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Yelp Hammers Oakland Parking Service

Yelp has become the go-to site for ratings on businesses of all types, including the "City of Oakland Parking Service System." That's everything from the Parking Department Office at City Hall Plaza, to the parking enforcement employees on the street, and everyone in between. The collective gets a nice "one-star" rating on Yelp. And the comments are something to read. Here's a sample:

Several weeks ago I received a parking ticket for parking at an expired meter in Oakland. When I went to pay it today, I was surprised to see another citation that was past due associated with my license number... Then I remembered: many months ago, I found a parking ticket on my car when I failed to move it for street sweeping. The next day, I tried to pay for said ticket, both online, and using the over-the-phone method. Neither worked. Several days later, I tried once more to pay the ticket, again to no avail. I was told several times that no such ticket existed in the system.

Now, I don't mind paying for the tickets, but I think it's ridiculous that a ticket would take more than a week to show up in the system and furthermore, I do not appreciate having to pay additional charges associated with "late" payment for a ticket that I tried in good faith to pay the day after I received it. I know other people who have experienced the same problem and I think it's time that Oakland stop jerking us around with opaque and vague parking policy.

Did I mention there are 97 Yelp reviews and 96 of them are bad? Here's another:

If I can, I would give them negative stars.
They are thugs, cheats, and this is proof of injustice of the highest kind in the most advanced country in the world - even in India things would not be this bad, and that's saying a lot since India is super corrupt.
Anyways, ticket was invalid, so I contested via US mail. Got another reminder, so contested via email. Got an automated response so I waited. Next thing I know I get a DMV hold letter from them. Also now the fine is doubled.
At this point, I am spending so much effort in this that it's not worth it, and I feel I should pay, but there's a voice inside me saying I should fight for justice and my rights.
Lesson learned - Oakland, I will NEVER eat in your city by choice, and if I do end up going there for my work related events I will park in a parking structure or take the BART.
You are an awful city - I feel for the people - they are stuck with an awful ,awful bureaucracy.
I am going to write letters to whomever I can.
You lost my business, Oakland. Big Time.

The Yelp Oakland hit parade continues:

I just got my registration renewal in the mail, and there is an unpaid parking ticket on it from april 09, lets not get into why it did not show up on october 09's renewal...in any case, I paid this ticket via check 24 hours after I received it. My bank printed out proof (for $5) that the city of Oakland did indeed cash this $30 check, way back in April 09. Nevertheless, it now shows up unpaid, and at triple value. DMV will not let me pay for my renewal until I either pay the $100 citation, or get it cleared by the Oakland Parking Assistance Center.

I have tried three times to reach them by phone, each call was an endless phonetree with no correct option, and in all attempts I ended up being on hold for 15 minutes plus before I gave up OR got disconnected on their end.

I cannot afford to take a day off from work to deal with this, I am poor and on a limited budget.

The DMV cannot help me...
I cannot figure out if there is a way to make an appointment...
There is nothing helpful online....
I am convinced if I go in person the wait time will exceed the metered parking nearby...

Does anyone have any answers for me?

This Yelper's claiming that the City of Oakland's not following a rule posted on its metered parking tickets.  You know.  The ones you get from the machines.  The Yelper reports:

Mark my words, this is not an opinion it is a fact. Those new permit machines, you know where you get a little paper permit and put it on your dashboard. Every one of them has a bright green sticker that says "For you convenience, unexpired permits for this machine can be used at (underlined) *any* metered space in Oakland."

If you buy an hour. Use ten minutes, then drive to another part of Oakland and park near an old sidewalk meter that is working, DO NOT USE YOUR UNEXPIRED PERMIT. Yes it is a metered space, yes, logically it counts as a member of the set that is designated by "any metered space in Oakland", but if you use your unexpired paper permit and don't feed the meter with coins, you will get a ticket.

If a lawyer is reading this. Please think about suing the city for this misleading information. They are obviously desperate for the money but they shouldn't use their position in power to bait and switch, it is deceptive.

And this Yelper called Alix Rosenthal at the Oakland City Attorney's Office and got the ticket dismissed:

I don't live in Oakland.

I almost never go to Oakland.

I especially don't go to Oakland in the middle of the night.

Yet over the course of the last two years I have received four parking tickets for parking in Oakland in the middle of the night. Tickets for my license plate, but with "Ford" listed as the make (I drive a Honda).

Their tickets say you can contest them via e-mail. However they just ignore the e-mails.

I'm getting tired of this BS. Getting ready to sue the City.


If you have a legitimate complaint I suggest calling the city attorney's office to try to get it straightened out. I spoke with Alex Rosenthal (city attorney's assistant) yesterday and I received a call from parking enforcement today to let me know that my ticket was dismissed.

The number is 510-238-3601.

Ok, Alex. Get ready for a flood of phone calls from irate Oakland Parking Enforcement victims!

Stay tuned.
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