“I currently have $500 worth of tickets from dining in at the Petworth Wendy’s and want to make sure it does not happen to anyone else”

wendys_georgia_ave
Georgia Ave at Randolph St, NW

“Dear PoPville,

I currently have $500 worth of tickets from dining in at the Petworth Wendy’s and want to make sure it does not happen to anyone else. I was ticketed twice while eating there for $250 each. The first ticket I never even received, I only saw it online, so I do not have my receipt. The second time though, I came out after dining in and had a ticket on my car. Luckily, I had a receipt and saved it. It showed that I had gotten food less than 30 minutes before I was ticketed. I did not think to speak to the manager that day because I did not realize there was anything they could do once the ticket was issued and I had to get to class. I just saved the receipt and thought it would be easy to fight through DC adjudication services. I was wrong.

I took both my ticket and the receipt to fight the ticket in person. I was told that even though I had the receipt, Wendy’s was technically private property and so I need a letter from the Wendy’s manager stating I was allowed to be on the property at that time. I was frustrated but thought, “Ok, I have the receipt. Simple enough.” Later that day, I went to see the Wendy’s manager. I thought this would be a simple process but she was actually quite curt with me. She first asked to see my receipt but then refused to look at it. She wouldn’t even look at the ticket to check the information. She insisted that they always announce in the lobby when they are about to ticket cars. I said, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe I was in the restroom or something. I just know I was here.” She then insisted they check the restrooms too but only after I mentioned it. The truth is, this has been over a month. I may have had headphones in, I may have been in the restroom, they may have not followed exact procedure that day and refuse to admit it, I have no idea. All I know is that I dined in and came out to a $250 ticket on my car. Needless to say, the manager refused to write me the letter.

Well, I knew I was right and refused to give up so I contacted the Davco regional office in Maryland. I got a response immediately and was hoping they could write me a letter that would override the manager’s refusal to do so. At first, they were very helpful but then after she checked with her supervisor, I was told they actually do not write letters. She admitted this has been a problem before but told me that they cannot write one because they cannot override the officer’s decision. I tried to tell her that the DC court judge told me that all I needed was a letter from Wendy’s but they continued to tell me their hands were tied. Saying they could not override the manager’s decision would have been one thing but saying they could not override the cop’s decision after the DC court said they can was obviously them just passing the buck.

I am so frustrated. I dined in twice and now have to pay $500 in tickets. On top of that, I am zoned to park in that neighborhood, so I could have easily parked on the street. I can maybe see paying the first one because even though I did not receive it, I don’t have proof I ate there. But the fact that they refuse to help with the second one is insane. I have been going through a rat race of being kicked back and forth. No one wants to deal with it and no one wants to admit they were wrong and now I owe a lot of money for no reason.

So a word to the wise, if you want to eat at Wendy’s, park on the street for under two hours or the one-hour parking right outside. If you do park in the lot and happen to get a ticket, go back and speak with the manager immediately. I cannot say that will turn out differently but I wish I would have tried that day. This is a very long and impossible process and in the end, the customer still loses. I would hate for anyone else to have to deal with this in the future. Thank you!”

96 Comment

  • ChenChen

    this is so ridiculous. sorry that has happened to you.

    hopefully someone more knowledgeable than I can offer advice on how to resolve

  • Wow, this is incredibly frustrating. Refusing to look at the receipt ….it sounds like if they’re ticketing it’s their job to give you the time of day.

    But I also don’t quite understand the procedure. They announce that an officer is coming to ticket cars of diners in the lot? What are you supposed to do? Immediately leave? Give the officer the make and model of the car?

  • I was having trouble figuring out the scenario — so the OP was dining in at Wendy’s and was parked in Wendy’s parking lot, and Wendy’s had MPD (or DPW?) come out to ticket the OP’s car and any others suspected of belonging to people who weren’t actually in Wendy’s at the time?

    • Yeah, I’m really confused about this too – I am a nearby neighbor, and I’ve never noticed the cops or DPW or anyone roaming through ticketing at Wendy’s at all hours…?

