Parking firm apologises after Auckland woman charged $36 for 2.5 hours

The woman says she wasn't told she had to book online to get the $7 rate.
The woman says she wasn't told she had to book online to get the $7 rate. Photo credit: Supplied

An Auckland woman is horrified after being charged $36 for 2.5 hours of parking, saying she was told she'd only be charged $7.

The woman, who commuted into Auckland's central business district for the first time in two months on Wednesday, said she was worried about paying for parking after taking a pay cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I couldn’t find a space on the street, but drove past The Chancery car park that is owned by Secure Parking," she told Newshub. 

"I have had issues with them in the past, so normally avoid them, however, today they had a few people outside waving sandwich boards, the largest of which someone was waving right by the carpark entrance, and said '$7 Park All Day' [and] another I saw said 'Welcome Back'.

"I thought this sounded too good to be true, but figured they would really need the business like many companies at the moment."

The woman said before she parked she double-checked the price with the person holding the sandwich board and was told, "It's $7 all day".

However, when she returned to her car 2.5 hours later she was shocked to see she had been charged $36. 

"I walked to the security office within the car park and asked why it was charging me $36 instead of $7. The man there then said, 'you only get that rate if you book online'."

The woman described it as a "blatant rip off", telling Newshub because of her pay cut she can't afford such hefty charges.

"As you can imagine I was horrified," she said.

"Nowhere did it say that it was online bookings only.

"There was another lady there, who had also thought she was paying $7 and was upset she was also being charged $36.

"This is particularly disgusting when we are all just trying to survive at the moment."

A spokesperson for Secure Parking, which owns the car park in question, said it would refund the woman in full and apologised.

"Our intention with this offer is to welcome people back into the city. We totally understand and empathise with the financial strain Kiwis are under, which is why we are offering such a low rate to enable those who are coming back into the city an affordable parking option especially for those who would normally use public transport," a statement from Secure Parking said.

"I believe our messaging for this limited offer is very clear, online, and offline - book online This includes the signs this customer would have seen, however, thank you for bringing to our attention that this may not always be the case with the signs.

"I'll speak with our team to see how best we can help avoid any confusion tomorrow [Friday].

"The Government's Wage Subsidy Scheme combined with the lifting of non-essential travel restrictions provided us with the opportunity to redeploy our highly skilled Airport team in the Auckland CBD."