Anger over fake parking tickets

BY CLIO FRANCIS
Last updated 14:00 07/04/2009
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE: The fake parking ticket, left, and a real parking infringement notice. Click here to see larger image of the tickets.

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An Auckland bar has been accused of breaching copyright after handing out 2,000 fake parking tickets to Parnell motorists.

The tickets are almost identical to those issued by the Auckland City Council, but were plastered on car windscreens last week as part of an marketing ploy by Parnell bar Ivory Lounge.

The only difference between the real and fake fine notices is the website address and the 0800 phone number.

Motorists who rang 0800 PARKFINE on the fake tickets were told they were victims of a prank. But Auckland City Council staff were not amused.

Group manager for parking Brian Tomlinson said a parking ticket was a legal document, and as such, there were serious legal ramifications if it was subject to fraudulent reproduction.

"It's an April Fools joke and I can appreciate that but I also understand the concept has gone horribly wrong," he said.

The council and police had both fielded complaints, but Mr Tomlinson said it won't prosecute.

"We've decided we're not going to be pursuing this further, enough council and police time has already been wasted investigating this.''

However the bar's manager and co-owner Callum O'Brien was unrepentant. "I think it's all been taken a bit seriously by some people with no sense of humour. If a fake parking ticket on your car ruins your life you've really got to take a look at yourself,'' he said.

The bar was asked to stop issuing the tickets and cease all activity surrounding it. Mr Tomlinson said if this directive was not followed there was the option to pursue the matter further.

Yesterday afternoon the bar's website was displaying the parking ticket and the 0800 phone number was still active.

Mr O'Brien said he had no plans to take down the advertising.

"The people who don't see the funny side of it probably wouldn't come to our bar anyway.

"All in all I think it's been good for business."

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