Omar Villafranca, NBC 5 News
A North Texas woman paid to park at a downtown Dallas parking lot -- but paid a fake parking attendant. She returned to find a boot on her car and had to pay more than $100 to get it removed.
A North Texas woman duped by a fake parking attendant ended up paying more than $100 for a parking spot.
G'Nai Blakemore's car got booted at Canton and Browder streets near Dallas City Hall last week. Blakemore was going to a book tour event at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters and parked a few hundred yards from the location.
"I walk up to a guy who's standing there, and there's another girl who just pulled in as well," she said. "She's paying and we say, 'How much is it?' And he says, '$5 cash.'"
Blakemore said the man was holding a money pouch and wore a reflective vest just like other parking attendants. She said she didn't think twice about paying the man.
But a few hours later, she changed her mind after seeing a boot on her car.
"And I get to my car and I see a bright reflective orange thing," Blakemore said.
She called Hawkeye, the company listed on the parking lot sign as being in charge of parking enforcement. She told the man that she paid an attendant the $5 fee and even put the ticket on her dashboard, proving she paid. The ticket said "Parking Company of America," which is the lot owner's name.
"You have to have an attendant, because I paid him," Blakemore said she told the man on the phone. "And he's like, 'Nope, we don't have an attendant. And, you know, this happens all the time, but we don't have an attendant.'"
Blakemore had to pay $100 to get the boot removed, along with a $5 processing fee.
The parking lot does not have an attendant, but has a machine where drivers get their parking receipts.
NBC 5 contacted the Parking Company of America, but the company did not return a message.
NBC 5 also contacted Hawkeye Parking Enforcement. A man who said he was the acting manager on duty said he would have someone else call NBC 5 back, but the company didn't return the call.
NBC 5 did a similar story on drivers getting the boot at the same parking lot back in 2009.
Blakemore said she has learned her lesson and will look for parking elsewhere.
"If there is any opportunity to park somewhere else downtown -- even if I have to pay more to park there -- I won't deal with a company that knows something like this is going on and has nothing in place to help the customer," she said.