Rochester, N.Y. – People who park at the High Falls Garage got a surprise when they checked their bank accounts.
Greg Hunt found numerous charges for $1 to $4 debited from his account Tuesday. Hunt parked at a meter for two hours and assumed he’d been mistakenly charged $70.
“All of sudden there’s $70 missing from my account for parking at a parking meter!” he said.
City officials say it’s unlikely Hunt was overcharged for his time at the meter. Rather, he’s among numerous people who were back-charged for parking in the High Falls Garage.
Danielle Szijarto got charged more than $60 on Friday, she said. “I put my debit card in every day I had no reason to think they’re not charging me accordingly, because you put your debit card in to be able to get out of the garage.”
Szijarto and Hunt say they have coworkers who had similar charges over the past week.
“It affected a lot of people. A lot of people had to shut off their debit cards because they were charged multiple, multiple times,” Szijarto said.
An internal city audit released over the summer showed major problems at the High Falls Garage. The city switched to a new billing and payment system, causing chaos. Some customers were not billed and the city lost customer data. The city fired its parking director, Sue Olley, over the mess.
The city now has a new billing and payment system. It synced with the old one last week. The syncing process revealed numerous unpaid receipts for parking, according to Interim Parking Director Molly Clifford. Those customers were billed all at once without any prior warning to the city or the customers.
Hunt and Szijarto say they were paying all along and don’t believe they owed the city any money.
“I was charged on a daily basis and I have the charges for those days for the times,” Hunt said. “Frustrated and a little disillusioned with the quality of our parking bureau.”
“If you charge us daily, then charge us daily when we put our cards in the machines. Don’t wait and charge us three months later and then think it’s okay to back-charge us,” said Szijarto.
Clifford said no one was erroneously charged and the city will be questioning the new vendor about the sudden charges to customers. She also said anyone with questions about their bills can call 428-7986. Clifford did not immediately know how much money was billed and how many customers were affected.