Recent experience with getting a parking ticket from a private company?
June 17, 2015 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Have you or someone you know gotten a "parking ticket" from a private parking lot, one that was designed specifically to look like a real city ticket, recently? As in, within the last year?

I found a couple threads that answered "what to do if you get one," but I'm trying to get an idea about:

1) how widespread the practice still is;
2) if the ticket offered any way to contest it, or if you just paid up;
3) if there were any repercussions (attempted or otherwise) from not paying.

At least here in California private companies issuing fines has been declared illegal by the Attorney General, but as recently as a week ago there was still a private lot in Glendale giving out fake tickets that looks like this.

posted by joechip to Law & Government (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The opinion you are referring to (from 2011) is here and the actual code being referenced is California Vehicle Code 22658. It's actually a bit different than you describe it - it's not that issuing the parking violations is itself illegal, it's that the parking lot has no authority to collect on them other than taking you to court or towing your vehicle. In other words, the parking lot can make any demand on you they want (noting that they aren't putting the name of the city or any police officer anywhere on the ticket) - that doesn't, however, in California mean that you are violating the law.

I doubt any parking lot will take you to court over a single violation, but I don't park on people's property without paying.
posted by saeculorum at 4:28 PM on June 17, 2015 [3 favorites]

Whether it's legal, enforceable, or whatever-- I don't think that parking ticket is designed to look like a "real" city ticket, at all really. I mean, wtf else is it supposed to look like? It doesn't say "City of Los Angeles" at the top of have a misleading official-sounding PO Box or anything like that. It pretty clearly states that it's from a company and it's in connection with private property.
posted by acidic at 4:37 PM on June 17, 2015

I fought this a bunch once, my dad has too. It may or may not be different in california, but at least here they can eventually send you to collections. Yes, for like $45 or whatever. And then it shows up on your credit report.

They basically treat it like a theft of services thing. You used their service and didn't pay, they have their info, so they're going to invoice you/send you to collections since parking on their lot was essentially you clicking "ok" on their clickthrough agreement.

This may or may not be possible there. I've also ignored these and had them go away.
posted by emptythought at 4:45 PM on June 17, 2015

I feel I should clarify two things:

1) I didn't get the ticket above - it's just for reference. I'm doing research for an article.

2) I know that ticket above doesn't look like it's from the city - I was curious if private parking lots have changed to up to avoid being accused of this. The ticket at the top of this article from 2014 is an example of one designed to look more "official" with the 'City Parking Enforcement' envelope.
posted by joechip at 5:31 PM on June 17, 2015

In Portland, private companies can issue parking tickets and they expect you to pay. Is it legal?
posted by fiercekitten at 6:00 PM on June 17, 2015

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