May 26, 2024 at 3:46 am

After Being Unable To Afford An Expensive Parking Permit, Student Finds Loophole That Gets Him 4 Years Of Parking Without Paying A Cent

by Ryan McCarthy

Source: Reddit/AITA/Pexels

Any car owner knows the worst places to find parking. Any city, of course, is first. Then sporting events. But the granddaddy of all parking headaches? School!

It started with the high school parking lot, where 1,000 inexperienced teenagers were all scrambling to get home at one time.

But the worst of the worst is college, where you can either buy a ridiculously expensive spot or take your chances and spend 30 minutes each day to find a spot on your own.

But this user got around that through exploiting a loophole in his school’s ridiculously complicated parking system, and ended up with free parking for four years straight!

Check out the unbelievable way he did it!

Best revenge is four years of good parking?

Once upon a time I was a sophomore, living in an awful college-owned apartment building on the edge of campus.

This was a private school and most of my classmates were wealthy but I was not. I was working 3 jobs and taking full time classes.

I managed to buy a car over the summer, but right before the semester started it broke down.

I had no money for the repairs, but I did know a local mechanic who kind of took pity on me and let me keep the car in his lot while I scraped together enough money.

So at least I didn’t have to pay to park or store it. It took me until early November to get the money together, so most of the semester.

Once OP had his car back, he had a bigger problem: parking!

When the car was finally repaired, I went to the Public Safety office at school and asked about registering my car so I could get a spot in my building’s lot and a permit to park on campus.

I expected this to be straightforward. Unfortunately, this was the beginning of a gigantic mess. The guy at the desk said he couldn’t give me a spot in my own lot because it was full.

But he could give me one in the lot for an off-campus complex that’s like a thirty minute walk from my apartment, in the opposite direction of all my classes.

I said thanks but no thanks, and made a mental note to figure out my own parking solution closer to home, and moved on to the next thing – a permit to park on campus for classes.

But it turns out that getting a permit to park in the commuter lot was an even bigger headache than getting a space in the residential lot!

But this was a non-starter. Without a residential parking spot, I could only register to park in the commuter lots on campus.

The commuter permit was like 5x as expensive as the residential ones, I guess because the lots were bigger and closer to buildings.

So while this guy clearly thought he was doing me a favor by offering a residential student a commuter permit…there was just no way I could afford it.

So with no other options, OP reconsidered getting a residential permit…

In desperation, I was like…ok. Give me the off-campus spot 30 min away, so I can at least get a residential campus permit for classes.

We start down that path and he quotes me the cost. It’s well over twice what I expected. I’m like, what??

Turns out, because it was so late in the semester, any new cars had to be registered for the next semester, too, paid upfront.

Also, I had to pay the permit fees for the entire fall semester – nothing was prorated.

But the fees didn’t stop there!

Of course, registering a car late had a fee that grew for each week of the semester that had already passed, as a penalty for supposedly parking without a permit prior to registering.

This could only be waived if you could prove that you’d just bought the car, which of course I hadn’t.

On top of all that, registering a parking spot for a building you didn’t live in also had a fee attached to it.

And last but not least, in order to put myself on a waiting list to possibly get a spot in my own lot for the spring semester, there was yet another fee.

Exhausted, OP decided he would just pay whatever fee came with parking in the commuter lot without a permit…

At this point, I’m beaten down by the impossible, exorbitant, expensive maze of nonsense. I just hand the blank paperwork back to the guy and walk out in a daze. Almost in tears.

I’m already late for class, so i’m like, screw this. I drive to the building and park right in front of the door in a commuter lot.

I assume i’ll eat the cost of a ticket. At this moment I don’t care.

Luckily for OP, that ticket never came!

But nothing happens. Still feeling tired and defeated by life, I drive to my apartment building after class and park in a guest spot.

Again the next morning, no ticket, no nothing.

So, I decide to basically just ride this out, buying myself time to work out a better solution.

As nice as it is, good luck can’t last forever, and OP soon had his first ticket!

About a week later, I got my first campus parking ticket. Having never had a car on campus until recently, I’d also never seen these tickets before.

Right at the top in bold letters: “Students staff and faculty: return payment for this ticket to xyz office. If you are a guest, please ignore this ticket and enjoy your visit.”

