Parking citation from a private parking lot

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Topic Author
Kennedy
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:47 pm

Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Kennedy »

If one receives a parking citation from a private parking lot, what are the consequences for not paying the fee that is demanded? My brother parked in a private lot for three hours or so. A sign in the lot stated that parking was limited to two hours.

There was a paper on his windshield after returning to his car with a noted fee of around $50, I think.

He ignored the "citation" but has continued to receive letters from an out of state law office stating the fee is now "in collection." Not sure how the parking lot obtained my brother's home address.

He does not live in California, which I know has specific prohibitions regarding a private company issuing citations.

Can the company send this to a debt collector without a court judgment? He's asking me if this can go on his credit report.
User avatar
Voltaire2.0
Posts: 131
Joined: Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:12 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Voltaire2.0 »

Obtaining an address is not hard when you start with a license plate.

This happened to me once. The so-called fine does not have the weight of criminal law, but it can result in a civil action that is a nuisance, or worse.

Pay the fee.
wilked
Posts: 1825
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by wilked »

He exceeded the allowed time by 50% (hr) but doesn’t believe he owes any money to them? What is his argument?
luckyducky99
Posts: 151
Joined: Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:47 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by luckyducky99 »

Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm Can the company send this to a debt collector without a court judgment?
Yes, debt collectors almost always happen before court. If you ignore the collectors, they're the ones who will usually sue and take the issue to court. Might be harder from out of state, I dunno.
Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm He's asking me if this can go on his credit report.
Yes. I know someone who didn't pay any attention to his credit, and when he went to get a mortgage, a bunch of private lot parking tickets came back to haunt him.

None of this is worth the hassle. Just pay the ticket.
User avatar
Brianmcg321
Posts: 1054
Joined: Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:23 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Brianmcg321 »

Send them a $50 fee for harassment. Let them know it’s in collections.
Rules to investing: | 1. Don't lose money. | 2. Don't forget rule number 1.
HomeStretch
Posts: 5179
Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:06 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by HomeStretch »

If it’s a legitimate fee, I’d pay it.

It’s interesting that a law firm would be engaged to generate letters for a $50 parking ticket. It might be because parking fee collections is lucrative for the law firm. If this goes to court, your brother may owe legal and court fees on top of the $50 fee.
seawolf21
Posts: 760
Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by seawolf21 »

Seems like the $50 is not a citation per se but more of a fee for breach of contract/trespassing.
Luckywon
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

Was the amount of the fine they are charging posted? I don't think I would pay it if it wasn't. If it was posted, then I'd pay it.
hudson
Posts: 3397
Joined: Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:15 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by hudson »

I think that it depends on state or local laws. In my state, I can't find any references to fines for over-parking in private lots. I can find lots of laws about booting and towing.
Many times, private lots will post a sign that gives all of the legal details including reference to any local or state ordinances. Maybe you could "drive by" the lot with Google Maps and read the signs?
Juice3
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:40 am
Location: The Web
Contact:

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Juice3 »

I am not a lawyer and laws vary by state...

Send the parking lot a check for 1 hour or their minimum fee increment that covers time you were in the lot.
Mark the check "Accord and Satisfaction" (This is also sometimes termed "Payment in Full"). Include the License plate number and date of parking on the check (or a reference to the bill/fee).

Retain proof of:
The date/time you were in the parking lot.
The fees they charge for using the parking the lot
The image of the check.
Record of who cashed the check.

It is unfortunately fairly standard practice when lawyers get involved to the ask to be twice, or 10x, 100x reasonable.
Acting in in "good faith" usually shuts a lot of the crap down.

If they cash the check, you will have a solid defense you are settled with them in full and they would likely be due no additional payment or consideration, in other words the issue would be settled.

On a more general note, I avoid like the plague places like this. In ATL, I have seen parking lots boot cars in an attempt to get payment in similiar cases. Avoid or use alternative means of transportation in these type of places.

