Okay, I'm thoroughly annoyed by a little fiasco I've had with the city and wanted to vent. I hope you guys don't mind, and if I'm being nutty, by all means tell me!
So, here's my story...
I live in Chicago in an apartment, but we have paid parking right behind our building. For all intents and purposes it serves as a driveway really, but the only difference is that i have to drive around the back of the building through and alley in order to pull into my spot.
So, one morning in August I walk out to my car to leave for work and there is a parking ticket glued to my window. (Btw, I hate the way they press them across your windshield, I still can't get that residue off and it's right in my way when i'm driving). "NO PARKING ZONE" it says. Um, is this some kind of joke? I'm in my driveway pulled up against our back porch and I'm sandwiched inbetween my neighbors 2 cars who did not have tickets on their windshields. I decided that this wasn't going to fly with me and I would elect to "contest by mail" as it gives you the option on the ticket.
I noticed a few things after examining the ticket and decided to contest based on a FEW things:
1. The date and time that the "violation" allegedly occurred was left blank.
2. My car was parked in my parking space that I PAY for in my rent every month and have as part of my lease agreement, so in no way shape or form was my car parked in a "NO PARKING ZONE"
3. THIS IS MY FAVORITE - The address listed on the ticket was 3701 My Street - and the address my car was parked at (and I'm sure about this because I live there!) is 3709 My Street.
Based on those things, I felt I had a pretty darn good case. I also looked up the rules for contesting a parking violation on the city's website and one of the reasons a violation would get dismissed is if the ticket contains any "inaccurate information". Well, this should have been a slam dunk then! So, I sent a letter with all the documentation, included copies of my lease proving i had a parking space and a copy of my drivers license proving my address, etc.
I hadn't heard anything from them yet, so today on my lunch break I called the city to inquire about the status of my "violation". I spoke to a woman who told me I was found "liable for the violation" and they sent me a notice on October 21st. I explained to her that I didn't receive any notices and that was why I was calling. She proceeded to tell me that it was sent and I have 25 days from the date of the letter to file an appeal. If I am not going to file an appeal, I have 21 days from the date of the notice to pay the fine. That seems backwards to me, don't they need to know if you are appealing before they can render the fine due?
I asked the woman what the grounds were for finding me "liable" and she told me I didn't provide them sufficient evidence. I explained to her that the ticket was not filled in all the way, that the violation claims i was parked in a no parking zone and i was in my driveway, which i provided proof of having an assigned parking space and the address of the spot and I ALSO told her that the address that the tickets says my car was parked at was wrong. She told me I didn't provide proof of that...I said, "with all due respect ma'am, I walked up and down the street two times and the address that the officer wrote on my violation doesn't even exist! THERE IS NO SUCH ADDRESS. So, how can you tell me I was parked there and that I'm the one who is not providing the evidence?" Her response was that I did not provide evidence. I asked her how exactly would one provide evidence of something that fails to exist? I said, perhaps I should go get my digital camera and take a picture of the air? Maybe i should stand in between 2 buildings and take a photo showing where I believe the numeric address of 3701 WOULD exist.
The end result, a big fat, sorry you didn't provide enough evidence, if you want to appeal this you can go to 50 W. Washington Street downtown and wait in line for hours and file an appeal. I asked her how long I had left to do that and she told me just a few days because they mailed the notice on October 21st. Then she told me it costs $75.00 to file the appeal. Um, it's going to cost me a day off of work plus $75.00 to file an appeal to contest a $120 parking ticket? She said "YEP". And, after I file the appeal, I'd have to take another day off work to go downtown and sit in court until they called me on my scheduled date. I told her this was a scam and I knew what this was designed for. They make it impossible to fight the ticket so that people will just give up and pay it. I told her my time was more valuable than that and to just tell me when I had to pay the ticket by. She told me - well actually it is past due now and the fine has doubled. It's now going to costs $240.00.
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?
I WANT TO RIP MY HAIR OUT! I have to pay $240.00 for a FALSE violation. HOW DO THEY GET AWAY WITH THIS?