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Parking outside downtown courthouse causing frustrations

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Getting a parking ticket is always frustrating, but it's even more so if the time was actually paid for.

That's exactly what happened to one man Friday, and now he's crying foul.

Vince Lipford parked his car to head into court at 201 Poplar, and when he came out, though there was plenty of time left on his ticket, there was a boot on his tire — after he said he paid for the spot. There was one problem; the license plate number did not match up, but he said he thinks that was a set-up.

"I’m like, I paid," he said. "I’m not gonna lie, I was upset."

Lipford didn’t realize his parking receipt didn’t have his correct license plate number.

He admitted that was an oversight.

“It was close to time for my court to start," he said. "I was in a rush. I did not look at the number."

But he also thinks a man in line in front of him had something to do with it.

“He kept fooling around with the machine," Lipford said. "I believe he was trying to get closer to court date at 9:00. He was out here a while. He goes up. He pressed a couple buttons. He says, 'No, you go first.' When I go in, it didn’t ask me for a tag number. I put $8 in.”

That’s what he wanted to explain to the attendant.

While waiting with Lipford, we noticed another car in the parking lot that also had a boot. It turns out, the attendant gave that car the boot just 55 minutes after time expiration.

We wanted to ask the parking attendants about both of these situations and if they think they’re fair, especially for people going to court, which can sometimes take longer than expected.

The contractor didn’t want to explain on camera.

“Ma’am I have to work," he said. "I don’t have time to answer your questions. But I can answer your questions off film. OK?”

The contractor went on to explain the same issue. He had to boot the car because it had the wrong license plate on it, and he denied any bigger plot to cause people to have this issue.

For Lipford and even others, it still doesn’t make sense or seem fair.

"There ain't hardly no where to park in downtown," Antonio Tipton said. "You don’t know how long the judge got; how long the case may be."

“I may not be the only one," Lipford said. "I know what happened, and I know I’m telling the truth.”

In the end, Lipford paid $50 and had the boot removed.

WREG spoke with a manager from Best Park later Friday. He said the booting contractors don’t have any authority to not charge people, but he promised to refund Lipford his $50.

But as for those other practices, the manager didn’t apologize. He said they only have 13 spaces in the lot, and they need to keep them open. He said they had issues in the past with people re-selling parking tickets.

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