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Believe it or not, if you try to pay a parking ticket that’s older than 75 days, the city will not take your money.
If you try to pay on the city website — www.toronto.ca/parkingtickets — not only will you strike out, it will provide absolutely no information on why it refuses to allow payment of the ticket.
Only those persistent enough to call the city’s parking ticket services number — 416-397-8247 — will learn that the fine can only be paid to the province, and only when they renew their licence plate sticker.
And if you wait long enough talk to someone and ask how anyone would know about the 75-day limit, maybe you’ll get the same condescending lecture we did: “If you don’t know, that’s your problem.
“Sir, do you understand due dates? If you had paid your ticket on time, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.”
In April we were dumb enough to get two parking tickets, both with a set fine of $ 30, and forgot about them until August, when it was time to renew our plate sticker. By then the fines had ballooned to $ 86 apiece.
So we tried to pay them online. Even though it confirmed the tickets were unpaid when we entered the infraction number, it would not take payment and continually cycled back to a notice to enter the ticket number.
That’s how we ended up talking to Mr. Courteous, after 30 minutes or so on the website and waiting for someone to pick up the the phone, who clucked and scolded us as if lecturing a child.
It seemed inconceivable that the city would refuse to take money it is owed, and no less unlikely that it would not make it clear to people who owe it that after 75 days, it would no longer accept payment.
We scoured the parking ticket pages on the city website and found not a peep about it. An examination of both sides of the tickets showed no such information. Likewise for the “notice of impending conviction,” which arrived in the mail and detailed how the fines would grow from $ 30 to $ 86, but said nothing about the 75-day payment period.
We think it should be made clear that anyone who tries to pay on the city website after 75 days is wasting their time. And what about those who go to a parking tag operations office and stand in line, only to be told at the counter that their payment will not be accepted?
Another angle to consider: If someone who renews their sticker for two years gets a ticket soon after and fails to pay within 75 days, the city will have to wait most of the two years to get its money.
That’s just plain dumb.
STATUS: Susan Pape, a spokesperson for revenue services, put the blame on the province, emailing to say the Provincial Offences Act prescribes the rules on ticket collection and the extra charges added to the set fine. Okay, but why isn’t the 75-day limit clearly communicated in every possible way? Pape replied that “This information is not currently specified on parking tickets, the City website and Parking Ticket counters because it is provided directly by mail to those individuals who do not pay a parking ticket 15 days after the date the ticket is issued. The City website and the parking tickets do specify that failure to act will result in a conviction which carries additional fines and fees.”
We think the city should clearly state on the ticket, on its website and at parking tag operations counters that payment will not be accepted after 75 days. But it doesn’t.
Why waste the time of people who want to pay, even if they’re late?