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Oops! Parking Meter Malfunction Awards $400,000 in Free Airport Parking

December 18, 2012 at 6:54 AM | by | ()

It’s time to check those credit card statements, as there might just be a little bit of a bank error in your favor. You’re not going to get to quit your job anytime soon, but if your car has spent a lot of time in the airport parking garage over in Seattle you might have scored a pretty decent discount—as in free.

Over at Sea-Tac Airport there was a little bit of a parking glitch during the year, and the bottom line is that the airport is now short a cool $400,000 in fees and charges. As much as we want to just assume that this was a goodwill gesture—it wasn’t—and now the Port of Seattle is trying to figure out what happened.

It sounds like one of the ticket machines wasn’t living up to its potential, and when it spit your ticket back out to let you leave the garage it kind of forgot to charge your credit card. In total there were like 11,000 different cars that ended up parking for free. It was a businessperson trying to reconcile receipts for the ol’ expense department that let authorities know that something was going on. Apparently the auditors also discovered that the ticket machines weren’t usually checked to make sure they were in tiptop ticket shape—oops.

In total they’re not really sure how many visitors have scored free parking over the years, as these machines were actually installed around 13 years ago. They’ll be heading back to the manufacturer to seek some compensation over the error, and probably won’t go after the drivers who didn’t end up paying. Things are fixed for the most part now, so you might want to use the long-term lot—there’s no more free ride.

[Photo: Oran Viriyincy]

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