UW Madison parking police collecting on old tickets

Parents forced to pay up years later
Posted at 12:07 PM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 13:07:42-05

When the University of Wisconsin class of 2014 jumped around on graduation day, they left campus with memories to last a lifetime.
But Kyle Peterson drove away from Madison with something he apparently forgot -- a parking ticket written during his final days on campus.
"I'm sure that piece of paper ended up in a pile that got tossed and forgot about," said Kyle's mom, Ellen Peterson.

Ellen knows about this ticket because over the summer she got a letter from UW Transportation Services.
They, too, had forgotten about what happened to Kyle on May 12, 2014.
More than three years later UW's memory was jogged by what a customer service agent at Transportation Services called an "audit" of unpaid tickets.

Since the car was registered to Kyle's mom and dad, they were on the hook, but they were not convinced.
"We kind of sat on it because we really weren't sure what exactly was happening with it. We didn't really know at the time it was legit," she said.
Sitting on it was the wrong call because UW's parking police really wanted their money.
Within a month, the Petersons got another letter saying their vehicle registration was suspended and their license plates canceled.
All because UW Madison wanted their $65.
Ellen Peterson could not believe it.
"And that's when I got a little sassy and said it took you three years to send us a ticket and I get one month to respond," she said.
The I-TEAM asked UW what prompted such fast action on a long-forgotten parking ticket.
In a statement, it said the aggressive action was the result of a "new matching process started this past summer.
As for the three year gap, "for some cases, the matching process is manual, which can add to the time delay."     
"You can't come to me three years later and then back me against a wall and say pay it or else," Ellen Peterson said.
But that's exactly what happened.
Faced with the prospect of driving illegally, Peterson paid the old ticket. Though she faults UW for not sending her a letter until four months ago.
"That's our point. Even if they sent it to us in August 2014 and it was late, I would have paid the late fee, because that was legitimate," she said.
After some arguing, UW did waive the $10 late fee, though Peterson did have to pay the $15 penalty that comes with reversing a suspended registration.