Woman’s Car Mistakenly Booted 4 Times Because Someone Else Has Identical Vanity Plate

bootA driver in New York City has repeatedly gone out to her car and found she couldn’t drive it because once again her vehicle had been booted due to hundreds of dollars in unpaid parking fines. Problem is, this driver says she’s never been ticketed and that she’s being punished for the bad behavior of someone else who had the same vanity license plate number.

The driver tells CBS New York that her car has been booted four times even though she has no unpaid parking fines. The city’s Dept. of Finance, which oversees parking violations, even acknowledges that these are cases of “human error.”

So what exactly is going on? It appears that this driver’s car is being confused with another vehicle that has or had the same vanity plate. How can that happen? In New York, vehicles of different types can apparently have the same vanity tags. Parking enforcement agents are supposed to check plate numbers against other known identifiers for a vehicle, like a VIN, before issuing tickets or slapping a boot on the side, but they weren’t doing so in these cases.

CBS tracked down the woman who racked up the hundreds in parking fines with the same vanity plate, and she didn’t seem too concerned that someone else was being penalized for her failure to pay.

“It’s not my problem,” said the alleged scofflaw. “I’m sorry it’s happening to her.”

In response to the story, the Dept. of Finance says it is “instituting brand new measures to reduce the occurrence of human error when booting cars that may share the same license plate combination as another vehicle.”

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.