More than 1,300 people who were improperly charged late fees on Berkeley parking tickets are in for a refund, city officials said this week.
California’s vehicle code requires cities to send a “notice of delinquent parking violation” to anyone who is late in paying their citation before they can start tacking on late fees.
But Passport, the company Berkeley contracts with to process the roughly 133,000 parking tickets it issues each year, failed to send those notices before charging 1,326 people with late fees between 2019 and 2022. The company will issue refunds averaging about $57 per citation for those fees, City Manager Dee Williams-Ridley wrote in a memo to the City Council on Wednesday.
The glitch was discovered when one of the recipients of a late fee contacted the city in October 2022 to ask why they weren’t given a warning first, Williams-Ridley wrote, which triggered a months-long audit of the citation system.
The refunds, worth just over $75,000, will be paid from the city’s Parking Meter Fund.
“The city has communicated with Passport and has been assured that their system has been updated,” Williams-Ridley wrote in the memo. “The update includes alarms that have been put in place to detect choke points for all future delinquency notices in order to prevent this error from occurring in the future.”
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