Free Bot Purports to Help NYC Drivers Beat Parking Tickets

A website created by a Stanford University student purports to help New York City drivers beat parking tickets -- for free.

The site, DoNotPay, is entirely automated and draws up template appeal letters based on a few identifying details entered by the driver, according to Crain's New York. 

The bot was invented by 19-year-old Joshua Browder, a rising sophomore at Stanford, when he received 30 parking tickets as a teen in London, he told Crain's. The tickets were often issued unfairly, and because the appeals process in the U.K. is so formulaic, Browder thought he could program a system to beat the tickets. 

The site launched in London in 2014, and then in New York City this past April, where it's still in its testing phase.

Instead of fighting the city's parking violation codes, DoNotPay focuses on generating the appeal most likely to get a ticket overturned, Crain's reports. Browder estimated that of the 10,000 tickets fought so far in New York, about 40 percent have been overturned, with the majority in Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

Browder says he's gotten buyout offers from lawyers who specialize in these types of ticket appeals. But Browder says he doesn't plan on selling the site or turning it into a money maker.

"Deep down, I think they're threatened," Browder told Crain's. "They've built their livelihood on fighting these parking tickets, and in reality, technology can do it for free. Lawyers would write a letter, probably copying and pasting from Microsoft Word. Whether you've done something or not you have to pay 50 percent, which is so extortionate."

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