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Empire Parking Services / Fraudulent Vehicle Booting

Atlanta, GA, United States Review updated:

My car was booted on 12/4/2011 at the EPS parking lot at 880 Peachtree St. NW even though I had paid the $5 parking fee. Had to pay $75 to remove.
On December 3, 2011 at 9:30 p.m. I parked by 2001 Honda Civic, NC license ZSB 7664 in space 14 of the EPS lot at 880 Peachtree St. NW in Atlanta. I didn't have a $5 bill to place in the payment box, so I went into the bar of the Renaissance Hotel and made change. I came back out, folded up the $5 bill, and inserted it into the slot. The next morning when I came outside, my car was booted. I called the number EPS gave, and employee 102, Kevin Sawyer, came to the lot. He was extremely unhelpful and rude and accused me of placing the $5 in the slot that morning, after he booted the car, to make it look like I'd paid already. (My $5 bill was still clearly visible in the slot.) He refused to show a video of my supposed non-payment. The lot had no surveillance camera to prove I paid the night before.

I called the police. The officer told me he sees fraud like this from parking companies all the time and that he was confident I was telling the truth, but that there was nothing he could do. Kevin returned and was suddenly able to produce a video when the officer demanded it. The video does indeed show the receptacle for slot 14 inside the payment box empty - however, that's because I paid with a $5 bill, not coins. It does not show the slot itself empty. Coins would have dropped into the receptacle for my space, but a bill remains lodged in the slot above. Kevin said that's true, but that's why the payment box has a lever he can pull that will dislodge the money from the slot and make it fall down into the individual payment box for each space. The officer asked him to demonstrate. So Kevin opened the payment box and pulled the lever... and nothing happened. My $5 bill did not drop into the box below. And that's why the video does not show my payment - because the lever that's supposed to make the money drop into the box that he filmed does not work. Even in light of this evidence, Kevin refused to remove the boot until I paid $75.

I called EPS twice on Monday, December 5 and left messages for Chris Aughtman, who Kevin had indicated was his supervisor. He did not return my call. I called again Tuesday morning. No response. I was only able to get hold of Chris on Tuesday afternoon by calling his cell phone (I found the number on a website where he had given it after another complaint.) He insisted he'd look into it that afternoon and call me back, although he told me it was doubtful he'd offer a refund. After that, I did not get a call back, as I expected.

In the end, EPS has no way of proving that I did not pay. The video is useless, since it only shows the box that coins would have dropped into, and not the slot where my money was lodged all along. Nor did the video show my car (that I saw), so I have no way of knowing if it's even a video of the right lot. At the same time, I have no way of proving that I did pay (unless I called as a witness the concierge in the hotel bar who changed the $20 for me, and even that would only prove that I got change the night before, not that I paid.) In the end, EPS has quite the racket going. They have a lot with no camera, no machine to generate a receipt. It is possible for them to boot anyone they want and claim they did not pay. And it appears from looking at complaints online that they routinely do this. The people who place the boots on cars get paid by commission. They lure people to their lots with a cheap rate, boot out of state vehicles (because they know those people won't drive back to Atlanta to sue them), and rake in the cash. Well, I'm not going to give up. I will do whatever it takes, within the limits of the law, to get my $75. I don't care how long it takes or how much I have to spend, because it is fundamentally wrong that I should pay the parking charge and still get charged $75.

I'm thinking seriously about paying their office a visit next time I'm in Atlanta. I'm also thinking of starting a website (epssucks.com or something). I may also hang out on a sidewalk next to one of their places, tell people my story, and discourage them from parking there. If they're going to rip me off, then I have no problem making them lose some money too. I am also considering getting in touch with the media in Atlanta. And last, but not least, I am looking into hiring an attorney. I will not allow these crooks to rip me off.

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Comments

  • Ca
      Dec 15, 2011

    I was booted on 12/6/11 on Peachtree St I wasn't even inside for 10 min and there were no signs saying i could not park there. I came outside to a boot on my car. I paid the $75 with my card to get the boot removed but when i checked my account they charged me twice. Now i am getting the run around and all these different people Julia, Chip, and Joseph act as if they are going to do something to resolve the issue. Here it is 12/15/11 and I still have not received a call back. Luckily my bank will reimburse the money back to me and they will go after Empire, but nonetheless EMPIRE IS THE WORST

    0 Votes
  • Dd
      Feb 26, 2012

    I would like to make a complaint regarding a parking violation which subsequently got my car clamped which we had to pay $75 for. I would like these fees reversed and an answer regarding my complaint. I would like the fee reversed for the below reason.
    We went for dinner at Flip Burger and then drinks at Tin Lizzy's and got a ticket because we where parked in a parking slot that was supposedly for the Tuxedo Festival. However after calling Flip Burger they have advised us that the slot was also considered their space and that we should not have received a ticket. They told us to contact the issuer of the ticket regarding the fee. Please advise about our complaint and we will also be following up with Flip Burger. We have record of the date and time we are sending this email and a copy for our records if we have to take this further.