      • It’s private property so the Wendy’s would have had to call to have him ticked…twice? OP said they were only there a half hour which seems a bit odd in terms of timeline. Did the manager call for a ticket immediately on his arrival? And this happened twice? My guess would be there is something esle going on here.

      • I am the OP that was ticketed and you and probably confused because it is a confusing procedure. I also live nearby and have never seen cops ticketing there. From what I have gathered since, every now and then the manager calls a cop out of the blue to come and ticket cars. They announce in the lobby that they are starting ticketing. I have no idea what the procedure is if you are parked, like if you give the cop your tags or what.

        All I know is that I have two tickets to my license plate. The first time I was there eating and came out oblivious because not only did I miss whatever announcement they claimed to have made, there was also not even a ticket on my car. I didn’t even know I was ticketed until I saw it online.

        The second time, I was dining in and was either not notified or missed the annnouncement somehow, and came out to a ticket. I may have been in the restroom or had headphones in or something but I can’t help but think they did not follow announcement procedure and refuse to admit it, especially since it happened twice, but I have no proof. I did not know the process then so I didn’t realize the manager had anything to do with the ticket. I was surprised, especially by the amount, but just assumed I could take my receipt and fight the ticket like normal. And yea, apparently even if you have a receipt, there is no way to fight it because DC says its private property and you need written consent from the company to be in the property. And the company is now refusing to give me a letter of consent even though I have the receipt.

        • Also, just saw the last comment. If you look at the receipt and the ticket, I was ticketed 30 minutes after I got food. I was there eating longer than that and came out to see the ticket after. I only included that because it’s not like I have a receipt from four hours prior or something.

          • This may or may not be helpful, but I feel like you should get in writing from management what the policy and procedure is because I am still confused. And if I am confused and you are not 100% sure about it yourself, how can anyone know who is right and wrong? I mean, I absolutely feel for you! Incredibly frustrated for you reading your post.

            I thin the lingering questions are- what were you supposed to do even if you heard the announcement? and how can you get the Wendy’s management and the District to agree on who can say if you had the right to park there at that specific time?

          • I haven’t read through all of these comments and this suggestion will probably go nowhere, but NBC Washington has been doing a lot of ticketing stories lately. Think your case is strong enough to take to a news channel for exposure?

          • I really appreciate everyone’s input. I will definitely look into these suggestions because I am very frustrated with the whole thing.

          • +1 to getting the policy in writing and +1 to bringing this to NBC Washington. This is just silly.

          • @textdoc that’s a really good idea.

        • So Davco issued the ticket, right?

          How would they even enforce that ticket? If they wanted to tow you and make you pay to get the car out of impound, that is one thing. But a ‘ticket’ is not really enforceable by restaurant chain, unless they want to refuse you service.

          • The ticket was issued but district police. But apparently Wendy’s calls them out there every once in a while to just ticket cars. So it’s technically a DC parking ticket but DC adjudication services say it can be overridden if I have a letter from Wendy’s since it’s their property. So confusing!

          • Another idea: Since the local Wendy’s is being so difficult, escalate to the corporate level of Wendy’s.

          • Am I the only one confused by how the police even ‘can’ ticket on private property? I thought they had no jurisdiction to, since it’s not a municipal, public space. Is this a case of our tax dollars going to help a private (corporate) business?
            I thought the SOP on private property, like someone said in this thread, was for a 3rd party towing company to remove the vehicle (which also serves to be a barrier to trigger-finger enforcement; you’re only going to call someone to tow once you’re sure a car has been there all day).
            If I understand what the OP is saying, this sounds like dirty pool, and mis-use of police resources.

          • ^ Plus, if you go straight to 3rd party towing (in addition to a bigger barrier of certainty that a car is mis-using the lot), if you were WRONG about the car mis-using it, it’s harder for a legit customer in the restaurant to miss their car being towed than it is to miss it being ticketed.

        • In that case I would do the following. Bring your receipt and print out a letter confirming the details and go to the local Wendy’s. Have the manager sign and print his name on the already printed letter. If the manager doesn’t want to keep coming back until they do.

