Julia Rotert felt baffled when she saw, in two separate Facebook posts, attempts to sell disabled parking placards earlier this week.
The placards, which allow disabled drivers or passengers to park nearer to entrances, can only be purchased from the Missouri Department of Revenue or its contracted license offices, according to Michelle Gleba, the department’s director of communications. Thus, selling them over Facebook is illegal.
Rotert sent screenshots to The Star, revealing a post in the Gladstone Swap & Shop Facebook group offering a placard for $45.
“At first I was in absolute shock. I was shaking I was so mad,” the Gladstone mother said. “These aren’t for convenience. They’re given to people because they need them.”
Rotert would know. Her 1-year-old daughter has a disease that prevents her from building muscle normally. She can’t support her weight, and the family has a disabled parking placard for her.
“She’ll need it for the rest of her life,” Rotert said.
The screenshots show the seller and a potential buyer bargaining over Facebook. The potential buyer offered $30 for the placard. The seller agreed to the price.
Rotert said she alerted the group’s admins, and she notified authorities.
Displaying a disabled parking placard without the original holder’s permission or presence could result in a fine of up to $300. Fraudulent application, renewal or procurement of a placard is a Class A misdemeanor and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail.
John Syme with the Independence Police Department said he’s seen the illegal sale of the placards before, but it’s rare.
After finding the Facebook post, Rotert said her husband found another placard offered for sale on eBay.
Complaints about the fraudulent sale of placards can be submitted to the Department of Revenue, which could result in an investigation “to resolve cases that are violations of the statutes.”