Oh No! My Rental Car Got a Parking Ticket

Here's how to handle it if it happens to you.

My bad
While in Santa Cruz, Calif., I received a $20 ticket for parking my Dollar Rent A Car vehicle outside a metered space.

How I handled it
When I got home, I mailed a check to the city of Santa Cruz and assumed the matter was closed. But two weeks later, I received a letter from Dollar saying the ticket hadn't been paid and the company was assessing me an "administrative fee" of $25.

Digging deeper
Dollar and its sister, Thrifty, are the only two major car rental brands that charge customers a fee for passing their contact information to the municipality issuing a ticket. The others assess a fee only when the company has to pay the ticket and recoup the money from the customer.

Dollar's defense
"We process 2,000 tickets a day, and we don't have the manpower to ask customers if they paid the tickets," says Dianne Selco, a spokesperson for Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. "If the city notifies us of a citation, we assume that the customer has not paid, and we charge the fee." Though the letter Dollar sent me never mentioned the policy, Selco said the company would refund my money if I faxed a receipt or bank statement that proved I had paid the ticket on time.

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Note:This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.
 

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