Is it legal for a privately-owned and operated parking lot, in North Carolina, to issue a fine?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it legal for a privately-owned and operated parking lot, in North Carolina, to issue a fine?

I paid for parking in a privately owned lot in Wilmington, NC. When I got back
to my car, there was a brightly colored envelope on my windshield, containing
a ‘fine’, claiming that I had taken up two parking spaces. The parking spaces
were on gravel with cement bumpers to indicate divisions. The ‘space’ I was
pulling into, however, was already partially occupied by an SUV to the left of it.
There was not enough room for me to allow space for another car to park on
my right, and still be able to open the driver-side door. And if I had pulled in,
close enough for another car to squeeze in, I would not have been able to
open the passenger-side door either. The ‘fine’ they left demanded payment
for 2 parking spaces, about 26, with instructions of how to send money to
them. It also provided an email address for disputing the issue. I sent them a
photo showing proof of what I described, well within the required time-frame,
only to receive a response saying they want the money anyway. They claim
that all disputes are settled by a third party, but clearly it was either not an
impartial third party and/or they did not share the photograph evidence I
provided. Is this something I can just ignore there’s no legality to it in the first
place, as many articles suggest or if it is legal for them to issue fines and
judgement, what kind of options are available to settle the matter justly?

Asked on November 20, 2018 under Business Law, North Carolina


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) If you did occupy two spaces, even if you believe it is not your fault, you can be charged for two spaces--use two spaces, pay for two spaces, the same as if you get two slices of pizza at a local pizza place by mistake when you ordered one, but not return the second and instead eat it, you have to pay for the second.
2) If you refuse to pay, they could bar you from using this lot again; and/or they could try to sue you for the money and prove in court that you used an extra space and so have to pay for it; they cannot force you to pay without suing.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption