5 On Your Side

Parking ticket system changed after woman's bad experience

Posted June 15, 2011 6:40 p.m. EDT
Updated June 15, 2011 7:01 p.m. EDT

— 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.”

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!”