King County parking enforcement company agrees to stop issuing misleading tickets
September 9, 2012 · 5:48 PM
Platinum Parking, LLC contracts with businesses and apartment complexes to enforce parking rules on private lots. The business monitors over 100 lots, issuing parking ticket-like notices to vehicles and drivers in violation of each lot’s parking policies. It profits by collecting on those notices. But the Washington State Attorney General’s Office, in a complaint and consent decree filed today, says the notices mislead consumers.
“Platinum Parking’s notices make a series of misleading claims, including the idea that the tickets can be appealed,” said Assistant Attorney General Jake Bernstein. “Such appeals are inconsistently granted, even when there is a good reason to believe a ticket was mistakenly issued, and the appeals process is murky at best.”
In the consent decree filed in King County Superior Court, Platinum Parking and its owner, Susan Hover, agree to stop offering an appeal process if that process lacks fairness and well-defined steps. To avoid confusing consumers, Platinum Parking will stop using the word “appeal” and instead refer to a “dispute process.” Finally, they will provide a clear parking notice dispute policy to consumers who feel they were mistakenly issued a notice.
Other concerns addressed in today’s filings revolve around the company’s misleading presentation of itself as having the authority to issue parking tickets – similar to those issued by actual law-enforcers – and having the intention to act as collection agents. In truth, the company’s two-man operation does not aggressively pursue unpaid notices.
In addition to the injunctive relief obtained in today’s consent decree, the agreement imposes a $55,000 judgment, $25,000 of which is suspended, provided the company abides by the terms of the consent decree.
The Attorney General’s Office had a similar case in 2007 against Seattle-based Parking Enforcement Services, Inc. That company ultimately agreed to stop issuing its misleading parking notices and pay $10,000 in civil penalties.