The ‘unexpected’ violation fee for parking in Nashville can be 7 times the cost of parking
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - Art McDonald knows in Nashville’s Midtown area you have to walk before you can park.
“It’s a zoo. It’s a crap shoot at best,” McDonald said. “Sometimes you have to park five or six blocks away.”
It’s how McDonald and his wife, Roxanne, ended up parking at the Premier-managed parking lot on 16th Avenue South.
They immediately noticed there was no way to pay with a credit card or cash.
“We tried to download the app. That didn’t work,” Art McDonald said.
“We tried out credit cards. They didn’t work,” Roxanne McDonald said.
“Then it was scan and pay. That didn’t work,” Art McDonald said.
So, the couple went to dinner and left, expected to get a bill in the mail as there are cameras monitoring the lot.
“You fully intended to pay?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.
“Oh, absolutely,” Roxanne McDonald said.
Soon, a bill arrived from McKinley Payments for $10. But the couple was not expecting the $70.25 “violation fee.”
“I was shocked. I was absolutely shocked,” Art McDonald said.
“And I said, oh my gosh, you’re kidding,” Roxanne McDonald said.
Within the past 12 months, 130 people have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau about McKinley Payments.
The complaints almost universally are about the hefty fee, one driver writing, “How is the fine over five times the parking?”
Another driver wrote about trying to appeal the violation, “no one will answer the call.”
“The company was initially not responsive,” Robyn Householder, BBB CEO/President of Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky, said. “Which is really where the consumers were concerned. They couldn’t reach them. They couldn’t find resolution on their own.”
The BBB currently had the company on alert for a patter of concern over billing and collections.
“There’s nothing you can do. You can’t call anybody. You can’t report it,” Art McDonald said.
There are no phone numbers on the bill or any publicly listed phone numbers, only an email address.
WSMV4 Investigates tracked down Metropolis, the parent company for Premier Parking and McKinley Payments, on Second Avenue in downtown Nashville.
The company’s elevator does not allow anyone to reach the company unless you have a code.
WSMV4 Investigates did eventually reach someone by phone and were ultimately connected to a spokesman who denied multiple requests for an interview.
The spokesman wrote that the fee is “comparable to the cost of towing or booting but without losing access to your vehicle.”
Householder said McKinley met with the BBB in late August to discuss customers’ concern, and since then, the company has responded to most of the complains, but it’s unclear how many were issued refunds.
Art McDonald said he knows what he intends to do, or rather, not do.
“I ain’t paying it,” Art McDonald said.
“You’re just saying nope, it’s too much?” asked WSMV4 Investigates.
“I’m not paying it. If I have to, I’ll sue,” Art McDonald said.
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