Unfairly ticketed and towed for $187.56 by City of Burnaby in front of Ramies Restaurant

Current Status

I am scheduled for adjudication and the City of Burnaby has only sent me to collections and made no attempt to resolve it.  No matter if there is a lack of signage or their tickets are legally not valid they don’t care because they know that adjudication while likely rule in their favor (they didn’t switch to this new system to make less money).

The City of Burnaby has ignored the fact that the ticket is invalid (and that the signage is missing and I have gone right to the Mayor’s Office and Supervisor of Parking Enforcement.  The only statement I got back is that “Kingsway is signed adequately” (despite pictures to the contrary and pictures of other locations that do have signage on the merge signs) and a protest about my comment about the predatory ticket.  I think my experience to date makes the comment not only apt but completely true.  They made no attempt to resolve the issue and

The City of Burnaby was advised that their ticket is not legally valid because it only says “Kingsway” which could be anywhere and does not meet the provisions below including not specifically citing what by-law/law’s I have allegedly contravened.  Their response is that “we have the details in a database”…however the law does not make a provision for their “we have it in a database”.

Local Government Bylaw Notice Enforcement Act :
(4) A bylaw notice must contain all the following information:

(a) particulars of the alleged contravention of the bylaw in sufficient detail that a recipient of the notice would be able to identify the bylaw and the contravention alleged;

*Now waiting for a response to concerns about this ticket, the adjudication system from the Mayor of Burnaby, Deputy Attorney General’s Office and Christy Clark.  Their response if any will be posted here.   They have replied and claim that the Province has no jurisdiction over ticketing practices which is clearly not the case otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to establish a Provincial Adjudication system that municipalities use.

Video of missing signage

The only visible sign where I parked is a giant Merge/Yield sign

20140614_131851

Looking behind from the spot I parked at you just see another pole:

20140614_132044

 

Note that other locations on Kingsway have proper signage and the City of Burnaby ignored this when advised and shown the following:

 

adfabefd

 

 

Links to similar complaints about unfair/predatory tickets in Burnaby.

E-mail the following parties if you are being unfairly ticketed in BC (exclude the burnaby.ca e-mails if this is not a Burnaby ticket):

bylaws <Bylaws@burnaby.ca>, mayor@burnaby.ca, 
 richard.fyfe@gov.bc.ca, Allan.Castle@gov.bc.ca, Kim.King@gov.bc.ca, 
 Gregory.Green@gov.bc.ca, Janet.Labh@gov.bc.ca, Connie.Richter@gov.bc.ca, 
 premier@gov.bc.ca

A lunch out with the family went very wrong and unexpected when I paid for 2 hours of parking and came back to find my car missing and no visible signage about parking rules where I parked.  I had to call a taxi for my pregnant wife and tell her cousin and partner they had to walk to the Skytrain after our meal.

They should make a commercial for this:

The cost of parking was $2 for 2 hours or so I thought when the meter happily accepted it.  Dining out with the family, $65, the cost of the unfair and unexpected ticket priceless.  Embarrassment and Stress is free. $64 Ticket from the City and $108.86 for towing, $12.70 for the taxi is a priceless experience to say the least.  Some things are priceless, but the City made me pay a total of $187.56.

Excessive Fines Meant to Punish And Profit

Clearly the fines are meant to punish and to help the City and Mundy’s towing profit as $187.56 represents more than the average person’s salary per day, this is practically thievery.

Missing Signage Causes Huge Losses To Unsuspecting Parkers

It was only when I walked back to the car that I saw a sign facing the opposite direction that said no parking from 3-6PM.   The only visible sign from where I parked is a yield/merge sign.   I have no idea why the sign was not visible from where I parked nor was it in front of where I parked.

I am not the first victim, there are approximately 10 from that area per day.

The taxi driver says he sees this all the time in the area I am in and the Tow-Truck company said the same thing and they both said it’s because of missing signage that the City is able to take advantage of people this way.   I really doubt this is an accident, rather it’s an unfair money maker and cash cow for the City at the cost of me and others.  Clearly I am not the first this happened to and the City should be held accountable for improper signage that is costing residents and visitors to the City.

