Thought it was free parking

but received a 6000,<> yuan arrears bill

Survey of on-street parking charges

Investigate motivations

Recently, Ms. Hu, a resident of Pudong, Shanghai, reported that she often parked her private car in the roadside parking space outside the community, thinking that it was free parking, but after 8 months, she found that she owed more than 6000,<> yuan in parking fees. During this period, she never received a call or text message about the parking fee.

Originally a convenient on-street parking space for residents, is the charging standard reasonable? Is the charge clearly indicated? Should parking residents be billed in a timely manner? Focusing on these issues, the reporter conducted an investigative interview.

□ reporter Sun Tianjiao

□ Chen Lier, intern of this newspaper

In January this year, when Ms. Hu, a resident of Pudong, Shanghai, parked her car in a roadside parking space outside the community, she had no idea that she would receive a "sky-high fine" a few months later.

Because the parking spaces in the community have not been numbered, Ms. Hu has parked her car on the roadside parking spaces outside the community since the beginning of this year. When parking, Ms. Hu saw a QR code on the parking space and scanned the code, but she did not find the payment port on the mobile phone page, so she thought it was a free parking space.

Later, in a chat, she was reminded that she downloaded a local parking app, and after entering the relevant information, she found that from January 1 to September 17 this year, she owed more than 9,20 yuan in roadside parking fees, and every time the car entered and left the site was recorded. During this period, Ms. Hu never received a bill for parking fees, nor did she receive a reminder call or text message.

"Since it's 'smart parking', why can't we send a notification text message to our debtors?" Faced with high arrears, Ms. Hu said helplessly.

In recent years, in order to solve the problem of parking difficulties, some public roads have set up paid parking lots, and the electronic billing method "smart parking" has been adopted. However, a recent investigation and interview by a reporter from the "Rule of Law Daily" found that many people have suffered losses on the issue of on-street parking fees. For example, some car park toll billboards are obscured or not visible; Some parking lots replace electronic toll collection manually, and there is a situation of private "random bidding"; There are also parking lot parking fees that are chaotic, and there are "sky-high" parking fees.

Roadside parking frequently appears "sky-high"

In April this year, Ms. Bai, a resident of Changping District, Beijing, unexpectedly found that she had more than 4,1000 yuan to pay for a parking fee when she paid for a parking fee on the app.

It turned out that when Ms. Bai had just moved to the new community, she parked her car in a marked parking space on the side of the road outside the community. When parking, she also deliberately observed whether there were charging reminders or QR codes around, but she didn't find it, so it was a free parking space by default, and she didn't find the arrears until she checked the payment app 20 days later.

"If I had known that there was a charge for this parking space, and that the fee was so high, I wouldn't have been able to park there all the time. I haven't even received a payment reminder for so many days. Ms. Bai said that when she contacted the customer service of the app responsible for charging, the other party replied that the timer would start when the vehicle entered the parking space, and a message reminding the payment would be sent after the vehicle drove away.

What made Ms. Bai even more angry was that the toll sign for the roadside parking was very "hidden" - only one was set up at the end of the road, and it was also hidden by the branches and the surrounding buildings, which was easy to ignore.

In the end, because she was worried about affecting the credit investigation, Ms. Bai had to pay the fee on the app.

After Ms. Bai posted her experience on social platforms, many netizens said that they had encountered the same situation. Some netizens said that the free roadside parking space he had been parking before suddenly began to charge without his knowledge, and as a result, he owed 500 yuan for more than a week of parking, "There was no clear reminder when he started charging, and there was no reminder when he was in arrears."

In addition, there are many car owners who say that they are "stung" by the high charging standard of single parking on the roadside.

One morning in September, Mr. Fan, a citizen of Chongqing, parked his car in a roadside parking space when he went to play at a gymnasium in Jiangbei District. Near noon after playing, Mr. Fan scanned the code to pay the parking fee when he picked up the car, and found that the fee was 9 yuan. By the time he had to pay a few seconds later, the fee had become $42 — a time that had jumped to the next half-hour billing cycle.

"What's even more outrageous is that this charge was not informed by the public toll card or toll collector, but after I parked my car there, someone posted a note with a QR code on my car, and I only knew the charge when I picked up the car and was about to leave." Mr. Fan found this unacceptable.

Peng Qian, an associate professor at Peking University Law School, told reporters that all public roads in China belong to state-owned property, due to their scarcity, the use of state-owned land for parking is actually providing public services to the public, and it is necessary to recover the cost through user payment. Fees charged by those who use natural and social public resources.

