BS car parking infringement notice

Heya Ozbargain peeps,

So went out last month before lockdowns in VIC for lunch in Abbottsford for some good Viet pho and 25 mins later return to car to my absolute delight, a $91 fine awaited me. I was fuming. The reason? I was apparently parked for more than 2 hours in a zone signed 7am to 6pm (2 hour limit, after 6pm it is a Permit Zone). Apparently my offence occurred from 7am in the darn morning….

So I did what any person would and contact the Internal review team for the City of Yarra. Being a council body I did not have high hopes and I was correct. They told me in their system is registered my car as being in that spot since 7am…. tough luck pay the fine or go to Court…. I call total BS that their system had me registered at 7am as my car was in a secure car port at my apartment, I was still having darn breaky at that time. I arrived in that spot at 12:01pm and it was 12:26pm when I left. They took pictures dated and time stamped 12:22pm (*EDIT) with no proof that it has been there since 7am…. I checked in via QR code at a post office in Collingwood around 11:30 and the restaurant at 12:05.

I live 2 suburbs away, not too sure how I can prove that my car was still in my apartment car port… I guess I could ask building management for CCTV screenshot of the front entrance as our car port is a Car lift system but it may not capture my number plate….

Out of principle I don't want to give these f****ers my hard earned money for no reason. Going through a Magistrates for $91 is a bit much. So peeved off right now.

Would like to know if people have had similar situations? If so, how did you fight it? Any proof etc?

P.S. I do not have a dash cam unfortunately. I do however, have geo tagging locations from Google Maps on where I went and the time stamps for when I was there on that day.

Poll Options

  • 365
    Fight it in Court
  • 10
    Pay the darn fine and move on
  • 6
    Don't pay it
  • 326
    Find proof - try to get CCTV screenshot of apartment entrance

Comments

  • +2

    Just going to call this out as well.

    “If the penalty for a crime is a fine, then the law only exists if you are poor”

  • +4

    I would fight this one in principle.
    You could approach the council and do an FOI regarding the matter. That should give you all the information they have.
    They should give you the same information they will be taking to court. That way you know what you are up against.
    You could also email the local Council alderman for the area and give them some feedback on how shoddy their operations are. Councils have been caught before with their pants down and its cost them millions in the end.
    And I'm not to sure how things operate doqn there but a complaint to the ombudsman's wouldn't be out of order here.
    A process that puts the onus on individuals to prove their innocence is not very Australian.
    Good luck.

  • Don't they need to have proof the car was there for longer than it shouldn't have? Wouldn't they have to take a pic of the chalk mark or whatever they use these days.

    • +1

      Not if they have in ground sensors.

  • +2

    This is a reminder for you to get a dash cam. :P

  • Find some hard evidence, go speak to Tracey on the TV.

  • +3

    I agree with going to court if the council doesn't relent after a hard push. However, this may constitute "unreasonable action or decision" of Victorian council. So the Victorian Ombudsman may be able to assist (for free!).

    Here is the link:

    https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/complaints/

    Here is an example of them helping with parking fines previously:

    https://www.ombudsman.vic.gov.au/our-impact/investigation-re...

    I'd just keep pushing Yarra though. This is madness and they shouldn't be able to get away with it.

      • +7

        I split my last bond return 50/50 on that reasoning - so paid $128 - particularly as fighting would have cost me at least two hours at my waged job.

        To this day, I still think back about whether I should have fought it. You can't let the bad guys win. Get a councillor a phone. Raise hell.

        I almost feel like ringing up Yarra and complaining on the OP's behalf.

      • +5

        Are you honestly suggesting he just bends over and cops an incorrect fine?

        Hopefully you are the next person to be caught out by a corrupt/incompetent inspector.

        • -1

          Sometimes in life you have to pick your fights and weigh up + and -

      • +10

        Ye a few calls here and a few emails there will take me a full 25 hours to save $90. Purely principle but I guess someone like ya likes getting smacked around and taking it huh.

  • +7

    A mate of mine had a parking fine that was similar nonsense to yours. He actually sent the council his CityLink statement that showed he'd been driving on the freeway the other side of town (nearly an hours drive away) around about the same time the parking inspector had alleged he'd commenced parking in the spot where he got the fine. They still wouldn't withdraw the fine. So he applied to have a court hearing. Two days before the hearing, the council withdrew the fine. Probably the first time someone from the council with more than wool between their ears actually looked at my mate's appeal letter. However, it's no small thing to decide to contest your fine in court. Good luck.

