A number of Aucklanders have hit out at Westfield, claiming the company has "misled" them over parking prices at its brand new Newmarket mall.

Over the past month, customers who thought they were getting a bargain have branded Westfield "deceptive" over its new advertised deal.

The company offers customers two free hours of parking at the facility if you download their app and activate your Westfield Plus membership.

However, according to the Westfield Newmarket's website, Plus members are charged at a higher half-hourly rate, compared to non-members, after their initial free two-hour parking period.

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Those who are Westfield Plus members will still fork out $25 for four hours of parking, the same price as non-members, despite receiving two hours for free.

A number of Plus member customers say they're losing out because they're charged at a higher rate compared to casuals.

In complaints to the company, customers have called the ticketing a "total scam", expensive and "deceptive".

"Car parking is a total scam," one angry customer wrote to Westfield.

"If you stay a minute over the 'two hours' free advertised time you pay full price. Meaning you do not get two hours free. Extremely misleading your customers. As a company you must make every attempt to make your terms and conditions understandable to limit confusion. You have not done this with your two hours of free parking scam."

Another weighed in, calling the Plus member parking perks "criminal".

"Parking rates are incredibly misleading. $21 for one hour past the two free hours even though I have the Westfield Plus app. Criminal."

One claimed the signage at Newmarket doesn't explain that you need the app to activate your free parking, which has thrown shoppers off.

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"Everywhere it's boldly displayed parking is free for two hours. There's no mention of needing the app. Then you get billed $9 for just over an hour! I emailed them to complain, and of course, they don't even bother replying."

Others have given a full-blown account of their "poor experience", with one saying they were charged at a higher rate than what is on the price sign.

"The parking cost is misleading and deceiving. You advertise two hours free parking if you download the app. I have no issues with this and happy to download the app for a seamless parking experience ... However, on Saturday we ended up staying longer than 2hrs.

"Our total length of stay was 3.5 hours so I was shocked to find that I had to pay $21 to exit the carpark! $7 for every half hour after your initial two hours is daylight robbery!"

Despite receiving two hours free parking, Westfield Plus members are still charged $25 for four hours parking, the same price non members are charged. Photo / Westfield
Despite receiving two hours free parking, Westfield Plus members are still charged $25 for four hours parking, the same price non members are charged. Photo / Westfield

A Westfield spokesperson told the Herald the majority of customers are out within the two-hour free parking period and said they need to account for demand and location when tailoring their parking.

"Providing convenient, accessible and safe parking for our customers is important to us," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"We take a local approach to parking, tailoring the offer to the local community and taking into account factors including demand, our location within the growing Newmarket CBD and benchmarking in the local market.

"For Westfield Plus members, parking at Westfield Newmarket is free for the first two hours. Unlimited free parking is offered to member customers who enter the car park after 6pm and leave before 1am, and for those who have a valid disabled parking permit. Those who come to see a movie can have their parking validated for an extra two hours.

"The majority of our customers won't pay for parking because over 90 per cent of our customers leave before the end of the free entry period."

The website's maximum parking price is $50.

Despite Westfield's explanation, one customer called the pricing "flawed" and says it discourages shoppers from staying longer and spending their money at the mall.

"Completely flawed parking policy. You're penalising shoppers who are spending money at the mall. I paid $7 for the 25min I went over the supposed free 2 hours. Which actually isn't free when you go over the 2 hours while you're spending money on lunch and shopping. Spent $400. Need to extend your free hours or request a receipt with minimum spend."

Another disgruntled added: "As I arrived I saw you got 2 hours free parking if you download the app and become a 'member' which was great so I downloaded the app.

"As a member you get 2 hours free parking but what you don't realise is that they then charge you a higher rate per half hour so you end up actually paying the same as the 'non member' rate for 4 hours. Members pay $7 per half hour and non members pay $3 per half hour?! Go figure. Absolute rip off - I won't be back."

Another added: "It puts people off wanting to spend their money are they know they'll need to complete their shopping within a short period of time."

For more information on parking at Westfield Newmarket, you can visit their website here.