To whom it may concern (which should be anyone driving a car in Chattanooga),
On March 27, 2015, I parked in a designated parking space on Broad Street, just in front of the Read House. I inserted 20 cents into a parking permit machine and in return received a receipt that indicated I had 16 minutes in that space. My time was to expire at3:39 p.m.
I placed my receipt faceup on the dash, grabbed my daughter’s hand and crossed the street. About 10 minutes later, we returned to my car to find a parking ticket flapping around under my windshield wiper. Because I knew I had not been gone long enough to warrant a ticket, I took a closer look at the ticket and observed that the ticket had been issued at3:27, 12 minutes before my time was even up. Had I not checked closely at the time stamps, I would have just paid the ticket, unknowing that I was getting ripped off.
I called the Chattanooga Parking Authority, and the woman who answered the phone requested that I take a picture of my receipts as proof and email them to her. I did, and she agreed to “take care of it.”
I got to wondering-how many times does this actually happen? If I’d not been paying attention to the time as closely as I had, I would not have thought to actually check the time stamps. I would have blindly paid the parking authority $11 that I did not even owe them. Had I not paid within 30 days, my fee would have been raised to $41.50. Extort much, Chattanooga Parking Authority, AKA Republic Parking?
To alert my friends and the general public about this potential scam, I posted a picture of the ticket and receipt on Facebook, with an overwhelming response from others that this had also happened to-and many of them not just once.
I don’t know what can be done, if anything, but I do feel it is my civic duty to at least warn my fellow citizens and visitors to our city to examine very closely any parking tickets they may get. I also question why this illegal practice (ironic that on my parking ticket I am charged with “unlawful acts”) has been allowed to take place as often as it has without any question or repercussion. I ask that if this happens to you, document it and speak up. This parking violation against the drivers in our city should not be allowed to continue.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.