Private parking lots issuing their own tickets

Created: 03/18/2014 10:54 PM
By: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4

You get a parking ticket, and the first reaction is probably to take care of it.

KOB Eyewitness News 4 has uncovered a business practice that city officials say abuses that idea -- private parking lots ticketing folks who do not pay, or overstay their welcome.

If you park too long on a city street, the city of Albuquerque can give you a ticket.

But if you are ticketed while parking in one of Albuquerque's private lots, you need to see this story before you do anything.

One of our very own KOB staffers got a ticket on his windshield in a private lot in Albuquerque. The ticket looks a lot like one of the ones you'd get from the city of Albuquerque. But it's not.

The lot in question is owned by a company called Park It Place. They own dozens of private lots all over the city.

It made KOB wonder; "Can a private company make you pay a ticket?"

"It's a gimmick," said Albuquerque assistant city attorney Greg Wheeler.

Wheeler says the company's "ticket" is little more than an empty threat.

"I'm concerned that it looks official and I'm concerned that a private entity is proceeding as if they're a governmental entity," he said. "To defraud people out of their money."

If you get one of the tickets, Wheeler says; Don't pay.

"If someone paid one of these, I would think that would be at their own peril and they might seek remedy against the person who even suggested they have to pay it," said Wheeler.

Park It Place attorney Colin Hunter adamantly disagrees with Wheeler.

"Mr. Wheeler, like he is on many, many things, is not only wrong on this issue, he's 100 percent wrong," said Hunter. "Park It Place negotiated with the city the rules and regulations that govern private parking lots."

Hunter said the rules allow private parking companies to boot a car after a driver parks in a lot without paying four times.

"I'll send it to you," said Hunter. "I think it's called the Private Parking Booting Regulation."

Hunter did send us a copy of the ordinance.

It does talk about private parking companies and their right to boot cars that violate the terms of their parking services.

But it doesn't say private lots are allowed to ticket those drivers.

The owners of Park It Place say these tickets are a warning before a car gets booted. 

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