Refund on towing fee related to dismissed parking ticket

mike613ottawa
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Refund on towing fee related to dismissed parking ticket

by: mike613ottawa on
Mon Jun 30, 2014 3:33 pm

Hello,

My elderly mother received a city bylaw ticket (Ottawa) for parking on private property. A tow trunk was at the scene to tow the vehicle, and they charged a "drop fee" to unhook the vehicle right away. The bylaw officer who issued the ticket was present and said that the ticket would get dismissed in court (as it was issued in error), and that there should be a way to apply to get the tow fee reimbursed once the ticket gets dismissed.

The ticket has since been dismissed in court. I called the city on her behalf to inquire regarding reimbursement of the tow charge, and the clerk said it has to go through small claims court (which would cost more than the cost of the tow fee).

Can anyone confirm if this is true? I would have thought the city would have an internal process to deal with these things.

I appreciate anyone's help/insight.

Thanks,
Mike.


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highwaystar
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by: highwaystar on
Mon Jun 30, 2014 5:24 pm

Unfortunately, small claims court is the only way to obtain recovery. You would have to sue both the City and the tow company. You'd also have to subpoena the by-law officer (who made the comments that it was an error) and the tow truck driver (as a witness) (and pay each a $6 witness fee!) to establish your case. So, in addition to paying your $75 filing fee, plus the $100 (trial setting fee), you'd already be out of pocket $187, not even factoring your time, expenses, photocopying and/or process serving fees (if you didn't serve individuals yourself).

I don't know if you are prepared to pursue the matter given those expenses and aggravations, however, it IS likely that the city would settle the matter if you can properly establish your case. If so, you'd get your costs/expenses back, but not your time.

Keep in mind though that if you ARE going to sue, you MUST put the city on notice within 10 days of the event causing the loss. That's a requirement under the Municipal Act. So, if more than 10 days have gone by, your opportunity to sue may have already been lost. If you're within the time frame, then put the city on notice right away and see if you can negotiate a resolution without having to sue.




Stanton
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by: Stanton on
Wed Jul 02, 2014 12:00 pm

That's ridiculous. I get that the tow truck company will want to be paid for the work, but it should be billed directly to the city since it was their error. Was it an actual city bylaw officer? Or someone acting under authority of the property owner? Some of the private parking enforcement agencies are somewhat sketchy.


iFly55
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by: iFly55 on
Thu Jul 03, 2014 3:46 pm

Some private property locations have different enforcement protocols: ticket everyone, tow everyone, tow on repeated offence, never tow. Unfortunately, this seems like rotten luck for you.

We had a similar situation, where a resident from a condo parked in their designated spot. Unfortunately their vehicle wasn't registered in the private security's parking logs nor did the resident display any parking-permits. Security issued P.O.N. tickets everyday for a week, and also registered incident reports to the property manager. Property manager supposedly reviewed each report and completely ignored it. On day seven, the vehicle was towed. 2 weeks later, the resident returns from vacation to learn his truck was in an impound lot. Ultimately, the property manager had to pay for his tickets/tow/impound fees. Security was advised to never tow from that location, and continue writing tickets everyday.

You'll have to find out who made the error here, and make them pay. It may not necessarily be the city by-law officer. 99% of the time, when they issue tickets on private property they take detailed notes because it's basically the complainant/property-manager's word. Especially if the ticket was, "Park without owner's permission".


mike613ottawa
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by: mike613ottawa on
Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:51 pm

Thank you for all your replies. To be clear, the error wasn't made by the bylaw officer (who does work for the city), but by the landlord who had erroneously registered two vehicles in one spot - sorry for the confusion. This was immediately resolved at the scene, at which point the bylaw officer suggested to take it to court to get it dismissed as it was quite clear what happened (he called his supervisor to see if the ticket could be revoked immediately but was told it HAD to be issued to have allowed the tow truck to hook up).

It seems like if anyone should compensate the drop fee, it should be the landlord, not the city.


argyll
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by: argyll on
Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:57 pm

File a complaint with the city. No ticket HAS to be issued especially if the ticket issuer doesn't believe an offence has occurred. The manager did this to cover his ass only so that the city didn't have to pay the bill and to leave you on the hook for it (excuse the pun).

I'd be filing a complaint against the manager. The dispute is between the city, the tow truck driver and the manager and you should not be involved at all.
Former Ontario Police Officer. Advice will become less relevant as the time goes by !


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by: Radar Identified on
Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:55 pm

argyll wrote:File a complaint with the city. No ticket HAS to be issued especially if the ticket issuer doesn't believe an offence has occurred. The manager did this to cover his ass only so that the city didn't have to pay the bill and to leave you on the hook for it (excuse the pun).

I'd be filing a complaint against the manager. The dispute is between the city, the tow truck driver and the manager and you should not be involved at all.
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* The above is NOT legal advice. By acting on anything I have said, you assume responsibility for any outcome and consequences. *
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