At The Ohio State University, there is a monopoly on campus that has caused enough pain to the community to raise alarm bells. It’s called CampusParc, and it’s a business that handles parking on campus. It’s about time we call for their ousting on campus.
Table of Contents
Reason for Putting Together This Article
As is probably clear from this series, I’ve been pursuing a PhD since 2018. In that time, I have spent my life at The Ohio State University. However, until very recently, I have been fortunate enough to walk to campus from the nearby apartments.
Now, I live much further away from campus. So far, in fact, that my daily commute to campus is about the same length as my daily walk used to be (~30 minutes).
When I claim that my commute is 30 minutes, you’re probably imagining that I’m driving the whole time. Unfortunately, that’s not quite true. The drive itself is only about 20 minutes. Then, I have to park in a surface lot that is about a ten minute walk away from my final destination.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal because I understand not being able to park directly next to my place of work. However, in my case, there is parking directly next to my place of work. Unfortunately, I’m not allowed to park there without a special pass for faculty. Would you believe me if I said that even if I was faculty I’d have to pay nearly $1,400 a year to get access to this fancy parking pass?
It might seem weird that I’m seemingly forced to buy a parking pass for my job, but this is an extremely normal American problem. We have almost no public transportation resources, so moving away forces me to own a car and drive to campus. Being forced to drive to campus means I’m also forced to buy a parking pass to park anywhere on campus. Surely, the university could provide parking to its students and faculty for free, but that would take away yet another revenue source.
Given the parking pass requirement, I bought a parking pass for the summer. Unfortunately, their website is horrendous, and I accidentally bought a visitor pass. To this day, it has not been refunded, so I’ve been rocking two parking passes with no additional benefits.
Worse still, there are weird stipulations around the parking pass. For instance, you only have access to certain parking lots and at certain times. You also have to park in those certain lots in a certain way (i.e., plate must face the driving lane). You may not be surprised that I’ve already received a warning for violating the driving lane rule because I pulled through a spot in a largely empty parking lot.
If at this point you’re wondering how these issues got so bad, I have some wonderful news for you: it’s because the university sold out their parking to a private firm known as CampusParc for 50 years to get a one time payout of nearly half a billion dollars. I don’t know if I’ve seen a contract that absurd in my entire life.
Having been blown away by my bad experience with CampusParc in just a single week of moving away from campus, I took to the internet to see if I was the only one. Let me tell, I was not the only one. As a result, I decided to put together this article to share some of the horror stories of others and to hopefully clutter the search results as a form of protest.
How Bad Is CampusParc?
Having largely been blissfully unaware of the commuters’ struggles on campus, I’ve been somewhat blown away by how horrendous the parking situation is on campus. Luckily, CampusParc is an organization with a physical location that you can review on Google Maps. As of today, CampusParc has a rating of 1.2 (out of 5) across 858 reviews. That is perhaps the lowest I’ve ever seen anything rated. Do you realize how horrendously bad at your job you have to be to get a rating that low? Let’s see why it’s so bad!
Starting From the Top
If you’re like me, it’s not the 1-star reviews that are so shocking here. It’s the 5-star reviews. After all, the overwhelming amount of evidence points to a truly horrid customer experience, so are the 5 star reviews just outliers. I’ll let you be the judge:
CampusParc is the worst! …However I’m rating them 5 stars because I’m afraid if I don’t, they’ll come for my friends, family, and myself with full force in their menacing Honda CRVs.Bryce Redmond, 6 years ago
Okay, so not off to a great start. How about another 5 star review?
I love how horrible they are. My wife and I live in campus family housing and have two vehicles. The only option provided to permit our second vehicle so that we can park at our home overnight is to purchase a permit with garage access which carries a premium price. In all honesty the value of the car more than doubles the moment I put the permit on. Thank you campusparc for your concern for college students.Aaron Moeller, 7 years ago
Okay, weird! The number of stars doesn’t seem to be matching up with their actual review. Let’s try another one:
Nobody beats CampusParc when it comes to providing woefully inadequate parking at an insane markup!Bart K, 4 years ago
Amazing! So, even the high ratings are negative reviews.
With that said, there are a handful of positive reviews, but they’re mostly in response to one-off situations. For example, some of them point to an interaction that the reviewer had with an employee that was positive. Others lack a review at all or include generic buzzwords like “fast and efficient.”
