and inform me she has been writing these tickets all morning across the street where they are building an ALDI and Harbor Freight....something I would have not admitted. Her demeanor was very arrogant and uncalled for. She then handed ticket and said I could do jailtime if not paid (jesus christ lady!!!)

    SO, she hands me a copy of the rules for lettering, 2" high and represents the name of biz as it appears on license. I paid the fine and i went and cut my name 2.5" high in light beige and placed it on my white van just to be safe on both sides. You can read it if you walk up to it and as far as Im concerned Im compliant

    This is IMO nothing but a revenue enhancer. The ONLY reason they want a name on that vehicle is so THEY can see you working up there and bust you for permits if you dont have them. Im surpised, judging by her attitude she didnt have a 12gauge strapped to her back. She was also driving (get this) an UNMARKED ford explorer complete with led light packaging inside...WTF!
    • Informative Informative x 1
  2. rjssigns

    rjssigns Major Contributor

    Jun 4, 2007
    Home Office
    That stinks. Especially bad when you got an unwanted helping of attitude.
  3. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010
    Mid TN
    Around here, depending on the license/permit, they may actually require you not to have anything on the vehicle. So it's quite possible could get fined the other way as well. At least here.

    I've never known any type of inspector that didn't get off on having the power that comes with making sure people are compliant. I think it's a mentality that is sought, like it would be for collections.
  4. cwade440

    cwade440 Member

    Jan 21, 2011
    rochester, ma
    Sadly, that kind of attitude seems to be a prerequisite for getting hired into that line of work. Around here, if you have commercial tags and the vehicle is above a certain GVW you need lettering. Magnetics and window lettering don't count -- they want vinyl on metal.
  5. visual800

    visual800 Very Active Member

    Aug 4, 2010
    montgomery, alabama
    I was grateful (for whats its worth) she only busted me for $250 instead of $500. I failed to mention that in post. She said she did that because I appeared to be really unaware of this rule. But to think a plumber going to someones home and he gets busted for $500 could be his whole profit margin, that sucks for a blue collar dude and the bragging about "handing out tickets all morning across the street" was uncalled for. How the hell does someone wake up in the morning knowing they have to go to work and be a *****.
  6. A Day Late

    A Day Late New Member

    Jul 12, 2018
    What state are you in so I won't move there?
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    Around here, some of the benefit of having letters on your vehicle is the ability to park in the special "commercial vehicle" parking spots downtown.
  8. rossmosh

    rossmosh Active Member

    Oct 9, 2014
    New Jersey
    I'd imagine the idea is so when you're a consumer or inspector, you know the business is licensed. Obviously you could put a bunch of fake numbers and that would be that. But I'd imagine that's the intention.

    If you wanted to turn lemons into lemonade, you could turn your ticket into a flyer. Keep them in your vehicle with you. Any time you see a commercial vehicle without the lettering, you pop a flyer out and inform them both of the ticket and how you could take care of the lettering for them for $xxx.
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    We have the same rule in California. It's supposed to prevent unlicensed contractor activity:

    It may not be just a money grab for the city... you may find that state and national sign associations push for that type of legislation to keep sub-par sign shops from doing unlicensed work.
  10. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

    Apr 17, 2003
    Valle Vista
    I was just thinking, what you should have was tell the enforcement officer write up non-compliant signs and hand out your business card so it can offset the cost of your ticket...
  11. ddarlak

    ddarlak Trump Hater

    I live in New York, One of the most taxed, controlled states in the Union and I've never heard of such craziness. Seems to me these crazy things happen in the south alot, makes me wonder if they make up for less taxes with more BS.
  12. bob

    bob Major Contributor

    Nov 4, 2005
    Your defense is the 1st amendment. Freedom of speech is freedom from speech.If you have the right to say anything then that very same right says that you have the right to say nothing. Either with your mouth or with your vehicle.

    I'd give good odds that this village's provincial edicts have never been tested. Go for it.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. James Burke

    James Burke Being a grandpa is more fun than working

    Jan 2, 2010
    Mitten State
    I got pulled over by a state trooper and ticketed for no vehicle lettering. My truck has a small cable winch crane in the back and it's used for business when I need it. But I didn't have anything in the truck that was even business related on the day I was stopped. $125 later, I just made up a set of magnets that I keep behind the seat just in case.

  14. TyrantDesigner

    TyrantDesigner Art! Hot and fresh.

    Mar 9, 2011
    Amarillo, TX
    It's all income generation. Here you have to be licensed and bonded to install substrate based signs in Amarillo, and it requires a permit for the sign. Doesn't matter if it's a 2"x2" piece of plexi or a 4'x8' diabond sign. I get WHY they had to do it ... too many people hillbilly rigging signs that blow off in the 70+ mph winds we get ... but now it's all income. Had a code enforcement guy try to tell me I needed to pull a permit for window mesh ... and 20 minutes later after I pulled out the code enforcement rules from my truck and asked him to find where it was in there ... and how he determines that digitally printed window vinyl with an over 50% visibility falls under the rules of substrate based signage ... he walked off. I mean hell ... they tried to make me get a permit for signage ... on a mural ... a mural with no logos or words on it ... after a verbal argument and them not being able to find where I had to do that in the rules, the supervisor who had to come out to the site told the CE dude to go do something else. It's pure insanity sometimes.

    It's all more B.S. I could probably go on for days in which they try to fine you for inconsequential stuff here in Texas and Florida. The biggest one I see is tickets ... I have seen people have a $125 seatbelt ticket skyrocket in 3 months to over $1k in non-payment fines ... and $3-6k after a year. Knew one dude who didn't get his vehicle inspection done, and 3 days after it was expired got a ticket ... which he didn't have money for ... in 10 days the ticket doubled. within a year he submitted to 30 days of county incarceration to 'pay it off' all because he didn't get a vehicle inspection done and had a small financial problem. Got to love a state that would much rather see you locked up to pay a debt.

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