    • +2

      this is what i would expect to happen should you elect to go to court.
      lucky yours was two days before, often it is on the day of the court hearing.

    • +1

      Nah they were hoping your friend would give up and pay; they know the fines are BS.

  • what car is it? maybe someone in the area has a similar one and parked at 7am.

    • yeah? if it is a common car - then what? Doesn't change anything right?

      • actually it does, shows the officer was incompetent and potentially confused the cars.

    • What's the point of license plates then?

  • +4

    Fight it!

    What sucks is that most councils infringe first and think later even when we are in the right. They just prey on people that won't challenge.

  • Any change your google timeline shows the time you parked?

  • It raises questions about their entire process. Fight it.

  • FIGHT IT!!!!

  • Did you pull in as someone was pulling out? Maybe there are sensors and to the council it looks like one car was parked all day, rather than several over the course of the day…

  • Why pay it when they are in the wrong?
    It's their mistake so fight it all the way.

    If you weren't there at 7am, you weren't there. It's as simple as that.

  • Are court hearings (I guess specifically civil in this case) in Vic done digitally due to lockdown?

    Would be interesting if this becomes an option in the future as it has the potential to cut all the wasted time out of commuting to and from and waiting for delays.
    I imagine with much less hassle, the amount of people contesting fines would go up. Courts would probably push against this to keep case numbers low.

  • +10

    fight it, and make sure they admit they were wrong.

    I had an issue with parking tickets in Canberra. Twice booked for not displaying a disability permit when it was clearly in the window (It never leaves the car). The CCTV showed the inspector driving past and stopping behind my car but never getting out of his car. I was parked front in, so of course he couldn't see the permit. I sent the info through to the parking people and they 'waived' the ticket.
    Then the EXACT same thing happened again.
    Sent through the info again, and this time they said they would 'waive the ticket one more time, next time it would have to be paid'
    I escalated the issue, pointing out it wasn't my fault they issued dodgy tickets because (and I said) 'your staff are too lazy or corrupt to do their job properly' and I would not accept the ticket was being waived because that implied they were doing something nice.
    I got a phone call from some senior seat warmer who 'understood' what I was saying and he would escalate the issue to ensure it was dealt with'

    Moral of the story: parking tickets are a rort that uses intimidation and obscurity to bilk people of money.

    • I agree with everything you say. To stop it happening again, is it possible to get a copy of the permit and place it on the rear window? Maybe just a photocopy with conspicuous wording "The original is on the front window, where it belongs…" optional "…you lazy bugger"

      • +2

        yeah I hear you, except it says something like only the original is accepted.

        I've been back to the place since, and spoke to one of the workers there. It's known that the parking people just drive through and never get out of their car. I wonder how many people just pay the fine? Guess even if it's 100 fines and 75 pay is still good odds.

  • +1

    Tell them to review it. If they don’t budge, take it to the magistrates court.

    If they haven’t blinked by then, you’ll find the level headed individual will accept that you don’t live near Richmond and wouldn’t have been there that long for lunch.

    But the council will also send you their court brief to pick through.

  • money grabbing, waste of oxygen council dogs

  • Go to court, seek costs as you have them a chance not to proceed.

  • +1

    Picture this:

    Prosecutor has dozens of Yarra Council matters to present in court. 99% of them will be adjudicated in the absence of the defendants. He/she doesn't have time let alone the willingness to undertake a contested hearing on a loser case like this.

    1. Get evidence on file in an affidavit with exhibits/annexures. This includes any evidence that the investigative process has not been strictlly followed.

    2. Wait for the letter informing you that the infringement notice has been withdrawn.

    In the meantime, inform Council that you will be contesting the matter, send them the documentary evidence and ask them to have a responsible officer available for cross-examination. Council may blink.

  • +1

    I had a friend in a similar situation to you fight his successfully in NSW. He submitted Google Timeline evidence of when he arrived and left and they accepted it.

  • +8

    Get security footage asap!

