Parking fines: What they don't want you to know

Carpark
Carpark

If you suspect you've been unfairly fined by a private carpark provider, you might be right.

Large providers such as Wilson Parking, which monitors 350 CCTV cameras from its Auckland control centre, can make for a David-and-Goliath situation when it comes to challenging its fines.

But that's exactly what one woman has done.

The woman, who prefers not to be named, was fined $85 by a private parking company after using its facilities without paying. She says she tried to pay with her EFTPOS card, but the machine froze.

With one quick errand to do, she decided to pop off for 10 minutes.

She did her research and found that technically, private car companies can't fine you. They can only ask for the money they lost by you not paying or overstaying.

"Private car parking companies are not allowed to issue fines or penalties. They can only issue an infringement notice for a genuine estimate of the loss that they suffered," the woman told Story.

"I asked for them to show me evidence how my parking there for 10 minutes, which would have cost $4, had cost them $85 worth of loss."

She worked out she should have paid about $10. So she did, and hasn't heard from them since.

The Automobile Association backs up her argument.

"You should offer payment that reflects the amount of parking time you used that you didn't pay for, and you should also include a small administration fee," says AA principal advisor Mark Stockdale.

Mr Stockdale recommends if you decide not to pay a private company's fee and it refers you to a debt collector, explain to the debt collector you're in dispute with the parking company.

"On that basis, the debt collector should not be able to take any further action until you settle the matter with the parking company."

He says if you decide to issue a challenge to a parking company, ask it to prove the costs incurred.

"If they can't prove it, then you shouldn't be paying it."

Watch the video for the full Story report.

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