A private parking enforcement company has apologised to an 80-year-old woman after they ticketed her for parking in a mobility space - even though she has a valid permit.
Pip van Duyn had spent weeks worried about the $120 fee, which was issued after she allegedly failed to show her mobility pass while parked in a private car park in Manukau in August.
She never saw the ticket and was unaware she was being asked to pay $60 for not displaying her mobility pass until she received a letter in early September - asking for an extra $30 in late fees.
The Pakuranga resident sent a letter with a photocopy of her mobility pass to Elite Parking Services appealing the fee - only to receive another letter at the beginning of October saying another $30 had been slapped on and she now owed $120.
An Elite spokesman today told the Herald the letters were sent out automatically because the company had not received payment, but that following her letter van Duyn's fee had been voided.
However no one contacted van Duyn to tell her, and when she rang Elite to speak with someone a man on the end of the line told her that her letter hadn't changed anything, she said.
"I said 'I sent you a copy of my mobility sticker'. He said 'oh yeah I've got a copy of your letter here, but that doesn't prove anything'."
Van Duyn asked for the company to send her a copy of the photo they had taken of her car in a mobility park without the mobility pass and a copy of the original ticket, but never heard back.
"I'm pretty good about displaying [the pass]," she said.
"After you've had it for a while you just automatically display it.
"I hobble along like an old duck with a very bad knee, that's why I've got it."
She had been anxious the last few weeks worried someone might come to her door demanding money.
Elite parking staffer Adam, who did not give his last name as part of company policy, apologised to van Duyn, saying someone should have called her and let her know the fee had been voided on October 4 after Elite received her letter.
When asked why van Duyn said she was told otherwise on the phone, Adam said she "may have got someone at call centre who doesn't know what they're doing".
Adam advised anyone appealing a ticket needed to get in touch in writing to the appeals team directly rather than call.
He apologised personally and on behalf of the company for the confusion and any stress caused.
CCS Disability Action's national parking scheme manager DJ Clark said it was the responsibility of those who had a mobility pass to display it properly.
However parking enforcement should use their discretion and show compassion in cases where legitimate pass holders had simply forgotten, he said.
"If people are in a hurry, sometimes they forget. We would hope that agencies would take sympathy and have some understanding."