November 25, 2014

City of Chicago Cracks Down on Valet Operators Making Fake Parking Meter Tickets and Illegally Parking Vehicles

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Investigators Issue 229 Tickets

Mika Stambaugh Director of Public Information    312.744.5365

The City of Chicago’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) announced in October that it will not tolerate valet parking operators illegally using spots designated for people with disabilities and the adjacent striped access spaces. A recent crackdown showed that many valet operators did not heed the warning. Despite being warned in a letter from the Commissioner of Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection in early October, a two week BACP investigation of 35 businesses resulted in 229 tickets issued, 30 removal orders issued and one notice of violation issued to valet businesses.

“It was brought to my attention several valet companies were illegally parking vehicles,” said Commissioner Maria Guerra Lapacek of BACP. “The letter was sent to let every licensed valet operators know that any type of illegal behavior will not be tolerated”

In October, BACP found valet operators to be illegally parking vehicles in handicap parking spaces, so on October 6, 2014 Commissioner Guerra-Lapacek sent a letter informing all 102 licensed valet companies of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which establishes legal uses of disabled parking. It reminded them that it is prohibited to park any vehicle not displaying a disability license plate or placard in either a designated accessible parking space or access aisle specifically reserved for persons with disabilities at any of the 505 locations where valet activity is allowed.

“The public pays for a service and entrusts valet operators with their vehicles. When operators break the public’s trust and don’t abide by the law, they will face enforcement.” Said Guerra-Lapacek”

The purpose of this investigation was to ensure the licensed valet companies were in compliance with all operating provisions that are embedded in the valet parking ordinance, which are designed to protect consumers. BACP investigators were looking to make sure all valet operators had a current Valet Parking License and were following valet parking operating procedures including the following:

  • Placard and receipt requirements
  • Vehicles were being parked legally on the public way
  • Valet attendants wore clothing identified the company they worked for
  • Valet attendants possessed a valid driver’s license  
  • Displayed a Valet Parking License sign
  • Public Way violations

The top four violations during the four day investigation were:

  1. Valet Parking Placard Requirement-118 violations were issued
  2. Storage of goods on the public way-59 violations were issued
  3. Failure to park patrons vehicles on the public way in a lawful manner-27 violations were issued
  4. Failure to issue Valet Parking receipt per operating procedures-27 violations were issued

In October a separate letter was sent to all Licensed Public Garage Operators to inform them of the Illinois Vehicle Code and their responsibility to ensure the business and staff must comply with the laws. The letter instructed the operators and staff members to report the violations to the Chicago Police Department or the Department of Business Affairs via 311.

BACP produced a consumer protection campaign for residents and visitors to educate users of valet services to “Know Before You Valet Your Car”. The campaign was shared on social media as well as on our Consumer Protection page of our website:

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection ensures a fair and vibrant market place for both businesses and consumers. BACP licenses businesses and public vehicles, provides free business education and access to resources, enforces the Municipal Code, and protects consumers from fraud. Learn more about BACP at


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