        • Take Wendy’s to small claims court for the amount of the ticket.

          • Or at least call Wendy’s corporate and explain to them that small claims court will be your only recourse if they can’t get one of their lazy managers to write a one-sentence note saying the ticket shouldn’t have been issued.

          • +1

            At the very least, make a public stink about this. Wendy’s a giant company, but they still have a public brand to maintain. The best luck I’ve ever had is complaining about a company (cough cough Sears) on Twitter. Got that dryer fixed literally the next day.

      • “[T]here was also not even a ticket on my car. I didn’t even know I was ticketed until I saw it online.” — This has happened to me too, for a ticket I received for parking in a street-cleaning zone (when the sign was missing). The first I learned of it was when I received a notice in the mail saying that the ticket amount had doubled because I hadn’t paid or appealed it within 30 days. 🙁

        • Ugh! Sorry that happened. I’ve heard that a lot with the parking tickets. Yea, I’m glad I looked online. I will say that the DC traffic court took off the fine from it doubling still frustrating.

        • For what it’s worth, on Tuesday after it had been really windy, I found a parking ticket on the sidewalk – I turned it in to a parking enforcement guy who happened ot come by on a Segway, because otherwise, that person will be totally screwed!

  • Mug of Glop

    This sounds like a pretty kafkaesque scenario, for sure! Is it a normal thing that DC issues parking tickets for privately owned lots, though?

    • Not sure how it works for privately owned commercial lots, but for a residential property, the vehicle has to have a ticket before it can be towed.
      .
      (I called MPD once when I found someone else’s car in my parking space, and they gave it a ticket.)

      • Mug of Glop

        Ah, right right. I don’t know why I didn’t think about that. But yeah, I’d figure commercial or large residential lots would contract their own towing service rather than going through the city.

        • Maybe… but I wonder if it’s the private towing companies’ policy in D.C. that they won’t tow any vehicle unless it has an MPD ticket on it.
          .
          In my case, I asked how I would arrange a tow for the car parked in my parking space. The MPD officer told me that they don’t use city tow trucks to tow from private property, but that I could arrange for a private towing company (and that a private towing company wouldn’t tow unless the vehicle had an MPD ticket).
          .
          I ended up not having to worry about the towing part — I left the house for a few hours, and when I came back, the vehicle was gone.

          • Is that really how DC does it? That’s bass-ackward and a waste of police time and effort. I’m not surprised, but that’s effing stupid.

          • Yep, as far as I’m aware.
            .
            I don’t know what the requirements are in other jurisdictions, but I think at least some of them allow for towing without ticketing. When I lived in an apartment complex in Maryland, the tow trucks would regularly rumble through looking for cars without permits, and I believe they could tow them on the spot.

    • +1 pretty kafkaesque… and $500 is no small change to let it go! Agreed, sounds strange MPD would be ticketing cars on a private lot. Unless of course Wendy’s specifically asked MPD to do so, and now they don’t want to admit it’s Wendy’s policy to harass their customers…

  • Did you walk anywhere else but your car after eating at Wendys? Or did you walk anywhere else previously before eating at Wendys?

    If any of the above scenarios are true, ticketing will always get you. It sucks because it’s happened to me. Good luck either way

    • I didn’t. Then I could maybe understand but that was not the case here. Sorry it happened to you too.

  • Wendy’s should start handing out passes to out in the windows of drivers cars or maybe leave the receipt in the window. Inconvenient options but something needs to be done to identify paying customers and not those parking and riding or parking and walking etc.

  • I am still confused back at the part where the District police ticketed cars in a private lot and then refused to adjudicate the ticket because you were in a private lot – so they shouldn’t have been handling the ticketing then. And I totally don’t get the part where they announce that they are ticketing. If you are in the restaurant you are legally parked so why are they telling you that they are about to give you a ticket when you aren’t in the wrong? Best of luck unraveling this mess. Another reason not to own a car in the District.

