Private Booting Information
A boot is a mechanical device that is designed to immobilize an automobile. In addition to the booting operations performed by the City of Chicago under the public Boot Program, the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection licenses and regulates private vehicle booting businesses in the city of Chicago. These businesses perform booting operations on private property and in private parking lots on behalf of other private businesses.
Private booting companies are subject to specific regulatory requirements detailed in the Chicago Municipal Code.
Q: How do I know whether an individual is an employee of the booting company?
Each employee of a booting company is required to wear an identification placard displaying the employee’s name and the name and contact information of the booting company.
Q: How much can a booting company charge for boot removal?
A booting company may not assess a fee in excess of $170.00 to remove a boot.
Q: Do I have to pay the removal fee in cash?
No. In addition to cash, a booting company is required to have available means for collecting fees via credit card.
Booting scenario questions
Q: My vehicle was booted even though I was parked in accordance with the displayed terms of the lot. Should I have been booted?
Q: My vehicle was booted while I or another individual was in the vehicle. Should I have been booted?
Booting companies are expressly prohibited from attaching boots to occupied vehicles. Pets do not qualify as vehicle occupants.
Q: I returned to my vehicle while my vehicle was in the process of being booted. Should I have been booted?
A booting company must immediately remove a boot from any vehicle, at no charge, if the owner of vehicle returns prior to complete attachment of the boot.
Additional booting company duties
Booting companies must:
- Maintain copies of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection’s “Consumer Bill of Rights” and make them available upon request of any person;
- Maintain copies of the “Booting of Motor Vehicle” section of the Chicago Municipal Code and make them available upon request of any person;Maintain minimum business hours of 9:00 am to 5:00 pm;
- Maintain copies of receipts for a period of at least three years from the date of issuance;
Comply with Section 4-6-230(g)(5) of the Municipal Code of Chicago which identifies where private booting operations are permitted.
Upon attachment of a boot, booting companies must:
- Place a copy of the “Consumer Bill of Rights” on the windshield of every vehicle that is booted;
- Provide the owner of a booted vehicle with a legible receipt listing:
- The date and time the boot was placed on the vehicle;
- The date and time the owner returned to the vehicle;
- The date and time the boot was removed from the vehicle;
- The vehicle owner’s right to pay the fee by credit card.