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Text messaging to be trialed for fines defaulters

Text messaging to be trialed for fines defaulters

The Courts Department will trial text messaging to fines defaulters’ mobile phones later this year as a new nationwide collections tool, Minister for Courts Rick Barker said today.

“The Department will trial text messaging to fines defaulters between November this year and January 2004. This trial will involve Collections Contact Centre staff sending payment and action date reminders by text to fines defaulters who have text capable mobile phones.”
Mr Barker said the target group for the trial was predominantly males aged between 15 and 30 years and those who owed the greatest amount of overdue fines, usually from driver and license offences.

“Texting is a more innovative approach by the Department, with market research showing that a high percentage of people in the 15-30 age group use a mobile phone as their primary means of communication.”

New Zealand has two million mobile phones capable of receiving text messages and Mr Barker said the target group also used the service regularly.

“Texting is seen as more personal than other communication channels and more likely to generate a response,” Mr Barker said.

During the trial, customer responses to text messaging will be assessed along with the impact the potential new tool has on processes, policies and resources associated with fines collections. The economic viability of a fully interactive text messaging service operated from Collections Contact Centres would also be evaluated.

“One day soon, I hope people will be able to pay their fines remotely by phone,” Mr Barker said.

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