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1010 WINS Exclusive: Parking Ticket Blunder Costs NYC $26 Million

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- The city has dismissed or issued refunds for hundreds of thousands of parking tickets -- and has lost millions of dollars -- due to an error in how a violation code was printed.

As 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria reported exclusively Monday, the New York City Department of Finance discovered earlier this year that a change in the parking ticket rule for failing to display a Muni Meter receipt, or having an expired receipt, had not been applied to the tickets that had been issued.

The violation code had changed by one number, from traffic rule section 4-08h10 to section 4-08h1. But since the wrong violation code appeared on the tickets, the tickets are "in effect," defective, a department spokeswoman told 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa.

To correct the error, all the drivers who had been ticketed with the wrong code were either refunded or had their tickets dismissed.

Parking Ticket Refund Letter
Drivers in New York City received these letters announcing a refund or dismissal of their Muni Meter parking tickets, due to an error in the code violation that was displayed. (Credit: 1010 WINS)

Drivers received letters that read in part: "We are writing to inform you that a change in the New York City Traffic Rules, the summons(es) issued to your vehicle(s) for either failing to display a parking meter receipt or displaying a parking meter receipt while parked in a parking meter zone contained an error and will be administratively dismissed."

Deputy Department of Finance Commissioner for Treasury and Payment Service Jeffrey Shear told D'Auria that consumers have to have confidence in the system, and thus, the department willingly made refunds – even for bad checks.

"It's really important for us to be fair," he said.

Shear said the department realized over the summer that a half million parking tickets were faulty.

The department said out 400,860 refund totaling about $18 million, and 106,808 dismissals totaling about $8 million.

Shear said it is the third time this year DOF sent out big ticket refunds.

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