The cost of a failed dispute with The City of Burnaby

To add insult to injury the only way to appeal this unfair ticket is to risk being fined an extra $25 if the adjudicator disagrees with me and guess who the adjudicator works for?  The Province’s adjudication system is connected to the municipalities so the adjudicator cannot be expected to be completely unbiased but hopefully they are people too and hopefully they are fair (just for the sake of interest I’ll try and place a FOIP request to find out how many tickets are successfully disputed).  I will be updating here and will make it my goal to help others and report other issues like this Canada wide.

I will post my dispute with them and the result and if I am not successful then I will file a Small Claims suit against them for the costs and other damages due to this distressing and disturbing incident.

Click here to file a Small Claims case (this is the form you submit to your local Provincial Court):

 

Proof of the hefty and punishing fines

BurnabyTowingComplaint-Mundys-Edited BurnabyTowingComplaint-Mundys-TicketFront-privacy

Updates

2014-01-22 – Acknowledgement of dispute

 

2014-03-12 – Sent to collections

I was shocked to find out I was referred to Burnaby’s collection agency in order to pressure me to pay the ticket despite me waiting since January to hear from a “Screening Officer”.  To their credit after a few e-mails they did sort the issue out.

Please be advised this notice has been blocked for dispute.  This was an oversight on our part.  CBV collection agency has been notified NOT to collect at this time.

2014-04-10 – Screening Officer Contact

Contrary to their initial response the Screening Officer is making no attempt to resolve the ticket but is only trying to get me to pay the fine.

In reading the correspondence it’s very clear Burnaby is not concerned about the predatory ticketing practices and I will post more of their responses as I receive them.

This email is to advise you that the City of Burnaby has received and processed your Adjudication request on the aforementioned Bylaw Violation Notice.

All Traffic Bylaw Violation Notices in the City of Burnaby are heard by a provincially appointed Adjudicator.  The Adjudicator, upon hearing the evidence presented by the disputant and the City of Burnaby, can only render a decision as to whether the offence did or did not take place.  The Adjudicator cannot modify the offence or penalty.

If the Adjudicator determines the offence did occur a $25.00 Adjudication fee will be added to the penalty which is due and payable immediately.  If the Adjudicator finds the offence did not take place the bylaw violation notice, and all associated penalties, are cancelled.

If you wish to proceed and present your dispute before an Adjudicator, you have the option of presenting in person, by phone or by written submission.  Your written submission is required two weeks prior to your scheduled hearing date.

If you wish to pay your bylaw violation notice please respond by email to: privacyrespected@burnaby.ca ensuring the Bylaw Violation Notice, Licence Plate and your name are included in the email.  The reduced fine will be available for seven days from the date this email was sent; if no payment is received the outstanding full fine amount will be forwarded to a collection agency.

If no response is received within three days of this email being sent, a Screening Officer will make one further attempt to contact you.  If the Screening Officer is unable to make contact with you, then this dispute will be forwarded on to an Adjudication Hearing.  You will be notified by mail of the date and time of your scheduled hearing.

Please note that the City of Burnaby does not have a one time warning policy.  Between 3:00 and 6:00pm the area of Kingsway in which you were parked is a prohibited zone, and vehicles are ticketed and towed to create a lane for the purpose of travel during peak rush hour times.  The green lamp standards indicate this restriction, as do the parking meters.  They are labeled several times indicating that it is an offence to stop during these hours, and a phone number for the towing company is also on the meter post.  Please advise if you would like to pay the fine at the lower amount of $64.00, or proceed to an adjudication hearing.

My response

I have a few concerns and questions I hope you could answer and I am also willing to cancel my dispute and all legal action if Burnaby wishes to resolve this issue in an amicable manner as I will outline and explain.

I find it unfair that the City expects a response within 3 days when I have waited nearly 4 months and have been unfairly sent to collections during this time.  If we do not reach a settlement out of court and adjudication does happen, then I would like to present in person.

I also want to clarify this is the first time I’ve had any contact with a screening officer and have not received any phone call or further letters since January 22nd, 2014.