I recall years ago an airport parking lot I used. The lot had no gates, no staff I ever saw, no machines, pretty much just some asphalt in a field. They would rubber band a payment slip/envelop to your car while you were gone. You put cash in it and slipped in a box at the entry. How times have changed. They did record LP numbers on the slip. I never did not pay. I wonder if they had a collections process.
NotWhoYouThink
Posts: 3207
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:19 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

He's lucky his car wasn't towed, which would have cost a lot more. He owes the money and should pay.
Silverado
Posts: 456
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 6:07 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Silverado »

NotWhoYouThink wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:33 am He's lucky his car wasn't towed, which would have cost a lot more. He owes the money and should pay.
Probably more lucrative to keep tow companies out of the money loop.

Sounds like a small lesson in respecting private property, better cut a check.
Wricha
Posts: 666
Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2012 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Wricha »

What is your brother’s reason for not paying the ticket if he used the space? If he thought he could get away with it ....apparently he may have gotten caught. Now, the question for him does he want to pay the ticket or double down on the belief that he can get away with it. My guess is he is out of state he may still pull it off. For me I’d pay the ticket at $50 since it was a legitimate citation. Let’s us know if they haul him away in chains.
sschoe2
Posts: 575
Joined: Fri Feb 24, 2017 4:42 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by sschoe2 »

Voltaire2.0 wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:59 pm Obtaining an address is not hard when you start with a license plate.

This happened to me once. The so-called fine does not have the weight of criminal law, but it can result in a civil action that is a nuisance, or worse.

Pay the fee.
No debt collector is going to go to court over $50. Most won't do so for less than $1-2k. They will ding your credit and harass you until you send the a drop dead letter to stop the calls. However, the ding on the credit, you could dispute it and I am not sure if the reporting agencies would sustain it because there is no contract.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6744
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Kenkat »

If you feel $50 is reasonable for an hour over, pay it. If $50 feels like you are a victim of a “gotcha”, ask them to provide evidence of the time parked in the lot so that you can validate the violation with legal counsel. They don’t need to know that legal counsel is your cat.
User avatar
8foot7
Posts: 2394
Joined: Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:29 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by 8foot7 »

I hate hate hate parking scams like this but your time is worth something. The advice to send a check for $50 and mark it accord and satisfaction is the way to go.

I have used the following text (I didn’t write it but not sure where I got it - it is in my files from years ago) on a letter enclosed with a check:

“While our records differ from yours with respect to the balance owed, we are submitting the attached check as payment in full, in full and final satisfaction and settlement of outstanding invoices and balances owed or allegedly owed by Customer Name to Vendor Name. By cashing this check, you agree this payment of $x,xxx.xx shall be a full and final settlement. Furthermore, Vendor Name agrees to irrevocably and unconditionally release, renounce and discharge Customer Name from any and all future actions, suits, debts and claims relating to the disputed balance due.”

Then on the back of the check at the very top of the endorsement section (leaving space for them to endorse properly) write "Payment in full satisfaction of the disputed claim."

On a $50 claim that’s good enough. If they continue to harass you can sue in small claims and if they ding your credit, which they probably won’t if you send this, you just dispute and submit a copy of the cashed check and it’ll almost certainly get taken off.
User avatar
ResearchMed
Posts: 10785
Joined: Fri Dec 26, 2008 11:25 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by ResearchMed »

8foot7 wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:32 pm I hate hate hate parking scams like this but your time is worth something. The advice to send a check for $50 and mark it accord and satisfaction is the way to go.
Why is this a scam?
If I'm understanding correctly, this was private property, and a time limit was posted.

If the penalty was something truly absurd, such as $1,000, I would suggest some sort of negotiating (or publicity or whatever).
But assuming this was in a "desirable area for parking" (otherwise, why not just use the street?), I could see this as both a penalty and an incentive *not* to do it again, etc.

Sure, posting the fee would be "nice", but is that required on private property?
As already mentioned, the car could rightly have been towed, it seems. I'd definitely pay $50 to avoid that aggravation and time sink, and probably costs beyond $50.

Driver/owner overstayed. Pay the bill. Don't park there again if the practices are found offensive.
Then move on.
As problems go, these days... well... really?

