FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – In downtown Fort Lauderdale, visitors said there are private parking lots that appear to be designed to confuse users into thinking these are public.
The lots have machines to make it easy for users to pay and go. The signs are similar to the city parking lot signs, but the devil is in the details.
The fine print warns it is a privately run lot. Despite this, users are complaining about getting tickets that are designed to look like official citations with pictures of the car.
“It looks like they’re legitimately city or county tickets, and people are then threatened if they don’t pay that it’s going to go on to their credit,” Broward County Commissioner Mark Bogen said. “They should not be given out citations that look like they’re from law enforcement.”
Broward County has received about a dozen complaints from unhappy customers of the private parking lots. Bogen said he was determined to put an end to the practice because “it’s a scam.”
Commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to pass an ordinance that made it “unlawful for any person, including a parking facility operator, or agent to issue a private ticket to a motor vehicle or to the owner of any such vehicle.”
One of the lots is managed by The Professional Parking Management Corporation.
State records show the business is registered to Bryant Orue and it’s registered under a U.S. Postal Service mailbox. Bogen said anyone who receives a citation from this entity should ignore it.
“I tell them not to pay,” Bogen said.