10/20/2007Pennsylvania: City Charges Late Fee for Timely Ticket Appeals
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania caught imposing $20 late fee on motorists appealing parking tickets.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania has been imposing late fees on motorists who filed parking ticket appeals in a timely manner. Pierre Baston, for example, was charged an extra $20 late fee on top of the citation he received on September 25, 2006 for having an expired inspection sticker. Baston filed his appeal ten days later -- well within the fifteen day period allowed by law. Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), the company in charge of parking ticket processing for the city, automatically marked the appeal as "late." Baston believes hundreds of people may have been unjustly charged and that most would not go through the effort necessary to overturn the illegal fee.
"I'm convinced that it didn't just happen to me," Baston told the Philadelphia Daily News. "That's what made me decide to invest the time and money (to fight)."
Baston appealed to the city Department of Finance's Bureau of Administrative Adjudication which upheld both the fine and the late fee. A second appeal in March was also rejected.
Earlier this month, Baston paid the required $145 fee to appeal the improper $20 late fee in Common Pleas Court. Knowing that it could not win in a court of law, the city immediately offered to settle the case. A judge ordered the city to return $165 to Baston. City officials also sent a letter of apology claiming that they had not realized the law had changed.