I had a sudden thought – no one knew this car was mine. I had never registered it with the school, so it wasn’t in their system.

Maybe I could get by pretending this car belonged to a guest for the rest of the semester. It was only a couple weeks.

But the end of the semester brought a troubling realization for OP!

In the final days of the fall semester, I learned that after five unpaid tickets to the same car they run something to figure out who the owner is. Busted.

I got a letter in my campus mailbox reprimanding me for having unpaid tickets.

I was kicking myself, assuming I’d stupidly caused additional expensive grief, deeply regretting the dumb things I did because I was broke.

That is, until OP read the end of the letter!

However. Pushing through the panic, I read to the end. Interesting. This was clearly a form letter, which assumed the student car in question was actually registered on campus.

Turns out the penalty for having five tickets is that those tickets convert into a two-week permit suspension. Or, you can pay a fine to end the suspension sooner.

So…five tickets automatically convert into a suspension. Of a permit I don’t have anyway. If I park a car while suspended, I get a ticket.

So what this letter is telling ME is that I’m essentially just in the same situation I was already in regardless – I’ll be ticketed if I park in campus.

Except that also, I no longer owe the school money for these tickets. I just need to serve out this “suspension” of my non-existent permit. I accept their terms.

But by the time OP did actually have money for a permit, the consequences of his parking caught up with him!

A couple weeks later I’m getting ready for spring semester. Still basically broke, but I scrabbled together enough for the parking spot and the permit.

I go down to public safety to register my car like a good citizen.

However, I learn that because my “registration” was suspended last semester, I’m now at the end of the list for a spot in my lot, so there’s no way I’m getting one.

Also, this is now the point where the unpaid tickets do actually have to be paid – as a fee, which has to be cleared to activate my registration.

If I can’t pay that by the start of the semester, I’ll also start incurring the other weekly fee for registering late.

So essentially OP’s parking situation was back to square one!

I’m basically going through round two of the same terrible runaround from last time. I feel like I’m losing my mind, and I’m still traumatized from the first experience.

Everyone else was just waltzing in with their parents, talking for two seconds and swiping a credit card.while I’m over here on my own feeling poor and humiliated and alone in the world.

I can just barely afford this registration to begin with, and these fees put it totally out of reach.

So once again, I walk out without it, super pissed about how expensive and annoying they’re making this.

And OP realized any chance of registering his car at this point was absolutely hopeless!

I realize these fees are just going to continue snowballing and I’m not going to be able to register my car this semester, either.

I accept my lot in life. So begins the cycle, which continued for the rest of my college career, of me not registering my car and just parking wherever I want.

Eventually I rack up five tickets, I get the form letter, the tickets are converted to a fee, applied to the cost of my next semester’s registration, and my “parking permit” gets “suspended”.

After three suspensions they suspend my permit for the rest of the semester.

Strangely (and fortunately for me) as long as I never register my car, it seems that I never have to pay the tickets or the fees they turn into.

But after 3 years of living outside the parking law, nothing was stopping OP!

Towards the end of the fall semester of my senior year, shortly after my imaginary permit was given its third semester-long suspension, I received a new letter.

This one says I’m prohibited from registering a car on campus the following semester because I have too many suspensions. So (as usual), I don’t.

And I continue parking wherever whenever. About three weeks before graduation, I got a final letter – this one delivered on my car, with a ticket.

It is not a form letter. It has “please just stop” handwritten on the outside of the envelope.

It says I’m banned from ever registering a car on campus, in any future semesters, because of “an egregious number of parking violations”.

I laugh, graduate, and live happily ever after.

Never ever paid a cent.

OP is the type of person who is the reason a rule gets changed, but I guess his school was too lazy too ever do anything about his flagrant disregard for their parking system!

Reddit loved seeing OP exploit the peak of bureaucratic incompetence!

Source: Reddit/AITA

And after reading OP’s confession, many felt comfortable coming out with their own parking crimes.

Source: Reddit/AITA

But at other colleges, the parking enforcement wasn’t quite so lenient!

Source: Reddit/AITA

And finally, this user even recalled a tour guide telling the group about how to cheat the parking system!

Source: Reddit/AITA

Who knew free parking was so easy to get?

If you liked that story, check out this post about an oblivious CEO who tells a web developer to “act his wage”… and it results in 30% of the workforce being laid off.