Complaints continue to pour in from people who say they're unfairly getting bills in the mail from Parking Revenue Recovery Services, a parking collections company that works with lots across the Denver metro area. The lots are monitored by cameras that track moment when someone enters with their vehicle or leaves. Several months ago, CBS News Colorado started hearing from people who say they got billed even though they paid or never even parked in the lots.
At the time, the Colorado Attorney General's Office told CBS News Colorado they had received a large number of complaints and worked out an agreement with the company to stop what they called "deceitful tactics."
Now, months after that settlement was reached consumers are again raising concerns saying they are experiencing similar issues and feel the collections process feels "predatory."
Anna Peters is among them. She thought the parking space she found in downtown Littleton was a steal.
"It's very busy downtown at lunchtime," she said.
She paid, had lunch, and then left without thinking much more about it.
Max two or three hours and it was only like $2.50 to three bucks, reasonable." she said.
In downtown Denver for a friend's celebration, Gabriel Manzanero didn't have the same luck. He ended up paying $50 for two hours of parking.
"I had paid my two hours and was back in my car and out of the spot by the time," he said.
But he said he took a few minutes before exiting the lot.
"I was trying to figure out the best way to go to, where I was headed to next," he said.
Retired Denver Police Officer Juan Maldonado drove downtown to receive a proclamation from the city for his 33 years as a cop. The spot he chose was about convincing his wife who had just undergone hip surgery.
"Parked in the parking lot paid for my parking left and I don't know why but I didn't put enough cash in, I thought city council would have gone a little bit faster," he laughed.
He didn't make it back before time expired and thought he could pay for the additional time, but it wasn't an option, he left expecting a bill in the mail but was shocked when he heard from PRRS.
"92 bucks, outrageous!" he said.
Manzanero got a similar notice with pictures time-stamped showing when entered and left the lot, not the space.
That extra time deciding where to go would cost him.
"It was a $110 that they were charging me," he said.
And Peters noticed… well it had photos as well. One shows her entering the lot and then what appears to be the exact same photo they say shows her exiting the lot, more than three hours later.
"They take a really long time to get back to you and then when they did, they didn't actually answer anything, they didn't send any evidence they just said we will give you a discount," she laughed.
While the three of them have never met, they and several others who sent in questionable tickets to CBS News Colorado share the same concerns about the fines, the legitimacy of those tickets, and the process for collecting.
"I know people that that that if they got a letter like that they would just freeze, and they would panic," Manzanero said.
"It's bullying, it's fear," Peters said.
"It reeks of pressure," Maldonado added.
A similar finding was made by the Colorado Attorney General in 2022 when they notified the company to stop what they alleged were tactics that violated the Colorado Consumer Protection Act.
In August, PRRS reached an agreement with the Attorney General's Office while it denied any wrongdoing, it agreed to refund those mistakenly charged and expand its grace period to 20 minutes.
Part of the agreement is to submit quarterly reports to the state detailing consumer complaints related to three issues: wrong license plate, wrong person and grace period issue, the first of which is expected to be made by the end of November.
The agreement was an attempt to stop what the state called "deceitful tactics" and Attorney General Phil Weiser said under the agreement it must change its practices.
"They are on notice, that if they don't change their practices, we are watching," Weiser told CBS News Colorado at the time.
Consumers like Peters, Manzanero, and Maldonado believe little has changed and are fighting back.
"You want to take care of your community and your people and it's not right the fact that they have gone through this this settlement they have had their hand slapped and they continue to do this, it's not right," Peters said.
They wonder how many more have stayed quiet.
"I think something more needs to be done, because they're out of control, and they're clearly not stopping. They clearly don't care about that warning," Manzanero said.
They're calling for more oversight and worry without it the cost to our city will be far greater than any dollar amount.
"Never, again. I will never come back downtown," Maldonado said.
The Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit investigates these complaints and while it couldn't talk specifically about PRRS it answered some general questions like who sets those fines.
A spokesperson says it depends on the facts in the case and while there isn't a cap they could be regulated if unfair.
An interview request to the company owner went unanswered. However, the company previously said it does not admit to any wrongdoing and said it was working to develop a call center to help handle complaints.
Those we spoke with say connecting with the company about concerns remains the biggest hurdle.
If you think you may have received a ticket by mistake you can make a complaint by visiting stopfraudcolorado.org.
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