ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — In late February, Kevin Griffiths found a parking space in a parking lot on Spanish Street in St. Augustine, close to where he had dinner plans.
He paid $10 for two hours, the maximum allowed at the lot.
"We paid for two hours, and we went 32 minutes over," Griffiths told First Coast News.
And when Griffiths got back to his car at 50 Spanish Street, "there was no indication of any overtime parking until I got the notice in the mail."
The notice said he owed $45 for parking longer than he had paid for.
Griffiths had missed this notice in the mail. Then a second notice came.
"They upped it to $85," he said. "It's absurd. It's absolutely absurd."
The letter also warns of sending the issue to a collections service, as well as legal action.
The parking lot is a private lot managed by Professional Parking Management out of Fort Lauderdale. The company has an "F" rating with the Better Business Bureau, with hundreds of complaints against it.
Various signs read "ENFORCEMENT BY BOOTING AND TOWING and THERE IS NO GRACE PERIOD."
And if you look really closely, you'll see a sign with fine print that states you could be charged up to $85 if you violate the rules.
"I didn't see it the first time. That's why I went back the second time to see what was there," Griffiths said.
He also said the sign has small type and was obscured by some brush when he went back to look at the parking lot a second time.
While First Coast News was at the parking lot Wednesday morning, several local residents warned people who are about to park there, telling them about the lot's higher prices and the possibility of a higher bill in the mail.
First Coast News reached out to Professional Parking Management.
A spokesperson told us there is a sign posted about the charges. He is right.
He also said the initial $45 charge is comparable to the $35 ticket you'd get if you overstayed in a city -owned lot. Also, he said the $45 and $85 charge is less expensive than being towed.
In the end, the spokesman said the company told me it will not make Griffiths or Haladay Allen -- who First Coast News initially reported on with the same problem in January – pay the charges at all.
Griffiths said he notified First Coast News because "I think it's important people know what is going on."