The parking company which is forcing a couple to pay for the time their stolen car spent in a parking space says the onus is on the insurance company to cover the fee.

But the couple's insurance company AMI Insurance said car policies do not provide cover for parking fines charged following the recovery of a stolen vehicle.

At the start of last month, English couple Chris Ashforth and Jess Winterbottom's car was stolen from Parnell in Auckland.

It was badly damaged and left in a Tournament Parking building.

A week later, the couple received letters from Tournament telling them they had to pay for the three days their Subaru Imprezza was parked in one of its spaces.

The couple contested the fines, but Tournament insisted they pay.

Otherwise, it said, the debt of $210 would be handed over to debt-collection agency Baycorp which could affect their credit rating.

Tournament general manager Dale Clements said the onus was on the car insurance company to cover the fines.

"I have it on authority that the reason we ask the customer to go to the insurance company is because in the past they have covered that," he said.

But AMI spokeswoman Melanie Elliott said their car policies did not cover parking fines of stolen vehicles.

"I have attempted to make contact with Tournament over this matter, but have not been able to speak to the person concerned," she said.

Mr Clements said the fine was so high because it took the police three days to tow the car after Tournament reported it had been dumped in one of their carparks.

"It was just stuck in our carpark for three days, so it was as if they didn't appear to be in a hurry to get their car back."

Mr Clements said Tournament received the police report of the vehicle theft only on Tuesday afternoon.

However, Mr Ashforth was adamant that he sent a copy of the report to Tournament with each of the three appeals to the breach of payment notices last month.

"We definitely sent it to them on three occasions with each of the appeals. I then sent one to them [on Tuesday] as well."

Mr Ashforth yesterday sent Tournament another copy of the police report and written confirmation from AMI that their policy did not cover the fines.

Tournament responded, saying it would give the couple with an assessment of the situation within 24 hours and would delay handing the debt to Baycorp.

Mr Clements said the owner of any car which drove into a Tournament carpark was the person responsible for paying the fees - not the person who was driving it.

"We're quite clear on that because if you're driving a car that's not yours and is owned by someone else, you're deemed to have the authority of the owner to drive that car.

"So the onus comes back to the owner, unless they can prove otherwise that they hadn't given authority to someone else. We are absolutely watertight on that."

He said because the car was stolen, the ownership was handed over to AMI Insurance.

Mr Clements could not say whether an exception would be made to the
fine.