Parking in private Chicago lots comes with risk of getting booted

CHICAGO (WLS) -- If you're parking on a private lot, you'd better read the signs before you walk away.

More drivers are complaining about their cars being booted and the price to get that boot off is no bargain.

Private booting isn't new in Chicago, but many drivers are still shocked when it happens to them. It's happening all across the city often in parking lots shared by several stores.

Inna Pertsovsky says she thought this parking lot on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park was fair game, so she went across the street to grab her food order to go. But when Pertsovksy returned to her car, she said she saw a boot locked on her car's wheel.

"I was shocked," she said. "I'm like why? Why would there be a boot on my car?

According to signs, the lot is reserved for customers at four stores and warns people shopping elsewhere that they will be booted.

Pertsovsky said she didn't see the signs because it was dark outside. She said she paid about $170 to get the boot off her car.

"I understand this is a private parking lot, but this is the City of Chicago," she said. "Parking is not easy...but it's not fair.

According to the City of Chicago, booting is legal, but there are guidelines businesses must follow. For example, every booting company is required to post a minimum of two signs at each lot where it boots vehicles.

Each employee of a booting company must wear an ID card displaying the employee's name and the name and contact information of the booting company.

A booting company cannot charge more than $170.00 to remove a boot and a booting company is required to have available means for collecting fees via credit card.

In a statement, Innovative Parking Solutions, said in part, "I go above and beyond regulations and put more warning signs than required always. I employ 38 hard working class individuals with families to support, that take on jobs that most would not do!!! We have brought improvement to all the communities in the areas we service by deterring crime, vandalism and loitering."

They're rules that are new to some, like Pertsovsky , whose quick stop after work turned into a costly one.

"I wasn't planning to leave the car here for hours," she said. "We're talking about minutes."

According to city law, it doesn't matter if you were parked in a private lot for one minute or an hour, if you violate the lot's rules you can be booted.

These lots are all over the city. One business owner said these lots are needed. People take advantage of his business's lot and he hopes they're here to stay.

Consumers can report unlawful booting. For more information, click here.

If you have a consumer issue you need investigated call Samantha Chatman on the ABC 7 I-Team tip line at 312-750- 7-TIP.
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