Friday, June 22, 2012

Street Parking June 22, 2012

        The city of Milwaukee requires a permit to park on the street at night. You can purchase window parking stickers either on an annual or quarterly basis. The most economical option is to purchase the Annual pass. On January 3rd I went online to figure out where we had to go to get one and we realized at that point with our work schedules we had two choices: Ask for a temporary three night visitor waver and then purchase a pass on the 6th or order it on line and get an eight day grace period for it to show up on the mail. To order it online you had to pay an extra $2.50 convenience fee. I figured why go through the hassle, besides if we got it downtown we would probably pay at least that much just to park the car to get it. So I pulled out my card and filled out a form and was given a confirmation number. The money was taken out of our account and everything seemed fine. But the sticker never came.
        Ten days later we got a ticket. Latif decided that all he needed to do was go downtown and deal with it. So one Friday afternoon, after getting directed from one office to another, he was told that he needed to call the number on the ticket. They were the only ones who could forgive the ticket and rectify the situation.

        The number on the ticket is only answered on weekdays during regular business hours. Calling it you can expect to be on hold for upward of 20 minutes. The only time Latif has to make such calls is the odd Friday when he gets off work early. In the meantime we got another ticket. Latif finally got ahold of a human being and had a lovely chat with, let’s call her, Shannon. She agreed to forgive our tickets and explained that when I filled out the online form I failed to enter the license plate number and they couldn’t distribute it without that. Of course the form did have our phone number, e-mail and mailing address, but there was no way, after taking my money, that they could figure what car I drove. Shannon promised that as soon as she received our parking sticker she would forward it on to us. Time passed; we never got the sticker, but we kept getting occasional tickets. Latif would call, tickets would be forgiven and finally in late February when calling to deal with yet another ticket Latif was told that the sticker was finally ready to be put in the mail. But the sticker never came.

           Eventually, they claimed that according to their records someone else lives at our address and thus they couldn’t mail it to us. Funny that—they had no difficulty sending us letters about unpaid tickets that Latif hadn’t had the time to call and get excused right away. At the end of it he asked them not to mail us our sticker and worked to see where he could pick it up in person. Arranging that took another two weeks and we got two more tickets in the mean time.

       So here we are, six months and 19 days after paying for our annual night street parking pass, 12 forgiven tickets and money spent in downtown parking for Latif to finally show up in person at the third party company that the city contracts with to handle parking citations and we have the proof that we paid for our parking on January 3rd. Icing on the cake is that letter they handed him with our sticker is addressed to LITIF GABA and thanks us “for using the web permits application/renewal system.”

      If I were rich and petty I would sue the city for a refund of the convenience fee or as I refer to it: the worst $2.50 I have ever spent.


lhg edited and approved.

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