    One a side note: I have filled in all the information that I have on the receipt, as it was not completed by the employee who wrote the ticket.

    Thank you,
    Daniel

    0 Votes
  • Dp
      Mar 19, 2012

    My car was booted in a lot behind Truva restaurant in Downtown Atlanta on a 3/18/2012 Sunday night around 10pm. The lot had two payment machines, one of which with "out or service" signs. The 'working' machine would not read my credit card, and no one picked up the phone number posted on the nearby sign. I walk away (to pick up my new vehicle tag from my dad who was having dinner in the restaurant) and come back within 10 minutes to notice a boot on my car, with no notice/sticker to be found so that i know which company to call for removal. I finally call the owner of the restaurant out for help, who has no authority over the neighboring parking lot. The restaurant owner was shocked they booted me so quickly (he saw i was only there for less than 8 minutes). I find a number for EPS on a bent and scratched up sign. When EPS finally arrives, I explain that the payment machine is not reading cards and offer to demonstrate again. The EPS guy who booted me, "Tech-114" i was told, said the machine is run by another company who I would have to call the next morning when open (it was Sunday 10pm). Tech-114 did come down on the price by $25, and said "just give me $50" for the boot removal and you can call EPS tomorrow to ask for a refund. I was momentarily tired of arguing and accepted his offer. After he swiped my card, but before i signed the receipt, I asked 'tech-114' to show me where exactly he claimed to have put the notice/sticker that i had been booted. He refused to show me (because he never placed the notice) unless i signed the receipt. I finally gave in and gave him a signed receipt. He removes the boot and would not answer me when i asked him to show me where he put the sticker/notice. He returns to his vehicle - a new white Chrysler 300 with shiny 22" rims - and pretends to do paper work. Now, I'm standing 2 feet away from this driver side window, money has been paid, boot has been taken off, waiting for my copy of the paper work. I repeatedly ask him for a copy of what the sticker/notice he's supposed to place on vehicles he boots looks like since he said the one he apparently stuck on my car fell off. Tech-114 could NOT provide me with this sticker/notice because he never had one on him. At this time, Tech-114, a large 300+ pound black male, claims he feels threatened by me and asks me to return to my car. I step away 5+ yards, but do not return to my car out of concern that he'll drive off without giving me my copy of the paper work, which i clearly voiced i was waiting for multiple times. About a minute later, 'tech-114' floors the gas pedal and try's to drive away from me. I run after his vehicle and he stops since he has no where to go in the parking lot. I'm yelling for him to provide me with a copy of the paper work he spent so long filling out and entering. He takes a moment and rolls down the passenger side window to throw me a yellow piece on paper, and speeds off right away.
    I am extremely dissatisfied with the business practices of what I believe is a fraudulent company, EPS, and will be happy to support any lawsuit brought against them.
    I have several photos and video clips of the events I experienced on this night, including the chase to get my copy of the receipt.

    +1 Votes
  • Sa
      Apr 04, 2013

    My car was booted on Irby street in Buckhead (East Andrews area). My friend and I got there early, around 6:30, there was no valet, no box to pay for parking, and NO SIGNS saying we could not park there. I have been parking in Atlanta for 4 years now, and there were two of us looking for any signage or place to pay, but there was nothing. When I returned to my car that night it was booted, but none of the other cars around me were booted. The guy guy that came to take it off (who was already parked next to my car which was strange) told us that the other cars weren't booted because they paid the valet. We told him there was no one to pay otherwise we happily would have paid them. Needless to say I was forced to pay this corrupt company $75 to get the boot off. I have been fighting it ever since, but to no avail. It's obvious they are just told not to refund people's money no matter how unjust their actions were! It really makes me sick that a company like this exists in America. I will never drive to Buckhead again. Empire Parking is corrupt and gives Atlanta a bod name. I don't know who hires them to boot cars, but it's a bad idea if it's the stores that they monitor because, like I said, I wont be going back to that area again. This company in CORRUPT and needs to be taken down. I'd be happy to help in any way!

    0 Votes
  • No
      Feb 01, 2015

    We paid for 2 spots because the machine wouldn't give us change. Then were booted because the right back tire was 1 inch on the white line. When we showed the technician the receipt, he wrote "non payment " on our receipt. I asked that he take that wording off because we had a paid receipt for 2 spots. He basically said we could either pay the boot fee or not get our car... We filed a dispute online...no response.. They have no customer service and you have no choice but to pay their dishonestly written tickets... How can they continue to run a business like this that is so dishonest.