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.
UpperNwGuy
Posts: 4334
Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 7:16 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by UpperNwGuy »

Just pay the bill.
Juice3
Posts: 229
Joined: Sun Nov 05, 2017 7:40 am
Location: The Web
Contact:

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Juice3 »

8foot7 wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:32 pm I hate hate hate parking scams like this but your time is worth something. The advice to send a check for $50 and mark it accord and satisfaction is the way to go.
Please note that I did not indicate you should pay the "fine". But rather I am suggesting that you pay the minimum increment to cover the time you were in the lot at face value. If the lot sells space by the hour for $10 and you were 1 hour over, then I would send the check for 10.

The ask is nearly always significantly inflated in these situations. The asker of very often willing to settle for a small fraction of the ask.
michaelingp
Posts: 387
Joined: Tue Jan 17, 2017 8:46 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by michaelingp »

I don't think we know all the background here, such as were the first two hours free or not, but $50 seems similar to what a municipal lot would charge for a parking violation in my area of the country. Due to abuses of towing and such, private parking lots in a lot of places are highly regulated, so my guess is the $50 is legal. As others have mentioned, towing would cost you a lot more, usually about $400 where I live, with very little recourse if you want your car back.
krafty81
Posts: 326
Joined: Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:01 pm
Location: San Diego, CA

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by krafty81 »

NotWhoYouThink wrote: Fri Nov 13, 2020 7:33 am He's lucky his car wasn't towed, which would have cost a lot more. He owes the money and should pay.
"predatory towing" - a real issue here in CA. I had to almost fight a guy one time who tried to tow my car after 10 minutes in a taco shop lot when I walked across the street after eating there! Called the cops and he backed off.
wilked
Posts: 1825
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by wilked »

michaelingp wrote: Tue Nov 17, 2020 10:28 am I don't think we know all the background here, such as were the first two hours free or not, but $50 seems similar to what a municipal lot would charge for a parking violation in my area of the country. Due to abuses of towing and such, private parking lots in a lot of places are highly regulated, so my guess is the $50 is legal. As others have mentioned, towing would cost you a lot more, usually about $400 where I live, with very little recourse if you want your car back.
It's an interesting argument what the 'fair' fine would be.

Breakeven is something like:

Hourly Rate * Max Hours + OddsOfBeingCaught(a function of ExessTime, with results from 0 to 100%)*Fine vs CostofPrivateGarageWithNoMaxHours

In my city, a 2 hr max is common for say on street parking, and fines are something like $40-50. And let's say it's $2/hr for the first 2 hrs.

Private garage for 4 hrs might be $30

So if I want to go somewhere 2.5-3 hrs:

$2/hr*2hrs + Odds*$50 = $30. If I estimate the odds at less than 50% or so, I probably will choose to leave the car in the 2 hr spot (assuming no tow risk).

Then the math for the parking lot is that they need to hire labor to enforce the limits. The more labor, the higher the Odds of them 'catching' overstayers.

All in all it's an interesting cat and mouse. I know some areas of the city where I wouldn't chance 15 mins overstay, and others where I am comfortable with 2 hrs overstay
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6744
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Kenkat »

Well, OP Kennedy, how do you plead?

(no response)

Judgement for the plaintiff in the amount of $50. Pay the man. :wink:
Xrayman69
Posts: 642
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2018 8:52 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Xrayman69 »

Pay the bill as your brother readily admitted his fault. $50 fine is not a scam but rather a reasonable administrative cost deterrent.

No lawyer will get involved as the $50 is likely a small claims affair.
RubyTuesday
Posts: 478
Joined: Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:24 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by RubyTuesday »

OP wasn’t towed, but could have been. That doesn’t mean he should feel lucky and pay it. They didn’t tow him, that’s on them. They’ve now charged amount which was not stated in advance as a citation. They can’t issue citations. They can either tow the vehicle or pound sand. I would ignore. If you’re really worried, pay it. It’s $50...
“Doing nothing is better than being busy doing nothing.” – Lao Tzu
wilked
Posts: 1825
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 1:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by wilked »

Towing is typically a big scam (or often). I think a reasonable fine for exceeding the posted allowed time (or paid for time) makes sense though
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 6030
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by JoeRetire »

Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm Can the company send this to a debt collector without a court judgment? He's asking me if this can go on his credit report.
Yes. And yes.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
criticalmass
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:34 pm
Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm Can the company send this to a debt collector without a court judgment? He's asking me if this can go on his credit report.
Yes. And yes.
Sure it can. And he can dispute it off his credit report.

