7 On Your Side helps man get parking ticket refund

7 On Your Side's Michael Finney helped a Berkeley man get a refund from the city after a judge dismissed his parking ticket fine.
A Berkeley man was able to get a judge to dismiss his parking ticket. That was the easy part, but the hard part was getting his money back.

Berkeley resident Arthur Parziale fought over a year to beat his $43 parking ticket. He parked his car on Shattuck Avenue outside an appliance store he visited and came out to discover a ticket on his windshield.

"I looked at the citation. The citation was written two minutes before my ticket had expired," Parziale said.

The ticket he is referring to is the receipt that came out of the kiosk where he paid for his parking. The citation was issued at 10:32 a.m. and he had paid for parking through 10:34 a.m.

He asked the city of Berkeley for an administrative review.

"He didn't think it was fair that he had been issued a ticket for two minutes before his kiosk tag expired," Parziale's daughter Linda Milani said.

The city of Berkeley issued a letter saying, "the citation was not issued in error" and "it is the driver's responsibility to make sure the meter is fed while in use."

Parziale was ordered to pay his fine, but was also granted a formal administrative hearing.

"Hearing judge said there was seven ways a ticket could be disqualified and I had two of the seven," Parziale said.

One reason is the ticket was issued two minutes before the meter actually expired and the other reason is the judge said the meter listed on the ticket as expired did not exist.

His ticket was dismissed and was told to expect the money in six to eight weeks.

"When he called and said that his money hadn't arrived, we were told we had to write another letter," Milani said.

So, he wrote one in December and another in March.

"We sent them one once a week for 10 weeks to try to get someone to listen and he kept a phone log," Milani said.

He says he made numerous phone calls and the refund never came, so they contacted 7 On Your Side.

We got in touch with the city of Berkeley and showed them the letters Parziale sent.

"All I can say is we have no records of receiving these letters," City of Berkeley spokesperson Matthai Chakko said.

He pointed out the letters had no address on them, so we looked into it further. It turns out Parziale was sending his letters to the address listed on a form given to him by the city of Berkeley.

The U.S. Post Office confirmed to us the P.O. Box in Irvine has been closed since April 2011.

The form with the old P.O. Box was given to Parziale in June 2013, more than two years after the box had been closed.

The new P.O. Box is listed on the city's website, but apparently hasn't been updated on all the forms.

"I don't know who he spoke with. That would be Mr. Parziale who would know that," Chakko said.

Parziale has a log of everyone he called at Berkeley's Traffic Citation Department.

"I would get the runaround. Well it will be a month. It'll be six weeks. It'll be two weeks," Parziale said.

We confirmed Parziale called the correct number which is on the same form with the outdated address, but we received no explanation of why those calls were never addressed.

The bottom line is the fine Parziale paid for the dismissed traffic ticket has now been refunded.

"9 months since the hearing and over a year since he got the ticket, he finally got back his $43," Milani daid.

The city of Berkeley now says Parziale's refund should have been processed immediately after the ruling dismissing his parking ticket. The city also says they should have acted more quickly in response to the letters and phone calls and says it regrets the errors.
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traffic 7 On Your Side parking refund Berkeley
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