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.