Friday, June 11, 2010

Parking Meter System FAIL

Parking in LA usually sucks.  But it's been made even worse lately with the proliferation of those crappy electronic meters.  I won't go into the whole story here, but I parked at a meter and put a coin in.  It then read FAIL, so as instructed on the meter itself, I called it in.  Well, apparently sometime during the 90 minutes I was at the Y, the little computer inside rebooted itself (which I was later told happens quite often), the meter began working again, and I was given a ticket.

Since I had called it in, I assumed it would be no problem getting the ticket canceled (as I had been TOLD on the phone when i called it in!) Wrong.  After 3 calls, I was told I should fill out an on-line contesting form.  I did that and was rejected, so I sent an appeal letter explaining the facts and why I should not have to pay the outrageous $50.00 fine.  (Mind you, I had to already pay, otherwise they even won't read your appeal -- another horribly unfair practice.)

Well, my appeal was rejected on the grounds that -- even though I followed all the correct procedures -- a technician said the meter was working fine and there had been no other complaints about that meter.  Huh?!  First of all, I don't doubt that it WAS fine when he looked at it -- obviously it had reset itself.  And by the way, there are thousands of meters in the city -- don't they all have to have a first failure?  One would think...  So, in essence they are saying that I, despite having a record with ZERO unpaid parking tickets, didn't want to pay the two dollars in coins to park, so I took the time to call in this "made-up" FAIL -- and then took the additional time to call and file a contest form online and then write a full-page, single-spaced letter of appeal?  Come on, LA.  I know you aren't the sharpest tool in the shed, but I didn't think you were that dumb either. 
 I know the city and state are hard up for cash, but fleecing your citizens this way is pretty damn shady.  My advice: do not park at a meter that reads FAIL, or be prepared to face the stupidity that is the City of Los Angeles Parking Adjudication Division.


  1. That's why I carry a cordless Dremel tool with a 2 1/2" carbide drill bit in my glove compartment. I nonchalantly walk up to the meter and that drill bit spinning at 10,000 RPM goes through the plastic lens AND the LED meter display in less than 1/4 of a second. The display then turns a satifying shade of black - no red - no expired - no numbers at all to confuse the meter maids. The best thing is that because of my act of civil disobedience the meter remains in said condition to the benefit of my fellow mortorists until those same lazy a-holes who said yours "was working fine" get around to fixing it in 2 to 3 weeks.

    If you have issues damaging perfectly good parking meters (if there is such a thing), then just do it to meters that are in FAIL mode and consider it a public service and prtection against getting an underserved ticket.

    Semper Fi!

  2. Brilliant idea! Something to consider for sure...

    Huzzah civil disobedience!

  3. Obviously, we should have taken a picture of the meter and a working watch and that day's issue of the LA Times as "proof of death" basically for the meter.

    If it makes you feel better, the city definitely spent more than $50 in man hours fighting your complaint.


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