Question: What happens if you don’t pay parking tickets you get on a rental car?
I recently rented a car from Alamo and drove it to San Francisco. I got two $62 tickets while I was there, one because I didn’t move it in the morning in time for a street sweeper and the other because I was two minutes late feeding quarters into a meter.
The amount seems so outrageous I’m thinking about just tossing the tickets. If I do, will I be sorry? — Robert, Tacoma
Answer: A couple of years ago, you probably would have been OK. Now, you shouldn’t count on it.
City governments are so strapped by the recession, many are pushing hard to collect outstanding fines from rental companies. Depending on the city and the company you rent from, you could find money for the fines deducted from your credit card, plus an “administrative fee” from the rental company.
In some jurisdictions, car rental companies are legally required to pay violations themselves. Other places let them transfer the liability to customers, which they are eager to do.
Alamo, the company you rented from, is owned by Enterprise Holdings, which also owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car and National Car Rental brands. Last August, Enterprise announced it was “streamlining” its system of identifying customers to local jurisdictions.
“We work with thousands of local governments on an annual basis to assist in the notification process,” Lisa Martini, an Enterprising Holdings spokeswoman, told The News Tribune.
If you pay the tickets like a good citizen, don’t count on your rental company knowing about it. You may still find a fee on your next credit card statement. Check the fine print on your rental agreement to see how violations are handled.
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