He incurred a $50 charge? They will need to prove it. With times in and out and an agreement.

If the $50 charge is invalid and he lives in a treble damages state, he may go after them for $150, plus court costs, plus reasonable attorney fees.
hershey102d
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:48 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by hershey102d »

Own the behavior and pay the fine.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 6030
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by JoeRetire »

criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:33 am
JoeRetire wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 12:34 pm
Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm Can the company send this to a debt collector without a court judgment? He's asking me if this can go on his credit report.
Yes. And yes.
And he can dispute it off his credit report.
He could try.

There doesn't appear to be much dispute that he overstayed the two hour limit. For $50, it doesn't seem to be a game worth playing to me.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
goingup
Posts: 3923
Joined: Tue Jan 26, 2010 1:02 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by goingup »

Take care of the little things in life right away so they don't turn into big annoying time sucks. If $50 solves the problem, just pay it.

Maybe when it first happened your brother could have called the lot and negotiated to pay the hourly rate for an extra couple hours. That option probably isn't available if the citation is now handled by a law firm. So just pay it.
skepticalobserver
Posts: 1096
Joined: Tue Jul 29, 2014 11:29 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by skepticalobserver »

Did you violate a state or local law, like parking in a disabled parking spot or blocking a fire lane? Only state/local authorities can prosecute violations of such infractions. Otherwise, unless the owner of the lot filed a civil trespass complaint (or whatever the action is called where this took place) AND there is a judgement, the whole thing is ridiculous. Any law firm that is harassing you should be subject to a disciplinary complaint.
Last edited by skepticalobserver on Fri Nov 20, 2020 1:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Bobby206
Posts: 494
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2018 4:01 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Bobby206 »

I'd pay it for two reasons:

1) brother over-stayed his time and owes money;
2) it's not worth the hassle worrying about such a small amount of money.

I understand it feels a bit like a gotcha amount of money but whatever. Life is too short!
chipperd
Posts: 787
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by chipperd »

Your brother overstayed his welcome and, based on the signage you cite, he knows it. Is $50 steep for an hour's worth of parking? Debatable but not pertinent to the question at hand.
Politely pay the $50 and be thankful the car wasn't towed, which would have resulted in a much higher fee.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
criticalmass
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

chipperd wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:21 pm Your brother overstayed his welcome and, based on the signage you cite, he knows it. Is $50 steep for an hour's worth of parking? Debatable but not pertinent to the question at hand.
Politely pay the $50 and be thankful the car wasn't towed, which would have resulted in a much higher fee.
In my locality, parking signage for commercial lots open to the public to park is tightly regulated, as are fees charged and even towing practices. It is interesting to read the conclusions here that the questionable billing practices are justified, and the victim of the billing is in the wrong. Maybe, maybe not. A lot more information is needed, including applicable local and state laws, and the exact circumstances of the situation. The practices as described here would be unlawful where I live, and putting up incorrect signage would not change that.

Personally, I decline to engage with companies that attempt shakedowns, and I have enjoyed providing treble damages letters in the past. That usually results in billing attitude adjustment very quickly, but has also yielded some more lucrative results.
chipperd
Posts: 787
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:58 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by chipperd »

criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:21 pm
chipperd wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:21 pm Your brother overstayed his welcome and, based on the signage you cite, he knows it. Is $50 steep for an hour's worth of parking? Debatable but not pertinent to the question at hand.
Politely pay the $50 and be thankful the car wasn't towed, which would have resulted in a much higher fee.
In my locality, parking signage for commercial lots open to the public to park is tightly regulated, as are fees charged and even towing practices. It is interesting to read the conclusions here that the questionable billing practices are justified, and the victim of the billing is in the wrong. Maybe, maybe not. A lot more information is needed, including applicable local and state laws, and the exact circumstances of the situation. The practices as described here would be unlawful where I live, and putting up incorrect signage would not change that.

