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Denver private lot voids parking tickets after app mistake

City considering transparency measures for private parking operators
Denver private parking lot
Posted at 10:17 PM, Mar 14, 2023

DENVER — Contact Denver7 is getting results on one of the top complaints in our inbox: People who pay to park in private lots downtown but still get a ticket in the mail. Consumer investigator Jaclyn Allen has been digging into the issue for the last year, helping people get their tickets dismissed.

The latest case started with a complaint from Jim Moody, a Denver resident who parked in a private lot across from the Denver Center for the Performing Arts last month.

"I felt that the whole thing was pretty slippery," said Moody.

According to Moody, the posted sign listed $25 for an evening rate, but the app charged him $35. Then at 8 pm, he received a notification that his payment was expired, with no option to renew.

"Ten days later, I got an $82 ticket in the mail. One of the things you'll see in the letter — the leverage that they have — is that they are threatening to report it as a bad debt," Moody told Contact Denver7.

Moody reached out to Contact Denver7 and the City of Denver.

The city tracks the number of private parking complaints called into 311, and in the last three years, the number has exploded from four in 2020 to 89 in 2022.

"We've heard a lot of extreme stories," said Eric Escudero with Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses.

Escudero said since more cameras were added last year, the number of complaints about tickets has shot up.

While the city investigates every complaint, employees can't legally get involved in civil matters, according to Escudero. However, the department does have a say in licensing, fines and signage requirements.

"People are feeling victimized, and that's why we're looking at ways we can improve transparency requirements across the city for private parking operators," said Escudero.

Regarding Moody's case, Parking Revenue Recovery Services has now voided his ticket, telling Contact Denver7 that the operator made a mistake with the app expiring payments early, and the issue went on for about three weeks.

"We are looking into getting refunds for everyone who may have been affected," said John Conway, co-founder of Parking Revenue Recovery Services. "Our cameras and the new ARC system allow us to access the data and pinpoint issues sooner."

Conway said after checking the data, Parking Revenue Recovery Services voided an additional 12 tickets and issued six refunds for those who had paid and notified the people in writing to disregard the notices issued in error.

"I just really want to express gratitude to the city," said Moody.

After 20 years of parking downtown, he is now worried about getting an unexpected ticket in the mail.

"There's no way I'm parking there again. I don't really know what the terms of the deal are. I don't know how to find out what the terms of the deal are — I realize it's buyer beware — but I really feel that this is taking it a step too far," Moody said.

Editor's note: Contact7 seeks out audience tips and feedback to help people in need, resolve problems and hold the powerful accountable. If you know of a community need our call center could address, or have a story idea for our investigative team to pursue, please email us at contact7@thedenverchannel.com or call (303) 832-7777. Find more Contact7 stories here.