Last week, Banana Republican warned readers about a private parking lot on 17th Street and Lennox Avenue on Miami Beach masquerading as a public lot. It's even equipped with a meter that is identical to the ones used by the City of Miami Beach for street parking and public lots.
Except this particular lot is owned by private parking magnates Solomon Mayberg and Andrew Mirmelli. And if you don't pay at the meter inside their lot get ready to have your car towed by Tremont Towing, one of two companies in Miami Beach known for notoriously hauling off with people's rides to make a quick buck.
Well, guess what? Even if you pay the meter inside the lot, your vehicle might still get towed and you will have to fork over $241 to get it back. That's what happened to Eduardo A. Pagan Torres on March 26.
"I paid $5.00 to park until 10:02 pm on a Pay-By-Plate pay station located inside the lot," Torres wrote in a letter to Mayberg and Mirmelli. "At 7:00 pm my car was towed by Tremont because the receipt was not displayed in the dashboard of the car."
Torres demanded a refund of his $241, but the parking lot owners have not responded. Banana Republican could not reach either one for comment. Mayberg's voicemail said he would be out of the country until May 21. Mirmelli's phone went to a message that said he was unavailable to take calls and would not allow Banana Republican to leave a message. Representatives for Tremont declined comment.
Torres argues that when he paid the meter, the ticket read "receipt" in all capital bold letters, so the need for displaying the ticket on his dashboard was not necessary. "There are signs that all have warnings of the possibility of being towed, yet there is no warning anywhere suggesting that failure to display receipt will or may result in the car being towed," Torres wrote. "I have other parking receipts that very clearly state "DISPLAY FACE UP ON DASH" (in all capital bold letters) on the first line to make it clear, and remove all doubt that the receipt should be displayed."
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Furthermore, Torres asserts, when a parking stall has a number or charges are applied using Pay-By-Plate it removes the need to display the receipt. He notes a meter maid or parking attendant has to make sure the car has or not paid to park by verifying the license plate in the system, then make the call to report the illegally parked vehicle before it can be towed.
"I believe I should be entitled to a full refund," he says.
Follow Francisco Alvarado on Twitter: @thefrankness.