KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- When you receive a parking ticket, you’re most likely going to pay it right away. But when a Kansas City resident got one in the mail, some things just didn't add up. So instead of handing over cash, she’s fighting back.
Jody Michael was issued a parking ticket violation in St. Louis despite not having been in the Gateway City for years. She says two options were proposed: Pay the bill or face a driver’s license suspension.
Michael drives a Kia Soul. Her new ride is the reason why she’s able to get to work, but also the reason why she’s in trouble with the Parking Violations Bureau in St. Louis, which came as a surprise.
“I haven't been in St. Louis in 10 years, my body hasn't and my car has never been there,” said Michael.
She thought it must’ve been a mistake when a $20 parking ticket for an expired meter arrived in the mail. Instead of paying, Michael called the bureau to straighten things out.
“I said, 'I drive a Kia Soul 2014' and I was told that this ticket was given to a Buick and I said, 'I don't drive a Buick,'” she recalled.
To further prove her innocence, Michael had to send in proof of residency, registration and her driver’s license. It was either that or face consequences.
“That my driver's license is going to be suspended for a year, and if I drove my car to St. Louis, they'd boot it or tow it,” Michael explained.
She even took to Facebook to see if there are others in this same situation. That’s when she realized the issue hit closer to home.
“That's five people that I know, just me, that got this ticket, same situation, and paid it. So that's what? $120,” she said.
A project manager at the Parking Violations Bureau told FOX 4 the problem could be human error and that license plates numbers could be written down wrong. But that’s not a good enough answer for Michael.
“They're not making 20 dollars of me,” she maintains.
The Treasurer’s Office takes care of parking ticket violations. It’s an independently elected office, separate from the City of St. Louis.
In a response to an inquiry by FOX 4's Judy Le, a St. Louis government official said:
"The parking enforcement officer who issued this ticket made a simple mistake and entered the incorrect license plate number, which happened to match Ms. Michael's plate number. That happens from time to time, when the officer transposes a number or letter. We have voided this ticket. "
Furthermore, the email explained that they have a process for those who feel if they received a ticket in error. A link to how that works is below. For out of town residents, they could request the hearing via telephone.
They said St. Louis is in the process of upgrading parking technology, and hopes to offer online adjudication as part of that upgrade.