Personally, I decline to engage with companies that attempt shakedowns, and I have enjoyed providing treble damages letters in the past. That usually results in billing attitude adjustment very quickly, but has also yielded some more lucrative results.
The individual received a bill for overstaying his welcome. That's not in dispute here.
As I stated, how much should he be charged is debatable, but not the question the OP asked.
The conclusion I draw, based on the statements made, is that the individual is in the wrong, knows he is in the wrong, and therefore should pay up.
But, again, how much to pay wasn't asked.
As for the consequences for not paying? As you say, who knows.
"A portfolio is like a bar of soap, the more it's handled, the less there is." Dr. William Bernstein
criticalmass
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

chipperd wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:57 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 2:21 pm
chipperd wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 12:21 pm Your brother overstayed his welcome and, based on the signage you cite, he knows it. Is $50 steep for an hour's worth of parking? Debatable but not pertinent to the question at hand.
Politely pay the $50 and be thankful the car wasn't towed, which would have resulted in a much higher fee.
In my locality, parking signage for commercial lots open to the public to park is tightly regulated, as are fees charged and even towing practices. It is interesting to read the conclusions here that the questionable billing practices are justified, and the victim of the billing is in the wrong. Maybe, maybe not. A lot more information is needed, including applicable local and state laws, and the exact circumstances of the situation. The practices as described here would be unlawful where I live, and putting up incorrect signage would not change that.

Personally, I decline to engage with companies that attempt shakedowns, and I have enjoyed providing treble damages letters in the past. That usually results in billing attitude adjustment very quickly, but has also yielded some more lucrative results.
The individual received a bill for overstaying his welcome. That's not in dispute here.
As I stated, how much should he be charged is debatable, but not the question the OP asked.
The conclusion I draw, based on the statements made, is that the individual is in the wrong, knows he is in the wrong, and therefore should pay up.
But, again, how much to pay wasn't asked.
As for the consequences for not paying? As you say, who knows.
The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome." In my locality, commercial parking lots are tightly controlled as a reaction to predatory practices like this, and bills like this would not be legal. Just because one receives a bill does not mean that it is allowable under law. Again, more information is needed to determine legality, including the locality and laws thereof.
tibbitts
Posts: 12277
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by tibbitts »

criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:59 pm The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome."
So you're saying that in your locality some owners operate a parking lot knowing they aren't legally allowed to charge money for parking? If someone does stay longer in the lot than they paid for, what is the legal mechanism for the lot to recover payment?
Luckywon
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:34 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:59 pm The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome."
So you're saying that in your locality some owners operate a parking lot knowing they aren't legally allowed to charge money for parking? If someone does stay longer in the lot than they paid for, what is the legal mechanism for the lot to recover payment?
I'd assume the same as every other private citizen or business in every other situation-a lawsuit, perhaps in small claims court. Why should parking lot owners have special powers to assess a fine they unilaterally consider appropriate?
tibbitts
Posts: 12277
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by tibbitts »

Luckywon wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:12 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:34 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:59 pm The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome."
So you're saying that in your locality some owners operate a parking lot knowing they aren't legally allowed to charge money for parking? If someone does stay longer in the lot than they paid for, what is the legal mechanism for the lot to recover payment?
I'd assume the same as every other private citizen or business in every other situation-a lawsuit, perhaps in small claims court. Why should parking lot owners have special powers to assess a fine they unilaterally consider appropriate?
If a customer incurs a debt for a service, at least from the viewpoint of the business, wouldn't the process be to send a bill, not file a lawsuit? That seems to be what the parking lot has done. The lawsuit or other action (collection, etc.) would only come if the customer doesn't pay the bill. I would assume that a parking lot in most jurisdictions has to post charges and fees - at least that's what I've usually seen (but not entirely read - too lengthy) when I've used parking lots. Were I to plan on overstaying relative to the amount I'd paid, I'd probably read all the terms and conditions first.
criticalmass
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:34 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:59 pm The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome."
So you're saying that in your locality some owners operate a parking lot knowing they aren't legally allowed to charge money for parking? If someone does stay longer in the lot than they paid for, what is the legal mechanism for the lot to recover payment?
Your question doesn't match the scenario. Many businesses operate private-but-open-to-public parking lots and do not charge for parking, but do not allow parking for beyond some time limit.

