Private Parking Firm for NY Condo Raises Fees and Forgets to Bill Unit Owner

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A.M. from New York writes:

Dear Mister Condo,

I purchased a condo and a private company has the parking garage for the complex. Two years ago, I completed paperwork along with my credit card information to pay for 1 parking spot inside the garage. After a few months, I was not being charged for the parking and now almost two years later they want to back charge me for the months that have not been paid. They also increased the monthly parking and I never received a letter stating the new monthly rate. They are charging me for the new rate when I was never informed. Am I liable to pay for the previous months due to their error? It has been almost 2 years of not receiving a bill or charge on my credit card that they had on file. I reside in New York. Thank you.

Mister Condo replies:

A.M., sometimes a free ride is bliss and sometimes it can cost you. My guess is that the parking garage company will prevail here because you did consume the service they were offering. When you say you “completed paperwork” I assume you mean you signed a contract that obligated you to pay for a parking space for a certain amount of time. That agreement is likely going to be what gets called into question with regard to your liability for the unbilled use of the garage and the actual rate for which you agreed to pay for use of the space. However, you may have a beef with them over their business practices and their failure to bill you in timely fashion. I am neither a lawyer nor an expert in consumer law in your state so I must insist that you speak with a qualified local attorney to get a legal answer to your question. Your local department of consumer protection may also be an advocate for you. At the very least, their failure to bill you creates doubt as to the legitimacy of their claim. As for the price being raised without your notification, it is unethical but perhaps not illegal. Good luck!

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