SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – You may have seen one of the tickets. They look like they’re from the city but they’re not.

Some companies issue them at private parking lots. We wanted to know: Do you have to pay them?

“We always use this lot before open mics,” said Drew Abscher.

Abscher has parked in this lot across from The Comedy Spot for three years on J Street and 20th with no problem. But on Sunday night he saw a ticket on his windshield.

“I saw the thing on my car and said, ‘oh man, I got a parking ticket’ and then as I pull it off it says parking notice,” he says.

The notice has a photo of Abscher’s license plate and it says he owes $45 to the private company Priority Parking..

But he noticed something was off.

“It never says “ticket”, it never says city of Sacramento on here.

So he pulled up the payment website and realized this notice has nothing to do with the city.

“The first thing that went through my mind, is this some sort of scam?” he said. “Am I legally obligated to pay this?”

The answer to that is no. A 2011 state ruling says private property owners can’t issue warnings or citations. So, despite the misleading-looking paperwork, if you don’t pay, the company can’t boot your car, or send the bill to collections. You can’t get in trouble with the law or the DMV in the state of California.

“They shouldn’t be able to do this,” said Abscher.

Abscher doesn’t plan to pay, but he doesn’t want others to buy in.

The law is tricky, but to be safe, there’s one easy thing to do: obey the signs posted. You may not necessarily have to pay a ticket issued by a private company, there is the possibility your car could get towed.

  1. Kate Ford says:

    Well the obvious question for this vehicle owner is — why do you think you’re entitled to park your car on an owner’s private property, without paying a parking fee — just because you’ve always done so on Open Mic night? I like free parking parking as much as anyone — but it doesn’t appear this was offered to him. Is he saying that without a paid attendant on duty — tough lough to the owner? If it’s a paid parking lot, and there are signs indicating how much it costs, and you’re welcome to park there for a fee — how are you not a “squatter” parking on private property? Why is this any different than a dine and dash — eating a meal and leaving without paying? So the City can’t ticket you on a private lot. Got it. But why do you feel are you entitled to steal from the property owner — do you have a City-wide VIP pass or something?

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