The situation described is where somebody received a citation for parking at a private lot, but allegedly parked longer than they allegedly were permitted to park. There was nothing mentioned about needing to pay to park for two hours.
criticalmass
Posts: 1662
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:58 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:19 pm
Luckywon wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 9:12 pm
tibbitts wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 8:34 pm
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 7:59 pm The vehicle driver only owes money if the locality where the parking lot is located legally allows parking lot owners to charge money for parking or "overstaying a welcome."
So you're saying that in your locality some owners operate a parking lot knowing they aren't legally allowed to charge money for parking? If someone does stay longer in the lot than they paid for, what is the legal mechanism for the lot to recover payment?
I'd assume the same as every other private citizen or business in every other situation-a lawsuit, perhaps in small claims court. Why should parking lot owners have special powers to assess a fine they unilaterally consider appropriate?
If a customer incurs a debt for a service, at least from the viewpoint of the business, wouldn't the process be to send a bill, not file a lawsuit? That seems to be what the parking lot has done. The lawsuit or other action (collection, etc.) would only come if the customer doesn't pay the bill. I would assume that a parking lot in most jurisdictions has to post charges and fees - at least that's what I've usually seen (but not entirely read - too lengthy) when I've used parking lots. Were I to plan on overstaying relative to the amount I'd paid, I'd probably read all the terms and conditions first.
Apparently there was a citation sent for parking beyond some arbitrary time limit, not a debt for "service."
Luckywon
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

OP was vague on details and then left us to bicker about this. I'm rather teed off and this has taken at least an hour of my time.

OP, consider this post a "citation" for $200 $300 (My rate is $50/hour but I have four six hour minimum). PM for details on where to remit payment.

I rather like this concept :)
tibbitts
Posts: 12277
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by tibbitts »

criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:31 pm Apparently there was a citation sent for parking beyond some arbitrary time limit, not a debt for "service."
So if the communication had been labeled as a "bill" and not a "citation" that would have been acceptable and everybody would agree to pay that, correct?

In the absence of information from the OP I think we have to assume that the parking lot met the local legal requirements for posting rates and fees. Realistically there is considerable overhead (not to mention lower probability of success) to having to bill someone in this scenario vs. having them pay at the time of service so $50 doesn't seem that unreasonable. If someone doesn't feel $50 is appropriate, surely $0 isn't either, so what would be the appropriate amount?
Luckywon
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:39 am
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:31 pm Apparently there was a citation sent for parking beyond some arbitrary time limit, not a debt for "service."
So if the communication had been labeled as a "bill" and not a "citation" that would have been acceptable and everybody would agree to pay that, correct?

In the absence of information from the OP I think we have to assume that the parking lot met the local legal requirements for posting rates and fees. Realistically there is considerable overhead (not to mention lower probability of success) to having to bill someone in this scenario vs. having them pay at the time of service so $50 doesn't seem that unreasonable. If someone doesn't feel $50 is appropriate, surely $0 isn't either, so what would be the appropriate amount?
To me it seems obvious that having to ask the question indicates there is no appropriate amount. Any situation where one party can assess an arbitrary penalty upon another is ripe for abuse.

The most interesting thing in OP's post is that the address of the car owner was somehow obtained. If this was from the license plate, from what I just read online, it seems highly likely that someone violated the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act which makes any unauthorized release of DMV information a criminal act and provides civil penalties of not less than $2500 plus attorney costs and fees to the victim. Unlimited penalties in a class action suit. It appears that someone, maybe a private investigator, attested to the DMV in a request for information that this was for an authorized use. But the Act defines authorized use and what occurred in this case does not seem to be within this definition.

I would contact a lawyer and see if they were interested in pursuing this. Considering the Act provides for recovery of attorneys' costs and fees and OP's brother received the collection notice from a law firm, which may have deep pockets or liability insurance, and there may be many victims, this seems like a potential gold mine.
Luckywon
Posts: 1133
Joined: Tue Mar 28, 2017 10:33 am

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

Voltaire2.0 wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:59 pm Obtaining an address is not hard when you start with a license plate.