  1. Per O. Bell’s letter on January 22nd (attached) I thought the City would like to contact me to resolve this dispute but I don’t see any indication of that in your e-mail.  Is this a separate process or department?
  2. Where will the adjudication take place and would it be someone from your department or hired by Burnaby?
  3. You say that if the Adjudicator finds the offence did not take place that “bylaw violation notice, and all associated penalties, are cancelled”.   Does this mean that the towing fee would be reimbursed to me?
  4. How long will it be until the adjudication hearing?  Would the hearing be canceled if Small Claims action is commenced before this date in the event that we are unable to come to an agreement before any adjudication hearing?

Please note there are some serious challenges with Burnaby establishing the violation it alleges against me.  My ticket and other similar issues are noted in the following websites: 

http://www.complaintsboard.com/complaints/city-of-burnaby-bylaw-violation-ticket-abuse-burnaby-british-columbia-c160363.html
http://whyticketme.com/unfairly-ticketed-and-towed-for-173-86-by-city-of-burnaby-in-front-of-ramies-restaurant/

Burnaby is in my opinion and that of others engaging in predatory ticketing practices and has been complicit in a lack of signage on Kingsway as statements from the Taxi Driver and Mundie’s towing will help establish.

I have video and pictures showing there is no visible signage a reasonable person would be expected to notice, specifically the only signage in front of where I parked is a yield sign on a post several meters away.  I have statements from relevant parties saying no one notices the parking times on the meter’s and that they believe Burnaby is aware their signage is lacking.

I also take issue with the fact that Burnaby’s parking meter’s would accept money for someone to park in areas and time’s that could result in them being ticketed and towed.

I’ve also been advised that the violation notice itself does not meet the legal standards.

The notice does not specify the area of Kingsway (which could mean almost anywhere in Burnaby) I was alleged to have illegal parked on and based on this and other issues I will be asking for the adjudicator to immediately cancel the ticket.  The exact bylaw that I was alleged to have violated is not specified as the notice mentions 3 possible reasons but does not specify the actual bylaw I am in violation of.   I believe the notice lacks “sufficient detail” per the law below.  Please note that in other jurisdictions such as Vancouver and Richmond, the violations are specified on the ticket, this would likely at the very least not stand up against judicial overview or a challenge in Small Claims or Supreme Court.

(4) A bylaw notice must contain all the following information:

(a) particulars of the alleged contravention of the bylaw in sufficient detail that a recipient of the notice would be able to identify the bylaw and the contravention alleged;

I hope Burnaby can consider the above and offer to cancel the ticket and reimburse me for the towing fee as there are many issues with this alleged violation.  In the alternative would Burnaby agree to mutually agree to forego the Adjudication if I file a case in Small Claims?  I believe Small Claims may be a better alternative for both parties especially if the adjudication process cannot address the towing fee I paid because I would still be pursuing Burnaby on that and other issues relating to the towing regardless out of the outcome at adjudication.

If Burnaby is willing to come to a resolution outside of the above process then I am willing to do so if it happens promptly.

I am looking forward to your reply as your response and timeline will help both of us come to a faster resolution of this issue.

Thank you for your consideration.

Next response

I have discussed your adjudication request with the supervisor, and he has advised the following answers to your questions…

1)       The initial contact made to disputant is via email.  The email outlines the adjudication process, and asks the disputant if they would like to proceed with a hearing or pay the fine at the lower amount.  If there is not a response to the email, further attempts will be made to contact the disputant.  In some cases it is apparent by the disputants submission that they are not interested in paying the fine at the lower amount, and files are forwarded through to adjudication.  A screener has a very limited range as to tickets they can cancel, ie…medical emergency, mechanical issues, officer error.

2)      Adjudication hearings are held at the Burnaby City Hall at 4949 Canada Way, and a Provincially appointed adjudicator overlooks the hearings.

3)      The Risk Management Department looks after reimbursement of tow charges .

4)      The adjudication hearing would take place in a few months.  You will receive a package in the mail in the next few weeks advising of a date and time.  A hearing would not be cancelled if Small Claims action is commenced.

I will advise the adjudication coordinator of your decision to attend a hearing in person.

My response

 

Without Prejudice,

To Whom This May Concern

Thank you for the prompt response Mrs Quinn.

I appreciate you bringing this to your Supervisor’s attention and hope they can offer some further clarification.

