5 On Your Side

Parking ticket system changed after woman's bad experience

Posted June 15, 2011

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— The process is supposed to be easy. Find your spot number, pay the machine and take your receipt.

At least that's what Elizabeth Santti thought when she recently parked in a City of Raleigh parking deck off Cabarrus Street in downtown Raleigh.

“Everything processed and my receipt came out,” said Santti.

That was at 6:33 p.m.She paid to be there until after 10 p.m.

But when she returned before 10 p.m., she found a $30 parking ticket, time stamped at 6:42 p.m. – just 9 minutes after she paid!

“Mad? I was furious,” says Santti. “And this is not fair 'cause I paid, and this is my receipt.”

parking 5 On Your Side resolves parking dispute

Not to mention that she actually paid too much because parking is free after 7 p.m.!

So Santti took the ticket and her receipt to the City of Raleigh ParkLink office.

The clerk had her file an official appeal. About a week later, she got a denial letter.

“It's bogus. It's not fair” says Santti.

Santti asked 5 On Your Side for help, so we went with her to the ParkLink office.

“I think in this particular case, there were a couple of mistakes that were made,” says supervisor Lillian Overton.

According to Overton, the parking attendant pulled the report for the entire deck, showing Santti's space not paid, and started writing tickets before Santti got there.

“Pay stations in the deck don't speak to the handhelds that the officers use like the pay stations on the street,” says Overton. “On the street, when it expires, it talks to his device.”

When Santti appealed and Overton reviewed it, she says she just assumed Santti didn't properly display her receipt. But that's not a requirement for the deck Santti parked in.

“Rather than doing a little bit more research to see what deck she was actually in, it was based on what typically happens, and that assumption shouldn't have been made,” says Overton.

She also told us that because of this and another similar incident, they have changed the process.

The parking attendant will now have to pull the lists with each level change and watch for cars that pull in.

As for Santti’s situation, this time, Overton took care of it.

Santti happily read her new letter which states, "Your citation has been dismissed.”

Her reaction: “Awesome! Thank you! Thank you!”


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  • mjbullock Jun 21, 2011

    Everybody is correct. The letter that was received did say WARNING. We don't know why we got a warning. Was there a refund for the overpayment? No there was not. While we were in the ParkLink office, the lady stated "She did not do enough research to determine which parking deck." Well the citation clearly indicated the parking deck, & in the appeal letter, we stated which parking deck it was in the first line. Apparently, she never bothered to read the appeal letter, or even look at the parking ticket. Their response after we filed the appeal was "Liable - evidence of receipt is not sufficient to dismiss citation." They wanted us to pay the fine before we could appeal again. So, we overpaid for parking. Got a fine for not paying. Took time out of our schedule twice to go down to their office, just to receive a WARNING for parking in their deck. I wish they would explain why we got a warning, but they never did. The worst part, we never got an apology from her, just "people lie."

  • ncsqrl Jun 21, 2011

    yep -agree - parking in downtown Raleigh is a key reason I avoid it. and right, the video says "warning" - not "Dismissed". I'd want to know...does it mean the same thing? and did she get a refund for her overpayment? their machines should be able to detect that she only needed it for approx 30 min, and charge accordingly. wonder how many others overpaid w/o realizing it?

  • sclark0711 Jun 20, 2011

    Although they say the ticket was excused, if you watch the video, according to the heading of the letter, it was reduced to a warning. Did she do anything that she should receive a warning for? Not according to the story.

  • superman Jun 20, 2011

    They should have checked the information before they denied her claim since she went down personally and tried to resolve the issue. Showing her receipt and the ticket should have been more than enough. Mr. Mayor are you reading this? Now you know why people dont like downtown. Paid receipt and you still issue a citation. You still trying to find revenue to pay for the convention center?

  • BigUNCFan Jun 17, 2011

    Yet another reason not to go to downtown. It is just a big scam.

  • bigpinkstork Jun 17, 2011

    City leaders, remember this when you wonder why downtown isn't the draw you'd like it to be.

  • thepcdoc10 Jun 17, 2011

    What makes me angry is it takes a Five on Your Side invstigation to get something done. The owners of that parking deck with their fancy schmancy machines should be FINED for not knowing how to use their equipment AND pay that lady for her time in fighting the bogus ticket to begin with. When will there be a time when consumers are awarded damages for negligence by companies like this? A simple dismissal of the ticket was NOT enough.

  • jdo823 Jun 17, 2011

    Blame it on the machine? So lame!

  • miseem Jun 16, 2011

    Just more reasons not to go downtown.