A shopper who was stung with a $65 ticket for parking just 20 minutes in a 90-minute spot says she thinks her mistake was leaving to help an 86-year-old friend cross the road.
Cecilee Donovan parked in a privately owned lot in the Wellington suburb of Johnsonville on August 2.
She walked her friend over the road to the bank, then returned to shop at T&T and St Vincent de Paul in the shopping complex attached to the 33 Johnsonville Rd car park.
When she went back to her car about 20 minutes later she had a parking ticket from Wilson Group's Parking Enforcement Services for $45.
Mrs Donovan appealed the notice, saying she had parked for only 20 minutes and attached her receipts to show she had shopped in the complex.
But in a letter more than a month later, Parking Enforcement Services said they were adding $20 to her ticket because she hadn't paid.
If she didn't pay $65 within seven days, they would launch debt collection proceedings.
When Mrs Donovan appealed again, Parking Enforcement Services replied saying they had not received her first appeal, but having reviewed the ticket they still thought it was issued correctly.
Mrs Donovan thought her error might have been leaving the carpark and crossing the road. Parking Enforcement Services told her to prove she was a legitimate shopper by providing proof of a purchase.
"I just think the whole thing is so unfair," she said. "Nowhere on their . . . sign does it say that I can't leave the car park or that I have to make a purchase to prove I was shopping here.
"I think it is disgusting. I'm not paying. I'd rather go to prison. I don't think I'd suit Arohata [Women's Prison] very well and if they take my car I hope they fix the brakes when they return it."
Parking Enforcement Services' national manager Matt Ransom said yesterday he would investigate the issuing of the notice and the letters Mrs Donovan sent in before he would comment further.
Mrs Donovan said she had heard of other people getting similar tickets.
"I spoke to another lady who said she got one three days ago and she said to the guy, ‘But I have only been here for 30 minutes', and he just rolled his eyes and kept on writing."
St Vincent de Paul manager Michael East wrote a letter confirming Mrs Donovan was a customer of the shop because she no longer had any proof of purchase to provide the company, having sent in her receipts with her first letter.
He said he had seen many customers at the complex getting tickets for briefly crossing the road.
"Somebody is just standing there watching so if you leave the car park you get a ticket," he said.
"One guy parked his car and went over to the ATM to check his bank balance before he rented a DVD. When he came back they had given him a $45 ticket. I remember him saying he guessed he couldn't get a DVD now."
- © Fairfax NZ News
Pals and playmates (pictures)
Reacting to a sudden cancellation
New Zealand's best deck built yesterday
Appreciating Tony Allen
The meaning of blogging