What to Do If You Can’t Pay Your Parking Tickets

Parking Ticket
Parking Ticket

You parked your car at an awkward spot, but you wouldn’t take long. You dashed into that Mcdonalds. A few minutes later, you exited; and tucked neatly underneath the wiper of your car’s windscreen, you find a parking ticket. (Yup, we can all relate.) You realize the ticket is due in a few short days, but, shockingly, you can’t afford the payment. Then you thought to yourself, “I should really pay more attention to parking signs”. However, the deed is done. You’ve got a parking ticket and you’re short on cash. If you don’t pay on time, you will be charged a huge sum of fees; and if you default after that, you may end up in court.

What exactly can you do to avoid this? It seems an inescapable plight. But the truth is you have more options than you imagined. Here’s a few:

  1. Request for a Payment Extension: Some areas may give you a time extension if you can prove to them that you can’t pay within the timeframe. To request for a payment extension, you simply have to look at the parking ticket for a website or phone number to call. It’s best to phone in immediately so your request for extension can be processed before the due date of payment.


  1. Ask for a Hardship Waiver or Exemption: If you’re really strapped for cash, and don’t earn much at all, you can request for a hardship waiver. This means that you are asking the town or city’s parking enforcement agency to reduce the amount of fee charged on the ticket. To be eligible for a hardship waiver or exemption (which implies cancellation of all ticket fees), you must have reasonable evidence that suggests you don’t have the money to settle the ticket fee. Give the parking agency a call and try your luck.


  1. Loans from Family and Friends: Borrowing money from your family or friends should not come with any interest, except they’re quite estranged to you. If you do borrow from them, tell them the reason, and ensure you pay them as soon as possible. If you forget to repay a family or friend’s debt, you may cause unnecessary tension which may worsen if you already have an estranged relationship. Still, if you’re really strapped for cash, there’s no harm in asking family or friends to help out.


  1. Request for A Salary Advance: A salary advance doesn’t come with interest. It’s your earnings, really, just received early. Some organisations allow employees the chance to collect their next paycheck early. If you feel jittery about asking your boss for an advance, know that a late fee on your parking ticket will eventually take a big chunk out of your next paycheck, if you don’t end up in court first. So gather some confidence and go ask your boss for that advance. If you ask nice enough, you might receive the advance. Your bosses wouldn’t want you to end up in court because of a mere parking ticket, would they?


  1. Get a Cash Advance: A cash advance is a service mainly offered by credit card issuers. It allows you to withdraw cash at an ATM or over the counter at a bank up to a specific limit. A typical cash advance attracts an interest of $10 or 5% of the advance, whichever is greater. So when taking a cash advance, you should compare the late ticket fee with the interest on the advance. It would make little sense if the cash advance plunges you into a bigger debt after paying off your parking ticket.


  1. Get a Loan: if you exhausted all options and none works for you, apply for a loan. But watch your credit score, because it’s the deciding factor in the amount of interest you’ll pay. Like the cash advance, if the terms of payment don’t benefit you after you pay off your parking ticket, don’t take the loan.

In conclusion, if you had parked legally, you would never have gotten that parking ticket. Always pay attention to parking signs, else you’ll find yourself in worse conundrums. Alas, if you can’t help it, follow the guide above to help you navigate your way out of a court case if you can’t afford your parking ticket.