DENVER — Lafayette resident Jennifer Flood said she learned the hard way that parking in downtown Denver requires reading the fine print.
Flood said she paid for two hours at a private parking lot but stayed about 30 minutes past the two hours.
"I was fully prepared to pay an overage fee and anticipating maybe $10-$20 for running over on time," she said.
Instead, she said she received an $87 bill about a week later.
The City of Denver is now taking action with new signage requirements after complaints over predatory parking tickets at private lots downtown.
Many of the private lots in Denver are now monitored by the minute, and more cameras often bring more tickets and more complaints.
"We have seen an increase in complaints," said Molly Duplechain, executive director of Denver's Excise and Licenses, who said their inspectors have been investigating the complaints. "We found that the signs can be pretty confusing and that there's a lot of information on those signs."
The rule change will require lot and parking garage operators to "conspicuously" post a list of information from payment instructions to the penalty for parking beyond the time paid for.
"The information will now be on the sign for them to be able to make those informed decisions," Duplechain said. "We want to be a business-friendly market, but we also want our customers to be protected and know that they are not being taken advantage of or feel like they are working with businesses that are using predatory practices."
Parking Revenue Recovery Services (PRRS), one of the largest citation-issuers in downtown Denver, released a statement saying: "PRRS supports any changes related to signs as it will help reduce confusion about how to pay and reduce the number of compliance issues throughout downtown."
And while the company does include much of the information on current signs, we found other parking lots did not, and consumers were still unaware that they only had a five-minute grace window post parking expiration in PRRS lots.
Flood said her ticket was reduced to $67, but she now wants everyone to know that for her, the cost of parking downtown is too high.
"There was no option to extend my time, and they were threatening collections," Flood said. "I think it's absolutely predatory. I think it's extortion. "
The new signage requirements go into effect in June, and the parking operators could face fines and license suspension.
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