Parking Robbery

Taking a cue from Cybele’s parking related post, I wanted to post another query/rant to our readers regarding policy at Los Angeles parking lots…

The other day I was the Grove to see a movie and grab a bite to eat. Knowing that, with validation from the theatre, the parking is listed at $2 for four hours, I made for my car with twenty minutes to spare. Of course, the long line to get out of the parking lot took over fifteen minutes… alas, they insisted I had parked there for over four hours and wanted to charge me an extra $2.

A worse case was had before Christmas at the shopping center across from the Arclight at Sunset and Vine. Bed Bath & Beyond offers one hour validation with purchase. However, due to the holiday crowds, driving into the structure and finding a spot had taken over twenty minutes, in large part because it was over sold, and driving bumper to bumper to the top, only found a spot when I was halfway back down. After less than fifteen minutes shopping (mostly, again, spent in line) I returned to the cluster—- of a parking structure, which was still bumper to bumper in and out, and by the time I arrived at the attendants booth was told I needed to pay up. My total actual time parked in a spot was fifteen minutes.

So, besides as an excuse to vent, I’m interested in knowing if any readers with any legal or practial knowledge can let me know if this parking tactic is legal? When you pay to park, is it for time spent within the structure, or for the actual rental of the parking spot? Clearly, parking companies have no incentive for customer service, so who can you complain to?

7 thoughts on “Parking Robbery”

  1. The neighborhood prosecuter might be of some help. Whichever parking lot you want to look into, find which community police station division it is in (e.g. Hollywood) and they will have a neighborhood prosecuter attached. No promises, but they might have some leads at least.

  2. I really don’t think we can do much. The parking structure says they are allowing about 10 minutes for departure ( at the ArcLight, I asked), even if it took me longer, so they have such an accomodation for allowing time for exiting.

    I got hit for a ‘double whammy’: i tried to make it to the ArcLight for a Free preview screening, I was too late, so I didn’t get into the screening. But still had to pay to exit the parking. Oh, well, I did park there. And a similar thing happened over at Hollywood & Highland. This time, I forgot I was supposed to be ‘under 34’ years old! So no free movie, and still had to pay for the parking.

    Welcome to LA!

  3. Thanks, Zach.

    MacPhotog, the places I went clearly didn’t have any accomodation for departure, but its cool that the Arclight itself does.

  4. Something like that almost happened to me on Friday at the Farmer’s Market. I spent approximately 20 minutes circling and looking for a parking spot. When I didn’t find one, I decided to leave and look for street parking. The woman at the kiosk wanted to charge me $2 because I didn’t have my ticket validated. I explained that I never even parked and spent the entire time looking for a spot. She then said I only was supposed to do that for 10 minutes and then exit and get another ticket.

    I guess I seemed clueless enough or she felt sorry for me because she let me through without paying.

    I also swore I would never return to the Century City mall after seeing Return of the King there on opening night. I arrived early, shopped at See’s Candy and then got in line for the movie. I got my ticket validated, when I left the theater. But I had to wait in a long line filled with other moviegoers to exit and by the time I got to the kiosk, I had exceeded the free/discounted with validation parking price by a few minutes. I was charged close to $20…

  5. I feel like they need to make special accomodations for the longer movies. I remember having to pay at the Grove because we went for King Kong. Any three hour long movie certainly guarantees that you’re going to be in their parking structure for an amount of time that exceeds their grace period. Especially when it takes twenty minutes just to get through the line to exit.

  6. Ah, Zach is learning this City well. Neighborhood Prosecutors ar the ones to assist. Zach has a vigilant one in Sherman Oaks (which is part of the Van Nuys Division of LAPD), Tamar Galatzan, who has taken on parking issues like bandit tow trucks before. Hollywood’s is good, too: Bill Kysella. For a list and a way to find your Neighborhood Prosecutor, check out the City Attorney’s website. Rocky actually instituted the program which has had such success they added more funding two years ago to offer more attorneys for the busiest police divisions. (Originally, one NP was assigned to each Police Division.)

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