Nov 21 2007

Parking Tickets – Conspiracy?

Published by at 12:02 am under General,rant

Tonight was the second time my husband has been issued a parking ticket for the same problem.

He parked his car, walked up to the automatic parking ticket machine, fed in his money, but no ticket. A woman ahead of him attempted to use her credit card, so my husband tried his. That didn’t work either. The woman, perhaps who’s had experience with this before, decided not to risk the fine and drove off.

Actually, the first time he was fined, the machine was broken and wouldn’t even accept his money – he scribbled a note to that effect and put it on his dashboard. To no avail. He got the $77 parking fine. We’d meant to dispute it, but never got around to it. So the next thing there’s a fine (enforcement order) for the unpaid fine (from memory another $50). Swallowed the pill and paid up.

Tonight the fine was $79 (inflation, I guess). So according to the infringement notice, what are the options:

Parking Ticket

So let’s see. Hmm.

A. Spend 2 minutes paying the $79 fine (and of course half an hour blogging about it 😉 ).

B. Fill in a Court Election form, turn up at court, waste goodness knows how many hours travelling, waiting, attending etc. (How much would $79 buy of your time? Opportunity cost etc and what if you’re working?)

On top of this, the court can increase the fine or add costs if you’re not successful.

What they very sneakily don’t inform you on the infringement notice is that you can request a review. Let’s look at examples of when you can request a review:

You can request a review of a fine if you can prove it was incorrectly issued or if there are special circumstances.

Examples of these circumstances are:

  • you have a mobility parking permit, but received a fine for parking in a disabled zone
  • you received a parking fine when your vehicle had broken down
  • you parked longer than permitted because of a medical emergency
  • you have a minor traffic offence and have been driving for at least 10 years before the offence without having a driving offence or demerit point fine recorded against you.

You need to supply documentary evidence to support your claim. The SDRO Review Guidelines contain more information about the type of documentary evidence and scenarios we can consider.

Gee, I don’t see mention of broken parking ticket issuing machines (I’m sure there’s a technical name for these).

So naïvely, I clicked through to the SDRO review guidelines. Fifty pages of PDF. I search this for “evidence” and fortunately found what I needed first up (this covered about 15% of one of the fifty pages). Sure enough, top of the list for documentary evidence – “Confirmation from an issuing authority of faulty meters or ticketing machines“.

So are the SDRO the issuing authority? Or should my husband have taken down the name of the ticket machine manufacturer?

So where’s the conspiracy? I just wonder how many people bother to contest these tickets, or, like me, put a higher value on their time. Do that enough times randomly and you have a nice little revenue stream. Hey, it’s not beyond the realms….

What would you do?

  • Stuff around wasting time – it’s a matter of principle after all or
  • Suck it up and pay the bill?

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Parking Tickets – Conspiracy?”

  1. Cellobellaon 21 Nov 2007 at 12:23 am

    Last time I had a dispute with a ticket machine :) I wrote a letter to the council in charge and explained the situation. They dropped the fine.

    Maybe it would work for you?

    CB x

  2. garyon 21 Nov 2007 at 7:51 am

    Great story, I got a fine in Sydney thanks to a parking ticket I had on the wind shield blowing upside down because of my slightly ajar window.

    On another note have you seen how “easy” it is to claim cashback for using the M4/M5 tolls? I didn’t even know you could do it until a friend told me, the little window gadget which takes the money out of your account is completely automated from the beep of driving past the toll point to the money coming out of your account. Try to get some of it back and there’s a form to fill out and you have to post it off after calculating the rebate yourself.

  3. alyndabearon 21 Nov 2007 at 6:03 pm

    I would go with CB on this one – pay it, but write about the issue and explain the situation. Less hassle than court, that’s for sure. Fingers crossed they’ll check out the problem and work it out.

  4. Lighteningon 21 Nov 2007 at 7:58 pm

    Blah! I say conspiracy. Imagine how much money they make from people who don’t bother to dispute them. But I can understand why you wouldn’t. You’re not the first person I’ve heard complaining about this. It’s just not RIGHT that they can get away with it! I’m just glad we live near a town that doesn’t bother with this sort of stuff. I think if it were me I’d end up paying it but it would sure make my blood BOIL!!!!

  5. Steveon 21 Nov 2007 at 10:13 pm

    That’s what camera phones are for. And if you can’t get a picture, source yourself an employee who works nearby and on a permanent basis, have them acknowledge the fault with the machine, and then go about your business. If you get the fine, return to the worker with a prepared letter confirming the defective machine.

    I also include a nice letter section in my letter to the council (well in the two times I’ve been forced to follow this route) about their statutory obligation to maintain working and accurate equipment. I then throw in the bit about how, if they aren’t willing to dismiss the fine, I’ll be billing them at my normal, daily charge out rate for all the time it takes to address the matter to my satisfaction, which started with the drafting of the letter I’d sent them.

    Both fines were promptly dismissed.

  6. Megon 22 Nov 2007 at 9:37 am

    Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Looking a little further into this, apparently you need to ring up AT THE TIME and get a fault ID. I’m assuming there is a number printed on the ticket machine, but there is more information available at the City of Sydney website.

    I rang the number listed but was told that unless the fault ID is issued at the time, then they won’t issue it afterwards. They won’t even CHECK to see if a fault was lodged on the machine, which could be used as “evidence” to contest the fine.

    I have emailed the City of Sydney Parking, but shan’t hold my breath.

  7. Babyamoreon 22 Nov 2007 at 3:46 pm

    it is rort ! Thanks for sharing the advice about getting a fault ID … I will tell others too.I am sure it happen frequently.

  8. […] like we beat the parking ticket. I received a letter saying: We have found meter ….. was not operating correctly at the time […]

  9. Rob Mulallyon 13 Jun 2009 at 5:17 pm


    Thanks for this information it helped when we were in a similar situation.

    The back of the Parking Infringments in Sydney are not as clear as they potentially could be.

    If your interested in reading our story I have posted our story on my blog linked above.

    Rob Mulally

    Rob Mulally’s last blog post..Parking Infringement Sydney

  10. claudeon 09 Jul 2009 at 8:24 pm

    I got a $243 fine for stopping in a bus zone for 30 seconds… I stopped in the bus zone during school hours ( 8:30am ) because i was waiting for another person to drive out of a 2P zone that i wanted.
    I was working across the road in the school construction zone but the school could not provide us with parking on school grounds..

    I pleaded with the SDRO to review the fine and practice better judgement to no avail.

    The parking ranger that booked me on the day was 100 meters down the street hiding behind a tree with a zoom lens camera.

    Pigs the lot of them.. I got booked for trying to park legally.

    Go figure…

  11. Boris Viskovicon 07 Dec 2009 at 3:23 am

    Have you ever noticed that what you’re paying is an infringement NOTICE or NOTICE of offence. All they’re telling you is that you’ve committed an offence (menace to society we all are…)

    You make the cheque/payment out to the CEO.

    They most likely have an ABN/ACN.

    So, I guess that makes them a business, and the purpose of a business is to make money.

    So the next question is, why do we pay rates and where does the money all go? They sure as hell don’t spend them on the roads in Sydney! LOL