    0 Votes
  • Ka
      May 10, 2015

    I agree with these complaints. I was visiting my daughter we stopped at Starbucks on Moreland Ave after church. I am not from this area so while drinking our coffee we decided to walk around. I looked when I first parked because some signs said for certain businesses. The place I parked did not have anything. We stepped out and was just walking around the next building Junkmans daughter and they booted my car. Happy Freakin Mothers Day! Well I don't want to visit there again. They remind me of Mexico drug cartell. May be if people quit going to Atlanta let them pay all their own taxes may be they will appreciate guests and treat them better.

    0 Votes
  • Pe
      Feb 09, 2016

    I was booted at Subway on Feb. 2, 2016 adjacent to the Hookah House on 14th Street. I was a paying Subway customer. There is a sign specifically stating "2 Hours for Paying Customers." I've parked there before without incident, until this past Sunday. My car was booted. The young lady was unpleasant and refused to accept that I was a paid Subway customer. Unfortunately, I paid the $75. What I should've done was do my research there in the parking lot. FOR ALL TO KNOW: IT IS ILLEGAL TO BOOT CARS IN THE STATE OF GEORGIA!! Know the laws, because I found out after the fact. (Continue Reading and Fight For Your Rights!!!).

    The Georgia Code section that deals with alleged trespassing of cars on private property is in the real property section of the Code, OCGA 44-1-13. That Code Section allows the towing of trespassing vehicles on private property. What it DOES NOT do is allow the booting or immobilization of vehicles on private property in the State of Georgia. In other words, it appears to be illegal to boot cars in Georgia on private property. How do I know this even moreso? Because in 201l Representatives Heckstall and Fludd (Whoever they are, feel free to vote them out of office) introduced bill HB 490 into the General Assembly to amend OCGA 44-1-13 to allow the booting of cars on private property in the State of Georgia. The law has not been passed, and therefore in my opinion it is illegal to do so in Georgia. Obviously, the General Assembly, or at least Heckstall and Fludd, felt that it was necessary to amend OCGA 44-1-13 so that it would be legal, so it appears obvious that as the statute stands, it is illegal. Yet it goes on all over the place.

    In its infinite wisdom, the Atlanta City Code purports to regulate "vehicle immobilization" in the City of Atlanta and vehicle booting companies. It has requirements regarding signs, booting companies, etc. When I read this I thought, where is the enabling legislation to give this authority to the City of Atlanta? The City Code does not say when a car may be booted on private property, or put another way, what constitutes a violation permitting a boot. I searched the Georgia Code and came up empty. All I could find was OCGA 44-1-13 and the failed attempt to amend it to allow booting on private property. So unless I am missing something (I am by no means an expert in state and municipality jurisdictional relations, but I did pass the Georgia Bar) vehicle operators in the city of Atlanta are being scammed by parking lot owners and the vehicle immobilization business.

    0 Votes
  • Al
      Sep 04, 2016

    I also was booted while standing 2 cars away speaking to security for clarification about parking and I say I'M standing here, and I was told you had no business to speaking to security I also asked the group of men if they were lot attendants or worked there was told no and I need to pay 75.00 dollars and as I was leaning on my vehicle the booting guy puts another boot on my back tire I then asked for supervisor or manger name was told no and then I call number on sign and sticker got no response, so I called police explain situation officer was like they're wrong, so after calling and waiting for 1 1/2 hours them to come back because officer had too call them too the attendant was like man you know me I'M fair, so APD officer has did a complete 360 and stated he couldn't do anything, this is a scam cause the other APD officer stated they just sit and watch people get out they're vehicles and boot them please beware you never know who's !!! in on the scam

    0 Votes
  • Df
      Sep 21, 2016

    Is there a class action lawsuit or not for this company in Atlanta? Who knows the GA Laws/statutes for this illegal activity? Has anyone sued this company and won if so please state the case #. Has anyone out there disputed and received a refund? please reply to [protected]@hotmail.com

    0 Votes
  • Cp
      Jan 14, 2017

    My car was booted as well on 1-14-17 at the Starbucks parking lot off moreland are. Me and my 8 year old son were paying customers and we're in the general area when done degenerate booted my vehicle. I thought he was scamming, he flashed an ID card and represented himself to be law enforcement. I informed him I'm with my small child and he was looking at something he refused to remove boot without paying75$. I told him this is illegal I've never heard a person having to pay a fine without a chance to have a court hear both sides. This is theft, if money is not paid they keep car and have it towed 3 or 4 days later. No evidence no nothing just pay me or #### off. Like another person commented booter was mysteriously parked next to me EPS is breaking the law we all should get out money back then some and all booters past and present should be locked up

    0 Votes

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