We received a delightful Christmas present from the City of Oakland, California, today -- a parking citation titled ADMINISTRATIVE REVIEW DECISION - LIABLE demanding $68, or double that if we don't pay by January 13th.
The license plate number on the citation is ours -- but they say it's a four-door silver Toyota. We've never owned a Toyota.
Moreover, my husband's never been to Oakland, which is hundreds of miles from here, and I think the last time I was there I was about 13 years old.
The parking citation date was on our daughter's birthday last October, when we were busy here visiting Disneyland and watching the USC-Notre Dame game.
Here's the kicker: in order to contest this -- whether by phone, mail, or in person -- the city demands that we pay the fine up front! They will not hold a hearing and review it without the payment of the fine.
How can that possibly be legal when this is so clearly an error on the part of the city? Guilty until proven innocent? The state and also the City of Oakland are hard up for money...I suspect they want to have use of people's money for a few months and then if you're lucky you might get it back.
We don't intend to pay...let's hope we can get through and speak to someone reasonable next week. Anecdotal stories posted on the web lead me to suspect this is going to be a miserable experience.
I'm posting this with the thought there may be others out there experiencing the same thing, who will find it of interest to know it's happening to others, or perhaps someone else has been through this and can share how they resolved the problem.
December 28th Update: The city's parking division is closed all week and will not reopen until January 4th.
January 4th Update: My husband got through after a long time on hold and was able to get an employee to look up our plate in the computer. The employee admitted that the license plate doesn't match the make of the ticketed car and that the ticket was sent to us in error; she promised to send a letter confirming we aren't liable. I'll breathe easier if/when that letter comes, but so far the news is good.
June 16, 2010 Update: Today, roughly 5 and a half months after my husband's phone conversation (described immediately above), we received a letter from Oakland clearing us of the ticket.
I'm relieved the news is good, but needless to say the delay speaks volumes about dealing with Oakland's parking division.