The Herald has been flooded with emails this morning by readers who say their cars were clamped within minutes at a Mt Eden hotspot.
While some say they recognise they should not have parked in the car park, others said they did not see signs because it was dark or raining.
All who were clamped agreed the hefty fee was unreasonable compared to the amount of time they spent parked in the wrong place.
Others wrote in to say that property owners were reasonable in enforcing parking rules and if people parked in the wrong spot they should expect to pay the price.
Amalgamated boss Craig Burrows said he was considering putting up more signage but ultimately people needed to obey the rules or pay the price.
Our readers say:
"I have been towed from the same spot before. It was night and the signs were not obvious in the dark, I was new to the area and was picking a friend up from the Burger Fuel. I got out of my car and walked to the Burger Fuel, turned around and my car was already gone. $280 to have it released. All happened in less than 5 mins. I now often see a tow truck waiting in the car park and have seen countless cars towed as soon as the drivers walk away.
The situation needs to change as at the moment it is revenue gathering preying on unaware drivers."
"There is currently almost no parking on Valley road, mostly due to roadworks recently. My wife has recently had baby under difficult circumstances so with some relatives around I ordered some Burger Fuel and took off when it was ready. I parked my car in the Countdown Carpark for what I would estimate would be less than minutes (there were around 30 empty car parks in the corner close to the takeaway), came out and the car was gone. $270 to get it out of their yard.
"Parking meters give you 10 minutes grace. If you had kids to feed it would be very awkward losing your car in that amount of time. It's rubbish. Not a single car would park in any of those spaces for more than 3 or 4 minutes at 8pm on a Saturday night.
On the other side of the coin is the frustration of property owners who have to pay top dollars for renting a property and parking spaces at a premium rate. Those parking spaces and driveways are reserved for customers, especially places who cater for pregnant mums and mums and dads with young children. For lazy people who just want a ''haircut'' or just want to have a ''drink'' at a bar for a ''few minutes'' who park on your precious parking areas and depriving customers of a park is not okay. Clamp them. I have considered it myself!
It is not about the money but around the rights of property owners.
It is very simple don't park where you shouldn't park. I live in a 40-townhouse complex. Each townhouse has two allocated parking spaces. We have seven visitor parks, we have had to put up in-your-face signs Visitor parking and 240 minutes only as residents deem it is their right to park there. We clamp and charge $200 so those people need to suck it up and watch where they park!!!! We all have jobs to do, let these people get on and do theirs.
We were also towed after about 3-5 minutes. We didn't see the signage either. What left us baffled was the following:
- you can legally park if you are going to one of the named businesses eg Glengarry, Gideon. The towing was so quick how could the operator possibly know which business you were going to?
- When we went to recover the car from Amalgamated we had to sign a damage waiver without even seeing the car. The interaction was fraught and the only way to challenge the tow was to complain to Amalgamated themselves which seemed futile.
Like so many we just paid to get the interaction over.
I've been done twice in that parking lot. First time was for the same reason as the guy in the article going to Burger Fuel. Was in and out within six or so minutes to find my car gone. They towed it into the city which cost me about $170 in towing fees to release the car.
My fault in the end since you can't park there and go to Burger Fuel.
About a month later I went back and went to Glengarry wines (the signs say you can park there). I pick up some wine and get back to my car and, surprise, surprise, it's gone. Towed again back into the city.
They have a spotter who sits in the car park who calls the tow company to tow any car they ''think'' is going to a shop that isn't on the approved list. I ended up getting my car back free of charge with proof of receipt this time, but I still had to taxi/uber my way to the impound lot and they refused to reimburse me for that even though nothing was my fault and they were 100 per cent in the wrong.
Something needs to be done about private car parks like that because they can literally do anything they want and the public can't do anything about it.
Yep. Caught same place about year ago. Went to get takeaways and came back car towed.
Had to search for the sign everywhere to even work out that had been towed as thought it had been stolen at first. Finally found it (far harder to even see at night) and rang.
Had I seen the signs would never have parked there.
Why don't they clearly sign it on each car spot (and can be seen at night). If they're trying to provide specific parking for specific shops then this would achieve it.
I had an online order waiting for me at Burger Fuel which had been prepaid online so I left my eftpos card at home ... quickly parked up right next to Burger Fuel, saw the signs but assumed because the stores were closed it would be okay to quickly park up dash into the store and dash back out.
Less than two minutes I come back to my car and I am clamped, with no way of paying the man with an eftpos machine because mine was sitting at home on the bench.
So I was left waiting in the rain for a family member to come save me with $150 cash for about 40 minutes. I honestly couldn't believe what just happened because I was parked for literally 2 minutes and the whole thing just seemed very seedy.
I know that I was wrong to park in a tow-away car park, but being clamped was such a hassle. Two minutes spent picking up dinner plus 40 minutes to wait for my family member with cash to come down ... doesn't seem fair or just.
Responses have been edited for length and clarity.
Amalgamated boss Craig Burrows responded to our readers, saying while he would work to put new, bigger signage at the Valley Rd car park, ultimately people were responsible for their own actions.
"I've got no comment any more. It is what it is. At the end of the day the signs are there," he said this morning.
"I've been doing this for 35 years. People see the signs."
A ten-minute grace period was not fair to business owners, because one person parking for ten minutes would just be replaced by someone else parking for another ten minutes, on and on all day, he said.
"Now I'm the baddie. Well I'm not the baddie. I'm not the one taking no notice of the signs."