by Stephanie Berenbaum - January 5, 2012
Avoid the Price of the Boot & Tow
It's not even a week into the new year, and already our friend Samantha has broken one of her New Year's resolutions! 2012 was the year she was finally going to get more organized, not let mail pile up, and stay on top of her bills. She had the best of intentions, really…
But her optimistic outlook on 2012 was already totally threatened by January 3rd when she looked out her window to see a big orange BOOT being placed on her car! To make matters worse, it turned out the boot was the least of her troubles. Because, as the Los Angeles City employee told her, the tow company was on their way…
Beware of Unpaid Parking Tickets..
SERIOUSLY! As Sam learned the hard way, the current rule in LA is if you have FIVE unpaid parking tickets, your car can be booted and towed - even if the ticket is just a month old. If you know anything about driving and living in Los Angeles - getting parking tickets should be a budgeted cost of living in this town. And it's not just Los Angeles - if you live or work near any large city, chances are you've had to pay big bucks for a parking violation at some point or another.
What to Watch for…
So, it got us thinking, there are so many different types of parking violations that cities enforce because the profit margin for them is just so gigantic - what sort of parking rules and tips do you need to be aware of, aside from the obvious? Of course each city has its own special violation nuances, but here are things to think about wherever you drive!
I always assumed that a broken parking meter meant you get a free pass - I mean, it's not your fault it's broken, right? But many of our friends have told tales of getting ticketed while parked at these broken meters! What gives? While rules differ by city, one thing we learned is that even if a meter is broken, you still have to adhere to the time limits - so be careful not to overstay your welcome.
How Many Tickets Before You Get the Boot & Tow?
This was our friend Samantha's downfall. Apparently, many cities are reducing the number of unpaid tickets you're allowed before you get towed. As we mentioned, Los Angeles will now boot and tow you if you have 5 unpaid parking tickets - and there is a movement to reduce the number of tickets even lower. SO - be sure to find out what your city's limit is - and pay up before you hit it the limit!
How Many Days To Doubling?
If a ticket goes unpaid for a certain number of days - surprise - the fine DOUBLES. But you may not be aware that many cities are also reducing the number of days you have to pay before the add another fine. Make sure you know how quickly you need to pay in your town before your parking budget is completely busted!
Just to give you an example, statistics show that New York pulls in over $600 MILLION annually in parking tickets revenues. So, yes - it's big business for cities and the motive to ticket YOU is high!
Grab Your Registration Out Before You Get Towed!
If you are "Lucky" enough to actually see your car get towed right in front of your eyes, be sure to grab the car registration out of the glove compartment. Often if you have to dash to the DMV to pay off your tickets, they need to see your registration - which of course is usually snuggled up in your towed away vehicle…
Aside from all the legit parking tickets, one way we're convinced cities are pulling in extra revenues is due to the public's laziness with credit card meters. For example, with the new influx of meters that take credit cards, you just stick your card in and out and you're ready to go, right? Except that of course when you run your credit card it automatically goes to bill you (at least in LA) for the maximum fee and max amount of time. Therefore, if you need less time, you need to take a second and punch the arrows until the time - and fee - is reduced.
A Little Organization Goes A Long Way…
So, it's only January 5th - and we're trying to convince our friend Samantha not to give up on her New Year's resolution to get organized. She deserves a do-over, right? She's certainly not alone in her lack of organization! But as we all learn one way or another, it's those seemingly little expenses that always end up adding and emptying our wallets. While it might not be totally realistic to vow not to get ANY parking tickets this year (the year did just start, after all!) we think it's realistic to resolve to at least pay any tickets you get immediately - to avoid a minor parking ticket from turning into major turmoil!
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