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Paying for parking meter

Question:

Hello dear Rabbi. I live in Mexico City and the following sheila arised: In this city the goverment has granted the right to charge for the use of parking places in certain hours and in some places of the city streets to a private company. Supposedly, some ownership is in the hands of Jew(s). The question is this: If a person doesn’t pay, he’ll be fined and they will place a device that will immobilize the car until the fine is paid. What would happen if a person is willing to risk the fine (and the immobilization) and not pay for some minutes? Would that be stealing or causing a loss of income? Moreover, if a person did pay the meter but forgot to add more money right after the time is up, what should his teshuba be? Also, if sometimes he overpaid because he thought that he’d need more parking time than he actually used, can that be considered somehow a form of returning the loss he caused before? As I understand, the profits of this parking system are divided between the government and the private company. Thank you!

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

By parking in the place that the government has designated to generate income for the public, it is essentially stealing from the public, and should not be done. It would be considered stealing, because you are using the parking spot without paying for it. Regarding returning the money, if you only used part of an hour that was paid for, we cannot consider it as if they owe you the other part of the hour, because the price goes by the hour. However, if you paid for two separate hour units and only used one, then that can be used as a form of returning the loss.

Best wishes

 

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