Parking citation from a private parking lot

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Luckywon
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Luckywon »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:45 pm The point is that the OP obviously owes some amount for parking beyond the term he paid for.
This is not obvious at all. In California, the lot owner has no recourse to charge after the customer has left, though the owner has the right to have the car towed before the customer leaves. We don't know the law in the jurisdiction where this occurred.

IMO the point here is that if the lot owner illegally traced someone from the license plate it makes it highly unlikely the "bill" submitted has any validity and paints this whole operation as a shakedown using shady practices rather than a legitimate debt. Of course, it is possible the car owner's address was obtained some other way-perhaps the information was collected when he parked, or through a credit card payment. It would be interesting to know how the address was obtained in this case.
tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:45 pm 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.
Don't be so sure. The Act specifically provides for attorney's costs and fees. This is how California's Lemon Law is written. The result is that there are hundreds of California lemon law attorneys vying desperately to get cases, even small ones, as the real money is in the fees they charge which are automatically reimbursed if the case prevails. This also puts great pressure on defendants to settle a case that has merit, rather than have to pay trial costs and attorney's fees if they lose. In California Lemon Law cases, from my personal experience with a case, attorneys routinely agree to no charges up front and not to charge fees unless the case prevails, in which case the fees are paid from the judgement. (Although they may try to hold a client on the hook for costs if they lose, but even that is negotiable.) The point is when a statute provides for recovery of attorney costs and fees, it makes it much easier to find an attorney to take a small case, if the case has merit.
tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:45 pm And he'd probably still owe the $50 (or $20 or whatever), even if he got to pay it out of his award.
If the business has been illegally obtaining information from the DMV, no one is going to be talking about the $50 any more, except maybe in this thread. :beer
wilked
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by wilked »

JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm 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.
My buddy took this approach on a speeding ticket in Canada. Years later he tried entering Canada and was held until he paid something like 5X the original fine and had to talk them into letting him enter.
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by White Coat Investor »

Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm 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.
Your brother should pay the fee for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is it is the cheapest, most hassle-free way out of this.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by SmileyFace »

If your brother can't afford the fee for his violation perhaps you can pay it for him for the holidays.
criticalmass
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

tibbitts wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 8:45 pm
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.
Who said the lot charges any hourly fee? I didn't read that in any post by the thread creator. The only issue is a random "citation" of an arbitrary amount after the fact for some claimed violation.
criticalmass
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

White Coat Investor wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:35 pm
Kennedy wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 11:42 pm 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.
Your brother should pay the fee for a multitude of reasons, not the least of which is it is the cheapest, most hassle-free way out of this.
Now I am wondering what we can shake you down for, and for how much. :D
Last edited by criticalmass on Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
criticalmass
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

wilked wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:15 pm
JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm 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.
My buddy took this approach on a speeding ticket in Canada. Years later he tried entering Canada and was held until he paid something like 5X the original fine and had to talk them into letting him enter.
Unless the OP's brother's parking lot was in Canada or operated by a sovereign government, that seems like a quite a separate scenario from this situation. Speeding/criminal violations result in warrants when ignored even here in the US, and Canada is no less lenient.

Canada blocks visitors for a variety of reason, not just unresolved law violations.
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Random Musings
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by Random Musings »

I think the real question is whether you tip the private parking lot after the fine is paid. :oops:

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criticalmass
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by criticalmass »

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?
No, everybody does not agree to your assertion. As far as we know, the parking lot doesn't charge to park there, but apparently they dream up a "citation" for people who park beyond several hours. Sending arbitrary "citations" for manufactured violations of whatever is not legal in many areas, including entire states e.g. California*.

Even government parking tickets have formal due process and right to appeal. I've certainly used that process, and successfully.
vice wrote: "The Attorney General went one step further by anticipating how private parking lot operators would respond to their tickets being ignored. Once again, they sided against the lot owners, writing that, "The vehicle owner may have grounds to seek damages arising from the property owner's conduct, such as threatening to report or reporting a delinquency on the part of the vehicle owner to credit reporting agencies."

So not only is no payment due, but if the parking company tries to put a collection agency on you, you might have the option to sue.

Private institutions continue to write the fraudulent tickets. And why not? Anybody who pays is literally just giving them free cash.

https://www.vice.com/en/article/4wbwpw/ ... ickets-623
* For California, see also: https://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2019/06 ... ot-tickets
wilked
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by wilked »

criticalmass wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:16 pm
wilked wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:15 pm
JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm 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.
My buddy took this approach on a speeding ticket in Canada. Years later he tried entering Canada and was held until he paid something like 5X the original fine and had to talk them into letting him enter.
Unless the OP's brother's parking lot was in Canada or operated by a sovereign government, that seems like a quite a separate scenario from this situation. Speeding/criminal violations result in warrants when ignored even here in the US, and Canada is no less lenient.

Canada blocks visitors for a variety of reason, not just unresolved law violations.
All true. I wrote it to point out that these things often don't just disappear, they can show up like Canada or just show up on your credit report (often at a bad time like when you're looking to buy a house). It's best to address them head on
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JonnyDVM
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by JonnyDVM »

wilked wrote: Mon Nov 23, 2020 4:25 pm
criticalmass wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 10:16 pm
wilked wrote: Sun Nov 22, 2020 8:15 pm
JonnyDVM wrote: Sat Nov 21, 2020 6:47 pm 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.
My buddy took this approach on a speeding ticket in Canada. Years later he tried entering Canada and was held until he paid something like 5X the original fine and had to talk them into letting him enter.
Unless the OP's brother's parking lot was in Canada or operated by a sovereign government, that seems like a quite a separate scenario from this situation. Speeding/criminal violations result in warrants when ignored even here in the US, and Canada is no less lenient.

Canada blocks visitors for a variety of reason, not just unresolved law violations.
All true. I wrote it to point out that these things often don't just disappear, they can show up like Canada or just show up on your credit report (often at a bad time like when you're looking to buy a house). It's best to address them head on
A private parking lot ticket isn’t a real ticket. A speeding ticket is a real ticket. Can they ding your credit report for an unpaid private parking ticket ? Idk. Maybe. I’ve never run into that problem and that would seem legally dubious unless there was clear notification posted. Like “unauthorized vehicles towed at owners expense”. Bogleheads always tends to dismiss these relatively small annoying costs as “pay it and accept it as a learning experience”. For many of these sorts of posts, I don’t agree.
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JPM
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Re: Parking citation from a private parking lot

Post by JPM »

In parts of Chicago where parking is scarce and time limits are posted, you can expect to be towed and have to pay the towing company for its trouble in cash. The municipal laws give property owners the right to have you towed. Fee was $150 thirty years ago. No check or plastic generally speaking. Means you need to walk or take a cab to an ATM in a reasonably safe part of town, then obtain transportation to the towing company's pound. An unpleasant, time-consuming, and expensive experience. A fifty buck fine would be getting off easy. Paid municipal parking for an hour would be almost that much in Chicago.

Perhaps OP and his brother are the kind of generous people who make their private property available to neighbors at their neighbors' convenience and without the need to ask permission. Say their Bobcats for snow plowing or lawn tractors for lawn mowing for example. Generous people of that stripe are sometimes reasonably outraged at the lack of similar generosity and forbearance in others. If however OP and his brother expect others to respect their property but feel aggrieved when others ask for the same respect, raspberries to that.
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