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I got $131 ticket & had my car towed despite obeying parking rules – officials admit it wasn’t my fault but I still owe

NEIGHBORS faced heightened parking fines and tow jobs after a construction company posted unclear signage.

She was told the signs were up “for weeks,” but she and a neighbor hadn’t seen them.


Amelia Cevese followed signage directions on her Oakland, CA street, but saw her partner be ticketed and towed[/caption]


Arrianna Alfonso, Cevese’s girlfriend, was ticketed $131 and towed after incorrect information was posted on a no parking sign[/caption]


The $131 fine was nearly four times the normal rate of $33.25[/caption]


Several signs on the street had incorrect information posted on them, leading to the confusion[/caption]

Residents of Melwood Avenue in Oakland, California saw construction happening on their street and didn’t think much of the noise and detours.

People’s Gas has been working to replace outdated gas lines and plans to work in the area until mid-August.

However, after residents began receiving $131 parking tickets or finding their cars to be towed, they were confused.

A normal parking ticket is $33.25 during normal circumstances.

According to Amelia Cevese, the signs posted throughout her neighborhood were confusing to her and her neighbors, as many of them had incorrect dates and/or street names.

A sign in front of her house, she said, said parking was prohibited on her street from April 8 to May 19, and she followed the rules.

“The construction was supposed to end on June 18th and the no parking ended on June 18th and then June 18th came and went… and people started slowly parking here again and they weren’t getting ticketed,” she told NBC affiliate WPXI-TV.

The confusing part for her neighbors was the fact that the street listed on the sign was for Bethoven Street, not Welwood.

Arrianne Alfonso, Cevese’s girlfriend, said she followed the rules posted on the sign near her house, not parking close to home for weeks.

Suddenly, she saw her car being towed for obstructing construction after being ticketed.

“I saw my car was actively getting towed and then I asked the towing person and also the policeman who ticketed my car if there was anything I could do, and the policeman said that these signs have been up for weeks,” she recalled.

WPXI-TV reporters noticed signs up and down the street bore inconsistent information, some signs had incorrect dates, some had incorrect street names, and some had both.

Alfonso and Cevese noticed other vehicles parking on the street after the date range on the posted signs and assumed they were safe to park in front of their homes again.

Reporters contacted People’s Gas, who promptly contacted the construction crew to have the signs corrected.

The company sent a statement to the outlet regarding the signs.

What to do if your car is towed

Wrongfully or not, retrieving a towed vehicle can be a hassle.

If your vehicle is towed after parking in a “No Parking” zone or other legitimate reason, there are a few steps to take to get it back.

Steps to take when your car is towed:

  • Try to figure out why your car was towed. Did you not see a posted “No Parking” sign? Did you miss a car payment? Did you return to a lot where you have unpaid citations? Finding the reason can narrow down the phone numbers to dial.
  • Locate the vehicle. Most states, cities, or counties require towing companies to leave some form of contact information via a posted sign or sent by mail.
  • Recovery dates and times depend on the company that towed the vehicle, but those times will be posted to the website or can be recited by a representative.
  • Pay the fees. Be careful to be as prompt as possible, as some tow yards may charge storage fees by the day.

If you feel your vehicle was wrongfully towed, contesting the action can be done with the following steps:

  • Be prompt – many states have a small window of time where it’s acceptable to file a complaint against a company that wrongfully towed the vehicle.
  • Gather supporting documents: photos, emails, receipts, police reports, and witness statements if applicable. The more evidence, the better.
  • Get familiar with your local laws, as laws for towing companies vary per state.
  • Try speaking with the towing company. Sometimes it may have been a simple oversight, and the matter can be resolved quickly.
  • Contact the Justice of the Peace in your area, as they may have more insight or resources to help. They are often utilized for towing cases.
  • Talk to a lawyer. Many lawyers have free case consultations, and depending on the case, it may be worth it to utilize a lawyer.

Source: Oregon Department of JusticeNational GeneralRak Law Firm

People’s Gas confirmed parking will remain limited until the construction is done next month.

“We will continue to do that if there is anything that we can do to clarify where the restrictions apply when they apply and make it less disruptive for residents,” Nick Paradise, a People’s Gas Spokesperson, said during a video call.

Alfonso and Cevese are sympathetic to the complications that come with necessary construction.

However, they both expressed frustration with the incorrect signage leading to tickets and being towed.

“It’s really frustrating because the only other place you can park they have North Craig closed now too, so the only place you can park is on Centre,” said Cevese.

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