At this point, I suppose there’s only one place to go, and it’s down.
Reviewing the Middle of the Pack
Based on my estimate, there are only 23 5-star reviews. From there, we hit our first 4-star review which states:
Bought a day pass for a concert. The website was hard to navigate for an older person, but when I called campusparc the woman couldn’t have been friendlier. Thank you.Crystal Oswalt, 5 years ago
I can confirm that the website is almost unusable. I can only imagine how bad it was 5 years ago. Of course, this kind of points to the one-off situations I’ve been talking about. This person only had to deal with CampusParc for a day and had issues.
From there, the reviews are all roughly about the same. For example, one review claimed that parking is “expensive” but credited them for their portfolio of available parking passes. Another rated them 4 stars for being “not as bad as it used to be.” And yet another reviewer handed out a 4-star review because they usually “cut your a break” if it’s “your first offense.” All of which I would considered to be incredible endorsements of CampusParc.
In total, there are only about 8 of these 4-star reviews, but they all seem to capture the same sort of “they aren’t actively killing people, so they’re not so bad” vibe.
As for the 3-star reviews, the sentiments pivot more to balancing nice staff against terrible systemic problems:
I gave them a 3 star rating because of the prices mostly. The female that helped me today was VERY helpful and kind, but the prices and location options are ridiculously stupid. I am going to have to take 2 busses just to get to one of my classes. It is VERY inconvenient. But as far as the customer service I had today, I was pleased.Kelsee Doerschuk, 3 years ago
With that said, there’s only about 9 of these reviews, most of which lack an actual review.
From there, there are only 7 2-star reviews. One of which I can’t help but just dump here:
Campusparc is THE slimiest company I’ve ever had to deal with, what happened today would let me rate TimeWarner 5 stars in comparison. I purchased the Temporary Monthly pass from them for $60~ give and take. I had two registered vehicles on my account. I drove to school today with the car I normally keep at home and I received a citation of $65 for the car. The citation price is already ridiculous enough for it to cost more than the actual pass, but I thought since it was a mistake on my part, I’m annoyed, but I’m responsible for it so what can I do. After I got home and checked my CampusParc account I checked my account and the car that was charged was registered on the account. I called CampusParc to appeal my citation and they told me to go through the online appeal because they do not take over the phone appeals. After I log back on to my account to make an online appeal I see that my car has been removed from the account. I don’t know what they are thinking but it seems like an obvious attempt to remove evidence to me. I’ve never quite seen customer service this disgusting from any company. There is no way I’m paying the citation. I will be seeking legal help, I will spend more money than the citation itself to win, this is a matter of principles. I rather let a lawyer take thousands of dollars than give CampusParc a single cent.
Edit: Issue resolved, online appeal received a response within 2 hours, updated from 1 to 2 stars for fast online appeal, but still having a crappy customer service call. My attitude wasn’t great, it was argumentative, but I neither swore nor yelled, I didn’t need to be told I should have a better and more productive attitude from customer service. From my experiences dealing with TimeWarner and AT&T customer service, I expect customer service to have much higher tolerance dealing with customers rather than presenting an annoyed attitude because of an argumentative customer.Rishen Chen, 5 years ago
Talk about an absolute nightmare scenario.
Circling the Drain
By my count, of the 858 reviews, there are only 47 which are not 1-star reviews. In other words, the overwhelming amount of reviews are complete and utter disdain for CampusParc. Let’s take a look at some of the spiciest.
