GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A young driver, who says she followed directions, was charged $400 to cover a parking ticket she received in downtown Grand Rapids.
Emily Schimmelmann parked in a Holiday Inn controlled lot last month. After spending time downtown with a friend, she came back to a jarring and costly piece of plastic placed on her car.
“I was definitely upset about it,” Schimmelmann said. “Then, I was angry.”
Schimmelmann said she did everything she thought she could to prevent this. She followed the instructions, texting three letters to the number provided on the parking sign. She says did not receive a response with instructions to pay to park.
Schimmelmann showed News 8 the text message thread Monday — there was still no reply.
After waiting 10 minutes for a response, the 21-year-old said she left her car to explore downtown Grand Rapids with her friend, Marie, only to return and find a “Barnacle” suction cupped to her windshield.
“My friend Marie was like, ‘Emily, this is $400,’ and I was like, ‘You’re joking. No, there’s no way,'” Schimmelmann recalled.
But it wasn’t a joke as the general manager of the Holiday Inn confirmed that AIR PARK, the company the hotel contracts to enforce parking, owns the Barnacles.
The GM told News 8 the company charges drivers an initial fee of $400 if they receive a Barnacle and then reimburses half once they remove and place it in a Barnacle drop box.
“Luckily, I had $200,” Schimmelmann said. “If I didn’t, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
The Holiday Inn GM said she hasn’t received any complaints like this but says she would have contacted AIR PARK and advocated on Schimmelmann’s behalf had she known of the problem.
The GM added it only costs $2 an hour to park in their lot. She said it’s one of at least three private lots in Grand Rapids now using Barnacles to enforce parking.