• Oct 2, 2009
Click above to watch the video after the jump

It's tough to find a parking spot in Los Angeles, but luckily there are plenty of valets to park your ride for you. The cost ranges from just a few bucks to $20 or more, but when there are places to go, people to see and deadlines to meet, the cost of parking is often better than spending the better part of your afternoon looking for a spot yourself. The problem is, more and more locations have been designated as loading zones and the public parking spaces have been shrinking. The interesting part about this is that the city of Los Angeles itself hasn't been adding the zones – but a bunch of unscrupulous valets have been.

NBC Los Angeles spent a year digging up dirt, and the investigative reporting of the network's Ana Garcia found valets who got into accidents with cars, shuttled co-workers to other spots in customer cars and put up cones and signs illegally. The local NBC affiliate also had cameras rolling as valets parked in front of expired meters, received tickets and didn't tell the car owners. In all, NBC LA and the city's Department of Transportation found over 80 fraudulent loading zone signs, and even after some of the signs were removed, they were back up the next night.

Hit the jump
to watch the seven minute video. The investigative journalism is excellent, and the expressions on the faces of the valet workers as they are caught up in lie after lie are priceless. The only bummer is that NBC LA didn't put some cameras in the cars to see if the valets swiped things from people's cars.

[Source: NBC Los Angeles via Consumerist]

View more news videos at: http://www.nbclosangeles.com/video.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      As far as the fake signs, it should be a criminal offense equivalent to countfeiting money.

      As for the moron attendants, I don't valet park, so i'll will never have that worry, i'd rather walk 20 blocks than give someone the keys to my car.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's why sometimes it pays to also own a POS second or 3rd car.
        Imagine you drive up in your beat up old van, and just run all the cones, and get out of your car and pay the meter, just like nothing was going on.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah and if these a-holes weren't illegally blocking off all the nearby spots for themselves, you wouldn't have to walk very far at all.

        Sad thing is if you call them on the fake signs and just park there yourself, I guarantee your car is keyed or trashed by the time you get back.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why doesn't D.O.T. give out free maps of real marked spots, so anyone could pick up a map and know if they can park on the street they want....
        • 5 Years Ago
        @MikeofLA: The solution is workable, you just need to make the map a printable PDF on a website and/or a google maps overlay. That way the city or state doesn't have to print millions of copies, but anyone can get one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That is both an economical and easy proposition for a City of 12.9 Million people and 500 square miles... Not including the Greater Metropolitan area.

        Why not just offer everyone in the state an exempt license plate so we can park in red zones.

        Better yet, Stop building builidings with no concern for the automobile. Force business to build parking structures or improve mass transits ubiquity and speed.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Very Good beautiful work by the reporter.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've been AGAINST valet for YEARS! The day my car came back with ACID damage to the paint on the hood... The auto body shop said it was from a CAN OF SODA, but I truly doubt that much damage could've come from a simple can of soda. From that day on - I don't valet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Left or truck at a security park & shuttle Near Seatac Airport.When we got back the passenger window was broken out and door was dented.Shattered glass was everywhere in the truck.They had clear plastic taped over the window hole.About $300.00 worth of stuff was missing.They said the fine print on the contract when I sighed in.Stated that they were not responsible.Had to drive home with plastic window & my truck full of broken glass.And my insurance had to fix the truck. Read what you sign in those places.If your in a hurry to catch an airplane and you don't have time.Thats how they get you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Excellent video, excellent article.
      I won't comment on what seems to be the overwhelming ethnicity of the valets and the valet owners.
      If they don't crack the whip and just come in and arrest these guys or fine them so much it is not worth it to do this anymore it will continue.
      I say a $1,000 fine for the first time caught and then $10,000 the next time and the third time $50,000 and mandatory 6 months in jail.
        • 5 Years Ago
        We have exactly the same problem here in Miami. A few times the Valet tried to stop me from parking in a coned off area where I knew I could, I asked them for their name their bosses name and the company they work for, how to contact them, wrote it all down, and then mentioned I was a city parking commissioner (there is no such thing), it was amazing the reactions I got. Usually within minutes the cones were gone and the valet was using only the designated loading zone.

        its as simple as requiring a loading zone/valet permit be displayed designating the date(s), location and number of spaces allowed, and a website to verify the validity of the permit and its contents.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I like the part where you say you won't comment on the ethnicity of the valets but you did by saying that.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is the kind of (rap they do in Mexico to defraud people. What is the difference between Mexico and California? California is broke. You have just seen one reason why! I suppose if you do not go along with paying these "thieves" you are charging for free or Metered spots their money, what are they going to do, call the police? They are the law breakers.....California is a beautiful place run by a bunch of screw balls. I guess that is why they are broke..
      • 5 Years Ago
      doesn't seem like its that big of a deal to stop. if you are caught putting up a fake sign, make it a circa $5000 fine. Even if it were only $1000 dollars (which i think it should be way more, because you are fraudulently defacing and using city property) that would be a lot of cars in net profit to offset that fine. at 6 buck a car less profits...you better believe i'd think twice about stealing/putting up fake signs.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Los Angeles is becoming a horrible place to live in. The commutes are like hell. Police corruption is another issue. Now there is this valet scam to add to it. A real hell hole.
      • 5 Years Ago

      That's what this country is coming to: crooks in full glorious white skin finally crawling out of their rat holes during firestorms.

      And many, many more will crawl out still--the fire hasn't stopped yet.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's right...scare everybody into not using valet services anymore. Let's see, in the last year you've made us afraid to touch anything, go on a vacation, eat out, talk to anyone who looks different than we do, live in any city in America, trust even our closest neighbor, buy an American car, and listen to anyone but Druggie Limbaugh. aol, you stink!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Stop watching the videos people! It's not loading on my monitor!!
        • 5 Years Ago
        Your monitor loads video?? AMAZING!!
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