Dealing With A Parking Ticket

They are very few life admin tasks as dreadful and frustrating as a parking ticket. It’s not anything serious enough to justify making a big deal of, i.e. disputing your rent with a landlord, but not anything small enough to ignore, i.e. making a dentist appointment.

So how do you deal with this?

It’s  right there in the middle of frustrating and where it won’t keep you up at night but enough for you dread dealing with it.

Timing is everything when it comes to this annoyingly nagging task. And like most adult tasks, ignoring it actually makes it worse (in most cases – see below for when it it’s okay).

Let’s look at the options. Disclaimer: The specifics of this apply to Canada. I currently live in Vancouver, British Columbia and like everything else in life, it depends on where you live.

Paying the Ticket

If you are in the wrong, and were caught, sometimes it’s best to just pay the ticket. Especially if the ticket is a reasonably small amount. Yes, it’s annoying to not be able to go out that weekend or sacrifice a top you had been eyeing, but consider the cost of your time. Disputing a ticket usually involves a lot of time, headache, and you may possibly have to take off time of work to go to an adjudication hearing. Also consider the price of your mental health, if you’re someone that who has anxiety or is gets anxious easily, this ticket may not be the cost of your well-being. It’s okay to make mistakes and write things off in life. Learn your lesson, pay it, move on.

Disputing The Ticket

Now there may be times when you are 100% in the right. One common problem is when people pay by phone or credit card on a parking app and it doesn’t register on the meter. Ahhh one of the many faults of technology. The process is usually very time sensitive. Ticket dispute processes will vary from area to area but most of them are quite similar:

Ignoring The Ticket

This one is a little tricky and risky. In my experience, if a ticket is issued by a government (municipal, provincial, or by your local policing enforcement) than either dispute the ticket or pay it. Governments have a way of penalizing you they don’t go away because eventually you will need a service like renewing your license or paying taxes.

However, the loophole is for private parking lots. Sometimes, certain private companies will charge outrageous fines (because they can) and not allow a dispute process. If payment is not received, they generally send it to collections. If it’s not paid, it can make an impact on your credit. However, a recent article has come out that in Canada, two of the biggest Credit Bureaus have recently made statements on parking tickets affecting your credit in private lots:

‘Transunion said: “In regard to collections accounts, it is Transunion’s policy not to report parking fines on the consumer credit report. Additionally, Transunion does not accept direct reporting by parking facility operators.”

Equifax said: “If you park in a private parking lot and do not pay the fee, since there is no contractural agreement (or proof), it would not be reported.”

Source: Calgary CTV

However, if you continue to park in a private parking lot, they do have grounds to tow your vehicle.

In the end, like all adulting decisions, it’s important to make the decision best for you. The best thing is to be informed about your rights in disputes and debt collection:

CBC – 4 Things To Know If You’re Harassed By Debt Collectors

Consumer Protection BC

I highly also recommend searching the subreddit for parking disputes for your area/company to read about other people’s experiences.

Whatever you decide, may the parking gods be in your favour.

K ✨

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