    • I’m the OP. From what I’ve gathered in this whole mess, it seems that the manager just calls the cops from time to time to ticket cars. And then the cop or the manager is supposed to announce that they are ticketing. Well, twice I was in there and got ticketed anyway and yea, once I’m there , I don’t think I have to be aware of any possible announcements so I probably was just in the restroom or had my headphones on or something. But they also may not have followed procedure. I honestly don’t know but thought the receipt would be enough proof.

      • If I was in this situation, I would personally do the following:

        1. Call or visit in person and take down the exact spelling of the name of the manager you speak with after you ask them to write you a letter again and they say No.
        2. Ask that manager for their manager’s name, phone #, email, and the best time to reach them by phone.
        3. Alternate to #2: Ask for the owner’s name and info.
        4. Edit the text from this post and send it via email to the owner and/or corporate office. Include a link to this post as many companies respond to problems only when publicity forces them to. Note that you plan on reaching out to local media.
        5. Follow that email up with a phone call. Leave a message if necessary.
        6. Leave a condensed 1-star review of this situation on Yelp. Plan on updating the review if they respond positively and say so in the post (Maybe not the stars, but at least the text. Up to you).
        7. Tweet that shit.
        8. Reach out to local media. I’m sure there’s some local news station that does has a catchy “Investigation News Team [channel number]” that would get you a response very quickly. Again, negative publicity can be effective.
        9. Call every day (lunch hour and just after work) until you get someone live on the phone (from #2 and/or #3). If those people can’t help you, keep working your way up the corporate ladder.
        10. Contact your council member to see if they/their staff can at least make a call to figure out why people are getting ticketed like this.

        Hopefully you can go through only 3 or 4 of these steps before this is finally resolved. Be assertive, but polite. If a lower level employee/manager is a dick about things, make sure that they know that you’ll be communicating your experience with them to their superiors. When you do communicate that experience, ask what that manager is planning to do to address the poor customer service of their employees.

        Godspeed!

    • DC is ticketing at the request of the property owner on the property owner’s representation that the cars don’t belong there (same as if someone parked in your private driveway/spot). So they are saying they need something from the private property owner correcting that to say your car did have permission to be there.

      • Do you think it’s because the cops eat there all the time? Surelt MPD has better things to do than ticket at Wendy’s. Do the MPD beat cops have an “arrangement” with Wendy’s. There are cops there all the time. What’s ironic is that in the past year, two people were mugged/assaulted while dining there! Where were the cops then???

        • ^ This is precisely why this practice is a mis-use of police resources. I don’t pay taxes so Wendy’s can have their lot cleared. They could afford a ticket/gate if they cared that much – they shouldn’t be using the people’s money to maintain their private property.

  • Welcome to DC 🙁

  • Best way to avoid this is to never eat at this rat-infested Wendy’s! What does the no-parking sign say? I’d consider that to be the operative set of rules that should govern your ability to park there. Not sure what the evidentiary standard is to invalidate a ticket, but I’d try saying to the judge “Here is the rule, as posted on the sign. I obeyed this rule as evidenced by this receipt. Can Wendy’s or the Police prove otherwise? If not, they have insufficient evidence to support this ticket.”

  • Simply ticketing but not towing to obscenely priced private impound lots? Arlington residents laugh at us and our piddly little private parking lot complaints.

  • I’ve long had a personal practice of getting a receipt for everything, and charging everything so there’s always a trail in case I need an alibi for something. I even have boarding passes from the 90’s. I guess that doesn’t work.

    • Haha I’m the same way! That’s why I assumed the receipt would be enough proof but apparently it doesn’t even matter.

      • I am concerned because I am about to fight an illegitimate ticker and thought this would be good evidence.

        • Ugh. Yea, I think the main reason was because it was private property. But if yours is too, then I wouldn’t even try without a letter from the manager of the establishment (if they give you one).

  • Horrifying. I don’t go there often, but I always think the customer service in that Wendy’s is pretty good all things considered. For $500, keep fighting. You won’t get anywhere with DC, but keep badgering the restaurant.

  • This was the same Wendys I was mugged in a couple years ago. The manager then was a male, so it’s not the same person, but as unhelpful as they were with that fiasco – none of this surprises me.

