Houston to Pay-By-Phone Parking Meter Vendor: Don’t Spam Downtown Visitors, Please

Three days in advance of its planned official introduction, the city department in charge of the brand-new citywide pay-your-parking-meter-by-mobile-phone setup has asked the Atlanta company running the program to can whatever spam it had planned on sending customers. “The City’s agreement with ParkMobile does not allow for promotional emails or texts to be sent to registered users,” Admin & Regulatory Affairs spokesperson Christopher Newport tells Swamplot.

Over the weekend, vendor Parkmobile’s CEO Albert Bogaard denied the company had any plans to send unsolicited emails or texts to the program’s users. But an item posted on InnerLooped (and noted on Swamplot) last week reported otherwise. It pointed to wording in the Terms and Conditions posted online by the company that warned users they could receive as many as 3 emails or SMS messages from Parkmobile or “other affiliated, third-party companies” after using a phone or mobile app for payment. The terms and conditions did indicate that customers could opt out of receiving all text messages or emails from the service, but didn’t describe a way to opt out of ads or marketing messages only.


“Good catch,” Newport says: “This is something that should have been excluded from ParkMobile’s Houston users terms and conditions. ParkMobile is updating their terms/conditions today to remove any reference to promotion or marketing materials that pay by cell customers may receive either by text or email. Pay by phone users will not be spammed, and neither ParkMobile nor the City will sell information to marketers.”

Decals with instructions on how to use the program should be installed on every meter in the city by the end of this week, and signs for each parking zone should be installed by the end of next week, Newport says. Mayor Parker plans to announce the program Thursday morning at Discovery Green.

Photo: InnerLooped

2 Comment

  • I smell another red light camera “we signed a contract and our hands are tied” type of lame excuse brewing…

  • Naw, the company already told Swamplot (in the previous article’s replies) that they intend to remove the “third party” language. I don’t know what the resulting contract language will be, but it’s certainly a different stance from, “We’ll sue.”