(WSVN) - Her car insurance soared, and points piled up on her license because of a crash. The problem: she didn’t have the wreck, and when she tried to get government agencies to change the official records, she realized she needed Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Obviously, everyone has a name.

Victoria Hoods: “And my name is Victoria Alexis Hoods.”

Of course, as Victoria discovered, some people have a similar name.

Victoria Hoods: “Well, the person’s name was Victoria Alexis Hodge.”

Not a problem, until it was.

Victoria Hoods: “Before, I was paying for insurance, it was about $300 a month, and then I had to pay between $600 and $800 a month.”

When Victoria tried to renew her car insurance, she discovered why her rates had skyrocketed.

Victoria Hoods: “The one insurance company told me I had 12 points, which was news to me because I had never had any points.”

Twelve points on her license from violations committed in Broward County.

Victoria Hoods: “Because she had hit a marked police vehicle. She hit a vehicle right in front of police officers.”


Victoria Hoods: “It said that I had a learner’s permit violation on December of last year.”

But this Victoria has a valid license and never ran into a police car.

Victoria Hoods: “And those things are in my name.”

Turns out, when Margate Police put the driver’s name into the system, instead of Victoria Alexis Hodge, two citations were issued to Victoria Alexis Hoods.

So Victoria asked Margate Police to fix it.

Victoria Hoods: “And that it was out of their hands, so I had to go to the court myself, even though it was their mistake.”

Going to court to get the tickets switched from the innocent person to the violator sounds easy. It’s not.

Victoria Hoods: “Going to the courts personally and filling out an ‘it’s not me’ affidavit, and then I would have to go to the judge, and then they would have to determine if it can be taken off.”

And while the good driver Victoria tries to clear her name, her pocket is being cleared out by the soaring car insurance rates caused by the other driver.

Victoria Hoods: “I would like to have help to figure out how I can fix this to make sure that these points are taken off.”

Well, Howard, you have the law degree. Legally, does a police department and every other government agency have to correct a mistake?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “Yes. It’s called due process. We all make mistakes, and the quickest and easiest way in Victoria’s case is to get the police to change the names on the citations. Then, after that, you also have to get the Clerk’s Office and Division of Motor Vehicles to change their records. If the police won’t start the process, go to court and let a judge fix it.”

We contacted Margate Police, and they were great.

They amended the citations, changing the violators name from Victoria Hoods to Victoria Hodge The Broward Clerk’s Office then corrected the official record, sending that to the Division of Motor Vehicles, so Victoria’s insurance company can see she has no points on her license.

Howard Finkelstein: “Now that Victoria’s records are corrected, by law, the insurance company is required to reverse the rate increase.”

Victoria Hoods: “I feel great. I feel relieved.”

Relieved that her insurance rates will return to normal after that call to Help Me Howard.

Victoria Hoods: “Yes, I am very glad I got Help me Howard. At first I thought it’s going to be a long process. Help Me Howard helped me, and it was really quick.”

Glad we could help you, Victoria, and the key in solving a problem? Part is knowing how to do it; the other part is knowing who to contact. If you aren’t sure, start with the boss, in other words, the owner of the company or the head of the government agency. Hopefully that will work.

Wronged by a problem you have identified? Ready to make things right? Contact us. You don’t need a license to help, just concern.

With this Help me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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