  • What is the parking offense cited? I can’t find anything in my DCMR parking regulations that makes parking on someone’s private property a city offense. And $250 is an outrageous fine for such a trivial matter. Exactly what public safety was endangered by your being parked in the Wendy’s lot? This just stinks.

    • It says it’s for parking on private property. But right, a crazy amount either way. I don’t know way any of the standard private property amounts are. This is the first time I’m dealing with something that isn’t a street ticket.

      • Found it, in the DC Code:
        § 50-2421.03. Unlawful acts.
        It shall be a violation of Chapter 23 of this title for any person to park, leave unattended, or store:
        (1) An abandoned or dangerous vehicle on public space;
        (2) Any motor vehicle on private property without the consent of the property owner; or

        The intent is clearly the prevention of dumping cars on someone’s property. In this case, you clearly had the permission of Wendy’s to park on their lot, as a customer. Then Wendy’s abruptly rescinded that permission. I would fight this ticket on that basis — that yes, you had their permission, as a customer, initially. And take it up with the District Council. This is not what the Council had in mind when it passed this law (2003).

  • Tell them that you are forming a class action group. Wendy’s is a publicly traded company. Get the ceo’s info from the web and call their office. Most ceos have their own call center to deal with the calls that come into their office and are often pretty helpful when something is going down that is affecting the perception of theor brand. I’d bet that they would take care of it.

  • Game on. Email or call Wendy’s president. It may take a bit of searching but find a direct email or executive office address or contact info. Be polite and detailed listing the names of employees you have talked with about your situation and their response. Ask for their assistance and request that someone reach out to you. The president has a staff to handle consumer issues and when that office gets in touch with the local establishment you will see some action. Be persistent. I have done this with several major retailers when I’ve had issues that could not be resolved at a local level and it has worked in every instance. No one likes a call from the president’s office regarding poor customer service.

    • I’ve found that raising issues on social media can be effective too- @Wendys

      • It looks like nearly half of Wendy’s twitter feed is responding to people with complaints. This could be an effective strategy.

  • go on social media and make a fuss.

  • You should tweet to Wendy’s. I’m sure they don’t want one of their establishments not getting business because of this.

    • yes, in addition to whatever else you do, take this to twitter! companies like this don’t enjoy being publicly shamed.

  • I am wondering what is going on at this Wendy’s that makes it so active in going after “illegal” parkers. Is this really a big enough problem to warrant calling police on a regular basis? I hardly ever see any cars parked there. But they do seem to do a big drive thru business. Most private businesses with parking lots do post signs which state that the parking is for customers only and warn that anyone else will be ticketed and/or towed. Typically patrons are given some reasonable amount of time to remain parked while using the business. If the management is going to actually enforce this kind of restriction, there should be signs telling people how long they can be parked in the lot. And the employees should be trained to take note of exactly when each car arrives and to only call police when they are sure a car has been parked for too long. Calling for the police on a random basis to ticket cars seems like a bad process to me.

    • From personal observation, I would venture to say that there is PLENTY of shady sh!t going on at this Wendy’s parking lot, so I guess I’m not super surprised that the manager is in the habit of calling the cops. I feel bad for the OP, this situation sucks. I say go for revenge and just burn this place to the ground, you’d be doing the neighborhood a favor.

      • Indeed. And it is one of the most cited (health violations) Wendy’s in the DC area. Run away, folks!

    • It used to be that lots of people would park for free in the Wendy’s lot when there was no parking on the street. They have been aggressively ticketing the lot for a couple years to combat this.

  • Not ideal, but will probably work. Bring a small claims court case against Wendy’s for the $500. You can represent yourself. Corportion will probably settle or write letter rather than send an attorney.

    • beat me to it. I would do this and it is almost certain they will either agree to dismiss both tickets or give you the $500.

  • Wow what a week, first we had to boycott Little Miss Whiskey’s because of the breast milk fiasco and now we have to boycott Wendy’s too for calling the cops to give parking tickets to their customers. WHEN DOES IT END?!?

