Fake look alike tickets part of money grab scam?

March 9, 2007 67 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Downtown parking lot operators, including Central Parking System (http://www.parking.com/), are engaging in the questionably legal act of issuing their own parking tickets to downtown visitors and residents.

These parking citations are designed to look like an official city citation, but instead of directing the payment to the tax collector, as required by law, it illegally demands that payment be made to Central Parking System, located at 550 Water St. Suite 1343.

Failure to pay these tickets results in an increase in the fine, and the threat of referral to a collection agency.

Sec. 636.102 of the Jacksonville city ordinances clearly states, "The Chief of Parking Facilities and Enforcement shall have exclusive control of and shall have printed uniform traffic citations which shall be prenumbered or computer generated citations and which shall be issued to the parking enforcement specialists, the Sheriff's Office, the Disabled Services Division and the Jacksonville International Airport."

Is Central Parking attempting to usurp the authority of the city's parking enforcement, or are they attempting to perpetrate fraud by deceiving the public into paying look alike tickets?

Central Parking is a private business, not a government agency. Not only are they potentially breaking the law by issuing fake parking tickets, they are engaging in a practice of questionable legality by seeking punitive damages from people that have violated their arbitrary parking rules.

These kinds of issues, which are unique to downtown, need to be addressed. On top of the city issued parking citations, we now have private entities that want in on the fun.

It is incumbent upon the city administration and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office to insure that parking citations are issued in a manner that is consistent with appropriate local, state, and federal statutes. The issuance of look alike citations by a private corporation potentially infringes upon the authority of the city and the sheriff's office, and may violate various statutes of all of the above jurisdictions, as well as raising issues with state and federal consumer protection laws regarding deceptive practices. There are also potential problems regarding the submission of false or unsubstantiated claims to consumer collection agencies with regard to the federal laws known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. 

Let us know if you've received one of these tickets.