WASHINGTON – When is a parking ticket not really a ticket at all?
Many drivers in our area are learning the answer to that question after receiving what they thought were parking tickets in a new development off Rhode Island Avenue NE.
The signs along the roads in Rhode Island Row clearly indicate the street is private property and that drivers must pay to park and that violators will be “ticketed, booted or towed.”
It may appear drivers are parking on a city street when pulling off Rhode Island Avenue into the development, but they are actually on private property.
The notices, which were first reported in the neighborhood blog, Prince of Petworth, are clearly issued by Colonial Parking, which manages the parking garage in the development.
James D. Villa, vice president and general counsel for Colonial declined to answer any questions about the practice.
“We appreciate your calling but we have no comment,” Villa said in a brief phone conversation.
But an employee with Nationwide Debt Recovery Service, which collects the fees, says the company won’t report unpaid notices on your credit score. A collection agent who answered the 800 number on the bottom of the notice and would only identify himself as Steve, said repeat violators run the risk of having their cars impounded because the company keeps track of license plates that receive notices.
The notices are left on car windshields, just like a real ticket, but they appear on white paper, not the bright pink slips D.C. hands out.