Here's something: You can park for free at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles. That's right, FREE.

The underground garage, which charges up to $16 a day, has been free for about a month — but there's a little trick to it. 

On the way down to your car, stop at the first underground level and look for a guy standing at a table handing out blue tickets:

Blue tickets = park for free; Credit: Hillel Aron

Blue tickets = park for free; Credit: Hillel Aron

You'll have to write your name down in a binder and sign it, but no one checks ID or anything. And that's it. Free parking. 

But why?

It all goes back to June 2014, when a woman named Ashley Solomon parked at Pershing Square and paid with a credit card. A machine spit out a receipt; it had all 10 digits of her credit card.

Whoops. Turns out that was in violation of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act of 2003, which states: “No person that accepts credit cards or debit cards for the transaction of business shall print more than the last five digits of the card number or the expiration date upon any receipt provided to the cardholder at the point of sale or transaction.”

Solomon's little receipt became the subject of a class action lawsuit in January 2015. It was settled, in December, for a rather modest sum: Solomon got $5,000 and the attorneys got $90,000 plus $3,000 in expenses (sounds like they weren't working all that hard on this thing).

But the real winner: you. Since it would be impossible to track down everyone who got one of those receipts, it was agreed that the City of L.A. would simply hand out vouchers for free parking, enough to equal the amount of $360,000. Once that pot of money is gone, no more free parking.

Parking attendants, who had no idea why they were giving away free parking, said they'd been doing it for “about a month.” The manager of the lot said he thought that they'd be doing it for another month, but he wasn't really sure. The Department of Recreation and Parks, which is managing the program, didn't return our phone calls. 

There aren't really any signs posted telling people about this magical free-parking thing, and some people are still actually paying for parking. Don't be one of these people! Find the guy with the blue tickets! Before it's too late!

$16? Not today.; Credit: Hillel Aron

$16? Not today.; Credit: Hillel Aron

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