To start, I should note that I couldn’t figure out how to sort the reviews by likes. As a result, I quickly scanned them and looked for reviews with a relatively high number of likes. This first review comes from someone who managed to garner 34 likes:
I am a doctor caring for patients in the hospitals. This is the biggest scam company ive ever seen. The parking charges are fraudulent for how expensive they are. I came in for an emergency, to care for a patient that had a trauma, and had to get there as fast as possible so i parked in their parking lot since it was close to ED. I had forgotten my credit cards since i was rushing to help the patient. I ended up with a $150 dollar bill even though the parking cost was $3.75. I was told since this was the second time i forgot my credit cards, there was a 145 dollar fee. This was told to me after i had already left the parking deck, i found out when i tried to pay the 3.75 online. Avoid parking with them at all costs, they are in this to scam the doctors and nurses caring for covid patients and scamming all patients families just trying to see their sick loved ones. This company is what’s wrong with this country, greed and thriving off of taking from the people caring for the sick and vulnerable. Truly despicable.T E, 3 years ago
Something that is worth mentioning is that I’m just a student, so I don’t really have any major inconveniences dealing with parking. It’s just expensive and very annoying. In this case, however, we’re talking about someone who works in the campus hospital. However, CampusParc seems to think parking is more important than the lives of actual people. Would you be surprised if I told you that this isn’t the only instance of a medical professional getting very upset with CampusParc? Here’s another from a traveling nurse:
I find it vile you charge travel nursing staff almost double as much to park and give us 1 garage to park in. I’m there to help patients and help staff a unit, all you see is “traveler” and smell money. Not to mention when the gate has malfunctioned, ive hit the call foe help button and noone comes through. I hate this company and wish I could give it no stars, OSU will be better off without you.Jake Rumberger, 2 weeks ago
And while robbing medical professionals might seem like the bottom of the barrel, there are plenty of patients and their families with similar stories. For instance, one person was fined twice for using valet parking. Yes, you read that right:
I valet parked on a Monday morning. My husband was a patient at James. I stayed with him 24/7 until he discharged on Saturday afternoon. When we left, I paid $50 on my credit card for the five days. Then, a week later, I received two citations for parking for disregarding signs. When I called, I was told that I left my vehicle at 2AM and 4AM in the drop off area in front of the hospital. Now, CampusParc had my keys and I had no way of even knowing where my car was parked. So, tell me how on two different days during the five days I was parked, that I could have left my vehicle in the drop off zone in the middle of the night. I received two citations for $61.25 each. I have submitted two letters and no one has bothered to contact me. Be assured, I will not pay the erroneous fees. If I could, I would give them a big “0”.Jacqueline Burger, 7 months ago
Unfortunately, if you keep scrolling, you will continue to see horrible stories like these. For instance, there are several folks who have complained that their car was hit in a parking garage and CampusParc refused to provide any footage of the incident. Likewise, there are several folks who have described scenarios where CampusParc issued tickets as folks were on their way to the terminal to pay. And, there are several other stories of folks receiving tickets even when they already have a pass.
In just about all of the stories I’ve read, the fines themselves are more expensive than the parking passes, impossible to contest, and unjustly issued. Talk about a complete nightmare of a business. Too bad OSU is locked up with them for 50 years, a time period that my wife thinks is hysterical given how they’ll probably still be around when I retire.
I’m someone who considers themselves a leftist, so I am used to my opinions often being challenged or outright ignored. Part of that, I think, is because exploitation is the norm in our society. Therefore, it’s often hard to convince folks of just how unjust things are. Yet, there are still some modern examples that demonstrate such egregious abuses of power that even the biggest bootlicker has a hard time saying anything nice. And of course, I’m talking about CampusParc: a business who’s entire existence revolves around a level of rent-seeking that the richest landlord could only dream of achieving.
All of that is to say that CampusParc has got to go. Surely, there is a way to break the contract. Where are all my lawyers at? Let’s push for the return to sanity on this campus.
With that said, I would typically hide this kind of article behind a paywall, but I really want to see it hit the top of the search engine for the CampusParc keyword. As a result, I’m going to probably need some extra support from the handful of you who regularly read my content. To start, here are some related rants I have about horrible companies:
- AT&T Is Just Bad
- What It’s Like Being an AT&T Customer
- AT&T Is a Disaster: The Offer That Never Came to Be
While you’re at it, why not check out my list of ways to grow the site. There, you’ll find links to my Discord, YouTube channel, and newsletter. And if you really want to take your support to the next level, head on over to my Patreon.
On a side note, if you need a good laugh, there is an article about CampusParc losing money due to the pandemic. And you might also enjoy the quote tweets when this article was shared to Twitter. Otherwise, I’ll see you next time!
I'm embracing the virtual world and moving all of my computer science exams online. Here's why!
Amid all the chaos of my daily TODO list, I was able to find order by sorting my tasks by my values. Maybe you'll find some "value" in this tip as well.