An Unpleasant Parking Experience - And Response

Saturday, October 26, 2019

What can I say about the kindness and logical thinking of the Republic Parking Appeals Notification process?  Not much.

My wife parked in a lot at 211 Main St. on Oct. 22, at 10:47 a.m. and paid $4 for two hours.  She may have made an error or possibly encountered stuck keys when entering my Purple Heart vehicle license number and only the last digit appeared on her receipt.  Either way, she didn’t notice.  When she returned to her car at approximately 12:35 p.m., well before the expiration of her time, she had a Parking Violation written at 12:26 for Non-Payment/Expired Time.

Well she knew she had paid, and she knew she had time remaining, she had the receipt.  It was only after returning home did we realize that only the last digit of her license plate number appeared on her receipt so perhaps that was the reason for the Parking Violation citation. 

So what is the appropriate thing to do?  Submit and appeal on line and explain what may be the cause of the problem.  After all she had paid for parking, she had the receipt, why now pay a $31 fine (add $20 if not paid within 14 days). 

She appealed briefly stating that only the last number of her license showed on her receipt and that she thought there was a machine malfunction (who knows) and submitted a copy of the receipt.  It was clear she paid for parking and was being ticketed for a forgivable error. 

But then, only God forgives, logical thinking, understanding and forgiveness are not policy for Republic Parking.  Her appeal was denied “unfortunately, our staff has reviewed the request and finds the payment is required” all staff, unidentified, “the receipt sent does not match the vehicle sent therefore it is not valid for the vehicle parked.” 

Hey. That’s what she said in her appeal.  She or the machine made a mistake – it was clear she paid for parking, she has a receipt.

She has paid her $31 fine and is not happy with it.

Chris Cole
Signal Mountain

* * * 

Mr Cole,

I’m sorry for your situation. Several years back at about 3:58 p.m. I advised a family on holiday they had no need to pay the meter. I told them enforcement ended at 4 p.m. We were headed for the same hamburger place. That year enforcement ended at 4:30 in the afternoon, so I took that car’s ticket along with mine and paid them both. It was my contribution to enabling tourism to flourish in spite of parking fees and to rendering bad wisdom.

Now for yesterday. It was raining and overcast so the meter was low on battery. Display advised me so just before it went dark. I did not and could not pay for parking. My query to others is have you been ticketed due to a nonfunctioning meter?  If so was ticket waived or did you get the same treatment as Mr. Cole’s wife? In my case I risked life and limb to cross North Broad to spend three minutes making my delivery to a downtown business. What I found from the helpful person there was that parking meters malfunction with regularity, it does not have to be a wet or overcast day to have a product such as your receipt.

My advice to you is this: consider asking the card issuer for a charge back for the parking fee and the fine paid. First though, a judge should render the fine moot. For municipal promotion Republic Parking states on their website they have LPR cameras. Plainly stated those are license plate recognition cameras. So your car should have a recorded history having gone into the lot it was ticketed in if their technology is as good as they market it for. One hundred million dollars a year nationwide municipal fee collection you have helped contribute to, sir. That information I lift from their website.  

It is said the tower Republic Parking has offices and has an elevator that can’t go the the top. My understanding is it comes from that fact the building is not plumb as in engineering parlance. It may also be because the practice this business makes in fee and fine collection. After all, they make serious money for themselves as they fill the coffers of the cities they trade with.

An irony: the pitch they make to municipalities does not include any caveat I can find for the consumers of such municipal feudal land ownership.  

Prentice Hicks

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