Frustrated shoppers are boycotting a central Auckland supermarket after being stung by $50 demands for alleged breaches of its free-customer-parking rules.
The Herald has been contacted by several unhappy users of Countdown Quay St's undercover carpark.
Simeon Randall said he was given a $50 demand for exceeding the limit for free customer parking. But the time on the ticket showed it had been issued just two minutes after he arrived.
He said his apartment is up a hill from Countdown so he took his car to carry a heavy load of groceries. After 20 minutes in the store, he returned to his car and found a "breach notice" from Parking Enforcement Services (PES), which monitors the parking. The alleged breach was for exceeding the 90-minute limit.
"When I appealed, PES would not let me off, so I had to ask our apartment manager for the CCTV evidence of me leaving there within five minutes of being ticketed," he said.
"Even then it was such a hassle - they said I had come there before, and I said, 'Even if I did, I can come more than once in a day'.
"The onus was on me to prove I was not there rather than PES having to provide proof of a breach."
Mr Randall said the breach was cancelled after he emailed the store querying how the limit was breached and saying he would do his weekly $150 shop elsewhere.
He complained to the Herald after reading about another customer, Allen Xu, who disputed a PES ticket for $50 and in the process incurred an extra $20 administration fee.
Mr Xu said his alleged breach was for "unauthorised use of the store's customer-only carpark", because he had left the store to have a coffee.
Store spokesman James Walker said customers could park free for up to 90 minutes "while they shop with us".
Camilla McConnell paid $50 for the same breach when she arrived at the store and realised she had forgotten her wallet. She left the carpark on foot to borrow an eftpos card from her father, who worked nearby.
She said she would never shop there again.
PES, a division of Wilson Parking, said it was engaged by Countdown to monitor its car park to ensure it was being used for the intended purpose - parking only while shopping at Countdown.