Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Student challenges fine fee for broke-down car

Note left explaining mechanic was coming but company says it doesn't read notes.

David Wilson was asked to pay $65 despite signs in the Auckland carpark where his car broke down saying fines are $50. Photo / Sarah Ivey
David Wilson was asked to pay $65 despite signs in the Auckland carpark where his car broke down saying fines are $50. Photo / Sarah Ivey

An Auckland student was slapped with a parking ticket while he waited for a mechanic to come and fix his car, despite leaving a note on his windscreen explaining his predicament.

David Wilson, 23, was fined $65 - more than the signposted fee of $50 - after his car broke down last month in a 120-minute time limited park at a complex monitored by Parking Enforcement Services, an arm of Wilson Parking New Zealand.

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The company said it was against policy to read notes left on cars, but despite Mr Wilson lodging an appeal it was not until Herald inquiries yesterday that the infringement was waived.

Mr Wilson's car failed to start at the 8 Nugent St carpark in Grafton on March 9 - a Sunday night - and he arranged a mechanic to fix the vehicle the following morning.

He said he left a note on the windscreen explaining his situation complete with his phone number and the address of his apartment across the road.

He also attempted to speak with the ticketing officer and subsequently contacted the company to appeal against the fine, but it was not until Herald inquiries that the company revoked the infringement yesterday.

"I couldn't move my car in a safe manner and they didn't want to hear it. They said I had breached the terms and conditions and just had to pay it, and then they sent me another $20 administration fee.

"It's an ethical thing. If someone has broken down it's not like they haven't done the fair thing."

He said he was also given no explanation why he was expected to pay more than the amount stated on notices posted around the building.

"The thing that gets me is I have walked through the carpark and read all the notices and terms and conditions and they all say $50, yet they charged me $65."

Parking Enforcement Services national manager Matt Ransom said the breach notice was issued in accordance with clearly signposted terms and conditions.

"Unfortunately we cannot accept hand-written notes as this could be subject to abuse in itself," he said.

"However, the amount charged by the officer was indeed incorrect and this matter has been rectified and dealt with internally."

- NZ Herald

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