Peng Qian introduced that such administrative fees are set by the government in a unified manner, but they should follow the principles of fairness, justice, openness and efficiency, as well as meeting the needs of social public management, reasonably compensating for management or service costs, and adapting to the social affordability. Methods such as convening symposiums, debate meetings, hearings, or soliciting written comments may be used in accordance with law to solicit the opinions of relevant sectors of society. The charging standards shall be made public, and the newly formulated charging standards shall also stipulate the trial period, and the relevant departments shall monitor or regularly review the implementation of the charging standards. If the situation changes, the charging standard shall be adjusted in a timely manner.

Unreasonable charges have been repeatedly prohibited

In April last year, Ms. Xiong from Yan'an, Shaanxi Province, repeatedly encountered unreasonable charges when parking.

According to Ms. Xiong, although the public parking spaces in her area were previously equipped with bulletin boards on the side of the road, indicating clear charging standards, there was no intelligent charging system, and they were all manually charged, and it was often encountered that the fees charged did not meet the charging regulations. "The toll collector put a note on the car with the time on it, and when they drove away, they said they had to transfer as much as they wanted."

When using a public parking space, Ms. Xiong was required to pay 5 yuan for parking for only 6 minutes, but the charging standard on the bulletin board was no charge for parking within 15 minutes, Ms. Xiong thought that there was a problem with the charge, so she reasoned with the toll collector, but the toll collector ignored it and still asked her to pay at least 3 yuan for parking. In the end, Ms. Xiong did not accept the toll collector's plan and drove away.

But then there were three or four similar situations. In a recent parking session, Ms. Xiong found that she had parked for 1 hour and 20 minutes, and at the rate of 3 yuan per hour, she was charged for 2 hours, so she had to pay 6 yuan, but she received a payment slip of 27 yuan. In the face of the angry Ms. Xiong, the toll collector couldn't say why, and finally charged 6 yuan.

Ms. Xiong was frustrated by the unreasonable charges and reported the situation on the government's website. Subsequently, the contracting company of the public parking space contacted Ms. Xiong to explain, saying that they had contracted the public parking space in the area through the government, and that charging for it was legal. Soon after, Ms. Xiong found that the public parking spaces in her area had opened a smart charging system, which charged parking fees in accordance with the regulations, and the fees were much more standardized.

Sometimes, however, "smart" systems can cause trouble.

In April this year, Ms. Lan from Changshu, Jiangsu Province, was passing through Minjiang Road to run errands, and chose to park her car in the parking space because she saw the sign at the roadside parking spot showing that the new energy vehicle was free to park for 4 hour and the parking fee was 1% off. 8 minutes later, when I picked up the car, I found that I needed to pay 35 yuan.

"I'm obviously a new energy vehicle, and the sign also says it's free for 1 hour, but in the end I still charged my money." Ms. Lan didn't understand why, but if she didn't pay for the parking space, she could only pay the fee and leave. After that, she first complained to the platform about the deduction, but the effect was not satisfactory, and then she chose to call the 12345 hotline to complain, and the relevant staff contacted Ms. Lan the next afternoon. After detailed communication, the other party said that it was indeed a problem with the system, and failed to accurately identify the new energy vehicle, and refunded the overcharged parking fee to Ms. Lan after verification.

Some time ago, Mr. Jiang, who lives in Heping District, Tianjin, received an arrears bill, which was the cost of parking the car in the roadside parking space in front of his home, and in a month, he actually owed more than 4000,15 yuan. Among them, there is a note showing that Mr. Jiang has been parked for <> consecutive days. Fortunately, Mr. Jiang has installed a camera in his window that is open all day, so that he can see the parking spot. He compared the time in the mini program one by one and found that there were some points in the toll sheet that he did not park in the parking space.

After discovering the problem, Mr. Jiang immediately called the customer service number of the parking payment platform. At first, the staff did not admit that there was a problem with the billing. After Mr. Jiang said that he had camera recordings, the staff said that the system was not accurate enough to make corrections to erroneous orders.

"This time, it happened to be within the shooting range of my own camera, and if it was parked in other areas and could not provide evidence, I am afraid it would be difficult to successfully defend my rights." Mr. Jiang said.