    Story time!
    I was literally in the same situation as you, just different councils. I sent in a request for the notice to be review with just a simple explanation that their timing was wrong and some Google timestamps to prove I wasn't at the location at the times that they had accused me of. They sent back photos of my vehicle with chalk marking on my tyre at the time the notice was issued with a blunt letter stating that the google timestamp just proves I wasn't at the location, but not the car..oh and the ticketing officer noted that there appears to be attempts to rub the chalk mark off. Just like you I was fuming, because even with the google timestamps the shlubs response was pretty much "tough biscuits, I don't care".

    So I sent in a second request which goes to a different person to review, but this time wrote an essay breaking down everything wrong with their photos, reasoning for the notice and wanting some questions answered. My main points were..

    1. Where is the photo proving I was at the location at the earlier time? The photos only prove my car was there at the time of the notice.
    2. If there is no photo of my car at the earlier time. Is there some program that makes a note that my car was there at the earlier time that the officer can update when he returns to print the infringement?
    3. If he has neither program or photo then how do they know which cars they have marked? Can they without a doubt remember which car they previously marked?
    4. If they are relying on the chalk markings then do they use different colours for different days? do they have meetings with other council to make sure no one is using the same colour chalk?
    5. Do the officers receive training to judge if there has been attempts to rub off chalk or did they just guess? Because im guessing it is old chalk from another location or time because the whole tyre is evenly dirty. I would guess the area around the chalk would be cleaner than the rest of the tyre if someone attempted to rub the chalk off.

    I eventually got a letter stating that they were cancelling the notice and some bs excuse along the lines of that they believe someone else's car was marked and left residue on the ground which my car picked up when I parked.

    Took almost a year to finalise. I hope something in my rant helps you out!

    • -5

      Really 1 year lol .
      Guess you could have benefited by my simple strategy hehe :)

      • +3

        Seems like you really enjoy bending over for the man.

  • +2
    • lol that funny every should watch that

  • +1

    "They told me in their system is registered my car as being in that spot since 7am"…as they quoted , ask them give evidence like a photo with time stamp at 7am with your car on the spot

    if you sure your car werent there at 7am and they insist on it . then we might have a new evidence of parallel world does exist ! t
    then the $91 dollar is worth a new discovery and you can even sell it for million .

    i would stick to the faulty detecting device theory ! nothing in this world man made doesn't break down as far as i know .

    most of the court healing are done online this day by the way .

    you can represent yourself without any legal aids

  • +1

    I hate to be that guy but get a dashcam. I was a victim of a hit and run. Handed the footage to police, they caught her 2 days later.

  • If you're running Android and you have location tracking turned on, you should be able to pull your days travel for that particular date.

    Timeline also makes some pretty accurate guesses around whether you drove, walked or caught public transport based on your speed and route taken.

    https://timeline.google.com/maps/timeline

  • I have an unpopular opinion, but is $91 really worth your time in this case? I mean, don`t you make multiples of that in half a day you will need to take as annual leave to go to court to defend yourself? Not to mention to time you will waste looking for evidence.

    Sure, it is unfair and all, but sometimes life throws curveballs our way. We just have to take one on the chin and move on. Picking your battles is better than trying to win all of them and loose most.

    • 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.'

      By caving in to them, you will only empower & embolden them to do more and worse each time.

      • It is a nice quote, and I generally agree with it.

        However, incorrectly administered $91 fine for something, which is difficult to prove false, is hardly something that qualifies as evil mate. Unless it is systemic, that is.

    • +1

      You start thinking like this, and you get ripped off from all areas. The more people just give in, the more it's allowed to happen.

  • Do you swipe out of your secure carport? If so, the access log may be useful….

  • Yeah unfortunately its guilty until proven innocent these days. Having a dash cam would be better than not but even if they show the time it might not be enough proof. My guess is that you show them all the proof and they "generously" decide to let you off with warning. Nice little trick in not admitting guilty there.

  • +1

    I will come down and protest with you if you want…………………AFTER the lockdown as i don't want a fine :/

  • Fight it

    I am currently in a fight now with the council about a parking fine. They erected a no-stopping sign when my car was parked (friday 12am to 8am) and I was home everyday in lockdown laws and they fined me.

    Revenue.gov rejected my claim, so I emailed the council to reconsider, I doubt they waive it. Next stop is the NSW ombudsman with all the evidence I have.

    We know the fines are BS…..

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