Fun with parking tickets in St. Louis

On November 7, I received a parking ticket because I was parked on the wrong side of the street on street cleaning day. The city of St. Louis wanted payment of the $10 penalty within 15 days or the penalty would double. I mailed the check on November 17, which means that they would have received it on Monday, the 19th because I mailed the check on a Saturday.

This Monday or Tuesday, I received a “NOTICE OF DELINQUENT PARKING VIOLATION,” which stated that I needed to send another $10 in by December 22. When I first received the notice, I didn’t realized that it acknowledged my payment and I thought that the city hadn’t credited my check. I double-check my bank records and saw that the check had cleared my bank on the 27th. So I called the Parking Violations Bureau to figure out what the problem was. The man who answered said that I had a $10 fine for late payment because I had not paid on time. I told him that I mailed my check on the 17th and he told me send a copy of the cleared check to them for review.

To me, it was pretty obvious that the city made a mistake and that this would be cleared up when I mailed the copy of the check. I sent in my payment during the week of Thanksgiving, and I figured that whoever handled it was just caught up in pre-holiday chaos. Today, I received another letter which states that fines need to be paid in full within 15 days to avoid penalty and that I still owed money. It goes on to state “IF YOU WISH TO CONTEST THIS TICKET, YOU MAY DO SO BY APPEARING IN-PERSON AT THE PARKING VIOLATIONS BUREAU…” and “YOU MUST HAVE YOUR TICKET NUMBER, A DRIVER’S LICENSE, AND PROOF OF OWNERSHIP TO REQUEST A HEARING.”

So, I can either pay the extra money that the city tacked onto my parking ticket or try to contest these penalties. After reading about other people who have tried to contest tickets and fines with the city’s Parking Violations Bureau, I’ll probably just pay the extra $10 instead of fighting it. I’m a broke grad student, and I don’t especially want to donate money to the city, but my time is worth a lot more than $10.

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