Peng Qian believes that the above-mentioned arbitrary bidding and charging are suspected of violating the Price Law and the Consumer Rights Protection Law. Article 14 of the Price Law prohibits business operators from "using false or misleading price means to induce consumers or other business operators to trade with them"; Article 16 of the Law on the Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests clearly states that "when business operators provide goods or services to consumers, they shall abide by social morality, operate in good faith, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of consumers; Unfair and unreasonable trading conditions shall not be set, and transactions shall not be compulsory". The above behavior constitutes price gouging or even forced trading, which is illegal.

According to Article 28 of the "Interim Measures for the Administration of Administrative and Institutional Fees," the charging units should publicize the charging items, charging standards, charging subjects, the basis of charging documents, the scope of charging fees, and the objects of charging in a conspicuous position at the place of collecting fees, and accept social supervision.

"Due to the fact that the signs are not significant, the charging standard is too high, the charging system is wrong, etc., the vehicle is charged unreasonable parking fees, which infringes on the property rights and interests of the owner, and is suspected of violating laws and regulations, the management party shall return the overcharged part of the parking fee, and the owner shall protect his rights in accordance with the law to avoid infringement of legitimate rights and interests." Wang Congwei, a partner at Beijing Jinwen Law Firm, said.

Fine management and mass supervision

In May this year, the topic of excessively high roadside parking fees in Nanning, Guangxi, was once boiling. A number of Nanning netizens complained that they parked in roadside parking spaces and charged more than 5 yuan in less than a day; Some park for one night, and the next day costs 90 yuan.

On July 7, the Nanning Municipal Commission for Discipline Inspection and Supervision notified the results of the handling of the problem of road parking fees in Nanning City, and the four responsible leading cadres were removed from their current positions, Nanning Public Transport Group Party Committee member, deputy general manager Lai Hong, Nanning Public Transport Group Party Committee member, deputy general manager Fei Jianchuan, deputy general manager of Huibo Company Chen Qinglou and others are suspected of serious violations of discipline and law, and have been put on file for review and investigation.

It is worth noting that the "Measures for the Administration of Motor Vehicle Parking Service Charges" clearly stipulates that the charging of motor vehicle parking services with the nature of natural monopoly operation shall be subject to government guidance or government pricing. The specific form of pricing shall be determined by the price departments of the people's governments of all provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities directly under the Central Government on the basis of the number of motor vehicles and the supply and demand of parking services within their respective administrative areas. In recent years, local governments have also successively issued corresponding parking management regulations and charging standards to standardize roadside parking charges. In response to the problem of on-street parking fees, Guiyang, Guizhou, Suzhou, Jiangsu and other places have improved the construction of roadside parking lots, and further implemented the "smart parking" convenience measures.

There are regulations and governance, why is the problem of on-street parking fees still frequent?

"The core problem is that the legal mechanism for the management of public road parking fees is not perfect enough, although there are some norms in various places, but the practices are different, and there is a lack of clear guidance from the upper law. More importantly, the amount of fees charged is huge, and if it is not included in the budget management, it often forms a huge temptation for some local governments, and even forms a community of interests with business entities, resulting in lax law enforcement and difficult to prosecute illegal activities. Peng Qian said.

In the view of Ren Chao, deputy dean and professor of the School of Economic Law of East China University of Political Science and Law, due to the lack of clear policies and supervision, the management and supervision standards of parking fees are not clear enough or lack of unified policy guidance in some areas, which leads to greater discretion of parking lot operators and is prone to arbitrary charges.

Wang Congwei believes that the reason is that the masses do not understand the way to defend their rights, so that chaos occurs frequently and no one knows about it. "Relevant departments can popularize rights protection to the masses through forms such as discussion and exchanges, on-site visits, etc., through online supervision and the publication of supervision telephone numbers, so that chaos can be discovered in a timely manner."

In order to standardize the chaos of roadside parking fees, Peng Qian pointed out that it is necessary to legislate to clarify that public road parking fees are administrative fees, and the central government deploys all parts of the country to carry out self-correction and self-inspection, introduces public participation in pricing, and entrusts the operation to implement public bidding, and prices and operators need to be dynamically adjusted.

"In fact, the problem of urban parking has always been a big problem." Ren Chao suggested that the government supervision and social supervision of the parking management department should be strengthened, especially for some unfair and obviously unreasonable charging items and charging behaviors to be regulated and corrected, and further strengthen the fine management of parking spaces to avoid the restriction or inefficient use of some parking space resources. At the same time, strengthen the use of big data, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and other high-tech to better solve the problem of supply and demand of parking spaces. (Rule of Law Daily)