ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Holladay Allen was on her way to have dinner in St. Augustine. However, finding a parking spot in the downtown area can present itself a challenge.
She parked in a lot that was privately owned. Allen paid $10 for two hours, but she overstayed her limit by 40 minutes. She said the service was a bit slow that night. Allen thought all was well because she did not see a ticket on her windshield.
A few weeks later, she received a bill in the mail.
The bill said she owed $85 for overstaying in the parking lot. In the letter, it shows if she paid within two weeks, her total would be $45. The bill would be passed down to collections if it was not paid off. At first, Allen thought it was a scam.
"I was left really confused if I should pay it," Allen said.
Turns out, the bill was from the Professional Parking Management Corporation. According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has a poor rating and more than 600 complaints involving billing and collections. To Allen, this reflects poorly on the city.
"You get a ticket, you get towed or you get booted. You don't get a whopping bill month later," Allen added.
City officials told First Coast News they have, in the past, tried to distinguish which parking spot is public and private for people. In a statement the city of St. Augustine wrote the city "does not control the management and operations of privately owned and operated parking. Since the private companies cannot write a "ticket", the invoice that they issue is a private civil matter between the parties and is not a city-issued citation."
"Read all the signage, don't get yourself caught up in this predicament," Allen suggested.
She is still unsure if she should pay the bill. Allen said she reached out to her lawyer for advice.
First Coast News reached out to the company for comment, but it has not responded.