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  1. Parkingticket.com

    Here ya go.... Shame On You: Stalled By Parkingticket.com Shame on You rescues a Queens woman from a parkingticket.com nightmare (CBS) QUEENS Antonia Backer's nightmare began when she parked at a bus stop last year and got a ticket for $115. The middle class mother of two from Queens who works as an administrative assistant contacted parkingticket.com. The New Jersey based company specializes in fighting tickets by finding errors on them and advertises on Howard Stern's radio show. "Parkingticket.com. They have judges and retired police officers that will help you get your tickets dismissed," Stern said in a commercial for the company. The company charges half the price of the ticket. If the ticket is not dismissed they promise to refund what you paid them. "It was a gamble," said Arnold Diaz. "It was a gamble and the gamble failed," said Backer. "Big time, right?" asked Diaz. Backer agreed, "Big time". After Backer sent the company the information on her ticket they e-mailed her a letter to send to the Parking Violations Bureau. It cited a number of supposed errors including Item 3 which claimed the date on the ticket was wrong. But Backer says that wasn't true. The date was correct. Backer said she didn't want to send in something that was incorrect. "I wanted to send the right thing in, not the wrong thing," said Backer. So she took Item 3 out of the company's letter, copied it over, and sent it to the Parking Violations Bureau. She was found guilty and had to pay the $115. But when she then requested a refund from parkingticket.com she got a shocking e-mail reply. It says she violated one of the company's terms and conditions that says "customers agree not to copy (or) edit..." any part of parkingticket.com's e-mails and provides for penalties. Diaz asked, "Did it occur to you that you were violating their copyright...?" "How did I violate their copyright when I used it for the purpose of what they were giving it to me for, just that I left out those sentences?" asked Backer. Then came the bombshell. The e-mail says "In view of your unauthorized use of our property...we have charged your credit card in the amount of $5,000". "Five thousand dollars!" Backer exclaimed. "Five thousand dollars. That's too far fetched for me. Too far fetched...for leaving three sentences out of a letter, three measly sentences out of a letter, $5,000." said Backer. But that's not all. The company's letter also threatened her saying "our company employs retired police who...work with district attorneys' offices...should you file a credit card dispute with your bank regarding the $5,000 charge-- which is your right-- we will have no other choice but to escalate this matter to our Legal Department..." which "would likely act to file criminal charges against you". Backer said, "Criminal charges! I was panicking. I'm saying what's going to happen? Criminal charges. What are they going to charge me with? They're going to throw me in jail?" We wanted to speak with parkingticket.com founder Glen Bolofsky who appeared on CBS2 last year boasting about his company's success rate. "Over 70 percent of the tickets we handle are dismissed," said Bolofsky in a June 2004 interview. But Bolofsky refused to speak on camera about this case. When we first contacted him by phone, he said Ms. Backer had agreed to the "terms and conditions" which disclose the $5,000 penalty; that she should have used the company's Help Desk to correct any errors in its letter; and that what she did amounts to piracy. But late last week Bolofsky sent us a letter saying his company just discovered it had made a big mistake in Ms. Backer's case. Bolofsky says his company just found e-mails in it's files. One is supposedly from Ms. Backer last year asking for permission to edit the letter. A second email is the company's reply saying "yes" she could edit it. We showed copies of the emails to Antonia Backer who says she's never seen them before. Backer said, "If I wrote something like this I would have presented it to you to show that I did ask that question. But I didn't. I didn't write them a letter and they didn't answer me. "So what do you make of this?" asked Diaz. "I don't think they want to be on TV, that they charged this poor slob $5,000," she replied. Bolofsky says the e-mails are real and perhaps Ms. Backer just forgot about them. He wrote to Shame on You "The company regrets the actions undertaken against Ms. Backer and has already processed a full credit on all amounts charged. Parkingticket.com commends your job in seeking to protect Ms. Antonia Backer's rights as a consumer." "Once they heard Shame On You the wheels started rolling and they started figuring out, what can we do to make us look good," said Backer. While we're glad there's a happy ending we nevertheless induct into our CBS2 Hall of Shame, parkingticket.com for it's outrageous bullying tactics.
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