This happened to me once. The so-called fine does not have the weight of criminal law, but it can result in a civil action that is a nuisance, or worse.

Pay the fee.
Could you share the specifics of what happened? It seems that outside of narrow authorized purposes, getting someone's address from a licence plate is a violation of the federal Drivers Privacy Protection Act.
User avatar
Kenkat
Posts: 6744
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 11:18 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Kenkat »

Luckywon wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:39 pm OP was vague on details and then left us to bicker about this. I'm rather teed off and this has taken at least an hour of my time.

OP, consider this post a "citation" for $200 $300 (My rate is $50/hour but I have four six hour minimum). PM for details on where to remit payment.

I rather like this concept :)
Yes, the OP has failed to show up for his Boglehead court appearance and so it’s time to pay up :wink:
illumination
Posts: 967
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2019 6:13 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by illumination »

How do they really prove this? Who's to say they don't just pick random license plates on the street and make this allegation?

I've heard of scams where people get threatening letters for say posting a picture on a web page and it turns out the people making the threats don't even own the copyright for the image in question. It's just a shakedown.

My guess is if you ask for proof, they have none. This whole thing is too much of a scam for me to support, I mean people turn around their cars in my driveway, I don't expect to grab their license plate numbers be able to collect $50 on that. :greedy
User avatar
JonnyDVM
Posts: 2292
Joined: Wed Feb 12, 2014 6:51 pm
Location: Atlanta, GA

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by JonnyDVM »

FWIW I’ve ignored a couple of these without consequence. One was for a garage which attempted to charge us $50 for allegedly parking a car on a day we stayed at home. This was in Atlanta. Your experience may differ. I don’t pay schemes off just to make them go away. I don’t care what the amount is.
I’d trade it all for a little more | -C Montgomery Burns
tibbitts
Posts: 12277
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by tibbitts »

Luckywon wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 10:32 am
tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:39 am
criticalmass wrote: Fri Nov 20, 2020 10:31 pm Apparently there was a citation sent for parking beyond some arbitrary time limit, not a debt for "service."
So if the communication had been labeled as a "bill" and not a "citation" that would have been acceptable and everybody would agree to pay that, correct?

In the absence of information from the OP I think we have to assume that the parking lot met the local legal requirements for posting rates and fees. Realistically there is considerable overhead (not to mention lower probability of success) to having to bill someone in this scenario vs. having them pay at the time of service so $50 doesn't seem that unreasonable. If someone doesn't feel $50 is appropriate, surely $0 isn't either, so what would be the appropriate amount?
To me it seems obvious that having to ask the question indicates there is no appropriate amount. Any situation where one party can assess an arbitrary penalty upon another is ripe for abuse.

The most interesting thing in OP's post is that the address of the car owner was somehow obtained. If this was from the license plate, from what I just read online, it seems highly likely that someone violated the federal Driver's Privacy Protection Act which makes any unauthorized release of DMV information a criminal act and provides civil penalties of not less than $2500 plus attorney costs and fees to the victim. Unlimited penalties in a class action suit. It appears that someone, maybe a private investigator, attested to the DMV in a request for information that this was for an authorized use. But the Act defines authorized use and what occurred in this case does not seem to be within this definition.

I would contact a lawyer and see if they were interested in pursuing this. Considering the Act provides for recovery of attorneys' costs and fees and OP's brother received the collection notice from a law firm, which may have deep pockets or liability insurance, and there may be many victims, this seems like a potential gold mine.
You have no idea if the fee is "arbitrary", at least not any more than the hourly fee the lot charges is. Maybe the fee is an element of the agreement you acknowledge as part of the act of parking on the lot.

The point is that the OP obviously owes some amount for parking beyond the term he paid for. The issue of how the parking lot obtained the address is completely separate, and he can certainly pursue that if he wants, although I'll guess he'd have a problem finding an attorney to pursue this without him supplying a considerable sum up-front. So he'd be betting probably tens of thousands of dollars on winning. And he'd probably still owe the $50 (or $20 or whatever), even if he got to pay it out of his award.
Post Reply