The season for giving... tickets

Last updated 14:30 19/12/2012

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Christmas is the season for giving and no one seems to be as good at it as the New Zealand Carpark Monitoring Service.

But, do you think it's justifiable?

I recently returned to my car, which was parked in downtown Auckland near Shortland Street, to find a warden inspecting the number plate. I had been delayed by five minutes in a meeting and had run all the way to the car in heavy rain.

I called to the lady from the edge of the car park facility, but was ignored. As I got within touching distance I tried again to halt her activity and allow me to explain my circumstances, but she refused to look up from under her umbrella until the ticket was processed.

I had paid until 12.41pm and the parking infringement was issued at 12.48pm. I was told there was a five-minute tolerance before issuing a ticket. That explained why my shouting, which attracted all the people within a 500-metre radius, went unheeded by the warden.

The fine was $65. I was angry, but decided to hold off the verbal assault and follow the direction on the ticket that requested all objections be put in writing to their head office in Newmarket.

In my letter I explained I was held up due to an interview running over time and because of the slippery footpath, thanks to the rain.

I explained I had tried to catch the warden's attention, but was respectfully ignored, and that I requested they look in to the possibility of cancelling or reducing the $65 infringement fee considering it costs only $8 an hour to park there in the first place. I had paid for an hour and a half and the interview was literally across the street.

Today I received the verdict: There will be no leniency shown.

Personally I feel it is pretty unfair and being out of work at the moment, the fine seems excessive and puts a big dent in my budget.

Do you think the parking company is justified? Is a five-minute window really that fair? Has anyone found a way to pull at the enforcement administration's heart strings and managed to get off the hook? I would love to hear your story.

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