Just to clarify am I correct in reading that Burnaby is not concerned over the predatory ticketing and missing signage on Kingsway and that these unfair ticketing practices are harmful to people?

I’m concerned Burnaby is just looking at if it can get away with writing tickets to increase revenue rather than if they are valid and fair to issue.

1.) Does missing signage not allow you to cancel the ticket?  How can Burnaby issue a ticket that does not even specify where it believes I parked in violation of a bylaw?  Kingsway could be anywhere in Burnaby practically and this is all the ticket says and is certainly an error of the officer.
2.) This is another great concern I have, it can hardly be a fair system if the adjudication is not being held inside a court but rather by the same department that issued the ticket.
3.) Can you clarify if the ticket is cancelled if towing fees are reimbursed automatically?

I would certainly not park in violation of any signage or bylaw especially considering my wife is pregnant and this caused a great deal of stress on her.  It is quite the embarrassment when we had to tell her family to walk home after our vehicle was taken.

If there was visible signage I would not be disputing this ticket and I have proof there was not and Burnaby has not even clarified where and how I was parked.  I want Burnaby to understand that is why I am going to such lengths to fight this unfair ticket and Burnaby’s predatory ticketing practices that are harmful to residents, visitors and create a poor image of Burnaby.

I just want to advise that I retain the legal right to pursue Burnaby for this unfair ticketing and related damages until January 6th, 2016 and I would prefer to settle this amicably but have yet to see a gesture of good faith or will.

Full details of my issue with Burnaby can be found here: http://whyticketme.com/unfairly-ticketed-and-towed-for-173-86-by-city-of-burnaby-in-front-of-ramies-restaurant/

Thank you for your consideration.

Burnaby’s response

According to officer evidence in the form of photos the area in which you were parked was signed several times with rush hour parking restrictions.  The Burnaby mapping street level photos also show the area being adequately signed.  These photos will be included in your adjudication package that you receive in the mail for your review.

 

The adjudicator is not an employee of the City of Burnaby, but is appointed by the deputy attorney general to determine the disputes.  An adjudicator may not hear a dispute if the adjudicator has or is reasonably apprehended to have a bias or an interest in relation to the outcome of the dispute.

 

The Risk Management Department looks after reimbursement of tow charges.  You would have to contact them to obtain further information regarding issues with tow fees.

 

As requested, your dispute has been forwarded to the adjudication coordinator.  It will be processed, and mailed to you in the next few weeks.

 My response:

Here are the e-mails for the relevant parties I e-mailed:

bylaws <Bylaws@burnaby.ca>, mayor@burnaby.ca, 
 richard.fyfe@gov.bc.ca, Allan.Castle@gov.bc.ca, Kim.King@gov.bc.ca, 
 Gregory.Green@gov.bc.ca, Janet.Labh@gov.bc.ca, Connie.Richter@gov.bc.ca, 
 premier@gov.bc.ca

I would like a response to my unanswered concerns from my previous e-mails from both the following parties who I have CC’d:

  • Christy Clark
  • Deputy Attorney General’s Office including Richard Fyfe.
  • Mayor of Burnaby

Burnaby and other local government is clearly taking unfair advantage of the Local Bylaw Act and Adjudication system to increase their revenues through unfair ticketing that is nearly impossible to dispute.  I would like answers to my concerns from the previous e-mails below and believe the system itself needs to be changed back to one where the local government has the burden of proof in a court of law and not the unfair and biased system we currently have.

Burnaby’s reply hasn’t addressed most of my concerns that I’ve tried twice to get answers from.
Mrs. Quinn identified at least one reason for the ticket to be canceled and when shown how the officer made an error and how the ticket does not meet the laws of BC I haven’t received any response.

Exactly what area of Kingsway does Burnaby say I parked at as the ticket only indicates “Kingsway” as I’ve tried to explain twice?
Since the ticket and Burnaby have not specified where I parked nor the bylaw I am said have broken, any assumption about the signage being adequate on any part of Kingsway is not a valid defense for missing signage.

I also haven’t received any statement over the concerns of myself and others over Burnaby’s predatory ticketing practices.

Thank you everyone for your consideration and response.