Jan 7, 2014 3:52 PM by Matthew Schwartz
TUCSON - Dr. Robert Carreira says the owner of a downtown parking lot may be systematically writing bad tickets and over-charging customers. Carreira recently got a $50.00 ticket from the lot owners, and says he's not paying.
Carreira, a 47-year old Tombstone resident, often visits downtown on weekends. He used to park in a lot between Congress and Pennington, owned by Pueblo Parking Systems. On Dec. 14, Carreira paid $6 with his credit card at the collection machine.
Carreira showed the News 4 Tucson Investigators the collection machine.
"This machine, which is basically the last thing you hit when you pay, pretty much spells it out. Saturday and Sunday, $5," he said.
The machine says $5 on Saturday and Sunday. The parking lot rate signs (there are nine signs total) say: "After 5 pm and weekends, five dollars flat rate."
There's nothing about how long you can park on weekends, only that it's a flat, $5 charge. That's how Carreira interprets it. We asked some passersbys what they thought. They all agreed.
But less than three hours after parking his car that Saturday, Carreira returned and found a $50 ticket on the windshield. The reason written on it said, "Time Expired." But again, the signs say $5.00 flat rate on weekends.
Carreira told the News 4 Tucson Investigators, "The ticket was completely wrong, when you look at all the signs that say what you pay, what you're supposed to be paying, and I think that's, for a lot of folks who are going to come here, you look at the signs and you say, 'OK, that's what I'm supposed to be paying but it's not what they're charging you. I was certain it was Saturday when I got here, and so the first thing I thought was, the first thing on my mind was what day of the week was it."
And there's more: Carreira went back and checked his credit card payments to Pueblo Parking Systems over the past year. He saw that he'd been charged $6 instead of $5 every single weekend day. Carreira wonders how many other customers have been over-charged by a dollar every time they parked there. Incidentally, Carreira is an economist, so he knows something about numbers.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators called the parking company. We have a lot of questions for the owners. The woman who answered the phone said she had no comment and hung up.
So we visited the parking company's downtown office.
The only person we saw in the office said she was the manager and didn't answer any questions.
Carreira has filed a complaint against Pueblo Parking Systems with the Arizona Attorney General's office.
The A.G. doesn't comment on pending investigations. But a spokeswoman says any complaint into Pueblo Parking Systems will be looked into.
Remember, if you have a story you'd like us to investigate, email us at email@example.com. Or call our tip line, (520) 955-4444.
3 hours ago