CHICAGO (CBS) — The 2 Investigators remain on the case of the nearly $4 million the City of Chicago owes for tickets that people overpaid.
So did they?
CBS 2 Investigator Dorothy Tucker followed up Thursday night on what changes have been made – while she herself still waits for her money back.
Tucker returned to City Hall trying to get her money. Chicago owes her $110 because she overpaid a parking ticket in 2008.
It was back in April when Tucker discovered she was one of more than 55,000 people and businesses, dating back to 1990, that have overpaid the city $3.7 million dollars.
She also learned the city never notifies anyone.
“You only get notified for what you owe,” a city representative advised in Tucker’s May story.
But the city definitely knows when they owe you. When you call with questions about any ticket, a former call center employee, who didn’t want to be identified, revealed to CBS 2 what he saw on his computer screen.
“Your plate number, what tickets you have had, what you’ve paid – if there’s an overpayment it’ll show it on there,” the former employee said. “Like it’ll show as a negative balance like we owe you money.”
But the call center employee added, “We weren’t allowed to tell them.”
“It was common practice for us not to tell people they had an overpayment on their tickets,” he said.
Back when Tucker was trying to get a refund, she picked up an application in person, filled it out, and handed it in.
One of the questions CBS 2 asked at that point was people can’t just download the application from the city’s website? The city promised to add a link, which Tucker expected to be attached to the “overpaid” symbol next to a ticket description, or under “frequently asked questions.”
There is, in fact, no link at all.
So Tucker went back to city hall to get an answer from Kristen Cabanban, spokeswoman for the Department of Finance.
When asked where the link was, Cabanban said, “I don’t have the details right now, but I’m going to speak to some people in the Department of Finance.”
And she did. Later, she directed Tucker to the page where you pay tickets.
Under “related issues,” at the very bottom, there is a link to a refund application. But there’s still a question that Tucker couldn’t get anyone to answer on camera.
Why not attach the link to the overpaid ticket symbol or under frequently asked questions where it would be easier to find?
In New York City, it’s really easy to get a refund. You don’t even have to fill out an application.
As spokeswoman Kelly Choi explains in an official InformNYC YouTube video on the subject, “If you’re the registered owner of the car, the Finance Department will automatically issue a check for the overpayment within 30 days.”
San Francisco also sends a notice if you overpay a ticket, and a couple of years ago, they published a list with the names of all the people owed. It was more than $6 million.
As for Tucker’s refund, the problem is that her husband’s name is on the car, but her name is on the check. After Tucker’s questions, the city changed the refund application, adding a section where you can put in the vehicle owner’s name.
“I would like my money,” Tucker told Cabanban. “It’s $110.”
Finally, after three months and three stories, it looks like Tucker will finally get her my money. On Thursday, she got an email saying the check is in the mail.
But Tucker is still waiting for the city to add the link in the section of the website that mentions overpayments to make it easier to the refund application. So she’ll be back.
CBS 2 asked the Department of Finance how many people have asked for refunds, and how many have actually gotten their money back.
We were told the city is still adding up the numbers, so we’re still waiting for the answer. Stay tuned.