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It's a beautiful day, the birds are chirping, the cars with the boom are booming softly in the distance. And then you see it: a bright orange parking ticket jammed beneath your windshield wiper.
Trust us: we've all been there.
Sometimes, we've known that we were at fault. We'd straddled the yellow, no-parking line, we didn't put enough money in the meter, we were triple-parked. But other times, we'd played by the book. We were exactly nine inches from the curb, and we'd checked every parking sign on the block to ensure that we weren't breaking any rules.
What do you do in that situation? You can't curse the officer who wrote the ticket: that's just asking for trouble. You can't just rip it up: it'll eventually come back to haunt you, and you'll end up paying the city many times what you initially owed. The only option is to challenge it in court, but that takes time, energy, and for most of us unused to standing before judges, a little bit of chutzpah.
Now, there's an alternative. According to TechCruch, a new app called Fixed will go to court and fight parking tickets on your behalf. You don't have to schlep down to city hall, you don't have to do anything other than upload a photo of your traffic ticket and answer a couple of questions.
We should point out that Fixed is currently limited to iOS devices, and the service is only available to drivers in San Francisco. However, demand has been very strong, and we'd be surprised if it didn't roll out to other parts of the country soon.
HOW IT WORKS
Start by visiting GetFixed.me and entering your email address. The app is still in beta, and demand is apparently pretty high, so there's a waiting list. Sign up now so you can be sitting pretty when/if trouble hits.
Eventually, you'll get an invitation to download the Fixed app. Then, when you find yourself on the receiving end of an unwanted parking ticket, take a photo of the ticket, upload it to the app, and enter the violation number. Explain why you want to contest the ticket -- for example, parking signs were missing or the meter was broken. Depending on the nature of the violation, you may be asked to upload additional photos.
Then, the app will match you with an attorney and calculate your odds of beating the ticket. If you chose to go through with the case, Fixed will prepare a letter contesting the ticket, which you'll digitally sign and submit. Fixed can even provide additional information about your violation that may help your case -- for example, determining if the spot where you were parked was steep enough to require you to curb your car's wheels.
And then you play the waiting game. If your attorney wins, you pay 25 percent of the ticket fee, but that cash goes to Fixed, not the city coffers. If you lose, you're on the hook for the ticket, but you pay Fixed nothing.
Is this the kind of service that you'd be inclined to use? Or do you prefer the fun of facing traffic court judges yourself? Or do you feel comfortable paying parking tickets, knowing that those tickets generate important dollars to improve city services? Make your case in the comments below.