    In all seriousness though, just walk by there in the middle of the night and throw a brick through their window. At least then you’ll be costing them the same amount of money they cost you.

  • Don’t worry, that place is full of rats. Hence, the recent forced closure and fine by DC Health Dept. This is seriously one of the most poorly run and dirty fast food establishments I’ve seen. I live two blocks away and refuse to patronize it.

  • My question is what would they do if they had a customer who was deaf and was not able to hear the announcement (the annoucement which sounds sketchy at best and difficult to prove occurred). I’m with everyone else, write the CEO, sue AND post to social media.

    • Oh my goodness! That is a wonderful point! Especially with such a large deaf community in the DC area.

      I will definitely tweet and try to move higher up to corporate levels. And nice as vandalizing the business sounds, I can’t do that lol. But those suggestions did make me laugh and put a smile on my face after a long week. Thanks, everyone!

  • That sucks – I can understand if they have issues with people using their parking lot for shady activity that they would need to call in reinforcements and have people ticketed. But why they wouldn’t want to write a simple letter for you based off your receipt is beyond me. Any chance there is more than one store manager who could help you and write that letter? I would try contacting a corporate Wendy’s office to complain. Maybe you’ll get free frosty’s for life! Can you actually show up in person to appeal parking tickets, and not just do it on line?

    • I was wondering about there being another manager too. And I tried the regional office but I think in gonna try even higher up. So frustrating though because it’s so much hassle and I thought it would have been so easy to resolve!

      Also, yes. I always appeal in person. It’s a bit of a hassle too but I’ve always had much better results when I go in person. I think the address is 301 C Street NW but confirm that on the site. It’s right next to the Judiciary Square metro.

  • Ally

    I think I’d stop eating at Wendy’s after that interaction with the manager.

  • I pledge to never eat at that Wendy’s!

  • You should email your councilmember, oh wait, she is now a corrupt mayor.

  • Have you contacted the franchise owner? It seems like they are the ones who should be must upset at this (after you, of course) because their employees are driving away paying customers.

  • I can 100% guarantee that the Wendy’s and the local parking officers have some sort of agreement going on. The officers get a free meal and can fill their quota easily, meanwhile the Wendy’s can get cars cleared out in a timely manner. Quid pro quo.
    Except all they do is piss off their customers.

  • Am I the only one that thinks the judge is the one who is the problem? Its not Wendy’s place to pardon tickets written by the city government. The customer provided a receipt to the judge with a very plausible explanation of what happened and the judge said that a fast food manager was going to have the final say? Its absurd.

    • To ticket on private property you have to have the property owner’s permission. Therefore, Wendy’s is reaponsible.

  • Looks like it’s time to frequent a new (perhaps locally owned) restaurant. Plenty of great choices in the area and the business owners care about their patrons. You’re just another number at Wendy’s.

  • I’d contact Ari Ashe at WTOP. He handles all things traffic/roads. He helped me resolve a fiasco of a ticket where DC garnished a overpayment on my taxes for an unpaid ticket from 11 years ago on a vehicle that wasn’t even mine. (Yes, this was as bad as it sounds).

    He interviewed me and everything for a segment on WTOP.

    Clearly, this “policy” Wendy’s has is preposterous.

    Good luck…and I do feel for you.

  • I’m so sorry to read this and feel for you. But don’t give up; you’re in the right so fight it — to both Wendy’s store manager and Wendy’s corporate office. Good luck!

  • I call BS on the story and guarantee that the OP probably went into Safeway or something. Sorry boss but it doesn’t add up.

  • Every day I walk by that Wendy’s, I dream of the day that it is razed to the ground and replaced by a more productive use of space. What a disgusting ploy.

  • Sue Wendy’s in DC small claims court for the $500. It’s a 3 page form, no lawyer needed, and costs $35. 100% chance they settle with you over having to pay a lawyer to deal with it.

  • If you paid with a card- print out your statement as evidence that you were a customer. I had to do that when I got towed years back in Silver Spring & it proved I was a customer in the shopping center. I successfully won my case (including a settlement on a charge of vehicle theft).

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